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First time at a Naturist Gathering?
If this will be your first time at a naturist gathering, you might be wondering what it is like. This page is designed to help answer that question. CMEN welcomes first timers at the Northern California Mid-Summer Gathering and other events. You will find a variety of activities, seminars, workshops, shows, friendships to be formed, camaraderie, and laughter to share. We want you to have a great time.
We all come from different backgrounds. Many of the men you will meet have been to nude beaches or resorts, many belong to Gay Naturist International (GNI) affiliated clubs or other naturist organizations, some live a nudist lifestyle at home. For other men, this is their first time nude in a social environment.
Everyone must pre-register in advance and be at least 21 years old to attend CMEN’s West Coast Gatherings.
What to Expect:
Our naturist events are much like other conferences and social events, you will find men in a social atmosphere participating in their choice of planned activities, seminars and workshops. The difference is that clothing is not an option, everyone is nude, unless it gets too cold at night.
Being nude makes one more open and honest about himself, and more accepting of others. If clothes make the man, then nudity makes everyone more equal. Gay naturists experience a camaraderie unequaled in any clothed situation. We hope you too will find a greater sense of camaraderie and mutual acceptance.
What to Bring:
You will be e-mailed or mailed a list of recommended things to bring several weeks before the gathering. This list will include most of the things you would expect to bring to any other conference or outdoor activity, except that you will not need to pack the swim trunks, dress shirts, tuxedo or all that extra clothing. You should bring a towel to sit on, sandals or athletic shoes and possibly a cap, suntan lotion will complete your wardrobe for the day! You may wish to include a sweat shirt or light jacket and shorts for the night time hours when you are outdoors.
You will need to bring a towel to sit on, it is recommended you bring a separate towel for the pool. You can rent bedding as an option on the registration form, or provide your own.
You may also wish to bring costume items for the social hours, there is a different theme each day. Some men accessorize for the social hours, with costumes ranging from a simple cap to the creative. Others prefer to remain naturally naked.
All food, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. Attendees wishing to bring alcoholic beverages to share at the cocktail parties, such as beer or wine, are encouraged to do so, as CMEN is not allowed to provide alcoholic beverages.
When to Arrive:
You must pre-register in advance to attend a CMEN West Coast Gathering or other event. You will be e-mailed or mailed information including your confirmation, the registration check-in hours, and directions to the conference center several weeks before the gathering.
When you arrive you should go directly to the registration check-in tent. You will be issued a name badge, which you will need to keep with you at all times, a schedule of events, and other materials. If you need to arrive later, no problem, the registration check-in tent will be open after breakfasts and dinners as well.
Etiquette Guidelines for Naturists:
The following etiquette guidelines are adapted from Gay Naturists International:
A nude gathering is not an open invitation to have sex. Open sexual activity is inappropriate, and usually makes others feel uncomfortable. Hugs and friendly touching are OK; groping and erotic play are not. Spontaneous erections are generally considered natural and should not be a cause for concern or shame. Sex must be confined to designated areas and must be mutually agreed upon. Designated areas will be pointed out to you when you arrive.
Sit on a towel. While sitting on a towel is not required during the Gathering, most men prefer to use one anyway. Generally avoid placing your bare body in contact with furniture or upholstery. Sweat and body secretions, though a fact of life, can be unsanitary and unpleasant to others.
Body acceptance is what we’re all about. Avoid staring at other bodies or making anyone feel conspicuous or uncomfortable. We wish to make each person feel welcome and accepted.
You are expected to be nude. Remove all your clothes when you arrive. Shoes or sandals are usually worn when necessary, and some clothing may be appropriate in cool weather or at night, but don’t cover up when everyone else is nude. It will usually make you unwelcome in the group.
Use moderation when consuming alcohol. Overindulging often results in objectionable behavior and makes others uncomfortable.
Don’t bring illegal drugs to any nude gatherings.
Any photographs taken must be strictly for private viewing and must not be published. CMEN may publish photos from the gatherings on the official CMEN website or in promotional publications, no other publication of photographs is allowed without specific written authorization.
Avoid taking photographs of others unless you have permission in advance. At West Coast Gatherings we use red dots on name badges to indicate men who do not want their picture taken. If you do not want your picture taken by others you should request a red dot at the registration check-in tent, however, if you are wearing a red dot you cannot take pictures of others.
Some events may have other specific rules. Always be aware of any specific rules regarding such things as smoking, arrival time, parking, etc. The conference center is located in a mountain area. When you arrive, designated smoking areas and parking areas will be pointed out to you.
Thank the host. Naturist events are more fun when everyone helps with the responsibilities. Almost all gay naturist events ask attendees to help the hosts with some of the responsibilities. To keep the registration fees low, attendees in the past have voted to keep this a volunteer operated event. You will be asked to select a few small tasks to help out with at registration check-in. Please write down the tasks you select and do them at the specified time. Also, take time to thank the event organizers and session leaders, some have been working for months to prepare for the gathering and they are all volunteers too.
Statement on Sexuality:
CMEN joins GNI in supporting healthy, legal, non-sexual nude recreation.
CMEN, as a GNI affiliated organization, acknowledges that sex is natural, but sex is not equated with naturism. GNI affiliated clubs respect all of their members for their individuality, whether or not they choose to express their sexuality, and shall endeavor to respect individual sensibilities as may be appropriate, and encourage their members to do the same. In addition, all sexually active individuals are encouraged to practice safe sex.
For More Information:
Still have questions? For more information, contact CMEN at 1-877-NUDIST-1 (1-877-683-4781).
Sound like fun? Why not tell a friend?
California Men Enjoying Naturism is an international social organization for gay and bisexual men who enjoy nude social and recreational activities.