Yesterday, I went with my family to Volcano Bay, Universal Studio’s newest waterpark in Orlando, FL, and what really surprised me was the number of thong bikinis on display. We’re not talking a few bold teenagers here and there. In nearly every crowd waiting for a slide, you could easily find someone, from a middle-aged woman to a mom pushing a stroller, with 80% of her butt-cheek exposed. Some of these swimsuits left very little to the imagination, so that from the rear, at least, these women looked almost naked. I remember when thongs were made illegal in Clearwater, at the beach nearest me, but now you can see them at a waterpark, with young children milling about, and nobody raises an eyebrow. When did this happen, I asked my wife? Oh yeah, it’s in fashion now, she told me. Such a matter-of-fact answer, of course, doesn’t explain HOW thongs came to be seen as everyday normal, but I really shouldn’t be surprised. As we have seen on TV, the gluteus maximus is no longer a part of the body we censor. We have moved up in the past hundred years, from the ankle and the knee to the thigh and the bare buttocks. All that remains is the female nipple (which should come next) and finally, the genitals. It’s really only a matter of time (though we may not see it in our lifetimes) before full frontal nudity becomes the norm, even at Volcano Bay. Which reminded me of this piece I wrote back in 2015 (updated for 2019).
In a word, NO.
It is a popular misconception that nudism is going the way of disco. These are the same people who believe the 60’s were one big Woodstock/orgy fest. But one historian argues (whose name escapes me), with a list of charts and graphs, that people were actually a lot more conservative during that time than we imagine. And all I could think while reading his book was Duh! What would be the point of a counter culture when what you’re countering is generally accepted? What followed after the sixties, however, was the much more permissible seventies, where premarital sex dropped off the list of taboos and drugs came into frequent use (today, marijuana is legal in most states). But modern nudism has been around long before the sixties, since the Germans exported it to America in the 1900s. The resort I visit, Lake Como in Land-O-Lakes, FL, was founded…
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