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Nudist club swings away from national group

LAND O'LAKES — Caliente Resort pulled its affiliation late Friday with the American Association for Nude Recreation, after an investigation into sexually charged parties at the club, the association said Monday.

Caliente's move came after the association sent a letter Friday to its 260 members reminding them of the kind of family values it expects its charter clubs to hold.

The rupture follows two months of rising tension with the association as the club dug in behind its aggressive marketing toward a younger demographic, including advocating for the coexistence of swingers and nudists.

"As a husband, father of four and an employee of the association, this is not a message I could accept," Erich Schuttauf, the association's executive director, said Monday. "AANR clubs represent the best in healthy clothes-free living and recreation for all ages."

Caliente is not just a club but also a full-time home for hundreds of nudists. The disgruntlement with the swinger-oriented marketing had originated with some homeowners.

"We felt that AANR was taking sides with a small number of homeowners as it related to their concerns about Caliente's aggressive marketing," Angye Fox, Caliente's spokeswoman, said Monday. "We felt that AANR is certainly a valid organization in that it does a great job with government relations and lobbying, but quite frankly, there was no factual basis for their concerns."

The association temporarily suspended Caliente's membership in May after the club registered to have a booth at an adult trade show, Swingfest 2008. The association singled out Fox's involvement in "a workshop advocating co-existence between swingers and nudists."

Fox said Caliente has been "branching out" in its target markets, trying to reach a younger demographic with more imaginative party themes, including an upcoming "Eyes Wide Shut" party featuring masks (and not much else).

"It helps to bring in young 20-, 30-somethings, and we've been far more aggressive than AANR in communicating with the younger generation," Fox said. "AANR hasn't kept up with the times."

Fox said she was a guest speaker at Swingfest, which paid for her accommodations. She said she helped educate the audience on how nudist resorts like Caliente handle different market interests, including setting aside special sections for its parties, having people sign agreements when they enter the club and organizing security patrols to enforce rules.

Dropping its membership in the association means Caliente can no longer enjoy 50 percent advertising discounts and free listings on the 260-member association's promotional literature, including the association's Web site. But only the club is out of AANR; the association still has about 1,500 individual Caliente members, association spokeswoman Carolyn Hawkins said Monday.

The club also loses the association's lobbying influence in Tallahassee and Washington D.C., Hawkins said.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at cyap@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4613.

Nudist club swings away from national group 07/14/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2008 10:40am]

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