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Nudists, swingers can meet in middle

It took me a few days to get caught up with the news at home from my summer hideout in Colorado, but thanks to the wonders of modern electronics, I finally got word about the flap (no, that is not a pun and there won't be any in this column) at the Caliente nudist resort in Land O'Lakes.

Apparently the players (Okay, so puns are hard to avoid in this context) are the resort management, a large group of homeowners and a bunch of folks who call themselves "lifestyles" people and most others call "swingers."

I am a member at Caliente, but the home prices are way, way out of my financial reach. I have no connection to management of the resort and am disqualified by age, body type and inclination from being part of the lifestyles movement.

So, I don't really have a dog in that fight, but I remain an interested observer.

It is no great secret that there are, from time to time, swingers at all resorts, major hotel and motel chains, campgrounds and, oh yeah, coming soon to a neighbor's home near you.

The issue here really isn't over the nature or morality of their activity, almost all of which takes place in private. It is more over matters like real estate values, public perceptions, economics and marketing.

People who own houses in Caliente have major investments, some topping $1-million, and, despite that they are private dwellings, they are inextricably linked with the resort and its reputation.

Lifestyles individuals and groups have, for the most part, been treated with tolerance as long as their behavior remained private, i.e. behind closed doors of the hotel rooms, casitas, condos, villas and houses that are for rent there, and not in the public areas, including the swimming pools.

Rules against public sexual activity are plainly posted and I have seen them enforced over the most minor of transgressions. I have also, and much more rarely, seen minor transgressions in public areas and merely exercised my right to turn away.

But homeowners, despite their personal convictions, are, perhaps justly, concerned about the image of the place they live. Non-nudist friends, associates, employers or acquaintances, many of them already skittish about nudism, might raise more than an eyebrow if they find out someone lives in a place with a reputation as a swingers' hangout.

The image they and the resort management, for the most part, want is that of a place where family-friendly nudism, naturism and sunbathing take place, a place that holds Easter sunrise services, a Lions Club and yoga and Pilates classes.

On the other hand, nudism is big business in Pasco, where several other resorts flourish or have flourished over the years. Resident and visiting nudists spend money, a lot of it. They also pay taxes on expensive homes and other real estate, and visitors pay hefty tourism charges on motels and other rentals.

And some of those visitors belong to the lifestyles movement. They come single, in small groups or for organized events like the Swingfest that is part of the current controversy.

How to target that market without becoming a part of it is probably the major issue, and today's economy is a dicey one that has most businesses leery of ignoring any part of their market base.

Should the resort sponsor and participate in the presentation of an event like that? Probably not. Should it or can it limit the use of its name in advertising about groups planning events there? Maybe, maybe not.

Does it have the right to demand information about the personal and recreational intent of its customers, as long as they aren't breaking any laws? Probably not.

The last story I read online seemed to indicate that at least a dialogue had begun, and that's good because all of the parties have a right to express their needs and boundaries.

There is a common ground, and I am pretty sure it can be found.

Nudists, swingers can meet in middle 06/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2008 1:27pm]

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