Article from the Sur in English
Naturism: getting down to bare facts
Thousands of Spaniards are taking to a naturist life-style that is more than sand and sea
It has often been said that Spain is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. One can do just about what one likes in this country, as long as nobody is unreasonably upset by it. And the law is on one’s side. Anything that is not prohibited in writing is allowed, and strange as it may seem to some foreigners living here, nudism in public is not prohibited by law in Spain. Yes, you can strip to the bare skin and take a stroll down any street in Spain, and nobody can prevent you from doing so. The offense by which streakers - or simple strollers in the nude - were formerly punished was ‘public scandal,’ and that ceased to exist in 1995.
But there is a catch. One can be copped for ‘exhibitionism and sexual provocation.’ This raises a few interesting questions relating to the definition of exhibitionism and sexual provocation, but as far as public nudism is concerned, it could mean that one cannot strip publicly in the presence of minors, for example. The law has yet to be tested on this issue.
The naturist associations in Spain are happy enough about it, nevertheless. “Being nude in public does not in itself imply sexual intent, and therefore the law against exhibitionism and sexual provocation does not apply,” says a spokesperson for one naturist association.
But the law is one thing and social acceptance is quite another. Naturism is still confined to specific places in Spain, usually beaches and tourist complexes., while naturism is still called ‘nudism’ by many people, and generally regarded as something practiced by eccentric foreigners. Little is known about the real world of naturism, and the result is often suspicion and ridicule.