page updated 2015-12-05
In Lane County, Oregon, USA
Starting several years ago, when good weather began, I would call the Lane County Sheriff's Department and ask if nudity in Lane County was legal. Each year I was told that it was, until a few years ago. Now they say it is illegal and refer you to LC 6.100(1).
6.100 Prohibited Nudity and Penalty.
(1) No person, eight years of age or older, shall on public or private property, expose his or her genitals to another person, except within the boundaries of private property with the permission of the owner of said property, that is screened so that the act cannot be viewed from any other property.
That ordinance has been on the books unchanged since 1976. So I ask you, how is it that nudity could be legal for many years and then suddenly become illegal even though the law has not changed?
Some history: In the early 1970s, Oregon revised it's criminal code. No mention was made of simple nudity, so for a time nudity was legal in Oregon. In my opinion, that's the way it should be. Though I don't go to nudist parks, I'm a nudist at heart. Unfortunately, back in the 1970s voting prudes outnumbered voting nudes, resulting in LC 6.100 becoming law by initiative petition.
However, the constitutionality of LC 6.100 is questionable, and it certainly isn't practical as it appears to outlaw nudity in shower rooms and changing areas of public schools and public swimming pools. The Lane County Sheriff's Department decided to handle this legal dilemma by choosing to not enforce the ordinance, and that's what I should have been told whenever I inquired.
Now, they simply tell you it's illegal. However, they still don't enforce it. To me, this is hypocrisy of the first degree. How can we expect people to respect the law when laws are not respected by those who enforce the law? Our society needs a lot of realignment in this area. And how can we expect law enforcement agencies to enforce the law when the people don't adequately fund those agencies?
Let's have reasonable laws, laws that 95% of the people will obey as a matter of course, and then let's tax sufficiently to enforce those laws. I'm confident that in this present day, there's no way you could get 95% of the people to approve a law prohibiting simple nudity.
As a Coercive Force
If someone has a problem with my being naked, the problem is obviously in their head since I am not causing them any physical harm or depriving them of any property. However, a beholder of my nudity that is bothered by it is choosing to make themselves a victim, and that can be used to coerice their behavior. For example, let's say a fisherman is fishing the McKenzie River off our back yard, but it's summertime, the water is low, and he's standing below the line of ordinary high water. I would rather he not fish off our backyard, but since he's below that ordinary high water line, he's on State of Oregon property, and I have no right to ask him to leave even though, because of a vertical rock face, he had to cross our property to get there. I can, though, go into my yard naked, maybe even try to engage him in coversation. I've done this a number of times in years when the fishing is good and we're inundated with bank fishermen. More often than not—way more often then not—the fisherman will leave. Thus, I have used nudity as a coercive force to bring about what I wanted. This maybe wouldn't work if I were a good looking young woman rather than a fat old man.
As a Personal Preference
Generally, if the temperature of the air surrounding my body is 72F/22C or above, it feels better to be naked. Below that, it feels better to be covered. It's as simple as that.
Given my age and numerous other interests, I will probably never get to Cap d'Agde, but if I do, I will eat in the restaurants, buy things in the shops, perhaps get money in a bank, go to the grocery store, and other things that one typically does on vacation...and I will do it all without having any clothes on if the weather is good. Let's face it, in good weather the only real need for clothing is to keep from being hassled by the police, but in Cap d'Agde, nudity is legal. Haven't heard of Cap d'Agde? Try Wikipedia.