A lonely bay, fine sandy beach, clear water – no shirt, no skirt, no panties. They exist, these places far away from mass tourism, where visitors can happily strip down and be naked among their peers. Or could. Because instead of squeezing into overcrowded hotspot beaches like sardines, more and more tourists in Spain are looking for quieter corners and are also hijacking the naturist idyll. The textile glut is getting so out of hand that naturalists in Catalonia are now even taking up the barricades against the “hostile takeover”.

Once upon a time there was a time of peaceful coexistence. Naturism is not forbidden in Spain. Being naked on the beach goes anywhere. At the same time, it’s also okay to wear bathing suits everywhere. The naturists preferred not to spread out their towels among crowds of clothed people – also “so as not to bother people”, said Segimon Rovira in an interview with “The Guardian”. He heads the naturist association in Catalonia. And the few cloth carriers who got lost on the nudist beaches, i.e. those that are signposted as beaches used primarily by nudists, adapted to local conditions or left again. Pants down or adiós. But the tide has turned. “Now they stay and keep their bathing suits on,” reports Rovira. The invasion creates disharmony. The naturists felt increasingly uncomfortable as a result. He describes the action of the clothed as a “lack of respect.”

He doesn’t just mean the ignorance with which many tourists “overlook” the nudist signs and thereby snatch away safe spaces from the naturists piece by piece, but also the way in which this happens. Non-nude stare at the naked, comment on bodies – also derogatory, giggle. Women are “generally stared at and harassed more,” says Rovira. The naturalists are increasingly becoming the target of onlookers. “We do it for the feeling of freedom,” says Rovira, explaining the appeal of being naked. But this freedom is shaky. Since many visitors want to post their experiences on social media, which means that they are constantly being photographed with their smartphones, the danger of ending up naked on the Internet is growing. This means that nudists are withdrawing more and more. Rovira knows: “People who are naked don’t want their photos to end up on social media.”

In the meantime, the feud has progressed so far that naturists have become real resistance fighters in order to protect their freedom. They sent a letter to the Catalan government. They hope to meet to talk about the problem and possible solutions. After all, nudism is firmly part of the region’s culture and has been practiced on many of the area’s beaches for decades. Now she is in danger of being destroyed. It is very difficult to practice naturism when you are surrounded by clothed people, says Rovira. “So we think it’s important that there are naturist spaces where most people are naked and others are encouraged to try it for themselves.”

To draw attention to how disrespectful and insensitive some visitors are towards naturists, the Naturist Union has launched a campaign and released a video entitled “Paradise”. It shows a tourist couple who suddenly find themselves among naturists on their chosen beach – instead of dropping their covers themselves, they stare at bare skin. It takes a while, but in the end they too throw away their bathing suits. With these and similar actions, the naturists want to raise awareness and encourage people to try out being naked and thereby support nudism instead of suppressing it. It remains to be seen whether the government will support the request. She has not yet replied to the letter.