Growing Up Nudist: A Naked Childhood

The Reamers and their two sons live at a Florida nudist camp.

ByABC News
May 3, 2012, 8:40 AM

May 3, 2012 — -- quicklist: 1title: text: LOXAHATCHEE, Fla.—

Nine-year-old Alex Reamer, like most boys his age, loves video games, the playground and riding his bike, except he does all these things without wearing clothes. Yes, you read that correctly, he is naked.

"I don't wear clothes much!" Alex proudly exclaimed in an interview with ABC News' John Berman, adding he goes months without putting on a shirt and pants. "I just like to be nude."

Alex and his family are nudists. That means naked swimming, naked cleaning, naked homework. Naked everything.

Watch the full story on "20/20: Xtreme Parents" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

"I never realized that my clothes were so uncomfortable, until I didn't have to wear them anymore," said Frank Reamer, Alex's dad.

The Reamers moved to Sunsport Gardens, a nudist camp outside Palm Beach, six years ago. About 70 residents, including 10 children, live in small RVs located around the 40-acre campground, where nudity is not only embraced but expected.

The Reamers only agreed to speak with "20/20" if we agreed not to blur, uh, anything.

"It sends the wrong message," said Sandra Reamer, Alex's mom. "It says that nudity is bad."

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quicklist: 2title: Family Says Nakedness Reinforces Positive Valuestext: It's one thing to see every inch of grown-ups. But what about children, like Alex?

His parents aren't worried about leering strangers or pedophiles, saying the community is completely safe. Sunsport does background checks on anyone who visits the campground.

According to Florida's Department of Children and Families, there are no specific rules or policies on children at nudist camps or resorts, so children taking part in the lifestyle at nudist camps is not illegal. The state agency did say, however, that it "has received calls regarding families living at Sunsport Gardens over the years." The details of those complaints and outcomes are not public record. Morley Schloss, the camp's owner, said DCF investigators have never found any wrongdoing at Sunsport.

The Reamer family decided to appear on "20/20" to lift the veil on family nudism. Most practice nudism in hiding, not telling friends or family for fear disapproval or condemnation. The Reamers maintain there is nothing lewd or sexual about the lifestyle.

"People have a misconception. They think this is about sex, and it isn't," said Frank. "My wife and I are in a monogamous relationship. We live with our children. I've seen them all nude, they've all seen me nude."

Sandra added that her near nonstop nakedness reinforced positive values in her children. "As far as body image, the kids are seeing all different kinds of people, and they're seeing that people can be different. There is less judgment."

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quicklist: 3title: Older Son Prefers Clothestext: According to Sandra, when completely nude, people look you in the eyes, not at your breasts. As for gawking or inappropriate staring, the nudists say it doesn't happen, and anyone who did that would be immediately ejected from the camp.

But it is a bit awkward for one member of the family, 15-year-old Bud Reamer, who prefers to wear clothes. "It's just more comfortable," he said, calling his parents' decision to become nudists "weird" but one he has gotten used it.

Wearing clothes in a place where everyone else goes naked is extremely isolating for Bud. There are no children his age living onsite, and like his younger brother, he is home-schooled, so he spends most of his time on the computer inside his trailer. When Bud turns 18, he plans to leave Sunsport and join the military.

Frank and Sandra say moving to Sunsport was a family decision, and it wasn't until Bud gave his blessing that they took the plunge head-first into the nude-only pool.

"The kids know we wouldn't force them [to be nude], force them to do something that they didn't want to do," said Frank. "For instance, Alex pretty much refuses to wear clothes, while Bud always will."

As for Alex, he loves nudity so much inside the 10-foot walls of Sunsport that he often refuses to leave. A trip to Universal Studios was "just OK." A better time is playing Nintendo DS (au natural, of course) with his two best friends, a brother and sister, who also live at the campground. According to the 9-year-old, the only downside to going clothes-free 24/7 is all the mosquitoes.

Watch the full story on "20/20: Xtreme Parents" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

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