Baring All: My First Naturist Experience

28 Jun
Cross posted from our lovely new friend at http://flowersandfeminism.wordpress.com

 

Less than a fortnight ago, a friend told me that he was a naturist. I’ll admit that I used to have misconceptions about naturism. I thought that it was a little weird and uncool and that it was only full of old men because they liked looking at young naked women. I thought that being a naturist had to mean eschewing clothes at every possibly opportunity. I fell victim to the idea that wearing clothes was ‘the done thing’ and that it would feel odd to be nude around other people. How wrong I was. Within two weeks I have become a total convert to the idea that it’s okay to take your clothes off in public and feel good about it. The fact that naturist groups contain so many senior citizens actually stems from a surge of popularity which the movement enjoyed in the mid 20th century, which faded among later generations of youth. But age didn’t even bother me when I finally took the step of attending a nearby naturist swim session with a group of student friends.

 

The age demographic at the swim was mixed, with my friends and I being the youngest there bar a couple of children who came with their families. At no point did I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. No one stares at each other’s bodies; no one walks around with an erection or makes inappropriate remarks. The sauna and steam room are great places to make friendly conversation and meet new people. Being naked whilst swimming, relaxing and chatting is treated as a fact of life, divorced from sexual arousal, and nothing to be self conscious about. From my experience, naturists are very accepting people; they see people for who they are rather than for what they look like. The swim also opened my eyes to the huge variety of shapes and sizes out there. Rather than feeling body conscious, I was comfortable in my own skin and judging from the reactions of numerous others who have tried naturism it is great for boosting confidence and positivity towards one’s own body. The thought of exposing a body which you’re not happy with among a group of strangers can be terrifying, because as women we have been brought up in a patriarchal, objectifying and shame-based culture. But naturism shows us that there is no one perfect body standard. Physical differences between humans of body type, size, gender, age and so on seem less important when viewed through the naturist lens. As Larry Darter observes in this excellent article:

“A lifetime of repressive taboos and censorship can be replaced with greater self-confidence and improved body image acceptance when a woman discovers that she experiences empowerment rather than intimidation, acceptance instead of rejection and humanization not objectification.”

Why, then, is nakedness so taboo in modern society when modern humans have been walking around naked for hundreds of thousands of years? The argument that clothes preserve “decency” and “morality” is merely a reflection of a fabricated social construct. Organised religion has inevitably played its part: think of Adam and Eve’s shame when they first notice their own nakedness, and of the requirements for women to dress “modestly” without exposing flesh. Clothing does serve a purpose, but being naked has nothing to do with lack of morality. We have lost touch with our natural state to the extent that even swimming pools – the most obvious places to be nude and comfortable with it – require us to cover our bodies with useless little bits of fabric. There is nothing innately unnatural and indecent about our bodies. For me, naturism is an embodiment of connection with nature and an indescribable feeling of freedom and liberation. I echo the words of CP Reece in Go naked; it’s good for everybody (but particularly for women):

“Bathe without a costume (they’ve only existed for about 150 years and they were invented by men to control what women wear and what women see) and you’ll never want to wear one again!”

Naturism is not about sex. A man who walks around with a huge erection or a woman who harasses other people would soon be asked to leave. What about those who are worried about getting uncontrollable erections at a naturist club? My male friend who accompanied me explained:

“If I’m attracted to someone it doesn’t matter if they’re naked, dressed, or in a potato sack, I’m still attracted…Well, boobs and such are fantastic. I am aroused by nakedness, when it is presented in an arousing context, much as I am aroused by someone in clothes, when presented as arousing.”

For many naturism is about freedom; relaxation; spirituality. For some it just feels good. There doesn’t have to be a deep and profound reason for going naked – it’s about what you’re comfortable with. Nor do you have to want to be naked all the time to get involved with naturist groups or take part in events. The sensation of floating naked in warm water, or treading barefoot through long grasses, or relaxing topless in a sauna, has to be felt to be believed. Shame, repression and lack of self esteem are damaging to our body image; the countries with the most liberal attitudes to the human body, such as Denmark and Sweden, are the best in terms of women’s self esteem and attitudes towards their bodies. In these countries, naturism is far less taboo and regarded as healthy and normal. It’s sad that so many people in the UK can only accept the naked body if it’s sexualised.

It’s normal to be nervous about trying new things and to be concerned about body image. Most people are before they experiment with naturism. But Stasha Boyd’s account of her first naturist experience speaks volumes about the way in which it can transform our self esteem and our attitudes towards nudity, the most natural thing of all:

“I’m a forty-two year old woman with your average, run-of-the-mill body issues. I was raised to believe that the flesh was something you mortify, not display; that social acceptance was more important than personal acceptance. And I just spent three glorious days at a nudist resort. Yep, three whole days in the sun, in the pool, in the spa, in the nude, in public and not only did I not die of embarrassment; I discovered a world of rejuvenation you can’t imagine until you’ve experienced it.”

Image

Useful Materials

http://www.bn.org.uk/articles.php/_/information/youth/youth-body-image-r91

http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2012/03/go_naked_its_go

http://www.bn.org.uk/youth/index.php

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/my-daughter-the-teenage-nudist/4od – a very interesting Channel 4 documentary about nudism amongst young people

27 Responses to “Baring All: My First Naturist Experience”

  1. Stewart Lever June 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    Great account but then I would do because I feel the same way.
    I’m very lucky to have a south facing totally private garden so naturist living is so wonderful.
    Enjoy!
    Stewart
    http://www.stewartlever.co.uk
    Singer, songwriter, naturist &.dreamer

  2. Mark Roworth June 28, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Super! Welcome to the enlightened.

    I came to naturism at about the same age. Over time it has slowly become more and more ridiculous to get dressed to swim. The most enlightening moment came to me after having spent a week in a naturist comminity to then cycle down the coast to a non-naturist beach and find it so sexualised and ‘fashionable’. It seemed totally over the top.

    You never turn back. Enjoy.

  3. Nick June 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Thanks for linking to YBN guys, fantastic article! This past weekend we had 6 women (first-timers) join us and their response was fantastic! I really think the perception of naturism among young people is changing and those old [sexist] ideas held by older society are beginning to fade away.

  4. homeclothesfree June 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Reblogged this on home clothes free and commented:
    From naked vegan cooking and flowers and feminism -first naked experience

  5. Martin Warrillow June 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    What a great post. Welcome to the world of naturism and well done for dispelling so many myths in such a positive way. :)

  6. martinwarrillow June 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    What a great post. Welcome to the naturist world and well done for dispelling so many myths in such a positive way. :) Martin Warrillow, editor, British Naturism magazine

    • David July 1, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Through this post, I just saw the documentary “My Daughter The Teenage Nudist.” I was happy to see this blog featured in it. But I’m curious: Why was Greta’s beautiful face pixellated?

      • radicalrabbit July 2, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

        My family didn’t want me to be on TV, I did do some filming for the documentary but then got them to cut it out. Greta x

      • David July 3, 2012 at 7:37 am #

        Well, I think you’re absolutely gorgeous, and that face shoud never be hidden! xoxo

  7. andrew June 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    A really great article and to second what Nick said thanks for putting a mention in for YBN :)

  8. ladygod1va July 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    It’s always good to read about others enjoying the naturist experience as much as I do. Well done for sharing your experience with others and hope your experience stays positive.

  9. Julia Chapman July 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    I’m just watching ‘My Daughter The Teenage Nudist’ and saw your blog. Top marks to you for promoting the self-confidence and acceptance that baring all brings. You’ll all do more for young people (and old) than anything the media will preach about how to look good. My hats off to you all on a great job!

  10. ross July 2, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Hey :-)
    I just saw you all on tv :-)
    Just wanted to say THANK YOU !!
    I was so happy to see such decent, honest and genuine people :-)
    a rare treat on the tv – usually all I see on tv is the ‘plastic’ people, the artificial and pretend-carers (who don’t really care at all) and all kinds of unpleasant things.
    Gives us all hope that there are still decent people around – and occasionally they are let onto our tvs :-)

  11. Stedman July 2, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Absolutely disgusting!

    If God had wanted you to go around in the nude, you would of been born like that!!

    • Mike Jones July 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Spot on – couldn’t agree more.

      We should live how God intended us to be – the way we were born

  12. Jim Shedd July 3, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    I lerned of this article from a post on Nudist CLubhouse from a wonderful lady who goes by C-O. I plan to share this story with a friend/coworker who seems to really want to experience the joys of naturism but constantly woories about her weight and lack of tan (color from the sun). I will keep working on her, encouraging her to check it out until she finally takes the plunge.

    I’m sure once she does so she’ll be “hooked” for life.

    Jim

  13. Paul July 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    I agree that naturists are very accepting people and I believe that being naked in a naturist environment breaks down barriers and helps to build a spirit that we don’t often see in our every day lives.
    I would be interested to know how those people around you who have not experienced naturism themselves have reacted to your new self.

  14. Iain Russell August 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Being naked in Public can sound daunting. But I’ve always thought that one of the main reasons it carries such a taboo in this country is that there isn’t an area of UK society where it is normally practiced.

    In Germany and all of Scandinavia, sauna are usually nude and people will often sunbathe and swim nude. Nude or topless-ness on beaches in France, Spain or around the med are not uncommon.

    A few years ago I visited a friend in Northern Spain and even his Grandparent – who were staunch Catholics and always wore their best clothes, even just to pop to the shops – who not dream of wearing anything to swim in the sea.

    The UK lacks any outlet for public nudity outside naturism; and things that happen behind closed doors often attract worry and concern, rightly or wrongly.

    I’ve been a naturist all of my adult life; I believe that the more it is accepted the more it will become acceptable. Not as a compulsion or requirement, but simply out of respect for personal choice and freedom.

    • Jim Shedd August 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      Iain, I hope you’re right about acceptance in both the UK and here in the United States. However, if it ever happens it will be a long, slow process, I believe, due to the imagined link between nudity and sex. My wife certainly is anti-nude whereas I’d love to be nude 24/7 everywhere if possible.

      Jim

  15. babySparkle August 23, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    A really well constructed, fascinating & informative article with a stunning photo that serves to emphasize the breathtaking natural beauty of the unclothed female form. I hope it inspires others to take the plunge. ! ! ! b e l l i s s i m a :o) xo babyS

  16. Chris & Katie October 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me. I live in South Wales with my wife and we are soon to start an indoor naturist business. We are looking for a female naturist to work with us on a part time basis. Does anyone know of such a person in South Wales looking for some extra income? If so, please contact Chris & Katie at: aunaturel@mail.com

  17. grasseynoel January 6, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Reblogged this on View from a grassey knoll and commented:
    A lifetime of repressive taboos and censorship can be replaced with greater self-confidence and improved body image acceptance when a woman discovers that she experiences empowerment rather than intimidation, acceptance instead of rejection and humanization not objectification.”

  18. A.m. Pm February 16, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    Written very well.

  19. scotty1111 April 2, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    Reblogged this on scotty1111.

  20. Pervertically Virtuous May 26, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    As a European who grew up very comfortable with nudity, I’m amazed at how uncomfortable with this most natural state of humans the US culture is. I just can’t get over it. Last week a guy told me he didn’t wanna have a threesome and his best male friend because he didn’t wanna see his friend naked, he “didn’t wanna cross that boundary”. really?! the boundary of what are bodies naturally look like?! ugh..

    anyway, good for you for discovering the wonders of naturism :)

  21. Joe September 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I read your entire post and it really does sound lime you’ve found an amazing in-let for positive thoughts, feelings, and energy. I have recreationally tried naturism/nudism. I am an 18 year old male from the U.S. who is very open sexually and all the times i have tried nudism/naturism with others groups or small clubs it has turned into a tantric or sexual experience. I don’t want just that and i’d like to meet others who are interested in it for other reasons too. I liked your article a lot and it brought me to believe there are still others out there that dont want to just have sex.

  22. Graham the Sunseeker July 10, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    I’m not vegan, I’m not much of a cook but I admire you for what you are doing for naturism/nudism.

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