Another year has ended and we have 365 days ahead of us to make the most of the new year. It’s another year full of potential to make a difference or to do things differently than before. It’s when we all start even with a blank slate. It’s another year to make the world or at least our little place in it better.
So what would I like to give everyone this year? I know asking for world peace is too much. Probably the same with making sure no one goes hungry? I wish all of that was truly possible, but in this day and age, that’s asking too much.
So what do I ask for this year? I’d like everyone to experience a naked day. A day without clothing to play and relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun all over your body. A naked day in the buff to see what it feels like to be free. A naked day without judgement from others and a day without blame. A naked day without body shaming. A naked day where you’re not too fat or too skinny. Too pale or too dark. A day when you’re perfect just the way you are right now. A day where simply being naked is simply enough.
A naked day to make new nude friends and to realize it’s more important to judge someone by their character and personality rather than what they wear. A naked day to talk to someone who when you’re both nude appears to be the same as you. A naked day to spend time with your spouse, your partner, your friends or your family.
A naked day to do what you want to do, just without your clothing. A naked day to take a walk in the woods.A naked day to go skinny dipping and to feel like a child again. A naked day to fall asleep in the sun. A naked day to read a book or the newspaper. A naked day to enjoy a drink. A naked day to enjoy a bite to eat. A naked day to do what you enjoy most. A day to let it all hang out without a worry in the world.
Why do I want to give everyone a naked day? It’s simple really. If we remove our clothes and our inhibitions, we are all the same… naked and pure. We are all equal. It’s a day when you don’t need to worry about what others think. It’s a day to be one with yourself and nature.
For more than 20 years, my wife and I have enjoyed nude vacations, beaches, resorts, clubs, and time together. We’ve made friends. We’ve made wonderful memories. We’ve enjoyed ourselves and realized it’s not a sexual experience but rather a deeply emotional one that brings us together. We are better off because of the time we’ve spent nude together and the people we have met while we’re nude.
I’m guessing, just guessing that after spending the day nude with others, you’ll see that we’re all pretty much the same. That we have more incommon than what divides us. That when you remove your clothing, you remove the stress and anxiety that comes with living in a world where we hide behind our clothing. That is my wish. A wish for a perfect nude year.
The following is a guest blog from my friend Charlotte (named changed). I have been looking for a firsthand woman’s perspective on trying nudism. We are good friend with Charlotte and her husband Carlos and she very willingingly wrote the blog post below. She hits on so many questions that women (and couples) struggle with when considering social nudity. And more importantly, the benefits of it, especially when your spouse is sitting naked right next to you. I’m proud of her. What a great blog. Let us know what you think.
Raised in the Midwest, I never thought ditching your clothes in public could be an enjoyable pastime. Truthfully, I was never aware it was even an option. I had no preconceived notions or expectations about nudism. Growing up, my father taught me respect of all living things and led by example, going so far as to set live mouse traps for mice that wandered into our horse feed storage. These values significantly helped foster the carefree attitude I live by today – ‘Live and let live.’
Though I don’t consider myself a true nudist, I particularly enjoy baring it all on vacation and when our time allows. Several times during the summer, my husband and I will visit local nudist clubs and enjoy socializing with the crowds that gather there. And later this month, we will be enjoying a nude first for us – renting a private Caribbean villa with another couple who loves to be naked as much as we do.
My first experience with nudism was rather spontaneous. My husband Carlos and I began dating midsummer several years ago, excitedly and hurriedly falling in love, which was a surprise and uncharacteristic of us both. He was a lifelong bachelor and me, a recent divorcee. The almost immediate sense of security and comfort we found within each other allowed us to communicate candidly about everything, from our political views to some of our deepest revelations.
One conversation that seemed so innocent at the time now strikes me as my first introduction to nudism. After travel plans to the sunny island of Saint Martin were in the works, Carlos asked if I would ever try nude sunbathing, considering it is a popular activity on Saint Martin’s beaches. I paused and thought out loud, “I honestly have no idea.”
I recalled my days as a teenager, lying in the sun topless in my backyard. High school dances and tan lines are long-time foes. Privacy was ample in my backyard and the only risk of exposure was the occasional airplane flying overhead.
‘Stripping off my swimsuit in front of other people though? Would I have the courage?’ As I gave the idea more life, I asked, “Would you be ok with other men seeing me naked?” Carlos said, “Of course,” without hesitation. In my naiveté, I struggled separating nudism from its sexual connotation. My only previous encounter with nudism was skinny dipping at a local quarry after a high school football game with several friends – girls and boys, one of whom I had a small crush on. The moonlight was scarce, which allowed us to shed our clothes without much fear of being seen jumping into the cool water. I shared my experience with Carlos, slightly nervous he may pass judgment, but he just smiled in sweet amusement. Our conversation digressed and we rambled about other things. We did not suggest nudism again until we were lying out at Happy Bay, a sandy and secluded beach on Saint Martin.
After dating a little less than a year, Carlos had proposed. Suddenly, we were engaged and jetting off to the Caribbean. Carlos’ confidence and enthusiasm were more reassuring, attractive and contagious than ever before. I couldn’t help but be swept away in his excitement as he showed me around his favorite island, drove us to his favorite beach, and carefully picked out a semi-secluded spot by the water. He poured us each a generous glass of red wine, and we sat on the beach soaking up the sun. Shortly after finishing our wine, in what seemed like one swift motion, Carlos slid down his swim shorts and reached over to untie my bikini top. I let the straps fall to the sand and without moving to stop him. He untied the string that was holding my bikini top somewhat in place. My eyes locked on his, and any sense of uneasiness was gone. He then rather sweetly and hopefully asked, “Will you slide off your bottoms too?” Without saying anything, I did and smiled.
A wave of excitement immediately washed over me and with the rush, my senses became acutely aware of everything. I had never felt the sun’s warmth so completely or the ocean’s breeze so freely. A new sense of liberation consumed me. For several minutes, I just stared at the ocean in complete awe and shock.
No one was yelling at me to dress myself. No one was staring at me. No one seemed to notice or even care. As I looked around, it dawned on me we were not the only ones lying naked on the beach. How had I not noticed? Carlos interrupted my self-examination and asked if I would join him for a swim. Apprehension started to creep in. ‘Wait, I have to get up? Surely people will stare.’ Carlos noted my hesitation and without words, offered me the reassurance and courage I needed. ‘So what if they stare?’
He stood up first and offered his hand, helping me off of my cloth sanctuary. For some reason, leaving my towel behind affirmed my display of public nudity. But with Carlos by my side, I had strength and courage I never had before. In no hurry, we walked down the beach holding hands and entered the warm ocean water for our first nude swim together. The water seemed to feel more slippery than I’d ever felt before and my body offered no resistance as I gracefully glided through the water. One single moment lasting no more than a few minutes had just completely opened my eyes to a new state of mindfulness.
The rest of the evening, I unleashed a fury of questions that had been brewing all day at the beach and Carlos shared his story and confirmed a few of my suspicions. This was not his first experience with nudism, but it was his first experience sharing it with someone he loved. Though it was not an overtly sexual experience for either of us, we shared a heightened degree of intimacy that brought our relationship to another level. I excitedly and curiously listened to Carlos share his prior experiences.
He first arrived to Saint Martin aboard a popular cruise ship. Walking along the shores of Orient Beach, he was one of the few American tourists who removed his shorts while walking the nude side of the beach. When I asked him why, his reply was simple, “It just seemed like fun!”
Enjoying the experience so much, he decided to visit a local nudist club. Coincidently, he ran into a coworker there. I can imagine the odds of this happening are extremely low. Within the nudist community, there is a healthy level of respect for privacy, and their meeting followed suit. Neither ever mentioned the incident at work and they remain friends today.
Not wanting to give up nudism, Carlos eventually returned to Saint Martin for a second time with his then-girlfriend. Together they explored more of the island, but for the entirety of the trip, she remained clothed. Curiously, I asked if it would bother him if I decided that nudism might not be for me. Carlos confidently insisted he would accept my decision, but my preferences would not change his own. I greatly appreciated the lack of pressure I felt in that moment. Carlos would love me no matter my decision and would continue to respect me. Ultimately, like my husband, unwinding anywhere au natural is just too much fun not to partake.
Since my first experience with nudism, my body has seen several changes. Carlos and I returned to the Caribbean for our honeymoon, both of us carrying a few extra pounds that came with the stress of planning a wedding and enjoying life a little too much.
The third time we left our swimsuits behind, I was 25-weeks pregnant and displaying a very recognizable baby bump. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the freedom of leaving behind my clothes. I have yet to find clothes that are truly comfortable for any expecting mother.
Shortly after delivering, we decided to visit a local nudist club, one that was new to both of us. I was three months postpartum, still carrying around extra weight from pregnancy, leaking breast milk and nursing my infant. Though I had reservations, I refused to let anything stand in my way of enjoying my life. As a new mom, I was unprepared for the amount of attention we would receive with such a young baby, but it allowed us to become more sociable and leave behind the isolation we previously maintained by nature of our Type B personalities.
After our visit, Carlos and I both shared a longing to return to Saint Martin. After the trip was already booked, we learned we were expecting. Again, I shed my swimsuit underneath the sun with a baby bump on display. To my surprise, I found my pregnancy, though fairly small at the time, to be quite a conversation starter. Strangers would congratulate us and ask the typical follow up questions.
In fact, it was this very topic that broke the ice and gave reason for small chit chat with someone who has since become very close friends of ours. As fate would have it, the man standing directly behind us in line during an Orient Beach Bar happy hour lives less than 10 minutes from our home. After quickly discovering the proximity of our homes, TC excitedly introduced us to his wife Mindy and we all immediately hit it off.
Upon our return, we stayed in contact. After finding time for a brief escape from busy schedules, we reconnected with TC and Mindy during the winter months over dinner. With like minded personalities and shared interests, it was easy to plan a couple visits to our local nudist clubs with them as soon as the summer weather allowed. Our friendship continues to flourish and has allowed us to try something new to all of us – share a private villa with another nudist couple.
Too often, as women we criticize ourselves and each other. Our insecurities become motivating factors preventing us from doing things we once loved or may grow to love. In my neighborhood alone, even the most petite mother wears a very modest one-piece swimsuit at our neighborhood pool. Instead of celebrating our imperfect bodies, we regularly try to hide the things we detest – scars, stretch marks, cellulite, imperfect breasts, unwanted pounds, and the list goes on. Any idea of perfection is relentlessly brandished everywhere we turn – television, literature, advertisements, movies, pornography, etc. That quantifiable idea of perfection just doesn’t exist in the natural world.
I do not carry a perfect body. Simply put, I am quite average. My body still carries the extra weight brought on during pregnancy, my breasts aren’t as perky as they once were, cellulite has claimed many parts of my body, and my stomach has lost the tightness it once had before children. Physically, my body has transformed into something new with almost every nudist experience I have had, but each instance has given me the opportunity to confront a new set of insecurities and practice self-acceptance, an important concept I hope to pass to my own children.
Carlos has been incredibly patient and completely supportive throughout these life changes, putting up with my crying episodes (mostly hormonal) and not once shaming me if I felt the need to cover-up for whatever reason. Despite it all, one of the reasons I am still able to confidently strip down my clothes and walk down the beach for all to see is my ability to not just accept my body as it is, but celebrate it. I am a mother of three beautiful children, and I am proud that my body shows signs of motherhood. It’s the role I am proudest to fill. And though there are times I wish I had my pre-pregnancy body back, I am grateful that my experiences have made me stronger and more confident than I ever was when I was a size 2. I am happier now in my average body than I was then. I am more confident naked now than I was then. And with that confidence and those new life experiences, I have met some interesting people along the way and made a couple amazing friends.
All of our bodies tell stories. Each story is truly unique and deserves to be cherished by ourselves and respected by others. Don’t be afraid to share yours. The truly beautiful thing about nudism is the welcoming attitude and feelings of overwhelming acceptance. In my experiences, I have found the people who judge the most are often the ones wearing the most clothes. Perhaps they are afraid their insecurities will be noticed if they don’t first point out the flaws in others. Regardless of what others think, your opinion of yourself is the only one that truly matters and the only one you have the power to control.
If you’re thinking of trying nudism for the first time, go for it! If you’re single, what have you got to lose? If you’re married and hoping to convince your partner, sit down together and have an open and honest conversation. Leave judgments behind and listen to each other’s doubts, fears and insecurities with sincerity and respect. Accept that he or she might be hesitant or resistant. Explore each other’s fears and work to overcome them together. And absolutely do not forget to affirm your love for one another.
When I think of that summer with my husband, I’m reminded of a quote I once read:
“I want to live everything with the most density possible…I am so conscious that life might escape me at any moment, that everything has become keener and more distilled…I tell myself: All this happiness still, but for how long? So I devour life.” (What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind)
Yes this post is my opinion as to why every beach should have a clothing optional section but my reasons for this are probably not what you would think. Follow me and see if you agree. /Cover photo from PeterGreenberg.com
Nothing about the Kardashian family and their “reality” is real. Yet they are undeniably the hottest thing in Hollywood and are role models (dear God did I just write that?) to countless fans including many young women. Their fashion, their product endorsements and their bodies sell.
While I disagree with a lot about what the Kardashian sisters represent, it’s their bodies that I have the most trouble with and why I wrote this post. I know you’re asking, “What do the Kardashians have to do with promoting access to clothing optional/nude beaches across the U.S.?”
Simply put, the Kardashian girls’ bodies are fake. They are fiction, while the bodies on a clothing optional beach are real. In this time when women and men struggle with body image and being positive about themselves, why would we ever promote the Kardashians or any other Hollywood stars or models as having normal bodies.
Google Kardashian and plastic surgery and you’ll see their bodies are more fiction than fact. The “look” they are creating is focused on body perfection and sex. Ironically two things you should never see on a nude or clothing optional beach. Yet, as a society we promote them as symbols of what is beautiful or sexy in the world today even though their bodies literally come with a price and set a standard that most women will never achieve nor should they try.
So why should every beach have a clothing optional section? Because on nude/clothing optional beaches you see real bodies. You see people with all types of body types and ages who are perfect in their own special way. Yes, some people have had “work done.” If you thought it was easy to identify fake breasts while clothed, trust me it is even easier on a topless beach. I’m trying not to judge, but my point is that when you spend time on a nude/clothing optional beach you become part of a shared community. By bearing all to everyone, you see quickly that no one is perfect by Kardashian standards, but perfect they are perfect in their own special way.
Yes you will see lots of different looking people. I always tell people to understand what a nude beach is like, go to a mall or other crowded place and watch the next 100 people who pass you by. Now imagine them naked. That’s it. Some people you would find attractive, others not so much, but that’s not the point. They aren’t there for your viewing pleasure. Just like a community, most people are wonderfully average. And when you do see them naked, you’re all equal. That said, you don’t go to a clothing optional beach to see or be seen. You go because of how it makes you feel when you’re there. Writer Emma Sloley captures the sights of a Croatian nudist resort beautifully in her article, Nudist Always Play Volleyball. Give it a read and you’ll see what I mean.
Perhaps the most important reason why every beach should have a clothing 0ptional section is so that young adults and children can see their bodies are beautiful just the way they are. They don’t need to be ashamed of how skinny or large they are. They don’t need to worry about their breasts or hips being too big or too small. They don’t need to measure their tummies or thighs. Young men don’t need to be concerned about being too skinny or too weak. They need to see all bodies as beautiful and not imperfect. We need to de-sexualize a woman’s breast and hips and a man’s penis and see them for what they are… skin, bone and muscle. We need to provide women with equal rights to decide when and where they want to shed their clothing and at the very least enjoy the same rights men do.
We all need to see the badges we wear on our bodies that come with age. These are badges of honor. I am always amazed by what I see when I’m on a nude beach. I see the scars from life saving surgeries. I see healed wounds from accidents. I see pregnant women glowing from future motherhood in the sun. I see women who have had mastectomies. I see men with large bellies. I see c-section scars and stretch marks. I see amputations. I see the effects of living a long, wonderful life such as wrinkles and sagging butts, boobs and balls, not to mention muscles and skin. I see birthmarks. I see burns. While it might not all be pretty like the Kardashians, it’s real and this is what we all should appreciate and accept.
Equally important is that clothing optional beaches need to be everywhere so that they are easy to find, easy to access and easy to enjoy. Today in the U.S., clothing optional beaches, nudist clubs and nude vacations spots carry an unfair stigma. They are not dens of odd people doing immoral things that children should be kept from. Instead, they are filled with people spending time with their loved ones and friends while enjoying the freedom to be nude and to celebrate the sun without being judged or threatened.
Perhaps most important to why all beaches should have a clothing optional section is access to information. The internet today provides pictures (clothed or naked) of the Kardashians at the click of a button. Anyone can see these images, yet we can’t all go to a clothing optional beach or place and see what real people looks like.
So why am I writing this post today? First off because of women like Chelsea Covington (@gingerbread) and her efforts to bring topless freedom to all women through her actions #freethenipple and her blog: Breasts are healthy. She has been arrested for her belief but continues to change opinions and promote discussion about topless freedom for all women.
Second, because of nudist advocates like Felicity Jones and her efforts to educate not only for topfreedom but positive body image and body acceptance for all. She speaks to young adults and demonstrates all of the positives of today’s nudist/naturism messages. Her blog is youngnaturistamerica.
Third, because of a DM I received from a twitter follower with nice comments about our blog while pointing out how extremely negative body image has become. He mentioned a friend who said she’d love to try nude recreation but was concerned about the look of her labia. Really? What society has done to women and their bodies is unacceptable. Furthermore, it sickens me that their our doctors who will profit from this surgery.
Finally, I’m selfish. I live in the Midwest US by the Great Lakes (Lake Erie) and there are no public, legal, approved clothing optional beaches on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes anywhere. We are an hour from Cleveland and there is no where we can go nude in public on Lake Erie without the risk of breaking the law. My wife and I instead go to Haulover Beach in Miami or Black’s Beach in San Diego. We love it, but wow, what a long way to go to enjoy the sunshine.
Alright, I’m off my soapbox. But before I leave you, I read a beautiful quote from the blog Meandering Naturist about naturism in France. Read and see if you agree.
“France will always be the place where naturism genuinely made sense to me – in a way that I had dreamt it should be – and for that, I am forever grateful to the people who are able to say “a breast is a breast, a penis is a penis, and it appears everyone sports a remarkably similar pair of buttocks!” Viva la France.
Image is from article on ET Online: http://www.etonline.com/fashion/153293_victoria_secret_slammed_for_perfect_body_campaign_topshop_accused_of_body_shaming/
The only place I know of to escape body shaming is a nude beach, resort or campground. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? The only place to escape the unrealistic and material ideas of the perfect body is a place where your total body is on display. Let me explain.
From there we have been to many nude beaches, resorts and B&B’s. We’ve learned that when we’re nude, we’re relaxed and comfortable. For me, I can’t think of a better place than when I’m drenched in sunshine and warm all over and my wife is next to me. It is an incredible feeling to go skinny dipping in the ocean or walking on the beach in the buff with the sunshine warming us all over. We’ve met many friendly couples. All naked and all as comfortable with themselves as we are.
We’re into the final countdown before we head into a much needed tropical vacation. Almost on cue, the weather has turned wintry in the Midwest U.S. The temperatures are the only thing falling as fast as the snow. It’s time to travel to a tropical resort and get naked. I can’t wait to get to Jamaica and to get warm all over.
My wife just returned from the store. She was looking for a sundress she could wear from our room at the resort to the nude beach and pool. I’m told it is a quick walk. I was surprised she needed a new sundress and asked why she didn’t just go naked underneath or just wear her thong bikini under her dress. That’s not what she was worried about.
While I am convinced my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world, clothed or naked, her biggest frustration with her body is her breasts. My wife is slender and lean. She wears a size 34 A cup bra. Her breasts, are not large and full and are dominated by her nipples. I say she looks great. She says she has the chest of a boy. While she likes being topless or naked on a nude beach or resort, she wants the extra padding that today’s bras provide while wearing her clothes. She doesn’t want other women or men to judge her.
Many women have the same hang ups with their bodies as my wife. Too short. Too fat. Too tall. Too skinny. Breasts not big enough. Hips too big. Breasts too big. Butt not big enough. The quest for the perfect body is punctuated by the media and Hollywood celebrities every day who have had so much work, their bodies are more fiction than fact.
It’s odd to me that my wife can be totally naked and be at peace with her body but when she wears clothes, it’s all about hiding her perceived blemishes. I know why though. Since we started going to nude resorts and beaches, we’ve learned that when you’re nude, you’re totally open. And most of the other couples we’ve met while on the beach or at the resort are equally comfortable with themselves. (It’s funny. The only time I’m uncomfortable is when someone is wearing clothing and I’m naked.) That’s one of the reasons I like going to nude places. Real, honest people who care less about what you look like and are more interested in who you are and where you’re from.
Very few people know we go on nude vacations. The few that do all ask the same questions, “Isn’t everyone fat?” or “See any 1o’s there?” In all honestly, what we see is real people who enjoy being naked and enjoy their bodies just the way they are. In many cases, they are just like us. Wonderfully average. They’re from all walks of life. Some are older. Some are younger. Some are gay. Some are grandparents. Some are tattooed and pierced in places I didn’t know could have body art or jewelry. Others clearly have never been in a nude social environment and I’m sure by looking at their tan lines, they’ve never been naked outside before. I’ve also seen many courageous, nude people. Here’s what I mean:
The cute, older couple we met at Hidden Beach Resort who played in the pool like teenagers. She had had a double mastectomy.
A heavier couple who saw us skinny dipping on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. They didn’t stare. They smiled. When we saw them later on they were walking hand-in-hand and totally naked in the waves.
The very pregnant woman and her husband at Haulover Beach in Miami who looked like she was ready to go into labor atany minute. She was probably larger than she would ever be in her life but she was smiling, warm and comfortable. She was awesomely beautiful.
And the young college couple that wandered on Orient Beach in St. Maartin from a cruise ship. They looked out of place at first. He was naked and trying to make sure she was comfortable. She was very nervous and appeared to be comparing her body to every woman on the beach. I could hear him trying to encouraging her by telling her she was as beautiful as any woman with or without her bathing suit. Throughout the day she slowly took off her bikini top and later her bottoms. By the end of the day, they were splashing in the waves and holding hands walking down the beach.
The next time you think of an open and safe place to be yourself with your spouse, consider a nude place. You’ll find that it isn’t about seeing other naked people or comparing your body to their’s. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin and accepting of others. It’s getting to know your own body and realizing just how beautiful it is. It’s practicing body acceptance for yourself and the people around you. Most importantly, it’s a judge free zone. And, spending time with your spouse naked is a great way to reconnect and relax. It really is a beautiful thing.