Is a Naked Body or a Partially Clothed Body More Sexual?

SI Cover Model Hannah Davis causing controversy
SI Cover Model Hannah Davis causing controversy

Meet Model Hannah Davis on the cover of the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition. What do you think? Many are calling this cover photo “pornographic” and “too sexual.” This leads to an interesting question about which is more explicit: a man or woman wearing nothing at all or wearing very little?

After coming back from a week at Orient Beach in St. Maarten, I can honestly say I’ve been around hundreds of naked and partially clothed men and women. I’ll admit when my wife and I first started going to clothing optional beaches and resorts, I would have said that a naked body was more explicit than one covered by swim trunks or bikini. While it wasn’t a physical turn on to see my wife naked, it certainly was mentally. She looked then and still does today stunning with nothing on.

To me this is actually one of the many misconceptions about nude beaches and nudist resorts. Is the human body beautiful? Yes, it can be. Have I seen attractive women and men on a nude beach? Of course, but to be honest, the only times I’ve ever caught myself staring at someone is when they were wearing very little. As I saw at Orient Beach, the only time a couple attracted any attention from others was when they were clothed and often the barely there thongs and bikinis were far more explicit than a naked body.

I do understand that many women are more comfortable wearing a thong or small bikini. My wife included. When she was walking to the beach bar or bathroom, she wore a thong bikini that I bought for her specifically for this trip. Did she attract attention? I loved it but I have no idea if anyone else “noticed” her more in her thong than when she was naked.

This is a topic that is often discussed. So what do you think? This is just my opinion.  Here are several comments/suggestions that have been sent to me. Great thoughts and observations:

From A Naturist’s Lens @ http://skycladtherapy.wordpress.com
I agree with you that nearly nude is far more sexual than nude, especially in the context that one is aware of cloth touching intimately, highlighting that intimacy. Nudity is less so for both the person who would wear next to nothing and the person who sees next to nothing framing the zones of sexuality. Thanks for bringing up the topic. 🙂

From jochanaan1 @ http://jochanaan.wordpress.com
Context and body language are everything. You don’t expect sex in a nudist gathering or even on a nude beach; but you expect at least sensuality in a “strip club” or certain other events. And when we see nudity or near-nudity where we don’t expect it, as on the street, in a workplace, or on church, we don’t know what to expect, so our cultural conditioning starts up and we think sexual thoughts–at least for a moment. But, as many of us have found, what was conditioned in can be conditioned out. 🙂

From naturalian @ http://naturalian.wordpress.com

To me, having on very small garments like thongs or micro bikinis is far more suggestive than being completely naked – it concentrates the eye on the parts that are (just) concealed! That’s why I hate clothed beaches, all those scaps of different cloured cloth detract from the naturalness of the beach!

From Bruce @ http://www.sffb.com
As TA Wyner once said, “When bathing suits get tinier, the eye naturally goes straight to what is still covered. When people are naked, nakedness becomes natural, and eyes go straight to eyes.” The SI cover photo is clearly NOT pornographic. There is nothing sexual happening. The vagina and clitoris are still covered. It’s nothing but a big tease for guys to entice them to buy the mag. Sexy? Yes. Porn? Hell no.

Great points. What do you think?

Topless in Tahiti… Yes, but don’t even think of sunbathing nude.

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This time last year, my wife and I went to one of our favorite nude resorts, Hidden Beach Resort  in Mexico. It’s an amazing place. Truly a five-star experience and one  we look forward to going back to again and again. I’ll share more about why HBR is one of our favorites in a later blog post.

While I’m sure we would have loved going to HBR on our honeymoon nearly 20 years ago, there is no way my wife or I would have been ready for an upscale, nude not clothing optional, resort experience. When we were there last we met a couple in their late 20s. The staff told them they were the youngest couple to ever stay there. While it could be the cost (HBR isn’t cheap), generally most of the couples we’ve met there are 45+ years. Personally, I don’t believe we would have been mature enough to enjoy it.

For us, our first nude or semi-nude vacation was our honeymoon to Tahiti. It was an amazing trip and kicked off our marriage. It was where my wife became truly comfortable with laying out, walking, swimming, canoeing, eating and talking to others without her bikini top on. It was a liberating experience for her and honestly taught me a lot about the unwritten language that can occur when a large group of women want to, but are uncomfortable to try something new like sunbathing topless.

First off, we decided to honeymoon in Tahiti because it was a place we wouldn’t be back to any time soon and because it was a tropical setting. We wanted to lay out, swim with the fish, enjoy romantic dinners and each other.  We did not choose to go there because the beaches are topless.

So where is Tahiti? It’s a long flight to literally the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Tahiti is actually the largest island and part of French Polynesia, which has more than 300 islands. If you want a truly tropical island experience with great food and incredible beaches and sea life, this is the place. It’s also un-Godly expensive but we’d love to go back if we could.

We spent ten days in French Polynesia (stay a minimum of two weeks) and went to three different islands. Our favorite was Bora Bora. We swam with sharks, ate great food, paddled around the lagoons, snorkeled with hundreds if not thousands of fish and relaxed on the beach every day. As you can imagine, it was very romantic.

When we arrived at our first hotel, we were exhausted, jet lagged and ready to collapse. We were enjoying a quick lunch when we saw another American couple who had arrived with us. They had reserved an over-water bungalow with steps to the water. They were getting into a canoe to explore the lagoon. As we watched them circle a dock and began to discuss how much we wanted to do the same, the woman stopped paddling, reached behind her back and untied her bikini and pulled it off. From that moment on, we knew this was going to be a very different trip for us.

French Polynesia was a perfect introduction for my wife to feel confident and enjoy being topless around other people. We had gone to Black’s Beach in San Diego earlier in the year but we had found a secluded space, away from everyone else. Here we were surrounded by other couples.

After finishing lunch we went to our bungalow and put on our swimsuits. I teased my wife about leaving her bikini top in the room. She told me I’d have to wait and see. We weren’t on the beach more than 10 minutes before she took over her top. I could tell she was uncomfortable and initially covered up whenever a waiter came by to ask us if we wanted a drink. But that didn’t last long. By the end of the day she was walking, swimming and even canoeing topfree.

My wife has wonderful olive colored skin that gets very dark as she tans. I honestly wasn’t sure which I liked best, her dark-tanned breasts or her glowing white tan lines from her bikini bottoms. After a week of laying out and sunbathing topless I thought she would be totally comfortable being topless anywhere. I was wrong.

Our final island was Moorea. It’s very close to the island of Tahiti where the international airport is and most tourists either begin or end their trip here. When we arrived at the Sofitel resort in the early afternoon, we quickly changed and went out onto the beach and discovered we were surrounded by young, honeymooning American couples. All were proudly wearing new wedding bands and each young lady wore a small bikini in a variety of colors. While there were topless French women here and there and lovely French Polynesian women barely  even wearing a small thong, all of the American women were covered up… including my wife. Having grown used to her being topless all day, I was disappointed when she didn’t take her top off. She explained to me  she was completely uncomfortable showing her breasts in front of all of these other women. I was surprised but I understood. She wore her bikini top all day. The first time in nearly two weeks.

The next morning we arrived at the beach early. Our vacation was nearly over and we wanted to catch every ray of sun before heading back to Ohio. I asked her if she would go topless while the beach was still open and vacant. She took off her bikini top and settled into a good book, which quickly put her to sleep. I was surprised by what happened next.

The chairs around us slowly filled with the same couples we had seen the day before but one by one, each young lady looked at my wife and then shed her bikini top. Based on the nervous excitement between each woman and her husband and their glowing white breasts, I’m guessing this was a first for most of them. By the time my wife woke, she was surprised to see everyone around her was topless too.

During our many trips to nude beaches and clothing optional resorts, I’ve noticed it sometimes takes one woman to remove her top or swimming suit before all of the others follow. This makes perfect sense to me. Who wants to be the first? It’s a risk and if you’re 20 something years old and still learning to accept your body, you don’t want to be first and attract attention.

So with all of those beautiful beaches and women wearing some of the smallest thongs I have ever seen, you would think there would be a few nude beaches. Think again. Full body nudity is actually frowned upon in French Polynesia. Some hotels do allow nude sunbathing on private islands but we discovered not every island is private.

On our third day in French Polynesia, I spoke with one of the resort staff to see where we could sunbath naked. He was funny because he couldn’t understand why we would want to sunbath without our bathing suits especially with my wife already topless. He suggested we canoe to one of the many small islands in the lagoon. We took off on a 10 minute paddle to the closest island. When we pulled our dug out canoe ashore, it looked like paradise. Soft white sand with gentle rolling waves hitting the shore. Lush ferns, moss and coconut trees densely filled the island. This was the nude beach I had always dreamed of enjoying with my young bride. And it was all ours. Or so we thought.

After we took off our bathing suits and pulled out our towels, our lush private island was invaded. French Polynesian men came from the island jungle and around the beach on what we thought was a remote, uninhabited island to tell us in broken French and English to put our bathing suits back on now. Literally surrounded by men yelling at us to cover up, we quickly and embarrassingly pulled our suits on. We laughed about it later in the evening but the last thing we ever wanted to do was offend someone with our nude bodies. Especially when we are tourists in their home.

I’ve read several travel websites since then and all have said that there are a few nude resorts in French Polynesia but you have to search for them. The Polynesian people do not approve of full nudity. It was though a wonderful experience for my wife and me. My wife is very slender and does not have large breasts. While I believe she is stunning, especially when she is naked, she is often embarrassed by her small breasts. Seeing her enjoy herself and be so confident without her top on was wonderful for her and for me. It was also a stepping stone for our next nude travel experience.

UPDATE:

We received several emails asking which hotel we stayed at on Bora Bora. We stayed at the Hotel Sofitel Bora Bora. This hotel was a truly wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone, however, it appears the private island in 1997, is now it’s own upscale lodging experience. I could not find anything about nude sunbathing on the island (which you do do in 1997) so I fear you can’t do that on the island anymore.  Does anyone have any updates on nude sunbathing or skinny dipping on one of the islands in French Polynesia?