Our Bodies Tell Stories – How One Woman Embraced Her Life’s Journey through Nudism

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.”

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Many people experience nudism by themselves first before experiencing it with friends or a spouse.

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.

 

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Petit Cayes beach on Saint Martin. A perfect beach to experience social nudity for the first time.

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.

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The World Famous Orient Beach by Club Orient, Saint Martin

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.

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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.

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Some of our best experiences on vacation have been together on a nude beach.

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)

 Truly empowering words of wisdom to live by.

 

Every Beach Needs to Be Clothing Optional and Here’s Why…

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

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There is nothing real about the Kardashians yet they are role models to many young women and men.

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.?”

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2007 photo of the girls. Source Instagram and People magazine.

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.

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Haulover Beach in Miami on a busy day. There are few places better to enjoy nude recreation than Haulover.

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.

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A couple enjoys nude sunbathing at Haulover Beach State Park, Bal Harbour Florida. photos by Max Hartshorne. From the website: http://www.gonomad.com/1235-haulover-beach-florida-the-ultimate-nude-beach

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.

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Yes every beach should be clothing optional but I agree every beach also needs signs so that those who don’t want to see, can turnaround. Photo Source: Miami Herald

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.

That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

 

 

 

 

Naked Time is Summer Time: Five Answers to Your Concerns about Getting Naked

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What’s the most comfortable bathing suit on the beach? No bathing suit!

I’ve always loved summer time, but the older I get the more summer means getting naked and spending time with my wife outdoors. Honestly there is nothing better than feeling the sunshine on your skin and a warm breeze cooling your body. After 45 years, I can honestly say being naked outside on a warm or hot day is the best. Sound like something you and your spouse or special friend might want to try? There is no better time to be naked than summer time.

Our blog is about encouraging couples to try social nudity. For my wife and me, we’ve found it to be a wonderful bonding point. We are not nudist. We live very normal lives in the suburbs. Most days were are getting our children off to school and working long hours at our jobs. We don’t stand around naked in the kitchen or garden in the backyard nude. We’re just like you. Except that we have discovered how wonderful it is to spend time together naked outside. I’m not talking about sexual intimacy. We are not touching each other. That’s not appropriate outside of the privacy of your bedroom. We are just spending time and hanging out with other naked couples who like to do the same thing.

This summer, we invite you to discover the joys of spending time with your spouse or special friend naked because there is no better time to be naked outdoors than when the days are sunny and warm.

So what’s stopping you? Here are five answers to most couples biggest concerns about trying social nudity:

Will we stand Out? Every couple who hasn’t experienced social nudity believes when they are naked everyone will stare at them. The only time you are noticeable at a nude club, resort or beach is when you’re clothed. Once the clothes come off, you look like everyone else… naked.

What if we see someone we know? This was my wife’s biggest concern and one reason we didn’t got to a local nudist club until we were in our mid-30s. Privacy is a big part of nude establishments. It is expected that you will never ask anyone their last name or where they are from. You share only as much information as you would like. While we’ve never run into any friends or even acquaintances while naked, we’ve met several other couples at nudist clubs, beaches and resorts that we’ve become good friends with since meeting. The most important thing to remember if you see someone you know is that they enjoy being naked too. That’s all.

What if we don’t want to be naked around other people? As couples are getting used to social nudity, often they don’t want to be social. That’s okay. This is your time together naked so spend it as you would like to. We’ve seen two types of couples; The ones who want to be social and are playing volleyball in the pool or talking at the bar. They have lot of friends and like to talk. The other group find their own space and relax. Maybe their next to everyone at the pool but just reading books and talking to themselves. Or maybe they’ve found their own space on the beach.

Will someone hit on me or make a romantic or sexual advance? This is a real concern and for us, and it’s never happened. If anyone is making you uncomfortable, tell someone at the club, resort or beach. Nudist clubs, resorts and most beaches have zero tolerance for unwanted sexual advances. When you’re naked, you’re exposed and vulnerable. Nude clubs and resorts do a lot to make sure the environment is safe. Cameras are not allowed. At a nudist club, you will have to give them your driver’s license for a background check. Some nude resorts ask guests sign a code of conduct. I know that it happens but simply telling someone that you’re not interested should be enough.

What if my body doesn’t look good enough to be naked around other people? It’s sad, but this is probably the biggest reason couples don’t try social nudity. In the years since we started this blog, we have received a lot of questions about the “right body” for a nude beach or club. The right body is your body. Your first time nude will be an interesting experience. Yes, there will probably be some good looking people there, but honestly, most people are wonderfully average. No one stands out. Do not be concerned with scars or surgery marks. Do not be concerned about stretch marks or bellies. Do not be concerned about your breasts being too big or too small or one being bigger than the other. Do not be concerned if your penis is too small or too large. Do not be concerned with private tattoos or piercings. Do not be concerned about birthmarks. Do not be concerned if you are completely shaved and without pubic hair or natural or somewhere in between. When you’re naked, you’ll be around some of the most unjudging people ever. Perhaps one of our biggest discoveries was that when you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be ashamed of or anxious either.

So what other questions do you have? Should you go to a club or a beach? What can we do while we’re there? (check out our blog on what we like to do) What about kids? If you’re going to a club, call ahead. Let them know it’s your first time and ask them what you should expect and what they expect from you. If you’re going to a public beach like Haulover in Miami, Wreck in Vancouver or Black’s in San Diego, read up online to hear where to go and what to bring.

Most of all, enjoy the time together with your spouse. We find our time naked together to be relaxing and recharging. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Trading in Your Bathing Suit for your Birthday Suit: 10 Things to Do Naked with Your Spouse this Summer

 

Image from http://great-naked-outdoors.tumblr.com/
Image from http://great-naked-outdoors.tumblr.com/

Have you ever spent the day naked with your spouse? I’m not talking about laying in bed all day or taking a shower together naked. I’m talking about spending the day, as in outside, doing things together in the buff.

Sound crazy? It might if you’ve never been to a nude resort, campground or beach. I spent all day with my wife naked at a local nudist club this past weekend.  It was wonderful. We laid out in the sun, we went skinny dipping in the pool, we ate lunch together, we went on a hike and we talked with other couples enjoying the day the same way we were.

We laughed. We napped. We relaxed. And we did it all naked, outside on a sunny, warm day. In the nearly three years I’ve been writing this blog, by far and away the most asked question that brings visitors to our blog is some version of, “How do I convince my wife to go naked outside with me.” It might be a beach. It might be on vacation. It might be to a clothing optional club or resort. My suggestion: talk with her about what you would do naked together.

From our experience, being naked together in a safe environment like a nude resort, camp or beach is time well spent. By removing your bathing suit and trading it for your birthday suit, you’ll experience what I would call one of life’s biggest and often last emotional highs. Think about it? Your entire life you’ve been told to cover up and to hide your body and now you’re letting it out and showing it off. The irony is that you’ll find that you and your spouse will notice each other, but to everyone else, you’re just naked. Remember the only time you stand out at a nude or clothing optional location is when you’re wearing clothing. Not when you’re naked.

So what should you do when you and your spouse are naked for the first time together? Here is our official list of must do’s when you spend the day naked at a nude camp, resort or beach.

  1. Sunbath naked. This might seem like a no brainer, but until you’ve laid out on a pool chair or on a towel with your spouse and felt the sun’s rays warming your body, you really haven’t lived. To my wife and me, feeling warm all over is an amazing feeling and even better when we’re sitting next to one another.
  2. Go skinny dipping. There is something wonderful about swimming naked. Feeling the water embracing your body is magical.To me, skinny dipping really is the fountain of youth. I feel like I’m a teenager again. In a pool, lake or ocean, it all feels great. And there is something fantastic about jumping into the waves or into a pool with your spouse beside you.
  3. Picnic nude. Sitting out together at a picnic table or underneath a tree and enjoying a picnic lunch together remains a must do for us. I don’t know why, but this one of our favorite activities. Think about it. You’re enjoying food, talking and relaxing with your spouse and naked from head to foot. What could be better?
  4. Take a hike in the woods. I don’t know why but for me, I love walking and talking with my wife either on a road or  a trail in the forest and wearing only our shoes.  Many nudist locations are in the country and have trails to explore or roads to walk. Just remember a little bug spray will go along way.
  5. Have a beer. Liquid courage has convinced more than one worried wife to try taking it all off. For us, mimosas on the beach in the morning at a nude resort or an ice cold beer in the afternoon next to the pool is a must when we’re together naked on a hot, sunny day.
  6. Row, row, row your boat. While we’ve always wanted to try a nude cruise or nude sailing, one of our first nude experiences was in a canoe in Tahiti on our honeymoon. It was simple. While canoeing through a beautiful tropical lagoon, my wife removed her bikini top. I took off my bathing suit. She untied her bikini bottoms. That was it. We explored the lagoon together and didn’t put our suits back on all day.
  7. Take a walk on the beach. It doesn’t matter if it’s a crowded beach or if there is hardly anyone there. Walking the beach together in the buff is a must whenever we’re on vacation. There is just something about holding hands and walking together in the surf that makes a vacation.
  8. Shower outdoors. I would never have thought that showering together in an outdoor shower would make our list, but we both agreed, there is something familiar yet surprisingly different about showering outside. Think about it, most showers are small and confining. An outdoor shower is wide open. It’s not sexual. It’s cleansing and freeing.
  9. Take a naked nap. There is something so special to me to be so exposed yet feel so relaxed and safe that I fall asleep. A naked nap during the afternoon is a must and even better when you fall asleep next to or with your spouse.
  10. Strike up a naked conversation. You never know who you might meet on a nude beach, resort or camp. We’ve meet so many wonderful people. It’s funny how open and honest you are and the people you meet when you’re totally exposed and not hiding behind clothing. The best questions to ask? “Is this your first time here?” and “Where else have you and your spouse been naked?” You’ll find out a lot about great nude places to visit and other couples stories about their journeys into social nudity.

So what would you add to our list? What have you and your spouse done that you would recommend other couples try naked for the first time? Or if you and your spouse haven’t experienced a nude or clothing optional location together before, what do you want to do? I’d really like to hear your ideas. I’d also like to hear from women. Privacy will be maintained.  No names given. Just your ideas. 🙂

Notice I didn’t say anything about sex, touching or intimacy. Most people who have never been to a nudist location or a clothing optional setting, assume that nudity must lead to sex and/or physical intimacy. There is a place and a time for physical intimacy and a nudist location where there are other people, families and children present is not the place or the time. This will sound weird but it’s honestly one of the most non-sexual settings you’ll ever encounter. However, after spending time together naked all day, I will tell you that later that night in the privacy of our own home, we usually enjoy a wonderful and very physical time together. I believe, it is deeply intimate because of the time we spend together during the day.

It’s Summer. It’s Time to Get Naked! Ten answers to your naked questions.

Photo from http://hcb4.tumblr.com/
Photo from http://hcb4.tumblr.com/

It’s summer! The sun is shining and the temperatures are finally heating up. For most of us, our thoughts turn to weekend cookouts, baseball games, swimming pools and fire pits.

It’s also a great time to go outside and get naked. Most nudist camps, clubs and resorts allow guests to try their facilities from Memorial Day to Labor Day. While it may sound a little intimidating at first, a nudist camp is a great way to learn more about nude recreation and can be a great experience for you and your spouse.

My wife and I are not nudist. We don’t sit around the house naked or garden in the buff. It doesn’t fit with our lifestyle, however when we can get some time away from our family, jobs, and other commitments, we’ve found a day (or afternoon) sitting in the sun wearing nothing at all can be a wonderfully relaxing time. We’d love to go more often, but I still wouldn’t call us nudist. We’re just comfortable being naked and don’t mind other people around us doing the same.

For more than 20 years, we’ve gone to nude beaches and on weekend getaways to nudist resorts and clubs. It took us time to get comfortable with the experience of being naked around other people. While there were guidebooks and some information online, there was no article telling us what to expect or how to calm our nerves.  That’s why I wrote this blog to answer the common questions when a couple are considering trying nude recreation. Here are our answers to the most common questions from couples nervous about trying a nudist camp or club this summer.

 1. Is a nudist camp a safe place? 

The best part about a nudist camp is that you can be naked without offending anyone or be worried about having your picture taken and shared all over the internet. It’s a safe place where couples, families and children spend time together enjoying being naked and as a result, great precautions are taken to make this a safe environment for everyone.

I know what you’re thinking: “We’re going to be totally naked. We’re nervous and terrified about what to expect.” Well, here is what you should expect. Call before you come so the camp will be expecting you. Tell them this is your first time and that you’re a little nervous. Trust me, they hear this all of the time. You’ll need to bring your drivers license because they will do a background check on both of you. No one gets into a nudist facility without being checked first. And no cell phones or cameras either. When you’re totally “exposed,” privacy and protection are very important. Next someone from the camp will give you a tour around the property and go through the rules. This is the intimidating part, expect everyone from the moment you come into the camp to be naked. Yes, you’re not in Kansas any more but that’s okay. Remember, that’s why you’re here. For us, the hardest part was seeing all of the naked people when we walked around the property. We were still clothed and it felt odd. We felt out of place. It passes quickly and oddly enough, you feel much more comfortable when you take your clothes off. Remember what you heard in speech class about imaging everyone in the crowd naked so that you calm down? Now you can be naked too, which brings us to the next tip.

2. What should I wear?

Okay this is probably the part you’ve been dreading the most in your mind. Our advice, smile and get it over with. Once you start breathing again and realize the sun hasn’t fallen out of the sky and that no one is shining spotlights on you, you’ll start to relax. It will take some time. Lay on your stomach if that’s more comfortable. Before you know it, you’ll be up and walking around. In an hour, you’ll wonder what you were so concerned about in the first place.

This is the hardest part for the first time couple, but here’s a thought for you. While you and your spouse have probably seen each other naked thousands of times, have you ever been naked outside in a camp setting or with people around? I’m guessing probably not and yes, if you want to add a nice new twist to your relationship, this is it. The mental picture from our very first visit to a nudist camp of watching my wife take off all but her sandals and walk from our car to the pool still is one of my best memories ever.

Our suggestion to make this as easy as possible is to wear as little as possible. Ladies don’t overdress. In fact, a sun dress with nothing on underneath works well. Guys, a loose pair of shorts (go commando) and a t-shirt are perfect. When you’re taking off layer after layer of clothing, the anxiety only increases and it takes so much longer. My wife will often wear a thong bikini underneath her skirt. Key piece of advice. Get it off quickly, find a spot by the pool and get comfortable.

3. What if someone comes over and talks to us while we’re naked?

Believe it or not, this was a big fear of ours too. Every social norm we’ve been raised with has just blown up so what am I supposed to do now especially when someone is talking to me? Look them in the eyes, put a smile on your face and start talking. The funny thing about social nudity is when you’re together with other naked people for the first time, you are very self-aware about talking to their face and not at their breasts or other parts. You’ll find, and I’m not making this up, but most times other guests/members realize you’re a first timer and leave you alone or they simply ask if you have any questions. We have never been “hit on” by another individual or couple while at a nudist camp. It’s ironic because while you’re initially terrified about showing your private parts because yours and everyone else’s is on display, it isn’t sexual. It’s very comfortable.

NOTE: While it hasn’t happened to us, Doug sent the following note. “I find that many nudist resorts, even AANR sanctioned clubs have been taken over by group swingers, so beware of “being tested for being swingers” or advanced on.” 

While this is disappointing, simply saying, “No thanks. We’re not interested,” will tell them to give you space. 

4. What if my body isn’t a 10?

Neither is mine. Just like in life, everyone looks different and if your reason for being naked is to show off or to find other 10s, you’re coming to the camp for entirely the wrong reasons.

You’ll see it all. Old and young. Short and tall. Fat and skinny. Large and small. Tan and pale. And yes, you’ll see that when we remove our clothes, we all look very differently. Different size breasts, penises, nipples, butts, etc. We really all do look different and because we all are different, you shouldn’t feel like you stand out. In fact, the only people who stand out at a nudist camp are the ones wearing clothing. No one judges.

5. So who goes to a nudist camp or who are the members?

From our experience, most nudist camp visitors are couples (some camps do not accept single men so call in advance), age 45-65 and every imaginable body shape and size. We also live in the Midwest and I’d expect more younger couples at camps on the coasts. Honestly, my one complaint is that I wish there were younger couples there. Sometimes I feel like we’re skinny dipping with our grandparents.

So who are they? They’re people just like you. From the people I’ve met, they are teachers, lawyers, business people, nurses, retirees, doctors, farmers, students, etc. There will be families there too. It’s an interesting mix of people.

6. Honestly, what if I look different down there?

I didn’t realize this was such an important question until I did some research and saw some of the more common questions were about tattoos, piercings, and shaving down there. While some clubs do prohibit jewelry down there, in most cases you’ll see it all and what you have or don’t have is fine.

The most common question is what if I have shaved it all off or what if I’m completely natural and don’t trim at all. What you’ll find is that most (not all) people (women and men) are completely shaved or very trim down there. You’ll also see a lot of pubic hair cuts such as a “soul patch” or a “landing strip.”

Tattoos are very common and in fact, it’s funny what we keep hidden from everyone except when we’re naked. You’ll see some people who appear very conservative but have a lot of hidden body art. Piercings are common with mainly nipples pierced. Occasionally you’ll see piercings on the scrotum or vulva. It’s all about personal choice.

And yes, there are many people there without tattoos, jewelry, piercings and some with pubic hair and some without. You won’t stand out at all. Don’t worry about it.

 7. My wife wants to go but what do we do if someone we know sees us?

This was probably our biggest concern and why we put it off for so long. My wife was very concerned that we would see someone we knew. Funny thing you forget is that they’re there too for the same reason you are: To be naked.  For the record, we’ve never seen anyone we knew at a nudist camp. We have however made friends at nudist camps and have seen them out at dinner or around town later. Privacy is the most important part. People simply go by their first name. They don’t share last names or where they work or where they live. Recently while on vacation in St. Maartin we met a couple on a nude beach who live less than five minutes from our home. That’s as close as we’ve come to someone knowing our little naked secret.

8. So is it really worth all of the anxiety and fear?

My only complaint with social nudity and going to a nudist camp is that we didn’t do it sooner. We’re in our 40s now and life is busier than ever. I wish we had discovered this when we had more time without the demands of kids, jobs and families.

Like anything you try for the first time, it is a little scary and intimidating but when you do this with your spouse, you’ll find that it’s a wonderful shared experience. I can’t explain it, but you will see them differently. And it’s a good thing too. It’s funny but you come here to see what it feels like to be outside and around others naked. What you find is that it becomes what the two of you do together while you’re naked, and I’m not talking about sexual intimacy either. You’ll find that you go skinny dipping, you lay out by the pool, you have lunch (we recommend bringing a picnic lunch and beverages), it’s playing volleyball or tennis, fishing, camping, it’s talking with new friends, it’s taking a long walk or sitting by a fire pit. It’s what you do together and you just happen to be naked and no one cares.

9. What if I get turned on?

I’m only including this because it is a common question too. If you’re a guy and get turned on, simply flip over on your towel or put your towel over your penis till you calm down. Honestly, it’s never happened to me because it really isn’t a sexual setting. That said, I do find it mentally very stimulating to see my wife naked outside. It’s a great mental picture just like seeing your wife or husband all dressed up in a picture. They look great. That said, there is a time for everything and sexual intimacy or touching is completely not appropriate for a nudist camp.  Don’t do it and if you see others doing it, report it to the camp management.

10. So what should we bring?

While you should wear as little as possible, do bring:

  • A towel (always sit on a towel throughout your stay);
  • Lots of sunblock or tanning lotion (you’ll be surprised how badly and how quickly you will burn when you expose parts of your body that have never seen the sun);
  • A picnic lunch or snacks (don’t forget your favorite beverage);
  • Your drivers’ license or state I.D. (remember, the background check before you enter);
  • A good book (your choice);
  • An open mind. You’re going to try something new. My guess is that you’ll really enjoy it and probably discuss coming back.

So are you ready to get naked? Check out the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) website to find a nudist club or resort near you.

Have any questions or thoughts to add? We’d love to hear them. Also, I’d love to spotlight more first time experiences in our blog. It’s funny how intimidating it is until you try it and then how easy and fun it quickly becomes. Remember the first time is the hardest but once you try it, you’ll see what you’ve been missing. If you have a first time experience you’d like to share, please email me. Complete privacy will be given.

Grin and Bare It: Your First Trip to a Nudist Club

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about what a nudist club is really like, especially for someone going there for the first time. It’s not a colony. Those are for ants and bees. It’s not the Friday night, swinging singles bar scene either. It’s not a “meet” market. It’s not where people go to show off their naked body in front of others or where people go to check out and stare at naked people.  Honestly, a nudist camp or club is a place where people go to be naked. They go there to enjoy everyday camp activities naked. It’s that simple.

As you know, this blog is about answering questions couples have about social nudity and about what to expect in a nude or clothing optional setting. Often that first happens on vacation at a beach or resort in the Caribbean or some other warm vacation spot.  A nudist club (although community is probably a better term) is a great place to try the nude experience too.

I believe one reason most people try nude recreation on vacation is because no one knows them. For that reason, I’m assuming most couples don’t try a nudist club first because they are worried they will see someone they know. Believe it or not, privacy is a big part of the experience. My wife and I have been to five nudist clubs throughout the Midwest in the past 20 years and we have never seen someone we knew. We’ll talk more about that later, but first let’s talk about what happens at a nudist club.

Think back to when you were younger and went away to summer camp. You went camping and had campfires. You went swimming and boating. You had picnics and bar-b-q’s. You played games like basketball, tennis and volleyball. You probably took walks in the woods or went fishing.

Now imagine everything I just said, except this time, you’re not wearing any clothing and neither is anyone else around you. That’s the nudist camp experience. Everyone is have fun outdoor and not wearing anything. No one is embarrassed. The people here are nudists and they are doing this because they want to live part of their lives without clothes on, without people gawking or staring; without people making unwanted sexual advances; and without being judged by other who are not accepting of this decision.

So why is a nudist club a good first experience for a couple considering recreational nudity? It’s about as safe an environment as you will ever be. It’s social but it’s private too. The first time my wife and I went to a nudist club, we were surprised about how relaxing it was. Yes, we were anxious because everyone was naked and that did take a little getting used to, but our nudity didn’t stand out. We looked like everyone else. Think about it. Warm all over. No worries about offending anyone. No need to explain yourself to someone who doesn’t approve, and no fear of anyone taking pictures or hitting on you or your spouse.

You’ve seen your spouse naked probably thousands of times.  Now how often have you both been completely naked outside without a fear of being seen? Have you ever been naked with them outside while hiking in the woods, swimming, playing a sport or eating dinner? It’s different and while yes, it sounds odd at first, it’s very natural and not a sexual experience.

Here are some tips that you must know to make sure it’s a good experience for you and your spouse. First of all, you need to have this conversation before you ever go to a nudist club.  Nudist clubs are nude. They are usually coops owned by members who in some cases, live there. They are not clothing optional. They are nude unless the weather calls for clothing to stay warm or dry.  This isn’t like a clothing optional beach or resort where you bear as much as you dare.  Talk to your spouse prior to going to make sure you’re comfortable with the fact you will have to take off your clothing. Wear a swimsuit. Wear a thong. No entry.

Call the club you would like to visit. Let them know you are coming out for the first time. Many camps offer a free visit for first timers. Ask them about what you should bring and get specific directions.  Many have privacy gates where you will need to be buzzed in. Know before you go. Also ask about any fees and expectations.

Bring your driver’s license or state issued ID. They will perform a background check on you when you enter. This is for their protection and for you when you arrive. Most nudist camps are family oriented. There are children there and privacy and protection for minors is the most important. No exceptions.

Most clubs do not accept single men. Couples and single woman only. There is a lot of debate about this but it seems to be important to keep the balance of men and women equal. One more reason why this is a great activity for you and your spouse. You really can’t do it alone if you’re a guy.

Bring a towel to sit on. Cleanliness is very important so bring a towel at all times so you have something to sit on.  Also, bring sun protection. When parts of your body are exposed to the sun for the first time, it can leave an awful burn if you’re not protected.

Absolutely no cameras or cell phones because they all have cameras now. While you might want to take a picture of your spouse to remember the occasion, most clubs do not allow photography of any kind, unless you’re a member. Remember, you’re there for privacy too.

Remember you are being watched while you’re there. Privacy is very important and each club watches to make sure visitors are acting as adults. Often you will have to wear a special sticker or arm band. Nudist clubs are there to enjoy being nude. Not for staring at nude men and women. Go there for you and your spouse. Not to meet anyone or to find a date. It is not a sexual experience and absolutely no inappropriate comments or sexual touching is accepted.  This is one more reason why this is a positive and safe environment to try social nudity with your spouse.

 

nudist-colony-flasher

Don’t get too personal. No one talks about where they live, work or even gives their last name. Please introduce yourself and be ready for others to say hello too. We have met many wonderful people at nudist clubs but there is always a level of privacy that is respected and maintained.

Perhaps the most difficult part of the experience is where to look when you’re talking to another naked person.  Don’t laugh but one of my funniest memories was on our honeymoon in Tahiti. Another couple from Italy had sat down beside my wife and I on the beach. While our spouses fell asleep next to us in the sun, this woman and I talked about the US and Italy. We were having a great conversation. During our discussion and while I had my eyes closed, she took off her bikini top.  My wife’s bikini top was still on at that point. When I opened my eyes and realized she was topless, I didn’t know what to do. Should I look away? Look around her? I finally made a point of talking right at her and staring right at her eyes. My eyes were glued to her eyes. To this day, I can’t tell you anything about her breast because I never once looked straight at them. I was incredibly nervous.

When you’re talking to another naked person (man or woman) look them straight in the eyes and talk. Don’t stare. Don’t point and certainly don’t say anything about their private parts. That’s rude. Before long, you won’t even notice they’re naked.

My wife and I visit a local nudist club several times each summer. It’s a great getaway from our kids and jobs where we can enjoy time together to sit by the pool, swim and enjoy a picnic lunch together. As much as we’d like to go to some super, all-inclusive in Mexico or the Caribbean, we simply don’t have the time or money. Our trips to the nudist camp are special because it’s only 30 minutes away and it’s just us.

For the right couple, a nudist camp or club can be a great first step into social nudity. In the heat of the summer, I can’t think of a better place to cool off and enjoy the weather. Interested in trying it out? Better do it quickly. Many clubs in the Eastern US only allow guests between Memorial Day and Labor Day. After that, clubs are often closed and available just for members.

Before you go, do some research online. Today there is a lot of information about each club, what to expect, fees and rules. I even found a review site for Nudist clubs and resorts.

Do you have any questions or concerns? Let us know. We’re here to answer your questions and share with you our experiences so you and your spouse have a better experience.  Enjoy.

Run on Over to White Thorn Lodge for the Third Annual State Line Streak 5K Naked Run

 

Run Naked
Run Naked!

So did you ever have the urge to streak naked across campus in college? Or learn firsthand if you actually do run faster wearing only running shoes and socks? I never had the nerve or the chance.. until now. The State Line Streak is a competitive 5K trail run sponsored by the White Thorn Lodge, a private family nudist club near the state line of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The event is now in its third year and this year has a non-competitive, 5K Some Colors Run trail run with paint.

So far we’ve focused our blog on being a resource for couples who want to experience a nude beach, resort, or club. We will be publishing a blog on what to expect if you’re considering visiting a nudist club or camp this summer, but a chance to run naked through the forest, that’s too good to pass up!

Social nudity should be an enriching and fun experience for you and your spouse. That’s been a main theme of our blog since we started so why not a naked run? I’m sure the good people at White Thorn Lodge came up with this event to attract younger 20- and 30-somethings to experience social nudity. Let’s be honest, if you can run naked for 5K, you’ll be comfortable nude by the time you finish and what could be better than enjoying lunch, drinks and a pool. Personally I think it’s a great idea to welcome couples (and individuals) to a nude club to experience it for themselves.

I’m sure you’ve got questions. I know I do. There are men’s and women’s categories based on six age groups. The course is a combination of stone roads and trails (and I’m assuming hilly too). They recommend road cross trainer shoes and while all participants must run nude, they do allow women to wear an upper support garment. Here is a review from a first time participant from last year’s race. From our experience, she nailed it when she said it takes about five minutes to get comfortable.

My wife and I visited White Thorn Lodge a few years ago. It’s very nice club located in Western Pennsylvania and is an hour or so from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Erie, Canton and Wheeling. It’s big with a very nice new pool and lots and lots of volleyball courts. Say what you will about nudist sports, but they do like to play a lot of volleyball and White Thorn has been hosting the Naked Volleyball SuperBowl each September since 1971. With a very nice lodge, campground and other sports and recreation amenities, White Thorn is a first class organization and well worth a visit.

To learn more about the State Line Streak or Some Colors Run, please read their flyer with contact information or sign up for the July 12, 2014 race. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette ran a very good story about White Thorn Lodge last year and what a family, nudist club is all about. For me, I’m going to begin training for the run (with my shorts and shirt on for now). My wife plans to cheer me on as I cross off another item from my bucket list. Let the training begin!