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.

 

Preparing to Get Naked: The Talk to Have Before Dropping Your Bikini Top or Swimsuit

Some nude beach can be the most beautiful places on Earth.
Some nude beach can be the most beautiful places on Earth.

Thank you to everyone who has visited our blog since October, 2013. My wife and I have taken a lot of nude vacations and getaways over the past 20 years and our goal for our blog is to remove any stigma or anxiety for couples interested in trying it and to be a good resource of what to expect.

While researching where to go for a clothing optional trip or first time nude sunbathing with your spouse experience can be fun, if you and your spouse haven’t discussed it first, you might be headed to couples counseling later. My opinion, the worst thing you can do is surprise your spouse by just showing up at a nude beach or clothing optional location and expect them to jump right in. Not a good idea at all. In fact, they may never want to go back. We saw a couple at a local nudist park and honestly thought she was going to have a nervous breakdown. She and her partner had clearly not discussed it before and I felt really bad for her and was glad when after an hour he put his clothes back on (she never removed her clothing) and left. I can only imagine the conversation in the car later. He was wrong for putting her through that and not making sure she was comfortable first.

So what do you do first before finding a beach like Haulover in Miami or a bed and breakfast with a fantastic clothing optional pool like the Green House Inn in New Orleans? Sit down and talk. Explain why you want to try this with them. Talk about why you want to experience a clothing optional setting and any doubts, concerns or anxieties you and they might have. Discuss it all, including any sexual concerns like what happens if he gets an erection (turn over, it will go away).

Now, your spouse might be as excited for the experience as you are and be onboard immediately, in which case planning and reading forums about the place, setting, etc. can be a lot of fun. Often your first nude experience is a vacation and who doesn’t like to go on vacation?

Chances are though, even if your spouse does want to go, they are a bit nervous and have reservations. That’s completely understandable. I know my wife and I both did. So let’s discuss this and share our observations and thoughts on the topic.

First a little history. When I was growing up, I had gone skinny dipping a few times. I loved the feeling of swimming naked and being nude in the sun. It felt great to be warm all over (a feeling I still enjoy 25 year later). I did this a few times but always alone at a small lake near my home. I knew it was something I enjoyed and skinny dipping with others was something I wanted to try. My wife also had gone skinny dipping with friends (girls and boys) when she was in high school late at night one summer. She laughed telling me about it because she remembers it looked like she and all of her girlfriends weren’t actually naked but instead wearing glowing white bikinis from their tan lines.  Later in college, she took a trip to Europe and went to a topless beach but was too intimidated to shed her top with all of her friends around.  That was it for both of us. Neither one of us could be called a nudist (then or now).

Fast forward a few months before our wedding and honeymoon to Tahiti. I mentioned to my wife (then girlfriend) that she could go topless on our honeymoon and that I would like to try to find a place where we could go skinny dipping or even sunbathe nude. This is when we had our talk.

She told me she loved the idea of us finding a place to go skinny dipping with me but sunbathing nude or even skinny dipping with people around us made her uncomfortable because other people would see her.  I told her that I understood her concerns and that I didn’t know how I felt about other people seeing me or her naked but that my desire to see “how it felt” was important to me. I wanted to be naked, outside with her. While I didn’t know it at the time, this was a turning point for us.

Key point here is that we talked and discussed why we wanted to experience this and what fears/anxieties we had. Later, when we went to Tahiti, my wife was topless most of the time there. She loved it. And I loved watching her sunbathe, swim and walk without her bikini top on. I never realized that this could be a turn on to me, but it was.

I did some online research and was amazed at how many men asked for tips on how to get their wives to try topless or nude sunbathing.  Many women, like my wife said originally, were uncomfortable of people looking at them naked. A few women also said that they would like to try topless sunbathing but their husbands were super protective of other men looking at them while clothed, let alone naked.

Based on these very real concerns, here is our advice. Ask your wife or husband to give it a try and see if they can become comfortable. Plan to go to a clothing optional beach or bed and breakfast and let them know they can shed as much or as little as they want to with no pressure from you. Do not go to a nude resort where you are required to be naked. This can be very intimidating and I’ve seen it work out badly when trying to introduce social nudity to someone who is not ready for it.  The experience should be comfortable not scary. You might be a little anxious. That’s normal but not uncomfortable.

After a while, your wife may take off her bikini top or swimsuit or your husband might relax and realize that others there might give a pleasant nod but rarely will someone stare. It really doesn’t happen and if it does, you have ever right to put your clothes back on. The key here is being comfortable and doing things slowly.  Your wife may feel great sunbathing without her top on, but want to put it back on when she swims or walks on the beach. Your husband might be fine naked on his stomach but be completely uncomfortable sitting up or laying on this back. Do what feels right.  After a while it will feel very natural and right. And if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. This may not be a couples activity you can do.

Your wife or husband may decide they never want to be naked outside of your home but that they’re comfortable with you sunbathing nude. We’ve seen this at beaches many times. He will be naked but she is wearing a bikini or she is topless but wearing the smallest thong bikini bottom ever seen. Or she is naked but he is wearing his swimsuit. I’ve covered our experiences with first time social nudity in several of our blog posts already. I encourage you to read them again.

I do want to call attention to one point I saw mentioned several times in online forums on the topic of asking your husband/wife to go naked for the first time. There are people who believe if you truly love your spouse, that you would never want anyone to see them naked. That you are wrong for asking them to show their bodies to the world and perverted for being naked and wanting them to be naked with you. I saw comments like this in many forums. If your spouse shares this opinion, this may not be an option for you.

Please let us know what questions or concerns you have. I will tell you that our time together naked on a beach or at a resort has been wonderful. For us, it’s about being completely relaxed and comfortable. When we first went nude together many years ago, we were comfortable but not relaxed. It takes time. And it can be a stimulating experience for you both but not at the time. Later, in the privacy of your bedroom. Social nudity as we have described it is not overtly sexual. There is a right time and place and it’s not at a public beach or resort, but in privacy later.

Talk to your spouse and see what they think. Summer will be here before we know it.  Let us know your questions. We’ll do our best to share insights. Good luck.