Hi! Welcome to my message board! Use it to contact me or others or to post questions and share ideas and experiences. The topic should always be related to nudism / naturism. Feel free to respond to posts from others in a respectful way if you have something helpful or meaningful to contribute. Let's keep it light, lively, and most of all, fun! Thanks!
Hey gang! Thought I'd check in.
A while back Beach Bunny mentioned that perhaps this site was drying up (my words, not a quote). I tend to think that there's a natural ebb and flow. Clearly our lives consist of doing things; "talking" about doing things is naturally a lower priority, right?
I've tried over time to stimulate conversations by opening up subjects that others might not. Not to be provocative in a sensational way, but perhaps by being a little more open and unashamed in what is already a fairly open and unashamed venue. Does that make sense?
I've shared some fairly personal things, that anonymity only partially "covers". I am after all a real person, and you are all real people, so therefore things about me are still really known. Does that make sense?
A case in point is that Beach Bunny has relentlessly encouraged us, successfully I think, to embrace that God gave us beautiful bodies, and it's expected that we enjoy seeing them and being seen in them. I think that's a fair summary.
And that prompts me to share this. Some time back she also said that (she belives) most men go to a nude beach to see nude women. I can't say that it's not true; it may be a fair generalization. I'm not bringing it up to debate the point.
But in my case it was never remotely true. Oh yes I enjoyed the nude wonen! But I went first to enjoy the beach sans swimsuit. But, significantly, my secondary "reason" was to be seen, and enjoy being seen. I knew that I was reasonably good looking with (I had been told) a beautiful body. And when I was nude all alone it seemed like a waste that no woman/women could enjoy it.
Decades later I don't remember the women that I "saw" at the beach or Ginnie Springs. But I remember each and every one- faces, and names if we got that far- that went out of their way to flirt with me. Go figure...
Maybe half -- though this would vary from person to person -- maybe half of the reason I parade nude is to feel good about my self, about my freedom, and about my ability to do this enjoyably. I say parade, because I am honored with a body that I can use without feeling ashamed.
The inside of our house is private enough to be freely naked. Our patio and backyard are private. I have made snow angels naked outside just to feel invigorated and alive!
I enjoy Linda joining me in our activities inside and outside. We have not been to a social venue even in our home yet. We stretch mornings to start our day and I do enjoy watching her. I daresay that masculinity does enjoy watching the other sex exercise more than femininity does, but I also feel that men prefer to be observed more so than women do.
Thank you VeryGary. I never quite know what might come the things I "throw out" for comments. Part of the fun I guess.
I mis-quoted Beach Bunny by accident. I meant to say, what she said, that most guys go the first time to see the women. That's much more plausible and not nearly as harsh on the men.
But in my case, all of my first "adventures" with social nudity were to enjoy the sun-water-breeze-sand (well, between my toes for the sand!) first, with the added benefit of a female companion. In many cases the companion remained in at least a swim suit. My first "co-ed" group skinny dip was Forestry Summer Camp in the 70's. All of the guys were nude, one lady wore a suit, one was nude but stayed neck deep in the water, and the third was as uninhibited as the guys. By the time I went to Cape Canaveral I was very accustomed to "social" nudity at other venues, particularly Ginnie Springs.
The truth is that whenever I started out alone, I always had company for most of the day. And I would have felt awkward, even inconsiderate to approach women as a strange single male. Be that as it may, they found me. If you can come up with a better word than "flirt", I'll take it under advisement!
Thanks Jim, both for mentioning that "a while back Beach Bunny mentioned that perhaps this site was drying up (my words, not a quote)," and for summarizing what you heard me saying when I was trying earlier this year to restart some discussions, and then for being a stand-up guy who recognized what you heard me saying and what I meant to say weren't the same.
In your words:
I'm glad Nudony responded when he did, before I finished talking with my husband about the male experience of nudity to make my second post on this subject. What Nudony said about feeling guilt when remaining clothed next to a naked woman who looked at him with no sense of shame at her own nakedness, and then the sense of "kinship" he felt when he took off his clothes and was naked with her, are things I've heard over and over again from first-time guys and also from many first-time women,
My husband says what Nudony wrote today rang true for him about his first time years ago at the nude beach near our campus, when he was invited by several dating couples he knew as fellow students but he was too afraid to tell me he was going, so he went alone without me for a while. (We had only recently started dating then, weren't anywhere close to talking about marriage, and certainly hadn't seen each other nude though we had swum together in swimsuits.) He had good reason to fear I would be furious if I knew he was seeing other women naked. At first, he felt terribly guilty seeing other women nude on the beach as his group walked along the water to find a relatively private place to set up their beach blankets and undress. Then he felt a mixture of fear and enjoyment as he took off his T-shirt and swim trunks, and a mix of guilt and enjoyment as he watched his male and female friends undress, and then a great wave of enjoyment as he and his friends experienced swimming nude together, then walking down the beach and getting far away from their clothes so there was no way to cover up no matter who might see them, and then joining a fully nude volleyball game.
Nudony is right about the physical pleasures of nudity, especially outdoor nudity. As he wrote:
Nude beaches are a long way from here, about a full day's drive, so they are a big deal for me, something to do once every year or two.
I guess I could fly to Miami, Orlando, San Diego or New York and shorten the trip to mere hours, but the lodging and air fare would exceed my modest budget.
So the local nudist camps are better suited to my bare budget.
And yes, it is a different experience at camp than on a beach; different in many ways, but let's not overlook the commonalities...
I appreciate the first-time experience that Nudony shared.
For some, it may be a "one and done" lifetime event, but how many of us have felt the frustration of being an outsider looking in?
Why should these people in the images have all the fun? Perhaps you mused that this world of beauty and freedom couldn't even be real.
How many of us got started by seeing photos of people having the time of their lives, enjoying freedom that we can only imagine?
There's no getting around the fact that humans are God's masterpiece of artistic achievement and we really do shine in full splendor when nothing covers that beauty. There's an artificiality to clothing, even those made with natural fibers.
My college art teacher explained that the visual interruption of lines and textures caused by clothing is strong reason why some of the best figure studies are of the nude model rather than clothed. Nipples and pubic regions do draw attention, but it is more subtle than a garish swimsuit, particularly for those who aren't shocked by the nudity itself.
Young, fit adults may indeed look like Greek gods and goddesses, but we can find beauty in middle aged and even senior nude bathers.
Kids at the beach or campground bring a spirit of joy and total lack of self-involvement that adults could learn from.
And when grandma is confident and enjoying the day even though her body may show the passage of time, that too is a lesson for the timid.
Don't we admire a century old oak tree that has withstood storms, snow and drought more than the unfulfilled destiny of an as-yet flawless oak sapling? The aesthetics of age are a different aesthetic from the aesthetic of youth, but God's creative hand decidedly rests on our seniors as well.
As one who has a keen appreciation for ecology and biology from formal education and independent nature study, there's also a sense of inclusion in nature when we are in our natural state of nudity and a degree of exclusion when clothes separate us from the world around us.
This sense of naturalness is both apparent to the person who observes "natural humans" as well as when one is also experiencing it for himself or herself. Once again we see the wisdom in participation rather than being a bystander in life and the natural world.
Although my first experiences of nudity in nature were solo, in the wilderness, a good many people realize that we are social animals and it is only natural to blend our need for social contact with our nudist values.
The experience of being nude in a community of people who share your respect for the natural body is tremendously affirming, whether among a "Friends of Local Beach" gathering, a group of friends and acquaintances who find a remote sandbar off the coast or along a secluded river bank, or your nudist campground friends, the support is powerful.
It could be said that the nudity draws you in, but the community keeps you coming back.
Jim, VeryGary, Nudony, and Ramblinman, plus my husband's comments, did a great job describing male experience with social nudity. After correcting his misunderstanding of what I meant about why guys go to nude beaches, Jim said this (echoed by VeryGary) about how men and women, at least initially, experience social nudity differently.
Thank you for sharing one woman's point of view and you are a women gifted with good writing skills and a rich and varied experience with social nudity.
It would be ideal if a host of women came here with their experiences at nudist camps, remote sites and Clothing Optional beaches. But if not for you, we would only hear women's voices second-hand.
I am glad to share what the women in my life have said over the years, but I am sure they would prefer to speak directly to everyone here. And I am sure that applies to many guys here, we owe a huge debt to these women.
And we owe a lot to the travel clubs who create a safe environment for people who don't know a BeachBunny and might hesitate to venture alone to a nude beach, particularly if they don't know what to expect. Florida Young Naturists create a very fun, safe climate for newcomers as do all the travel clubs, but they offer the added advantage of providing a much younger crowd than otherwise. Well, that's a least a great resource in Florida. One can only hope that other parts of the country have something similar.
I would be reluctant to say that it is a sexual experience for a man to remove his swim trunks if he is settled into regular social nudity. I suspect that BeachBunny is referring more to first-timers with social nudity.
It's probably best to wait for a woman's view of top nudity, but I will say that a friend of mine went on a mission trip to Malawi and she was told that she would discover that it is the norm for women to enjoy everyday life top-free, but it would be a severe breach of etiquette to bare any part of her legs above the knees.
Thanks, Ramblinman. I'm working on a response to some of what you wrote earlier about the value of friends and the nudist community in helping those new to nudism overcome their fears, and in helping keep people active in nudism.
For now, though, I want to quickly say I agree my comment about men taking off their swimsuits wasn't worded well. You wrote this:
Wow! Thank you all for your candid contributions.
A little "old business". Not to belabor the point, but I correctly understood BeachBunny's suggestion that a lot of men go to a nude beach for the first time to check out the women. I do this on my phone during slack time working, and miss things on the tiny screen sometimes. So I left out the words "for the first time".
But I used that as a way to relate two things. That I went to the nude beach to enjoy all of the "beach stuff" in the nude. But then to be candid, yes revealing, that I was aware that I was somewhat attractive, particularly in the nude, and enjoyed being appreciated by women. THAT was the "did I really just say that" part.
I have to go back to work. Thank you all for what you have shared. Beach Bunny was the pioneer in this, but it seems that the spirit of saying "this is not just what I do, but why I do it, and why I enjoy it, and what I'm thinking while I'm doing it" is catching on.
More to come...
Just a little more...
Have to respond in dribs and drabs as the saying goes. There's so much to respond to. But I started it!
Thank you BB for the compliment, I think. You said I was handsome. I never thought of myself that way, although my wife accuses me of it, so I won't argue!
Decades ago cute might have been close. And I never had the upper body musculature that BB refers to. I was average, but fit. But below the waist, I guess I won the genetic lottery. And I was a runner. So that's where the more explicit compliments went.
I've wondered from time to time about the exhibitionist thing, until I looked up the definition. That is definitely NOT me. I just enjoy being appreciated, which seemed to happen all by itself in any mixed company setting.
Duty calls. Until later...
Thanks, Jim. Don't worry about the mistake. Some people comment on things I've said (not usually here) and I've wondered, "What did I possibly say to make them think I meant that?" Then people remind me of something I said earlier that was a little unclear, and I understood. Or, as with you this time, people know what they meant but something else comes out.
I've been open about my own struggles with social nudity as an attractive younger woman, and I appreciate your honesty in stating this:
Thank you BeachBunny.
There's a lot of information to sift through. Next week I'll read through it all again because I read many points that I wanted to respond to. For now I'll just respond to what you just said.
I used flirting advisedly. Not the best word, just handy for the grabbing so to speak.
I tried very hard not to be that jerk. And I think I succeeded. Keep in mind that this wasn't always at a beach as you picture it. I never entered the "space" of a woman or women; you know how that physical distance varies with the circumstances.
But they entered mine, and started the conversation. Yes, sometimes I was with a friend/girlfriend, but not always. So these are the "solo" occasions I'm referring to.
Once I was alone on a sandbar on the Wisconsin river, at Ferry Bluff which is opposite the "famous" Mazomanie "Mazo" beach. Long before it was a nude destination, but probably just when a few explorers like me were discovering it.
Anyway I was swimming in the river when two women in a canoe, both in one piece suits, came down the river but headed for the sandbar near my towel. As I made my way to shore, I informed them that I was nude, and they cheerfully said that it was fine with them. A few minutes later, after I was on my towel and they had spread out theirs, one came over and asked me to put suntan lotion on her back. What would YOU call it?!
A few years later I was alone at the most remote spring at Ginnie Springs, Deer Spring I think they called it. A woman came down the river, and seeing me, swerved over to the bank and tied up her canoe. The spring and deck were 100 feet or so from the river so easily seen from a canoe. She was topless, having pulled down her one piece suit to her waist. I had walked over by then to help her pull the canoe a little bit onto the bank. She then followed me back to the deck by the spring, with a bottle of wine to share. We just chatted, she topless, I nude. She left about an hour later having given me her phone number. We got together in Orlando, where she lived, once after that. Just a first and only date, with clothes on. So, call "it" whatever you wish.
I guess, looking back, all I had to do meet women was not try to meet women... But the stories are true- I'd start out alone and wind up with a new friend by the end of the day.
But I think my experiences support your contention, BeachBunny, that social nudity is not overtly sexual, even as it accomodates the enjoyment of nude companions of the opposite sex.
I also think that there are substantial, even profound, differences between men and women in how these things play out. Trust me, we figured out long ago that you are attractive, BeachBunny, and draw attention whatever you are wearing or not wearing. "Lift and separate" is not an abstract, vague concept!
My wife is beautiful, and dresses well when we go out. REALLY well. And gets compliments.
But in this context, you won't be relating mirror-image anecdotes to mine, right?
I seem to have a few more minutes.
As I've related here before I'm sure, I didn't have a stereotypical first time at a nude beach. I had opportunities for casual, recreational/relaxational nudity all of my life. My parents weren't prudes, neither were the neighborhood moms that let the boys skinny dip in the backyard pool after the sun went down, et cetera.
As I reflect back later in life, I take note that beginning with parents, then my first mother-in-law, a close friend from this century, and now my wife, all of whom are very understanding and supportive of my nudist lifestyle, all are/were very devout Christians. Somehow their appreciation of God's Creation included the fact that our bodies are wonderful, not shameful. And that seeing them and being seen in them is actually a GOOD thing.
Thanks, Nudony and Jim.
I'll wait for Jim to make his followup comments before saying too much more to him beyond my response below.
For Nudony, I like what you said about the polarization between "purists" and what you call "hedonists" (I'd use nastier words for that second group) about discussion of what role physical attraction plays, or should play, in social nudity. We've been having really warm weather recently, and some of the foreign students from our local university and those who live far away got invited to spend their Thanksgiving break at the lakefront cottage. (Very few boyfriends and girlfriends will turn down the chance to spend most or all of a week together nude, and they were able to get some first-time friends to accompany them, which is great.) The good weather days didn't mesh well with my work schedule or that of my husband, but we were able to spend some sunny late afternoons and warm evenings on weekdays with friends at our homes or theirs, and a few weekend and holiday days at the cottage with the students.
This subject came up a lot. Some of our friends talked about bad experiences with what you call "nudist purists." I tried to defend them. We younger people forget what people our parents' age went through to make nude beaches and even private nude resorts legally possible, and may not understand the very real fear of older nudists that bad behavior will cause more places to close as happened with Mazo.
I enjoy the "Naked Wanderings" website by Nick and Lins, a younger Belgian couple who seem to strike a good balance. They recognize the problems of too many resorts run by older nudists who have nothing to offer young people and actively oppose or even punish behavior that most young non-nudist couples consider normal at a textile beach, a swim party, or on campus.
A couple who've been married for three decades and nudists for most of their marriage just don't think or act the way a dating college couple act. We're denying reality if we think young singles and dating couples are not interested -- usually very interested -- in physical attraction. There's nothing wrong with that and I believe social nudity is a great way to satisfy the natural, normal, and healthy attraction that young people have for each other.
Should a sixty-something married man be looking all over the bodies of other married women? His wife may have some opinions about that! But a 19-year-old girlfriend knows her boyfriend is noticing other women, and that's an unavoidable part of the "dating dance." Denying that is to ignore reality. Looking is normal. Leering or staring isn't. Dating couples know the difference, or if the guys don't, their girlfriends will tell them!
To answer Jim's question to me: I think we agree that asking a nude guy for help with sunscreen when a female friend was also present who could have done it, if it wasn't intended to be flirting, could easily be mistaken for that. As for "getting the digits" (slang for the cell phone number of somebody we don't know, and probably won't see again, but want to ask on a date and need to get their number before they leave since otherwise the chance will be gone), we also agree. The point was to go out on a date, and that happened, so there was at least some romantic interest.
Also, congratulations to your wife on this:
Jim, your wife may be from a generation when most women were taught by their mothers how to dress well. That just isn't true anymore.
Way too many women think "grunge" and dressing like a slob, which may have been okay in high school or even college, is appropriate for the work world. Some younger managers are okay with that. Often such managers are quite unattractive -- and I don't mean natural physical characteristics people can't do much about, but women with significant weight issues, or who don't bother to pay even a little attention to their hair, let alone use makeup. I'm guessing their toleration or encouragement of work attire that would have gotten people fired not that long ago, and certainly passed over for promotion in the office, happens because the women are secretly jealous or intimidated by women who know how to dress well, and because an increasing number of male managers fear commenting on women's appearance, even if it's grossly unprofessional and harming the company.
Not every woman is born with physical attractiveness. Also, standards change with time. A top model in the 1950s like Marilyn Monroe would be considered overweight by today's fashion standards, and the "heroin chic" of just one generation ago has (thankfully) been replaced by a recognition that skin-and-bones models are not healthy.
Still, almost everyone can learn to improve their appearance by simple steps of physical exercise, proper diet, choosing clothing that fits their body type, and (for women) learning at least basic makeup and hair tips. Not big bucks or hours in front of a mirror, but stuff that used to be taught to young women and young men about how to prepare for a job interview and how to dress for work once they get hired.
If you're working on a loading dock, yeah, that's not necessary. Same for many other physical labor jobs, though I'd point out physical exertion of hard labor improves people's physical appearance. In some behind-the-scenes jobs or work-from-home jobs, neither the public nor co-workers see an employee.
But many jobs today, even being a stocker in a grocery store, include at least some contact with the public, and for jobs that require regular interaction with customers, study after study has shown that especially for women, those who are more attractive are perceived as being better at their jobs. For both men and women, workers who obviously don't care about their appearance -- again, I don't mean lack of physical beauty but sloppiness, dirtiness, lack of basic attention to the image they present -- are perceived, often correctly, as being lazy and having an "I don't care" attitude.
I need to say again this isn't about "natural endowments" we have from birth. Some people are born taller, or more muscular, or more naturally attractive than others. I mean what we do with our natural gifts.
My husband is reading and reminded me one of the most beautiful woman we know who we've successfully introduced to social nudity was one of my marketing profs, who at that time was a graduate student finishing her doctorate and teaching part-time. She's Asian, and young, and dresses extremely well in cute but modest outfits, usually tailored blouses with only a single button open and a nice set of pearls, heels, and skirts well below her knees but tailored to show off her figure.
The first time we talked her into coming down to the nude beach with us was the first time we saw her in casual clothes, shorts and a T-shirt. Without makeup she didn't look as nice. When she pulled off her T-shirt and unhooked her bra, we realized her bra augmented her shape. Swimming messed up her hair, and she was thin enough that we realized why her blouses were loosely fitting but her skirt was shaped to her figure. She was attractive in or out of clothes, but we pointed out to her that she got far more looks in modest clothes that accented her body than she got fully nude. For her that was good. She felt much more comfortable blending into the nude beach crowd than standing out as a head turner, as she had feared would happen.
My professor said she was tormented in elementary and junior high for being a "skinny girl" and learned in high school to look much better. She was able to take a good but not great figure, and by regular exercise (cycling) improve her legs to gain muscle without adding fat, and learned how to use clothes and makeup to look much better. It certainly was a lesson she emphasized in marketing classes that the way we look is a big part of marketing ourselves.
Most people can improve their appearance if they want to do it badly enough. Much of what makes people look better is diet and exercise that not only makes us look better but also makes us healthier.
Maybe the German FKK is right that social nudity can be a great encouragement to look better by improving diet and exercise?
Well BeachBunny, you have me in information overload mode again. I have a lot to say in response, but I'm going to go in another direction for tonight, and come back to you later. Fair enough?
There have been some comments about being ignored, especially on other forums. We all appreciate having our comments acknowledged.
I want to respond to Ramblinman before this goes any further. You mentioned formal and informal study of natural things- often loosely referred to as "ecology" for the last few decades, although you and I know that there is a more narrow "scientific" meaning to the term.
Since I mentioned that my first co-ed group skinny dip was at Forestry Summer Camp, that particular cat is out of the bag. I've been an avid hiker backpacker wanderer most of my life. So temperature permitting I had countless opportunities to swim, sunbathe, or just relax nude in secluded places. These were solo experiences.
And yes, it's o.k. alone, but infinitely more satisfying shared with a companion. I continue to attempt clumsily to somehow explain that I was fortunate to be able to invite a friend to go canoeing, come over for a late night swim in my apartment pool, et cetera. Don't assume that these were romantic or sexual liaisons. I actually have good manners most of the time, and my companions trusted that there was no "hidden agenda".
So given the opportunity, I shared the experience.
Thank you for your comments, Ramblinman, now and in the past.
Thank you BeachBunny for your affirmation of my wife's dress code. She was raised to dress well whenever she left the house, and kept that standard throughout her life. Naturally slender, she works at keeping the upper middle age pound-creep under control. Several years ago I had to confront that same issue, and lost about 20 pounds. I've kept them off, and we are a positive influence on each other. We have arrived at an understanding that if only one of us is hungry, the other is not obligated to eat a meal that would otherwise be skipped. I'm not saying anything that isn't already known by all of you: obesity is a national health crisis, and for the most part is entirely avoidable. But here we are...
I think we're in agreement that men experience some aspects of "social" nudity differently from women. Don't focus on the word "flirt". I received attention on occasion, and was flattered. You wouldn't have found yourself in those exact circumstances ( alone and nude, but not entirely secluded), and would have been wary of things that I wasn't concerned with. I get it.
But thank you for continuing to be open and candid about your experiences. Intentionally or not, you took this discussion where I hoped it would go. That is to open up emotionally to each other here just as we open up physically and emotionally with our nudist companions. My anchor so to speak is the Book of Genesis. As Ramblinman pointed out, our bodies are the pinnacle of everything that is beautiful and good in God's Creation. Can we misuse and even abuse them? Yes of course. But appreciating our own bodies as well as those of our companions, while enjoying a day at the beach or by the pool, canoeing down a river, or playing Monopoly by a fire on a Winter's evening, shouldn't be a source of shame or guilt
One more thing, BeachBunny.
What is a nude-friendly busines?
Thanks for your compliments, Jim. I'm glad my comments in this thread took the discussion in the direction you wanted to go. Several times I've started discussions about things I thought were really important, or which the guests at the lakefront cottage asked me to ask here, and the discussion quickly died out or never got started at all.
Not trying to make a big deal of the word "flirting." Probably said too much already and probably won't say more.
You asked "What is a nude-friendly business? I'm curious!" At some nude beaches, some businesses on or near the beach tolerate customers coming in without putting their clothes on first. Some food places let people come in and order nude, though local health rules may make it impossible to let nude customers sit inside even with towels on the seats so they have to eat outside after ordering. In some states female toplessness is technically legal anywhere, though rarely practiced in public outside recognized nude or topless locations and events, so businesses near nude beaches may welcome and encourage women to come in with minimal or no clothing. What kind of businesses? I've seen everything from ice cream shops to tourist trinket shops to small mom-and-pop restaurants to places where people can buy sunscreen and rent umbrellas. I think being nude-friendly to customers is less about the product sold than about the location, since many of their customers come right from the beach and their non-nude customers know they're right next to a nude beach so they won't be offended by nudity.
Responding to your comments to Ramblinman:
So... Since I started this "conversation", I guess I'm entitled to steer it a little. After all, it was intended to stimulate discussions!
Would you mind BeachBunny mentioning some of the topics/questions that "crashed and burned", or at least fizzled. I'd be happy to weigh in if I have a reaction... And perhaps others will take up the challenge as well.
We all must have enough going on in our lives that sometimes things on the back burner cool to room temperature, if you catch my meaning.
Thanks for the info on nude friendly businesses. I guess I could have guessed much of it. Would I assume that much of this takes place outside of the U.S.?
Sure, Jim... hope I didn't steer this discussion off track. If I did, I'm sorry.
You asked two questions.
1. On nude-friendly businesses: Not necessarily outside the US but you've got a point about them being more common overseas. Sometimes businesses are right at or near the edge of the beach, or for umbrella and chair rentals or food concessions, may be on the beach itself. Think of a cart selling hot dogs or cold drinks. I've seen restaurants right at the edge of the beach overseas, but most American nude beaches I've visited have a LONG entry route that separates the beach from places with non-nude usage, except for adjacent beaches where nudity isn't allowed but topless may be.
2. On fizzled topics, here's examples.
Back in April, Bob asked in the topic "Sad" some questions about nudist dating. Ramblinman, Nudony and me all replied but the topic died. Why? Not sure. Maybe it's because most people who post here are older and most are married. But that's one of the biggest issues for younger people I know who enjoy social nudity. Newbies getting a partner to go nude (usually a guy getting his girlfriend to try it) is difficult. Experienced nudists who break up with their partner and then struggle finding someone else willing to consider social nudity is in some ways even more difficult because it's not a dating couple considering social nudity together for the first time, but rather a man who likes nude beaches deciding whether to give up social nudity for his girlfriend or whether to risk trying to convince her to try it. Most nudist women have little problem getting dates to try nudity with them, but that can be a struggle too.
Another example. In November of last year, Feeling Minnesota posted in the topic on "wearing make up." Several replied but it looks like my comment killed the thread.
And Nudony started a topic in December 2019 on Diane Webber's thoughts on social nudism. Lots of great comments but the thread died just two months later in February 2020.
Looks like I never posted the response I promised to Ramblinman! Sorry about that.
Fear of the unknown is the overarching obstacle to new adventures and that doesn't only apply to nude swimming.
A certain amount of caution is protective in many facets of life.
(You don't jump headfirst into a river without first knowing how deep it is)
When making friends, you want to be sure they are worthy of your trust before you tell them something that is sensitive and confidential.
Looking back on social nudity, we can now say, "It's comfortable, makes us feel one with nature, and is even more fun as a shared experience.
But for many Americans, they really are going into this blind. What seems so obvious to a seasoned nudist is rarely as obvious to the general public.
Television and Internet rarely depict nudity that isn't sexual. How can we be surprised that nudists and social nudity are often misunderstood?
In the autobiographical essay I published on Sunny's web page, I described my own transition from innocent childhood nudity, through a few years of dreadful embarrassment about my body. As I began dating, the nudity I shared with my girlfriend was sexually-charged, but we managed to set limits on how far it went. I think that is a normal part of growing up, but you have to unlearn some of that to understand nudist culture. The simple truth that not all nudity is sexual may seem counterintuitive if your horizons were limited to our very warped American culture of body shame and lechery.
One day a lucky few encounter this amazing idea: that our body is a gift from God; that it is designed to function at its best and feel its best in total nudity (year-round in some tropical paradise and much of the year elsewhere). Or perhaps someone tells you about places of refuge where people can live the way God intended, naked and free with respect and courtesy between the sexes. This is a third way that neither follows the path of prudishness and shame nor the path of lechery, lust and disrespect.
It is very freeing, particularly to Christians, to follow this third path: where one is not entrapped in a mindset that treats our fellow human beings as sexual objects, but we can embrace the freedom of being a child of nature, enjoying the delight of having one's body in full and complete contact with the wind, rain, gliding naked as a fish in the swirling currents of a river, feeling warm sun on bare skin, being caressed by soft foliage as we make our way like a deer, wandering far beyond the well-trod trails.
We are liberated when we regain a childlike confidence in our naked body; when we say goodbye to misplaced guilt about nudity among trusted friends.
In my case, I learned one step at a time. I got over the fear and misinformation one situation at a time.
If you want to walk on a rooftop, you lean a ladder against the house and climb the ladder one rung at a time.
This process will vary only by minor detail. We each have to find the rungs that help us go from shame and fear to freedom and joy.
That "first rung" for someone by himself (or herself) can be something as simple as not getting dressed right after a shower or as you wake up in the morning, remain nude through breakfast if you can.
Dating couples alone in a house might be too distracted by their mutual physical attraction to try social nudity in that setting. In their case, the path to social nudity would be more easily achieved by joining a non-landed club (sometimes called "travel clubs"). Some of these clubs are made up of young, often single people. This can create a positive and non-sexual environment to help people begin the journey back to natural living.
My reply was initially much longer but got "timed-out." Oh well I'll try to rewrite it later.
Ok...ahem...so as I was saying.
Having someone to guide you as you make your way up "the ladder" can be invaluable. Because then you don't have to figure things out as you go, or "wander in blindly." As long as the "guide" has experience with social nudity, he/she can be a good friend, a significant other; and even in some cases someone just met and befriended at a nudist venue.
When my wife agreed to her first visit to a nudist resort, she had no experience with it; whereas I had many years "under my belt." So I was able to tell her pretty accurately what to expect at a C/O resort.
After we'd been there for a little while, she expressed interest in soaking in the hot tub inside the "nude mandatory" pool area; but was reluctant to walk naked in front of everyone to get there. She was confused as to proceed. My reply was: "Easy. Just wear a towel before and after showering, and take it off at the last minute before entering the hot tub!" Facing the wall while showering and then removing her towel as she entered the hot tub would avoid her being seen "full frontal naked." My confident and "experience-based" input alleviated her stress; and so she followed my steps and found it a lot less difficult to proceed.
Later on, her decision to leave her towel behind and stay naked in the pool area was entirely hers. But I will still take credit for my "guidance" making it a much easier process.
That's why I think it's so important to be welcoming to newbies. Not everyone is going to have the benefit of a seasoned nudist guiding them through their first steps; and it can be tremendously beneficial to them to get input, encouragement or motivation from someone who has been "doing it" for a while.
Ramblinman and Nudony are right. I particularly like these two comments:
Thanks, Nudony. As you said, we've talked before about your wife's experience helping the wife of a seriously clueless man who abandoned his wife as the only non-nude person at a supposedly clothing-optional event where nudity was expected even if not required. What that husband did was horrible, and I'm afraid there are too many horror stories of women permanently turned off to social nudity because of foolish or boorish behavior by the men they love.
On clothing-optional vs nudity required:
Beaches have to be clothing-optional because they are public. Some resorts can make clothing-optional work if all or nearly the resort regulars are nude most of the time because the preponderance of nudity will make the few people (usually women) who need time to adjust feel an expectation to undress while it's accepted that they have a right to remain clothed. Most of the time, resorts like that will be patient with women while men will be informally pressured to undress and asked why they are at a nudist resort if they're not willing to be nude. Good question, and I feel the only good answer is if it's a couple where the wife or girlfriend doesn't want her husband or boyfriend to undress until they're both ready. Otherwise, I think many resorts would ask the man not to come back if he won't undress.
For small-scale pool parties, I feel nudity needs to be not just expected but required for both men and women. I've seen temporary exceptions made for specific women, and sometimes they work, but very often they just “postpone the inevitable” and make it much harder for her to undress when she's the only person left with her clothes on. But if clothing optional is to be allowed, the big benefit of a pool party is it's possible to say no swimwsuits are allowed and everybody needs to be nude if they're going to swim. On a hot summer day, any overly modest women wearing T-shirts and shorts will get hot, and since no swimsuits are allowed, their only choice is to take off their clothes and either enjoy the breezes on their skin or enjoy the cool water gliding across their bodies as they swim. Note the benefit of not allowing swimsuits at all, rather than just banning them in the pool. A woman can stay cool and comfortable in a bikini that covers very little, but typical “pool coverups” of long T-shirts and shorts are really quite uncomfortable on a hot summer day with no shade.
I'm working now on a response to some of what Ramblinman wrote, but your comment, Nudony, reminded me of a young couple who last fall, shortly after their engagement, went to a clothing-optional pool party where I was one of the guests. I didn't know the couple at the time, but we've since become friends and they've visited the lakefront cottage a few times. They were one of the success stories of how clothing optional can work.
That couple, Ashley and Curtis, had agreed to carpool to the pool party with another couple who we know well, Crissy and her husband, and because it was quite a long drive to a home in a different city, we drove to Crissy's home which was about half an hour away, met the two couples, got into Crissy's van, and then drove more than an hour to the pool party where we didn't know most of the people, but several of our friends from the university were up there since it's close to their school. We got to know Ashley and Curtis a bit on the long drive, with Ashley telling us it would be her first time socially nude though Curtis had visited nude beaches before dating her while on vacations in other states. Curtis had wanted to go to nude places with Ashley for more than a year, but her response had been clear: “You don't get to see me nude until there's a ring on my finger.” After their engagement, he had invited her again, she had shyly declined, but after Curtis reminded Ashley of their prior conversations, they had set up a dinner meeting with our friends in their town who Curtis knew were regular nudists from meeting them at other events. Crissy slowly overcame Ashley's resistance. At first she was only willing to agree to let Curtis take a shower with her, but Ashley enjoyed the shower so much that they started spending more and more time nude together, joined Crissy and her husband for some nude suntanning at their home, and finally agreed to try “real social nudity” with a larger group of nudists at a pool party.
When we arrived for the pool party around midmorning on Saturday, the homeowner came to the front door in a bathrobe to greet us, and once we were inside, she hung the bathrobe on a hook near the door and escorted us through her home to the pool deck out back, not even asking if we'd like to undress inside. At their home, the practice is apparently for everyone to undress poolside, and we could see through the sliding glass doors that nearly everybody around the pool was nude.
Ashley froze as she looked out into the pool area, realized all the men were nude and the only person who wasn't nude was one woman who was topless with her bikini bottoms on. She asked the homeowner and was told that woman was having her period, and because she wanted to swim, was allowed to wear her bikini bottom to prevent her tampon from coming loose. The homeowner explained that people are expected to undress upon arrival and do it outside at the pool, and she pointed out bags under the pool chairs the guests had been given to place their shoes and clothes.
That wasn't what Ashley had expected. She had thought she would be able to undress in private.
Just before opening the sliding door to the pool, the homeowner reminded Curtis and my husband that while women were allowed to take some time before undressing, men needed to undress immediately. No problem for my husband who assured the homeowner we're longtime nudists, and Curtis said he'd visited nude beaches regularly but this would be the first time for his recently-engaged fiancee Ashley.
“Well, in that case, congratulations, Ashley!” the homeowner said. “It's great to see a young couple committing to each other. We'd love to see you join us nude, and I'm sure your fiance would love to see you nude as well, but we won't push you. You'll find bags under the deck chairs you can use for your shoes and clothes when you're ready to undress, and there's an outdoor shower by the pool you'll need to use before swimming, and Ashley, you'll need to be as naked as your fiance if you want to swim, but otherwise, take as much time as you need.”
Ashley had been prepared to undress, but not to undress in public in front of a whole group. As I've said many times, people's first-time experience with social nudity usually gets remembered for life. What I remember the most clearly about that morning was that Ashley, a tall and beautiful woman wearing a thin white blouse that didn't conceal the outline of her bra, and a light blue skirt with strappy sandals, reached over to her fiance Curtis, took his hand, and quietly said, “I think I'm ready for this.”
The homeowner opened the sliding glass door, brought us all outside, and had Crissy introduce me, my husband, and Ashley and Curtis to the group. Ashley reached over, touched the ends of Curtis' fingers, briefly squeezed his hand, and then began to unbutton her blouse. Curtis quickly began to unbutton his own shirt and was unzipping his pants about the time Ashley dropped her blouse to the deck, reached behind her back, unhooked her bra, closed her eyes briefly, took a deep breath, and pulled her bra forward and dropped it to the deck. By that time, Crissy and I had our T-shirts off and I was about to unzip my jeans, but seeing Ashley topless, I decided to take off my own bra and Crissy did the same. Looking around and seeing not only his fiancee Ashley but also me topless and Crissy about to pull down her gym shorts and get completely nude, Curtis decided it was best to pull down his shorts along with his pants, and the homeowner complimented him on being the first of us to get naked. Curtis stood there with his hands at his sides admiring Ashley as she nervously smiled, looked around the room at my husband, who was pulling dowm his shorts, and at Crissy's husband who was already fully naked, smiling at Ashley, and encouraging her to finish undressing.
“Ashley, we've already seen each other naked tanning in my backyard,” Crissy's husband said. “I enjoy seeing your body, I know you enjoy seeing me naked, I can tell from the way you're watching Beachbunny's husband that you enjoy seeing him naked. It's time to finish undressing.”
Ashley looked around at us and the people around the pool who were by now paying attention to us, stepped out of her sandals, unzipped her skirt, let it fall to the ground, took another deep breath, and pulled down her panties as Crissy encouraged her and complimented her on her courage. I finished unzipping my jeans and noticed Curtis look away from Ashley's body to watch me as I pulled down my panties, but Curtis, who had been fully nude for some time now, quickly looked back at Ashley before she noticed him looking at me. Curtis gathered Ashley in his arms, gave her a hug that reassured her and briefly concealed her nude body, and then took Ashley by her hand, led her over to the group of people waiting by the pool, and introduced her to several people he knew, including Meirong and her husband John, and Zilin and her boyfriend.
Seeing Asians at a nudist event wasn't something Ashley had expected, and she and Meirong talked about how Meirong met John and their nude experiences, engagement, and marriage. My husband and I used the outdoor shower and spent most of the morning swimming until lunch, when we joined Ashley, Curtis, Meirong, John, Crissy, and her husband around a table discussing what it's like to be nudist married couples.
These positive outcomes are always great testimonies. Good one BB!
One thing that I think men don't always think about is what "manner of undress" will work best for their newbie significant other. It's often due to the fact that they know they're going to get naked right away themselves; and end up not putting much thought as to how their significant other might prefer to go about it.
Some of the ways I've observed have included:
- Undressing privately and joining in naked. That is the most common way I've seen at "nudity-mandatory" venues. People undressing in the bedroom/bungalow/parking lot privately, and walking out naked. I call it "ripping off the band-aid"; and it often takes a level of determination.
Some women will find it too "confronting"; as it means that from the get-go, everyone will see them completely and openly naked. My wife actually found it quite liberating - even if a little stressful.
- Openly disrobing. That is the most common way I've seen at nude beaches. Because you typically can't disrobe before actually being on the beach.
Some women will feel that it attracts too much attention and that they're putting on "a show" for other people to enjoy watching. But as BB has mentioned, it can also be meaningful.
- Partial "exposure." More common at C/O resorts. It often involves wearing a sarong - in different gradual phases. My first wife went that route; and depending on her level of comfort, would wear her sarong in various "open or closed" ways. The "issue"' is that is that she actually became attached to her sarong, and constantly shifted between topless, fully wrapped or completely open in the front or side; without ever committing to any one "style." It finally took a female friend of ours to convince my wife to finally get rid of the sarong.
Of course, the "best way is the way that works." It's just a matter of finding the right venue. And getting a sense of what might work best for her.
You're right, Nudony. Many men don't give much thought to how the act of undressing will affect the women they care about. It's more than just BEING nude with men (though that's hard enough) but the process of GETTING nude that's hard. I don't think most men are clueless or mean or uncaring (though some are), but undressing is much more emotional for most women than for most men.
Taking off our clothes when someone is watching, no matter who it is, makes most women feel very vulnerable.
It's not just social nudity. A few friends in college tried nude figure modeling. Usually the model undresses in a side room, puts on a robe, walks into the middle of a circle of art students, sometimes gets on an elevated platform, and takes off the robe when the class is ready. Many said taking the robe off was incredibly difficult, and even more difficult for women was watching male students paying close attention to her nude body, even though she knew artists need to study places not seen on a clothed model to learn how to portray them well. Some models put their robe on right after the session and never went back. For other women, it became fun, rather than putting her robe back on after the session, to walk nude in the group of male and female art students commenting on their work.
Since we're talking about "guides," I'll mention a Japanese female artist who spent time as a visiting art professor at our college. She wasn't much older than her students, and she had worked as a nude model in college. Being Asian, female, thin, and attractive, she got lots of modeling jobs when she had been an art student, both on and off campus.
Because of her shyness as a new model -- she had been an international student in an American college and wanted to try nude modeling because it was a total break from her culture -- she was known for being very kind and gentle to models, especially new models. She had gotten over her own "nervous newbie" jitters after only a few times dropping her robe as a freshman in an art class where she already knew most of the students. The money helped, and she splurged on a really nice purse after her first nude modeling job to reward herself for making it through the nude modeling session without crying.
As a professor, she often met new female models for coffee before their first modeling session, accompanied them in the undressing room, and helped them overcome their fears as they undressed. (Example: "Professor, this robe is too thin. My nipple shows through." "Don't worry, Lisa, that means you're both nervous and excited about being nude. In just a few minutes when we go out into that room, the guys will see much more than just a nipple outline.") Then she encouraged them in the classroom as they took off their robe and struggled with both modesty and muscle problems as they posed for the class. Thanks to her reassurances and validating of their feelings, many of her first-time models felt a rush of excitement mixed with their fear as they learned to enjoy men looking at their bodies.
While she mostly worried for her female models based on her own experience, when male art students volunteered to be models, she liked to arrange a private modeling session for the first-time guy with her and one other female student in which the male model would undress, not in private, but with the two women in an otherwise empty classroom, so the two women could talk him through any nervousness about his body. Sometimes the male model would do partially clothed poses before getting fully nude. After he was nude, the female student would show the male student examples of artwork and photography done of her as a nude model to reassure the man that she was used to being a nude model, and to reassure him that physical arousal, if it happens, is okay with inexperienced male models. (It's rare, but if it happens due to newbie jitters, it's better in a private modeling session, not a group session.)
The professor had to remain fully clothed for class, of course, but she was a regular at our nude beach during her time as a visiting professor at our school, which is how I got to know her.
Unlike many women who are scared to death on their first nude beach visit, thanks to modeling, she said her first vacation on a nude beach as a college student was one of the most liberating experiences in her life, pulling a T-shirt over her head as her boyfriend watched, pulling down her shorts (she wasn't wearing anything else), bantering with her male friends as they undressed, and watching with amusement as her boyfriend, who had been nude many times with her in private, struggled with undressing in a group of fellow students in various stages of undress.
But that's the exception. Many women are far from confident about being nude, even in private with the man they love until they become comfortable with him, so we can't expect most women to be confident undressing in public.
I said I'd continue about the visiting professor's role as a "guide" helping female students who volunteered as nude figure models, but I wanted to talk with my husband first. He spent more time than me talking with that professor.
My husband (still boyfriend back then) and I were still fairly new to nudism at the time and still learning about ways people could be nude other than the bedroom. He was interested in artistic photography, something I didn't appreciate back then, though today I realize nude art is legitimate art. When we learned one of the regulars at the nude beach near our campus taught at our school and worked with nude models, he was interested, though not necessarily for the right reasons.
One day while relaxing on the beach, I asked the professor, who I'll call "Misty" (not her real name), to compare social nudity and nude modeling. That's easy, she said. Nudists notice each other at nude beaches, just like people do at textile beaches, but it's rude to stare so most don't. Objectification isn't supposed to happen. Nude modeling is different. Artists are SUPPOSED to pay really close attention to the nude model's body. Also, most people at a nude beach are nude, but in an art class, one person is nude, surrounded by people wearing clothes.
"Are you saying nude modeling is more sexual than nude beaches?" my husband, then boyfriend, asked. "Not exactly, but sort of," Misty replied. "Right now, you're sitting crosslegged looking at me, and as we're talking, I noticed your eyes sometimes drop to see my body. (Oh, don't try to deny it; everybody at a nude beach looks.) Here on the beach, we're all nude, we're all equal, and if I were new to nude beaches like you and your girlfriend, I'd be looking at lots of guys below the waist out of curiosity to see things I'd never seen before. But there's a big difference between beaches and nude figure modeling. When I look down now, you're naked and I can tell you aren't at all aroused looking at me nude. If we were in an art class together, as the professor I'd be wearing slacks and a sweater up to my neck to avoid drawing attention. Art students wear clothes when they're painting or drawing or photographing nude models, and any male art student who says he's never gotten aroused looking at a female nude figure model in his art classes is either lying, or he's getting aroused by the male models."
Misty said nude models may feel vulnerable as the only ones nude. There's a lot of concern today about protecting vulnerable models from predators, but there can be a big power difference between well-known artists and their models, often young women. She said years ago models couldn't be students in the same college or university, and the art students couldn't have any social contact with the models, but that can't work today now that many models are students in the same college and often are fellow art students who want to learn what it's like to be on the other side of the camera or the artist's paintbrush, pen or pencil. That's created new problems since it's not uncommon for art students to be looking for a mentor or a chance to "break into the art world," and that opens opportunities for abuse of students who model.
My husband was fascinated by this professor's story of how she came to America as an international student from Japan to enroll in an art department of an American university that, unlike our school, had few Asian students and not many Asians in the community. Partway through a freshman art class with nude models, Misty nervously asked her (female) professor if there were any openings for nude models.
Misty's professor, who had become a mentor to her, asked why she was interested and if it was something she really wanted to do, reminding her that even if her face was disguised, the photos, drawings, and paintings would be on display and Misty could be recognized as one of the few Asians on campus. Also, her art student friends would quickly learn she was a nude model even if the general student body didn't know. "Are you sure you want every male art student on this campus who sees you in class wearing a nice modest sweater and skirt hoping he gets to see what you look like under that sweater and skirt?"
Misty thought for a few days and decided, "Yes, I want to try it." There were "feminist empowerment" ideas behind her decision, and a desire to do something that completely broke rules about what "nice girls" were not supposed to do back home. Because Misty was majoring in photography while also taking painting and pencil drawing classes, the professor signed her up to model for an upper-level class where the students would be more mature, most would be juniors and seniors, all would have lots of prior experience with nude models, and none would be freshmen like her.
The contrast between nude modeling and social nudity is an interesting one; because as you described, it's radically different when you're the only one naked in a room and "all eyes are on you."
The little that I know about it comes from a friend who is an amateur painter. She does a lot of nudes and many of them are on her wall at home, or on her FB page. On a side note she has asked my wife if she would pose nude for her; and my wife respectfully declined lol!
Anyway, she explained that the poses are rarely "full frontal" at her workshop; and the models have some control over how they pose. And they tend to zone out while posing; so they are not always "actively conscious" about being naked in front of clothed people.
It's a very different dynamic in a nudist environment. For one thing; unless you're sitting by the pool being "inert" all day, people are going to see a lot more of you naked. And there's the fact that the people who see you naked will usually be naked in front of you as well.
So a social nudist might not be comfortable with the idea of being the "focal point" and the only one naked; while a nude model might not be comfortable with the idea of being seen openly naked.
I personally like the idea of "crossover"; where the artist(s) is also nude. I asked my friend about it; who dislikes the idea because, in her words, it "blurs the relationship between artist and model." I don't get it but it might be because I'm not an artist!
An obvious person to ask is SunnyDay.
She was a nude model for a female art student while in her college years.
Sunny mentioned in passing that she later hung that portrait in one of the more private parts of her home. How many of your friends saw this nude portrait? (You said it was not an extremely revealing portrait, yet it was obvious that you posed totally nude.
Sunny mentioned in her story that it was different from the typical life model situation:
She was not in an art studio filled with students.
The painter was female.
A friend or at least an acquaintance with whom she had a degree of comfort, if I recall.
With those disclaimers out of the way, Sunny, can you tell us more about it? Based on the timeline of your stories, we know that you had already been to a nude beach with a colleague from your lifeguard job and of course you had the brief same-sex locker room nudity many of us have experienced.
Did your nude beach experience play a role in giving you the confidence to serve as a nude model in a private setting with this woman?
Please share your thoughts on the value of modeling as a stepping stone to other things or is it too different to be useful?
I considered being a nude model at my own college art department, but I chickened out; wasn't ready for it. The gift of social nudity arrived in my life after I had a little more help from other circumstances and with insight from very patient friends. Having guides is great. Most of us here are qualified to help others now. Let's do it!
Thanks, Nudony and Ramblinman. I also remembered Sunny Day's experience doing nude modeling for a female art student friend, though I didn't go look it up on her website and I may be wrong on details. If I remember right, she had a friend who was very surprised and uncomfortable seeing the nude portrait, but that friend's discomfort was partially resolved after learning the artist was female.
I hope she replies to Ramblinman. There are so many different ways to do figure modeling, including draped, partially draped, and nude, and modeling for a class of freshmen art students is very different from private modeling for a single prestigious artist or an advanced art student or small group of advanced students, or like Sunny Day, for a close friend who we know personally and trust deeply.
Also, plenty of college students who feel comfortable doing face or upper body modeling while clothed decide later to try partially draped modeling, which can be a very thin blouse with no bra and lighting that clearly shows the model's figure, or some of the classic poses such as wearing a partially open robe or unbuttoned blouse or carefully placed objects to conceal certain things while revealing others, and then move on to fully nude figure modeling.
Trust is such a big issue for women when it comes to being vulnerable and undressing and revealing parts of our bodies we've been told for most of our lives should never be seen by any men other than husbands and doctors. At least for me, as a young college student who was still very new to nudism, it would have been much easier for me to agree to model nude for a close female friend, knowing the resulting drawing or painting would be seen only by the student and her professor, not put on display but given to me after the class, and not in photographic form that could end up who knows where.
I've changed my views quite a bit on nude modeling. My husband (then boyfriend) spent much more time speaking with the visiting art professor than me because the subject of nude modeling and nude artwork made me uncomfortable. We were much newer to nudism back then, and I was still working through my own upbringing with tons of shame and guilt heaped on women who dressed in ways that got men overly interested. That was so inconsistent — young women were encouraged to dress nicely, take care of our appearance, learn to wear some makeup without being excessive, and select clothing that covered all the right things but was designed to be attractive. A well-fitting blouse and pencil skirt with heels, earrings, a bracelet, and a necklace can be VERY effective at getting a young man's attention! But I was deeply uncomfortable with my boyfriend's interest in art photography, which even if the women were fully clothed, was definitely designed to attract men's eyes. Today I realize that learning to draw or paint or sculpt or photograph the nude body is necessary so art students understand the muscles and bones under the clothing, and I understand that most men will be much more interested in a partially dressed woman or woman in a swimsuit, or wearing professional office clothing that shows off her figure, than in the same woman completely nude.
But I still feel the biggest difference between nude modeling and social nudity is objectification that is inherent in modeling. When I'm nude and talk with a nude man on a beach, no matter how interested he is in my body (and I expect newbies will be very interested, even if they feel very guilty about it), we're both nude, we're enjoying a social discussion either as friends learning to be nude together or as two nude people learning to be friends, and that's VERY different from turning a woman into an object for men's eyes.
Ramblinman wrote earlier about the feelings of liberation that come "when we say goodbye to misplaced guilt about nudity among trusted friends."
I've been meaning to respond but wanted to wait until today. An engaged couple who are friends of friends -- we know them a bit but not well -- agreed to come to the lakefront cottage for Valentine's Day as a gift from the woman to her fiance. To all of our surprise, the weather worked out wonderfully. It's still February, and way too chilly to swim in the lake, but it's just warm enough to enjoy sunbathing with the excitement of sometimes having a cool breeze on our bodies, and to enjoy hot tubbing outside and walking nude outside just long enough to enjoy the combination of warm sun and cool breezes.
I have their permission to write that, but not much else yet. She's still processing some very deep feelings of guilt, mixed with the physical enjoyment that comes with the sensations of swimming and suntanning nude, and getting used to male friends enjoying seeing her nude and admitting to herself that she enjoys seeing and being seen. Her fiance has been to nude beaches before with prior girlfriends, and once together as a couple though she refused to join him in undressing and had a serious fight.
Since it's Monday on a workweek we have only a few couples up here. The engaged couple took a couple of vacation days when the weather turned nice, and my husband and I, and two other couples who are mutual friends of the engaged couple, have enough work flexibility that we could come up here Monday afternoon with the engaged couple.
Things are going well but overcoming false guilt and false modesty takes time.
Probably the best thing to say for now is it is incredibly liberating and exciting for a first-time woman to finally get the courage to unbutton her blouse and unhook her bra in front of three other couples she knows, including one husband-and-wife couple who are REALLY close friends. To see male friends smiling at her while her nipples make clear she's also enjoying it -- well, the emotional rush of excitement overcoming guilt is something many nudists have experienced, and our friend has decided it was a great gift to her fiance to agree to finally accompany him to a nude place and join him nude.
By all means give your friend time and space to process her new experience.
I'll share a few more thoughts about art and life...
A painter or photographer need not treat a model as an "object" and I think the best visual arts result from those artists who don't think that way.
In the same way that a choreographer and a dancer work together to create art in motion, a still image should be the product of a shared goal between model and the artist.
In college art studios, the artist may be older and more experienced than the model, but even then, if the model has the mind of an artist he or she can not only cooperate, but collaborate and contribute ideas as the model gains experience and develops his or her vision.
And I don't like my own choice of words, because it almost implies that a model can't be an artist.
I could well imagine a situation where a seasoned model could teach a newbie photographer or painter lessons in composition.
I agree that the experience of all eyes being on the model runs contrary to the typical naturist experience.
It is absurd to claim that he or she was "naked in front of everyone" if you are one naked person in a group of 50 naked people around a pool; most of whom are watching someone else dive, swat a volleyball or reaching for a snack.
If things are really dull, they might glance to see who opened the gate at the pool entrance, but other than a couple of howdys, that's all you get. Like life, it's not all about you.
I do notice beauty, but my interest fades pretty quickly unless we hit it off in conversation.
The joy of seeing and being seen is not entirely a function of beauty either.
The diversity of human form can be interesting completely apart from boy/girl attraction.
And as you get to know someone, the things that make us look different or even odd take a back seat to the person we are.
When Stan and his wife Carmen arrive, your face lights up because you know there's going to be some hilarious stories and physical comedy as they join in the games by the pool or in it. Never mind that Stan is the hairiest guy on the planet and Carmen is the tallest, thinnest woman in the campground. These superficial traits are just the "decorations" on people you come to deeply care about.
You enjoy seeing them and you want them to see you because our nudity is a literal token of the openness of our friendship.
Not that the other kind of enjoyment doesn't happen. I am blessed to have met single women at nudist events and the mutal attraction is just as real as if would have been had we met at a party, but here we share the nudist outlook on life as well.
The real magic is when the conversation starts and we find that the openness doesn't stop at the skin, it goes right to the heart.
Thanks, Ramblinman. Yes, we're definitely giving this new couple the "time and space to process her new experience," as you put it in some really good words. To clarify, these are friends of friends. We're becoming friends, but until this week only casually knew each other.
The new couple suggest we call them "Rudy" and "Jane." (Rudy gets "ruddy," or "red," early in the season before he builds up a good deep suntan. As for Jane, swimming nude reminds her of the vintage nude swimming scene of Jane with Tarzan.) Jane has been a close friend of Meirong since shortly after she came to the university as a foreign student, even before Meirong and John started seriously dating, and over the last year as Rudy and Jane's relationship got closer, the two couples have become very good friends. Jane has known about Meirong's involvement in social nudity almost since Meirong started, and has been curious for a long time. Rudy was occasionally visiting nude beaches even before college, and has people in his "friends of friends" social circle who know people who go to the lakefront cottage, but he and Jane weren't people we knew except in passing when Meirong, Zilin, Sue, and their boyfriends might invite us to a non-nude gathering that included their friends from school or work. There are lots of other things to do at the lake and lots of students swim or sunbathe or go sailing or speedboating or jet skiing or just enjoy romantic time at local waterfront restaurants.
Our first serious heart-to-heart talk with Rudy and Jane was the sit-down conversation to which Meirong and John, our friends from the lakefront cottage, invited us since they're still fairly new to social nudity themselves and wanted a more experienced couple present to answer questions from people brand new to social nudity, and keep the conversation from going bad, if we started getting into trouble territory.
Rudy and Jane didn't get where they are this week without a lot of struggle. Rudy has visited beaches alone, with male friends (for the wrong reasons), with mixed male-female groups, and with some former girlfriends, though the distances, even from his previous home before he moved here, made nude beach visits something he could only do on vacations or special weekend trips that included at least one overnight hotel stay to make the travel time worth the trip. His fiancee Jane's only prior experience with nude beaches was with him at Haulover where Rudy went nude but Jane kept her swimsuit on. It did not go well and they had a huge fight in their hotel room. So for Jane to agree to give this Valentine's Day gift to her fiance was a major step for her.
Jane isn't completely new to being nude. Both she and Rudy had seriously committed relationships with other boyfriends and girlfriends in the past that sometimes but not always included intimacy, for him with nudity going back to high school and for her since college.
But Jane had a horrible breakup a few years ago with a boyfriend who had pushed her into intimacy before she was ready, and then insisted for months that she continue sleeping with him when she wanted to stop, and then refused to accept that she wanted to break up. Jane is understandably fearful of men who push her into things she doesn't want, and while she was okay with showering and being nude with Rudy in the hotel near Haulover, going down to the nude beach brought back horrible memories of being forced into undressing when she wasn't ready. While walking through the tunnel to get to Haulover, Jane asked her boyfriend if she'd have to undress on the beach, and while Rudy said she could keep her swimsuit on, he was obviously unhappy. Rudy undressed even after Jane asked him not to, she didn't understand why he (correctly) told her that men need to undress to avoid being viewed as gawkers, and that got the day off to a bad start. It got worse when others on the nude beach, who were trying to be helpful, suggested Jane might like to be topless even if she wasn't comfortable with full nudity.
They left the beach early, and a fight in the hotel room caused them to cancel romantic dinner plans. Jane woke up in the hotel bed alone in the middle of the night, saw her boyfriend sleeping nude on blankets on the floor where she had told him to spend the night, felt bad, gently woke him up, let him undress her, and spent the rest of the night nude together in the bed. When they woke up, after enjoying a shower together, both decided a visit to Haulover was a bad idea, went to South Beach instead, and Jane began to understand why Rudy said full nudity is much less of a sexually charged experience than seeing people in very revealing swimsuits. They didn't have enough days left to visit Haulover again, but what we're seeing this week with Valentines Day is apparently her way of apologizing to her boyfriend (now fiance) for ruining a planned romantic weekend on Haulover.
There's a lesson here. Yes, it's hard for many women to undress, and even harder with people she knows. But from talking in the coffee shop to prepare for the lakefront cottage visit, many problems this couple had at Haulover could have been avoided if Jane had heard other women, not just her boyfriend, explain why it is so important for men to get their clothes off soon after they arrive at a nude beach. We didn't say much Rudy hadn't already said, but hearing it from Meirong, a good friend she trusts, and from me as a nude beach regular, worked better than hearing her boyfriend explain why he needed to undress upon arrival even when Jane didn't want him to.
I also showed Rudy and Jane this thread, including Jim summarizing my comments "that most guys go the first time to see the women" and his own comment:
Hi Ramblinman and everyone,
You summed up the background pretty well. The artist was another student and an acquaintance. She’d mentioned in passing that she had a project coming due in one of her art classes to submit a nude drawing. It wasn’t something she was at all interested in, but it was required. I guess there are books of pictures of nude models in lots of poses that are to be used as subjects for projects like this and that’s what she was going to use even though she said she hated to do any drawing or painting from a photograph. I thought about it a moment and then tentatively offered to help her out even though I had no idea exactly what I was getting myself into. She reluctantly accepted.
So on a Saturday morning, I went to her apartment for her to do the drawing. I was more nervous about just how I would be as a subject than I was about the nudity. I could tell she felt just the opposite. I followed her lead and we got through the awkwardness. She completed the drawing in a couple hours. In answer to your question, I don’t think this made any real difference in my thoughts and practices of nude living and recreation (although I didn’t call it that then). I was already pretty well set in that direction.
Later in the semester after she had submitted the drawing as part of her portfolio and had received it back, she gave it to me. Like I said, she wasn’t interested in nudes at all. I was glad to have it. She was really talented.
And like I said, I gave it to Brian and later, he had it matted and framed. We have it hanging in our current house upstairs in the family gather area. Not everyone who comes into our house goes upstairs where they would see it, but some do. And some have commented; some have observed closely enough to recognize that it’s me. Most of their remarks are positive. None have been outright negative. Brian says it’s one more way of setting a right example of what we believe about our bodies for our children, and I’m happy to do that.
That’s been my experience. Hope that helps in the discussion. Let me know any questions and I’ll try to clarify.
So.... I started this thread way back when in response to the observation that it seemed to be drying up- my words. I tried to "water" it with some personal insights... It appears that I succeeded. More on that in a minute.
One of my favorite metaphors is two sides of the same coin. It captures perfectly the idea that a "thing"- idea, concept, activity, or in our case "lifestyle"- can have two distinct aspects which are usually perceived individually but are inseparable and together make the whole.
I think that fits naturism/ nudism as we understand it. There's the physical pleasure side, and the emotional side, particularly as it incorporates the people that we share the experience with. Thanks again to BeachBunny for leading the way so many times in that regard.
I chose to share some very personal experiences and thought processes because ultimately I felt that safety was a good way to waste everyone's time. After all our "lifestyle" is fraught with risks of all kinds when explored and practiced in the Real World, so why be ashamed of what's "really going on" in our brains as we do things in our bodies and ONLY our bodies?...
At any rate, there was risk involved that I accepted. I did not expect the negative consequence of that risk, and was initially hurt by it. But I got over it and am ultimately glad that I was bold rather than timid. I'm not only not ashamed of my body, I'm not ashamed that I'm not ashamed of my body, and I'm not ashamed of the life circumstances that provided the genesis of that lack of shame.
Thank you, Sunny Day. This is what I hoped we'd hear — the actual experience of a person who has modeled nude. Others who post here have modeled nude and I think the most recent post was from an older man who I haven't seen post here recently, though I've seen him (or someone using his same name with a similar background) on other nudism webpages where I mostly read and rarely if ever post. He responded to one of my posts here long ago but I forgot his name. I'll see if I can look it up.
I'm glad to hear you were able to help out an art student who really didn't want to do nude art. Interesting that even with two female friends there was some awkwardness, but I understand discomfort by an artist who is uncomfortable drawing people nude, and a person who is used to social nudity but has never before been an artist's subject.
What you did falls into the category of private modeling. The visiting professor I mentioned had done some of that for local artists near her campus back when she was a student, and also for art faculty and upper-level art students, but most people I know who did nude artwork (painting, drawing, photography, sculpting, etc.) were in college classes working with paid models, or were the paid models for those classes. It's one thing to pose for a friend. It's very different to pose nude for a mixed-gender group with many people the model doesn't know and a few he or she does know.
Not surprisingly, if there's a nude beach near a college campus, the people who are likely to enjoy the beach are the same people who are likely to be willing to be paid to be nude models, or to be art students who are comfortable with nudity, so these conversations came up.
It really surprised me who some of the models were. People who I never ever would have expected would be nude models. The story in many cases was they were physically attractive and were asked to do non-nude posing, liked it, and they could make more money with nude or semi-nude modeling. That led to visiting the beach.
Unlike Sunny Day's friend who sounds like she shares Sunny Day's values, many people in the art world are quite secular, describing themselves not just as "open-minded" but even "countercultural." The main exception is future public school art teachers, whose primary goal is to teach kids and have the personalities we would expect from teachers, Unlike Sunny Day's art student friend, "regular" art students I knew rarely objected to nudity. Many male art students look forward to working with nude models, and for the wrong reasons, and have to be reminded of the importance of professional distance from the models, which can be really difficult if the model is a friend or someone he knows. Female art students are often strong feminists and know the bad history of male artists abusing their relationships with female nude models. It's a difficult situation but something I know mostly by listening to others and don't have to handle myself.
Glad I remembered right that Sunny Day was able to receive the drawing as a gift and display it in her home. Something like that, a nude artwork of me or of me and my husband together from early in our experience with social nudity done by a friend, would be very meaningful to me and my husband. We have candid beach photos but that's just not the same as well-done professional artwork.
My views on nude modeling have changed, and I don't know the art world well so I realize what I've seen reflects only some artists and some art departments. Some colleges still forbid students from modeling, which used to be the norm. Some discourage or forbid any social interaction between models and artists. Other schools allow their students to model, and in some, art students are not only allowed but encouraged to model so they understand both sides of the artist's camera, pen, paintbrush or easel. If students are allowed to model, that means many models will be younger and attractive, will be close to the age of the artists (at least the art students and younger art professors), and may be in other classes together or live in the same dorms as the art students.
That virtually guarantees artists and models will socialize and some will date, which years ago was considered very wrong and breaking the proper relationship between model and artist.
How about a book about nude models written by a nude model?
He is a member of the North Texas Christian Naturists group. An AANR-SW affiaiated group.
The relationship between models and artists is varied.
In the 1970's, Pennsylvania painter Andrew Wyeth began a long artistic relationship with model and neighbor Helga Testorf. The paintings were both nude and clothed. It was not until 1985 that Wyeth revealed to his wife the depth and intimacy of the portraits, though she and Helga's husband knew that there had been paintings. Both Wyeth and Testorf denied an affair, and no one can prove otherwise, but the secrecy and intimacy of the portraits made things uncomfortable for both couples when it was finally revealed. It would appear that Wyeth and his wife eventually sorted things out, but secrets don't usually work well in a marriage. Just to clarify, the nude images were not particularly intimate; it could be argued that some of the clothed portraits were the most intimate.
A female friend of mine, an art student from the same college I attended was a member of a very conservative church and had a very strict upbringing. She confessed to me that sketching nude models made her very uncomfortable, though most of her classmates were quite comfortable working with nude models.
My friend admitted that she needed to learn anatomy, but expressed the wish that the models wear loin cloths or swim wear.Our part of the country is regarded as the "Bible Belt" and I am sure that every life drawing class would contain some conservative Christians. Based on her testimony, her reaction was not typical, even for Christian students.
To preserve privacy, the college covered the windows of the ground floor classroom and the studio door was closed during modeling sessions, as one might expect.
I worked through most of my college years and Ralph, one of my co-workers was also an art student. He told me that one of the models was also a student and was so comfortable with her nudity that she didn't dress right away after a session, but talked casually with some of the students one on one. When I said that this seemed odd to me, Ralph replied that most of the models dressed immediately after the session and maintained distance from the students. Clearly this model was not typical. Although Ralph was comfortable sketching nude models, it clearly unnerved him to have her remain nude afterward. I am surprised that the instructor allowed this sort of fraternization. As BB said, this sort of thing seems atypical.
Life modeling is one of the few settings in modern life where complete nudity, in a non-sexual context, occurs.
It may help both artists and their subjects gain greater comfort with the human body in its natural state. However, it's a safe assumption that most art students and models don't become nudists; it's simply that the studio environment merely opens the door to the possibility.
Sunny said that she was already moving in that direction in her life, so the modeling didn't have much effect on her either way.
Reiterating the case of my female art student friend, she had such strong aversion to any form of nudity that her work in the studio wasn't enough to help her overcome her phobia of bare skin, even in the most innocent of settings.
Likewise, some healthcare workers see nudity and develop varying degrees of comfort with it. For healthcare workers, workplace nudity is an open door that they may or may not follow all the way to social nudity. In short, familiarity with nudity helps some of them.
Not as much today, but in other years, western cultural anthropologists encountered nudity in cultures other than their own and some of those cultures didn't have such an extreme aversion to nudity as western cultures. A few people groups in hot climates are perpetually nude, other ethnic groups are nude for communal bathing and in some cultures children don't wear clothes until puberty.
Sometimes the popular reaction to this is: this is proof of how barbaric or even animal-like these "foreign" cultures are. But not everyone reacts to "tribal nudity" in such a negative way. I don't want to blame contemporary anthropologists for teaching that nudity is backward, that isn't their intended message. It's a prejudice among the general public that is deeply entrenched and would not be uprooted by one issue of National Geographic magazine nor a textbook.
And as social pressure to "be western" expands across the globe, we are seeing fewer people engaged in "tribal nudity" in any form.
One other force for good nudity occurs when Americans and Brits travel to nude beaches in the Caribbean or in continental Europe (or the handful of clothing-optional beaches in the USA). These nude beach-goers are not regarded as backward and prudish. Americans have a harder time making a case that it is "primitive" behavior. Seeing it in person, many realize that they are missing out on a meaningful freedom. Whether or not they join in, it does create the spark of a very liberating idea.
I don't want to say anything one way or the other about D.H. Jonathan's books. I am inclined to think that a book about nude models is only marginally helpful at best in getting people to consider social nudity. I also think that while sexual intimacy can be presented in a loving and tasteful manner in print, it doesn't help make the case for non-sexual nudity any more than a book on bridge design would.
Our nudist culture no longer has a total ban on displays of affection, but we consistently confine intense physical intimacy to private places just as the textile public generally does. (I know that some members of the general public behave badly at textile beaches and I have no intention of accepting the label "nudist" on the clubs that are taking the path of sexual license rather than practicing traditional family naturism)
In fact, one can argue that nudists tend to be better behaved and friendlier than people at a generic social gathering.
As BeachBunny corrected assessed, we nudists are no more attractive than a random sample of folks at a supermarket. There is a beauty and dignity to all nude bodies that we should celebrate. Nudism at its best doesn't show favoritism to the few beauties in our midst. You'd be a fool to choose your friends that way in any context, nude or clothed!