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!
On Sunny's main page, soon to be back up, there are stories of how some people got started in nudism.
My conversion was one Saturday morning, the 9th of June, in 2010. I was 68, recovering from a hip replacement. My surgeon had suggested going barefooted as therapy. There I was in my front yard, about 90 days after my surgery, barefooted, and on a whim, I took a walk, barefooted, around the neighborhood.
When I got back, I was sitting in a corner window thinking about how going barefooted was beneficial. I had always assumed that Society required shoes. However, I realized that there are times and places where shoes are not needed.
In that corner, I figured out that any clothing was unnecessary, too. That took most of the morning, but by lunch time, I had decided that I did not need to wear anything. Then I thought about the range of cover-up that people engage in and in Matthew 6:28, where we are encouraged, actually, instructed, not to worry about what we wear.
I joined "barefooters.org" a support group which encourages members on going barefooted. I find that there is a range of places to kick off your shoes. I also see that there are various stages of nudity. Some people shower nude, sleep nude, garden nude, do housework nude; Wednesday evenings I do the dishes, and I undress and go to it!
Well, there is another way to think of range, or spectrum, and that's, no matter how you were raised -- no matter how you got stuck in our society, you probably have a sentiment about naked: when, where, with whom, etc.
Where are you on the spectrum? Some of my barefooting friends would not be caught naked while insisting on their freedom to be barefooted, and some of my nudist friends gotta wear shoes, no matter what!
Where are you? Is it easy to go into your back yard, or first, do you need to check the sky? Can you bring up the topic in conversation?
For me; I guess I would say: "recreational nudist."
My wife and I mainly go to two venues: a nudist resort and a BnB. The idea is to step away from our everyday city life, for a day or two; and spend it entirely nude. When we talk about it with others, we describe it as such. Not so much a way of life; but a way to relax and "escape."
The "nudity" part is important to us. We tried clothing-optional; but it seemed "restrictive" after a few trips there. When we tried "all nude", it made a lot more sense to us to just leave all our clothes in the car and just stay naked. We also explain this preference to people when it comes up in conversation. I've also talked about this a lot here.
So I think that's pretty much where I'm at "on the spectrum."
Wow. I was "locked" out of here for what seemed like forever. Messages I couldn't understand about the site not existing.... Guess I can now see how that happened.
I want to do my part to keep this site active. I'll not worry too much about being on or off topic. Somehow it all works out eventually.
Someone recently mentioned common thoughts running through my posts. Can't find it now, can't thank you by "name". But thank you! You know who you are...
I'm glad that someone is collecting the crumbs that I leave!
I've written (too much?) about not remembering not enjoying being nude. Back to some of my earliest memories.
And how home life all the way through high school and college summers was "friendly" to not getting dressed just to be dressed.
And "traditional" social nudity in the 70s and 80s. Not very much about the first marriage to a prudish attitude about the body. Now very happily married to someone who totally "gets" and supports my nudism. Outdoor opportunities are limited right now but that will change. She's more inhibited for psychological reasons too intimate to tell here, even anonymously. Suffice it to say that the vulnerability of being the only one nude remains, but the confidence that swells when one is then heartily encouraged and warmly accepted is ultimately a thrill beyond comparison.
So a lifelong enjoyer of being nude. Many times places and situations over decades. Much of it quite happily solo with friend(s). Through this last weekend.
Where is that in the spectrum?
Nudony and Jim:
I'm not sure where I'm trying to go with this. Let me veer this way: I began barefooting because I needed some therapy, but I realized that a person can't just be barefooted everywhere s/he wants to, so I learned to check first. If someone is upset because I'm barefooted, I need to put shoes on so they'll be comfortable.
That's kind of how I relate to nudity among other people. If someone else is uncomfortable with the idea of lounging around too uncovered, then I should cover up so they will not feel so awkward.
Additionally, lots of people feel embarrassed even discussing the possibility, so this requires a thoughtful approach, too, so I won't scare them away.
My experience with barefooting and justifying my barefoot tendencies have trained me to explain my preference in case anyone else thinks that I have no right to be out in public barefooted. Indeed, there are circumstances where it would not be acceptable. Mostly because there is not a Missouri Department of Health code outlawing barefooting, I can go into some stores without shoes, but if a store has a sign (or even secret policy) prohibiting shoes, I don't go in barefooted.
Social nudity requires an acceptance. I guess I'm wondering here, is: if we are not sure where we are in certain situations, how are we able to discuss it with people we are not sure about -- and then to convince others that it is okay? That we will be okay to be with? That they'll be safe?
Interesting questions; but hard for me to answer since I only get naked at "traditional" nudist venues where it is expected. And I'm reserved about being naked around - or discussing it - with non-nudists.
Pre-pandemic, my wife went on a "girls' trip" with two of her best friends. On the second or third evening, she saw an opportunity to enjoy some "nude time" privately on the patio of the BnB they were renting. So after showering, she simply came out nude, summarily "announced" that she was going to take advantage of the private patio to unwind naked; which she explained as being a nudist and habitually enjoying relaxing nude. The friends were initially a bit taken "aback"; but then expressed curiosity and assent. One of her friends even decided to disrobe and join her naked on the patio. The other one decided to stay wrapped in her towel but also joined them nonetheless.
There are several things to take into consideration here. First: the setting. They were on vacation. Second: the relationships. The two women were very good, trusted friends. Three: they were all women. It is notoriously different when it's a man taking such a "direct" approach.
So for me, the answer is: it depends on how, where; and with whom. But I would say this: it's (almost) always better to be open about being a nudist to those close to us. Because when or if the opportunity to be naked arises, the "expectation" will already be there. Then it's just a matter of discussing and gauging everyone's comfort level; which can be complex in and of itself.
Glad the site is back.
For Jim: some friends from the cottage read your comments on the "What's Up" thread, had positive things to say on your point about social nudity being all about vulnerability and trust, and asked me to post, rather than them making a screen name and posting here themselves, like I suggested they do.
On this by VeryGary:
Thank you again for the positive feedback BeachBunny. I'll throw in that in my "list" of what "defines" social nudity, of course acceptance and freedom are close seconds to, or naturally flow from the vulnerability and trust.
We are alike in quite a few ways BB. I enjoy "dressing up" in many ways. Wear a tie more often than 99% of men these days. Enjoy winter for wearing my favorite warm shirts and wool sweaters.
And then can't wait to take it all off! My wonderful wife scolds me if I'm dressed too long on our apartment! Today in public my "formal" dress tendencies would certainly keep you from ever thinking "he might be a nudist". But I recall your frank comments back in a thread about how little we might wear. Just going from memory... In the 80s at places where I had to wear something, I was pretty bold about how skimpy that was. Didn't want to create new tan lines!
To the "original" question of talking to people about my nudism, I just felt my way along carefully. Mention something obliquely connected to gauge the response.
I remember a couple of posts here ages ago by a guy who had an encounter with his neighbors. Disclaimer: assume that all of my details are at least partly wrong. But I promise that the overall scenario is true as he told it.
He was on his deck/balcony/patio having a a smoke in the nude one summer night. Neighbors pull into their driveway and headlights briefly catch him in the act.
Not too long thereafter- same night, next day- he has a chance to say I'm sorry if you were offended. They say no problem, we don't mind, be nude any time you want.
Somehow there is something borrowed involved. Garden tool, shop tool, whatever. The next evening (darkness provides the needed privacy from the rest of the neighbors?) he decides to test their assurance and returns the borrowed item in the nude. It's all cool. They chat for a bit, say their good night pleasantries and he departs. Feels good about himself and the newly enhanced relationship with the neighbors.
This to me validates the "empowered" feeling Nudony referred to earlier, and my hunch that more people than we think are sympathetic to nudism if not practitioners themselves.
I have another story that I'll do next time.
Another example of how more folks than we think are nudist in some way, or at least sympathetic.
Living in central Florida in the 80's. Join a small Lutheran church. Young pastor lives out in the country- no parsonage.
Enter retired couple- Bill and Martha, not their real names of course. Got to know the pastor, about my age. He relates that seeing where the pastor lives, Bill remarks that the pastor and his wife can go outside at night in the nude, just as Bill and Martha do! And I have reason to believe that they did...
Sometime later Bill relates to me that he and Martha take their boat out into the Gulf to some islands not far offshore, where they can be nude.And these folks are as "staunch" Lutherans as you could ever hope to know.
I've already written about first mother in law, who was one of "us", even if she didn't know it for most of her life.
As time goes on I'm more secure in the long traditions of casual nudity throughout human history, so I'm less bashful about referring/admitting to my proclivities with others should the subject somehow surface. I don't try to manufacture the opportunities, I just don't avoid them.
Here's some more thoughts on all this. In 2010, I joined the Society for Barefoot Living, "barefooters.org" to verify my right to go barefooted in public. The group there has some advice, both good and bad, and offers support for people too timid to go barefooted.
A friend of mine, a member of TNS, cannot imagine going barefooted. I visited him a few years ago and we went hiking through his acreage as we discussed both groups. He did learn to go barefooted on his property but will not in public.
I am a naturist and a barefooter. I enjoy those social gatherings in our backyard where a small group can relax with confidence. I also like to go barefooted in town, but am aware of the anti-sentiment, so I don't like to push that habit in public.
Both practices involve consideration for the people around us.
Interesting comments. To OldBob: Perhaps I was too long-winded, but my stories/anecdotes overlap and go back years, here now, and in "real" time. The point has always been: don't assume that your "conservative", Christian, "staunch" Lutheran friends and acquaintances are prudes! I was repeatedly pleasantly surprised to "stumble" upon avid participants in or sympathetic supporters of our "lifestyle".
Your insights into the whole "German thing" are interesting, BeachBunny. Remember that my heritage is Wisconsin/Milwaukee descendants of 19th century (and even 18th century) German immigrants. For example, as far as I can determine retrospectively, my mom's experiences in pre WWII Southeast Wisconsin were the norm for the time: boys such as her two younger brothers didn't own let alone wear swimsuits at "the lake" in summer. As a young girl, perhaps a swimsuit was also an unaffordable luxury. So by the 50's and beyond, with just two boys in the house, nudity was simply not a "concern". That is why my answer to the when did you become a nudist question is always the somewhat perplexing I've never not been a nudist.
Also, while reading about it takes some "grain of salt" discernment, it seems factual that in the 50's and 60's junior high and high school boys swim teams not only practiced nude along with the girls team (in suits), but in certain areas competitions open to mixed spectators allowed/ required the boys to be nude. This seems to have been the most common in the "upper midwest", populated by Lutheran and Catholic Northern Europeans, that is Germans and Scandinavians.
So that's my 2 cents about "Germans".
Your story and your mom's as well is an important window into a time where healthier attitudes about nude swimming prevailed among children in your corner of America.
There are surely those who will never go along with the premise, but we aren't hoping to convince the stubborn, only those with an open mind.
I was adopted by a couple who were somewhat older than typical, particularly Dad.
He grew up in the southern USA in a small town and his experience had some parallels to what your mom grew up with. Dad and his brother were poor (although they didn't know it at the time). There was no budget for swim trunks. They simply walked to the river and went fishing for supper. If the fish weren't biting, off came the clothes and in they jumped, without a stitch on. In their community, a boy couldn't walk naked down the streets, but Dad said it was quite common for boys to swim naked in the river.
His family was from a denomination that traced its origins back to John Wesley and the family was conservative, shunning hard liquor, gambling and foul language. They family was in church every Sunday.
None of their county schools had a swimming pool, so I can't make that comparison. In fact, there was no swimming pool for me at my school.
It's sad that many people in our day think that life in America has always been the way it currently is, frankly a bit prudish and paranoid about nudity. Let's try to share the truth about good nudity when we can. I believe we can reach some of the people some of the time!
I really like your comment, Ramblinman, about healthy attitudes toward the human body: "Your story and your mom's as well is an important window into a time where healthier attitudes about nude swimming prevailed among children in your corner of America."
Which was replying to this by Jim about older practices:
Wow! My comment rejuvenated a dormant board with no posts in a week and a half, but now four in one day! Hope that's good.
Interesting how different ethnic groups respond to nudism. If Germans and Scandinavians are the most open to nudism, it's hard to think of any group more opposed to nudism than Asians except the Middle East (hijab, burkas, and worse).
I plan to write more about my ethnic Chinese friends, Meirong and Zilin, women from Taiwan and Singapore who are now college seniors and as freshmen were introduced to social nudity by Susan, an ethnic Chinese student who has now graduated. They're on spring break at a nude beach with their husbands/boyfriends and six newbie friends: two couples and the female roommates of the two newbie women. Only two are Asian (an American-born Chinese woman who I'll call "Katie" dating an American I'll call "Rob," and Katie's roommate "Jessica," born in Taiwan and grew up in America), but social nudity is a huge step for all six. The other dating couple, both Americans, were nude together for their first time a few weeks ago in preparation for this spring break trip, but none had previous experience with mixed-gender group nudity.
I need to wait for Katie, Rob, and Jessica to call me before I post publicly about their excitement this past weekend overcoming their modesty. My point is unlike Europe, mystifying the human body in America leads to all sorts of hangups like the Florida fight over a school showing photos of a classic nude Michelangelo statue displayed in a major public square of a European city for everybody to see.
Students from Germany, Scandinavia, and sometimes France and other European countries say their school biology classes used actual photos of men and women, not drawings, so they knew from a young age what boys and girls look like. Art books and books on ancient and renaissance history don't cover up or blur photos of classic statues and paintings.
Still, knowing what nude bodies look like doesn't mean young men and women don't look forward to seeing their dates undress. A Swedish couple who I knew in college from the nude beach near our campus said they'd vacationed on Mediterranean beaches and used mixed saunas long before they met, so both were very familiar with being nude and seeing other people nude. They were amused by Americans asking whether it was still exciting for them to undress together as a dating couple since they were so used to nudity. Both told me it was definitely special going to a German schwimmbad for their first time together. Their parents expected dating couples would see each other nude, and Annika's mother said she was much more comfortable with her daughter swimming nude with Karl in a public schwimmbad than hiding their first time nude together somewhere in private where more than simple nudity was likely.
Annika said after knowing Karl for several years, and getting quite serious, it was incredibly exciting to walk into the locker room together and unbutton her blouse and take off her bra while Karl pulled down his pants and shorts. She even blushed a bit as she pulled down her jeans and panties and watched Karl paying close attention to her nude body as she put her clothes in the locker. Of course they enjoyed showering together, and holding hands as they walked nude together to the swimming pool, and spent a whole day swimming and eating lunch together and tanning in the open air part of the schwimmbad complex. They also visited the English Gardens in Munich where they could undress in public, walk around nude on the grass while holding hands, and enjoy the breezes and sun in an open park with many but not all people also nude. Young couples in love get noticed, and they appreciated approving smiles from other park visitors, some fully clothed, some tanning in swimsuits, some topless, and some, like them, fully nude.
What Annika and Karl didn't experience was guilt. Yes, Annika blushed briefly as she pulled down her panties, but it was because Karl, who was already fully nude, was paying close attention to her body, smiling, and visibly enjoying seeing her undress. Neither felt they were doing anything wrong. Both were in love, both felt ready to enjoy seeing each other without the artificial add-ons of clothing, and their parents supported their dating and correctly believed a nude schwimmbad visit would build their relationship. Both families planned to vacation together the next winter to a Mediterranean nude beach, but the dating couple chose the earlier trip to Germany because they preferred, as a young dating couple, getting used to being nude together for their first time without their families.
That lack of guilt is very different from most American dating couples, who even if they are sleeping together, often feel guilty about seeing each other nude. It's like, "We love seeing each other nude, but we shouldn't, and we feel terrible about enjoying it so much."
Wow! I just read about the Florida thing. Incredible.
In 1963 I think I knew what coffee was. But not a coffee table, let alone a coffee table book, by that name. But there it was, my dad's pride and joy, a huge lavishly illustrated book about- you guessed it- Michelangelo! Where I first encountered fine art, and especially the beauty and artistic suitability of the nude human body. And of course in David, the implied no-shame and acceptability of my nude male body. Hmmm.....
You beat me to it BeachBunny, but I wanted to tell Ramblinman that he nailed it- the healthy attitude about the human body from not that long ago. The only nude photo of me as a child is one of bath time as an infant. Was I smiling!! But there were several of my brother, maybe 5-7 years old, at the beach. Think about it. Pictures no different from any others: new bike, with pet, birthday party, et cetera. At the beach- nude, but "naturally"... That was how normal, natural, uncontroversial- you get the point- nudity was to my parents. No, they didn't photograph each other that way, but that misses the point. Doing something in moderation, like children being nude and photographed that way, doesn't mean it's wrong. So much for "progress"!!
Thanks, Jim. The Florida Michelangelo fight is crazy. My parents would have objected in sixth grade but were okay with me seeing photos like that in high school. I'm pretty sure I saw lots of Renaissance and Greco-Roman nude art as a teenager. Don't remember if it was textbooks everybody had to read, or my own research for papers. The Florida school was supposed to notify parents in advance. A mistake caused parents not to be notified, but the board telling the classical charter school principal she could resign or be fired seems extreme. It's not like a regular public school. Parents signed up to give their children an education in the classics, which includes great art of the Renaissance, and lots of that was nude art the church not only tolerated but paid artists and sculptors to produce.
If Florida supports parental rights to choose what's best for their children, I guess there won't be problems with family nudist resorts and beaches that are all over Florida, and Florida leaders will be less upset than the hosts of The View with Sara Haines' family bath time. Why am I not believing what I just wrote? :thinking_face:
Since we're talking about Florida, I promised earlier to write about Meirong and Sue and their husbands and Zilin and her boyfriend, as they introduce their friends, Katie and her boyfriend Rob, Katie's roommate Jessica, another dating couple, and the female roommate of the second girlfriend, to social nudity while on spring break.
So far the weather has been glorious except one day with some rain. With temperatures up to the high 80s, and even nights quite nice in the 70s, the rainfall was a welcome break in the heat. Also, it gave our friends time to read email, discuss how much they wanted me to write on this page, and call or email me with the basics behind this post.
Meirong and Zilin are seniors so this is their last spring break experience. They know Katie, Rob, Jessica, and the other three students very well, and since Meirong and Zilin and their "significant others" spend vacations and many weekends at the lakefront cottage, their close friends know they are nudists. Rob was interested in social nudity even before college, and when he started dating Katie, a sophomore who has been a friend of Meirong since they were in a class together quite a while ago, he was pleasantly surprised when Katie cautioned her boyfriend about Meirong that "she's a really nice friend but she's a nudist."
It took many months, but by early fall of last year, Rob and Meirong and Zilin finally convinced Katie that if she ever tried social nudity she'd love it. Katie joined Meirong and Zilin and some others for women-only nude swims at the cottage, "graduated" to swimming in the lake as long as she could keep a towel around her until she was in the water, and finally agreed to a quick nude run from the cottage to the lake deck and jump into the lake as long as she was pretty sure no men were around.
When introducing social nudity to nervous newbies, it's great fun when they reach the point they're willing to try the thrill of outside nudity in places where they know they probably won't be seen, but might be. The few neighbors of the cottage owner on a secluded cove have primary homes elsewhere and are rarely around except weekends and then mostly during warm weather, but occasionally come out on weekdays to do maintenance or to swim if the weather is really warm. The cottage regulars have all occasionally been swimming in the lake when a neighbor waved "hi" from the shore or brought boats near us when we're swimming. The neighbors aren't nudists but their kids, now adults, are close in age to the cottage owners' adult children, so they were friends growing up, enjoyed skinnydipping together, and the neighbors are fine with other people sunbathing or swimming nude. The neighbors' adult children no longer live around here, but when they visit, sometimes come over to swim and sunbathe nude.
I met Katie at some of the woman-only swims, but this is mostly Zilin and Meirong's project. I've been out of college long enough that they think of me as a "young adult nudist who started nudism years ago in college." Not "older nudists" like the cottage owners and many people at resorts, but beyond the window of "recent college grads" like Sue.
I got asked by Meirong and Zilin to get involved since both couples are virgins and so are the two single women roommates. That's not common for college students beyond the freshman year, so once Katie said her biggest fear was where nudity with her boyfriend could lead, Meirong and Zilin called me and my husband due to our commitment to "save it for later." We had some very emotional heart-to-heart conversations, first with Katie and Rob, then with Katie's Chinese roommate Jessica, and more recently with the other couple and the other girlfriend's roommate.