Some people are brought up with naturism and others come to it later in life. I was the latter, I don’t believe there are many of us, but now I have been introduced to it, I don’t see why many others can’t be too.
So what do you say when you are 2 years into a relationship and your potential “Yes” declares that when he goes to the beach he doesn’t wear swim wear and would you like to join him?!!!
Yes, you did read that right and for some reason he had no qualms in declaring this. I say declare, but it didn’t appear that he’d worked himself up to making this statement, it just rolled of the tongue like ‘I prefer Chinese food’ or ‘Cornwall’s a nice holiday spot.’ Was I surprised? A little hesitant perhaps but not surprised. It was in fact a running joke, even to my friends, that I would often come home from work and he’d be preparing dinner in the buff. It’s a nice welcome to come home and find the cutest arse making a gourmet delight – you should all encourage your men to do so ladies!
The next question was – did I go? The answer was “yes” – but in stages. We went down to Studland beach in Poole on one lovely summer’s day. I was really tentative, so to assist me, Mark chose a nice spot a little hidden in the dunes. At first I went topless because I had done so abroad and therefore had no qualms about it. This was all going ok, I felt I wasn’t on show and quite relaxed, so after an hour or so, I ventured to the next step. The removal of the bikini bottoms. Ever tried undressing discreetly on a sand dune? I’m sure I made a complete palaver of it, but he very kindly didn’t batter an eyelid and just let me get on with it.
Ok, so mission accomplished. I have to admit, I do remember reading the same line in my book over and over again in between glancing around me to make sure this was reality and that no one was looking at me. What I failed to realise at that point was that this was by no means the end. Slowly, but surely I was beginning to feel a little cooked. I have your typical “English Rose” type complexion and therefore did not as a habit, lie on a beach and so by now I was in dire need of cooling off in the sea. But that presented a problem. I would have to come out of hiding and reveal myself to the rest of the beach. So I instinctively reached for my bikini bottoms but Mark, taking my hand, guided me out of the dunes towards the sea. At that moment, I think I felt a resounding empathy with those coming onto a theatrical stage for the first time. Admittedly I was not going to perform, but my upbringing, social etiquette and beliefs were at risk. What if I did like it? Would I have to admit this to others who most likely would not understand? What if I didn’t like it? Would that then get in the way of our relationship? A dilemma indeed!!!
This of course was ridiculous. Mark was proud of me that day. He would never have applied any pressure and was fully prepared for me to express a dislike. I have to say at this point I wasn’t won over. But then during the holidays that followed, when we found a secluded piece of beach or a naturist section, I sometimes joined Mark in nude bathing – sometimes I didn’t! For some reason, it seemed right when in a hot country, to make the most of the sun and not sit around in wet irritating swim wear.
The crunch came when we booked a week’s holiday in June to a Mediterranean naturist resort. We are the sort of people who normally do not go for the “package holiday”. Anyway, so we chose a small-ish resort, bit the bullet and went. After the two hour windy drive, we believed we were approaching the correct area. We headed down the mountain to what appeared to be desert and all we could see was one little green oasis patch in the distance not far from the sea. This oasis in the middle of nowhere was of course our holiday location and proved to be ideal for naturism and epitomised the whole idea of returning to nature. The place was beautiful. It had lush green grass, stunning flowers and was impeccably clean – both in the rooms and all the communal areas.
We have to, of course, tell the tale of the first “naturist moment” – everyone has one!!! We decided swimming in the pool was the way ahead – somehow being beneath the water to begin with feels like a slow introduction to the idea! We took our obligatory towels with us, but decided to be brave and carry them rather than wrap them round us, especially as the pool was a stones throw from our room.
Deep breathes at the door, ready, steady go…. And who did we meet? Two gorgeous female German models and a film crew! We believe someone up there was having a laugh with us!
To this day, I still look on that holiday with fond memories – excluding the part where they asked us to play volleyball for the German television programme! When we looked apprehensive, they said, don’t worry we’ll blur out your faces, Mark’s response was, ‘it’s not my face I’m worried about!’ The memory that stays with me though is the people. The atmosphere was relaxing, friendly and easy-going. If you go on a normal holiday, no-one speaks to each other, which is the opposite of a naturist resort. I didn’t realise until this experience, how much the holiday could be enhanced by the people you met. Age and status was not a factor. We made very close friends with a retired couple and regret not visiting them at their B&B in Devon yet. I got prickly heat through the week and I was offered numerous advice and potions to try by the people around us.
I also felt beautiful. It may sound daft, but I felt like my body was acceptable. I didn’t feel fat and even didn’t worry about what to put on for dinner that evening (we did dress for dinner). This made me even more attractive to Mark and confidence oozes sexiness.
So what misconceptions are there around naturism? I think the biggest one for women is the media concept of what is beautiful. It has been in the press a lot recently about models being too skinny, but you must remember that these people are a minority. Don’t think for one minute that you could not come to a naturist resort because you are too fat, have stretch marks etc. you will not be any different to anyone else there. I did joke about the models turning up on the one occasion, but excluding them, at a size 14 I was probably one of the slimmer people there. Men may ogle at magazines, but at the end of the day they do really prefer curves, what’s the point if you don’t look how a woman should look like?
If you are worried about your size, how is having skin tight lycra against your skin any better than being naked? I bet you anything the unnatural bits bulging out of the bikini / costume looks worse than your natural shape, try taking a look in the mirror and decide for yourself! Being naked, you do feel beautiful and liberated.
In the naturist environment people could not pass judgement on who you are, what you earn, whether you are fashionable or whether you rate alongside existing friends. What a difference it made. Even the staff – though clothed – made a difference. They made the effort to talk to you as individuals.
I am not saying that I don’t take pride in my appearance any more, I do, but I don’t get so stressed and hung up about it as I did. I haven’t changed overnight, I still like buying clothes, doing my make up, looking nice in the evenings, but I have given up shoehorning myself into things that don’t really fit to try and convince myself I am a size smaller.
A lot of women can do topless, but taking the bikini bottoms off seems a bit too far. I won’t say that is daft because I felt exactly the same and still do on some days when I am lacking confidence more than most. A man asked me why the other day…could I think of an answer? I think it is seeded in a security thing, there is a certain amount of security in keeping the bottoms on. Security of what? I have no idea! But as he quite rightly pointed out, if you are embarrassed about a man seeing you naked, they aren’t interested in seeing that part anyway, there is nothing there. Their eyes are more naturally going to appreciate the breasts surely. That did make me think that maybe there is less to removing the bottoms then.
If at the end of the day you don’t think you are bold enough to make that step but like the idea of naturist beaches or holidays, come along and try it out, keep those bottoms on and only remove them if and when you’re feeling comfortable, which I have no doubt will be within less time than you think.
But won’t men be looking at you sexually? No, they don’t. I won’t deny they don’t look at you at all, they don’t walk around with blindfolds on, but because it is a natural thing, and not sexual, they just look at you as who you are. Will your husband be looking round at other women? If he is proud enough to be stood with the woman he loves, why would he need to look round? Why do you need to be any more jealous of a woman in the same state of dress as you than if you were on a standard holiday. I’m sure the woman flaunting in a bikini made of no more that triangles and cheese wire is more of a concern than the these ordinary women who don’t give two hoots who is watching and have no desire to flirt.
Where do you look? I also cannot deny you won’t take a sneaky look, but in that split second, because a big deal is not being made of it, ‘ooh I just saw your willy!’, because they are everywhere, the novelty wears off in minutes. You can hold a perfectly normal conversation in the buff without it mattering one bit. Which brings onto another question, how do I behave? No differently. Although you may have a greater awareness of your personal space as hugging people would require skin contact rather than clothes contact, it is not a problem. Ask yourself, when you meet someone for the first time do you give them a great big bear hug, or shake their hands and if you are someone with a more European outlook, you may kiss the person on the cheek. Where in this is there more body contact than necessary?
This may be a bit more awkward if you are there with friends, family or colleagues. We tackled this when we took my sister on holiday with us. My sisters primary fear on her first introduction to naturism was seeing her brother-in-law naked, and my husband can’t deny that the same thought went through his head. But again it was only awkward for that first moment and it is surprising how quickly it passes.
The Europeans have been practising naturism for many years, it seems only the British that are prudish and hung up on the idea that is not right. But aren’t the British hung up on everything these days? Health and Safety, the government telling you that you can’t smoke, shouldn’t drive big cars, speed cameras. I’m not saying be a rebel, but do have your own mind and not those of others around you. It almost feels like school peer pressure, that society as a whole has been taught that you wear clothes, therefore it must be correct.
So this is a nice little tale of discovering something new and liberating in life – only that it did not stop there! We are now opened a naturist holiday resort on our favourite Greek island of Kefalonia.
The biggest hurdle to overcome when venturing to open a business with an unusual concept is gaining buy-in from those around you. The first sentence from the owner of the property, from whom we are leasing in Greece, once being told the nature of the clientele we were selling to, was, ‘as long as they don’t have sex in my pool’. The “nudity equals sex” misconception is still present in many peoples association of naturism. There are strict sexual behaviour rules in naturist societies and it is even more taboo as it is a very family orientated community. It is clear that it is often a lack of knowledge that evokes this stigma
I was extremely nervous telling my family, friends, colleagues etc what we were venturing to do, but once I finally gained the confidence to do so, not one of them disappointed me. They all surprised me with wholly supportive responses and praise at the balls we had to actually do something. The hardest was telling my old place of work, where I had a fairly good professional reputation. It turned out that two of my old team found out inadvertently before I told them, but they both waited for me to come home and asked me directly before spreading the gossip. I was so proud of them and proud that we had that friendship that they respected me. As it was, I told everyone and I think they are more curious. I have to admit, I haven’t gone back into the work environment, but if I do, if our venture fails, I won’t be worried about it, a little nervous, but this experience has made me a better person who can take jokes on the chin.
Of course there were a few friendly jokes over a few glasses of wine – mainly questioning a man’s ability to control his admiration! Why not laugh about it, it can be funny. It is not belittling the concept and in no way do you laugh at the people who are naturists. But if you take the time to laugh with the jokes, you will find that you are educating whilst not actually stifling people’s curiosity to try something new. Getting defensive will only put people off. I believe many of our new found friends from living in Greece this last year will give it a try and that is a positive, because without having met us they would never have had the opportunity to try it.
I won’t be going around introducing myself as ‘Hi I’m Sam and I am a naturist’, because I don’t see it as a label or a different way of life to anyone else. We just like to lay in the sun with no clothes on to get an overall tan, it feels liberating. And as for swimming naked, that is even nicer, no more sitting around in damp irritating bikinis or shorts. There are people out there who see it more as a way of life and want to do everything naked, good on them! It may not be my choice yet, but they have every right to it. Every hobby or belief has a spectrum, some are more religious than others, some live and breath golf, others only play once a month, why not have all aspects of naturism?
But I would like to say, if your man is confident to do something like this, you are curious but unsure, come and give it a go, or vice versa. Naturists are the nicest people in the world. They are always wanting to welcome new people and will make you feel so comfortable and confident just by being them, you won’t even notice the change in you straight away until you go home and think about it. You will have a great time and I can’t wait to meet them all and hopefully you too this summer.
I’d like to thank the family, friends and new colleagues who are 100% behind us, (even those who won’t venture as far as 100% clothes-free), you know who you are! I hope I have motivated your curiosity about naturism or starting a business.