Unless you grew up in a house without clothes, the chances are that there was a 'first time' that you encountered social nudity. For some that may have been a surprising experience, some might have been a bit shocked, and for some it would have been perfectly natural. Here are some stories that we have collected together of people's first encounters with nudity and how they reacted.
We would love to hear about your first experiences of being nude in front of others or encountering nudity in ways you have since discovered to be perfectly natural. Send an email to email@example.com, with a picture if you have something suitable, and tell us all about it. See our submission guidelines for more info.
(This post was written a while ago, shortly after Zoe's original 'First Time' post, but somehow it never got published. So here it is... only a year or two late, but with Zoe's approval)
If you saw my previous post where I wrote about my first time on a nude beach, you’ll know that at some point in my early twenties I discovered that getting naked around other people was something I really enjoyed doing. It was liberating, fun, sexy, different, and filled a gap in my life that until then I’d had no idea even existed. I knew that from then on, nothing would keep me away from spending as much spare time as possible on nude beaches or in other places where communal nudity was accepted (if there even was such a thing in the UK). So I planned my next trip, booked a day off work, and got everything ready so I could leave early and get down to the beach before the road was parked solid.
And it rained.
I don’t mean the sort of rain that you can ignore so long as you have a light jacket to keep your shirt dry. No, this was the sort of rain that washes cars down the road and undermines buildings. This was serious rain. Apocalyptic rain. I’m pretty sure a man down the road started build an ark.
Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating the rain a little, but even so it was far too wet to go and spend the day on the beach. I remember sitting in my room staring at the water running down the windows, and checking the television every news report to see if it was going to let up. It was frustrating, and more than a little annoying after all the planning I had put in and all the good weather we had been having for the previous couple of weeks. Why did it have to rain on my one day off? But more to the point, what was I going to do about it?
It may have been raining, but this was heavy and thundery midsummer rain so it wasn’t particularly cold. In fact the house was getting quite warm with all the windows shut, so the first thing I did was to strip off and throw my clothes into the corner of my room. Now this might seem weird to all you seasoned nudists out there, but it had never occurred to me until that point that I could be naked at home just doing stuff around the house. I was a get-up-and-get-dressed kind of person, and only really took my clothes off for baths or boyfriends, not to do the dishes or watch TV.
My parents had a very mixed attitude to nudity back then, and my Dad is no different even now. In all the time I’ve known them I don’t remember ever having seen either of them naked or even partly dressed - If they had to get changed in communal changing rooms or on a beach there would always be a giant towel involved to keep things covered up. I would always be expected to be dressed when doing anything around the house (pyjamas with or without a drawing gown were fine, but a towel on its own was most definitely not!), and they would always ‘tut’ and ‘harrumpf’ if they saw a streaker on TV or if someone got naked for a protest. But at the same time they were fine with nudity in art, and had no problem at all with nudity for a reason (I remember sitting down to watch a medical programme on TV with them once when I was about eleven, and there was loads of nudity as people compared body parts, were shown how to check for lumps, and more). But nudity just for the sake of being naked, no way.
So as a result of all that, I’d never just wandered naked around my own house. Until then, when I chucked my clothes into a corner and stood in the middle of my living room thinking “Cool! But... now what?”
It was still raining heavily so going anywhere was still off the cards, but perhaps the rain itself could be interesting. I remembered seeing a photo in a magazine (or an exhibition maybe?) of a couple going for a romantic naked walk through the rain somewhere, and that sounded like a fun thing to try. So I threw open the back door and jumped out onto the patio behind the house, right into a giant puddle.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I really started to understand how thunderstorms worked. At that point I only had a basic understanding of them as just exceptionally heavy rain, and I didn’t know about how those tall stacks of clouds worked to circulate the raindrops high into the atmosphere before they began their rapid descent back to earth. It had never occurred to me that thunderstorms and hailstorms were basically the same thing, and that even on the hottest days of summer it’s really easy for ice to form amongst the clouds. Or to put it another way, the rain in Hampshire was a hell of a lot colder than the rain in Guadeloupe!
The puddle I landed in was like ice, and the water cascading down around me, soaking my hair, running in rivers down my back and over my breasts was like being in the shower when the heating fails. I yelled in shock and tried to duck out of its way, but instead of moving back towards the warmth of the house I leaped the wrong way and landed right underneath the cascade of freezing water that was shooting straight off the edge of the roof and missing the gutter completely.
I gasped at the blast of coldness as it washed all the way over me from head to toes, but then as the initial shock began to subside a little, I started to laugh. Yes, it was ridiculously cold, and yes it was even a bit painful, but it was something I’d never done before and it felt great to be doing something so crazy and silly and daring right in my own back garden. I danced around for a little while in the big puddle until my feet began to go numb, then just as I was reaching the point where I would have to go indoors again or freeze to death, I had one last crazy idea. It was a smallish garden, probably about ten or fifteen metres long (I never measured it) with flower beds down either side, and a shed next to a large shrub at the far end with a gap between them just wide enough to let the shed door open. I took a deep breath to brace myself against the cold, then walked slowly to the far end of the garden and after a brief struggle to get the door open I ducked inside the little shed.
There was nothing to do in there as it was only where we stored the lawn mower, garden tools, a few chairs, and quite a lot of spiders. If you had asked me why I’d decided to walk there naked in the rain I wouldn’t have had a good answer for you, but I suppose it was just so I could add something new and a bit daring to the list of things I’d done recently. Not that it was that daring - the garden wasn’t overlooked at all from one side, and on the other side was a neighbour who worked somewhere in Dorset and was never at home much even when he wasn’t working, but to me it was more daring than just standing on the patio.
It was surprisingly warm inside the shed, and the change in temperature was having an effect on me. The water on my back felt even colder than it had when I was outside, and my nipples - already as hard as glass cutters - began to burn as blood started to flow back into them! It was time to go back indoors and warm up. So I opened the door again, stepped outside, and once I was sure the fiddly latch was hooked shut I started to walk back to the house.
And of course obviously that was the moment I saw my very surprised neighbour standing at his bedroom window looking down at the naked girl wandering casually through the rain.
It was too late to try to cover anything, and way too late to run quickly or try to stay out of sight, so I just sort of smiled awkwardly and shrugged, and concentrated hard on not falling on my arse in the increasingly slippery mud. I saw him give me an even more awkward smile than I’d managed, and I swear that just as he disappeared out of sight he did one of those half-waves that people do when they really can’t believe what they’ve just seen.
I got back inside, shut the door, and immediately fell about laughing. Of all the days for him to be off work! What were the odds that he’d be looking out of his window at that exact moment? Then the laughter faded, and I started to think about what had actually just happened. How would he react? Had I just upset or offended him? And what do I do next? Should I put some clothes on and run round there to apologise, or just leave it and pretend like it never happened? I didn’t know him well and wasn’t even sure of his name, so which would make it worse? Was he going to treat it as a come-on and would he start harassing me?
I decided to just leave it, and if he came around asking about it I’d just make out it was the most natural thing in the world and that he was the weird one for making a fuss. That seemed to be the least awkward way to go, and the least likely to make things worse. So I went upstairs and had a shower to warm up and wash the mud off.
The rest of the day was uneventful. I stayed naked, despite wondering if that was such a good idea after the neighbour incident, and did a few things around the house mainly so I had something to do. By the end of the day I had done the washing, the hoovering, cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom, and changed all the bins (much to my parents’ later delight and confusion, as I wasn’t exactly known for doing that kind of stuff voluntarily), and being naked in the house was so natural to me that I wondered why I had never done it before. This was my first naked day, but it was certainly not going to be my last.
My parents were due home at around six-thirty in the evening, so just after six I thought it was time to get dressed. I put on one of my favourite long summer dresses but couldn’t quite bring myself to bother with underwear - it was the nearest thing to naked that I could get away with whilst they were around, although I wondered if I’d get comments about the lack of a bra (amazingly I didn’t).
As it happens I was looking out of the front window when they arrived, and of course that was the day that they bumped into the neighbour as they arrived and stopped for a quick chat. I watched them for clues about what he was saying but couldn’t get anything from their expressions, so when they finally came inside I was expecting the worst. It had never come up in conversation of course, but I can’t imagine they’d have been particularly thrilled about their daughter streaking in front of the neighbours. But they said nothing and everything was as normal. So I had to assume that the neighbour must have kept what he’d seen all to himself. Which was very good news indeed.
The evening was perfectly routine, and then it was time to go to bed. I took the dress off as soon as I got in my room, and then decided I’d try sleeping naked for the first time. Up until then I’d always worn pyjamas or a long T-shirt and shorts to bed, but after a day of no clothes it seemed weird to get dressed to go to sleep. So I didn’t. And except for a few nights in tents and dodgy hotels where it was too cold to be less than fully dressed I never wore anything in bed ever again.
And that was my first naked-at-home day.
So I guess you’re all wondering about the neighbour, and whether he ever said anything to me about that day? Well… he did!
It was a couple of months later, and as I had the house to myself I was running around naked (this was normal by then) whilst getting ready to go out. I was clearing up after breakfast, and so as I did most mornings I went to brush the crumbs off the breadboard onto the patio for the birds to eat. There was no way that anyone could see anything from that angle so I didn’t even bother to look before stepping outside, but of course that was the day that the neighbour was up a ladder doing something to the top of the dividing fence.
He spotted me a second or two before I spotted him, so I looked up just in time to hear his surprised cough. He was only about two metres away from me so there was no pretending it hadn’t happened and no ignoring it. So I made a half-hearted attempt to cover myself with the breadboard (obviously pointless), and said something like “Sorry… didn’t know you were in. Again.”
We chatted for a bit (Yes, I know… weird, right? But strangely not awkward.) and it turned out that Barry (I finally found out his name!) was getting quite used to seeing me naked, starting with that first time when I’d come back from the beach in a top that barely reached my hips. Yes, so literally on the first day that I ever did anything naked, Barry had been at his front window when I got home and seen me get out of the car wearing less than half my clothes. Obviously.
After that had been the rainy day where he’d seen me going down to the shed in the nude, but not believing what he’d just seen he had waited to see me come back as well! I assumed the next time would have been the current fence incident, but apparently I’d been visible a couple of times in between as well, when I took the rubbish out or sneaked outside to get parcels from where the postman had tucked them.
I apologised of course, but he waved that away and said he wished he had the confidence to be the same. But he really didn’t think that he would ever be that comfortable without clothes. I told him about Studland and how it was all pretty new to me as well, and he said he loved the sound of it but there was no way he could do it.
So that was my first experience of being caught, and thankfully it was a good experience. There have been times since that haven’t gone so well, but being caught the first time by someone who really didn’t mind what they saw was the best way to keep my naked confidence intact.
And Barry? I stopped even bothering to try to hide from him after that so I have no doubt he saw me naked loads more times, and we chatted whenever we bumped into each other on the drive (although I don’t think I ever talked to him whilst naked again). Anyway, the following summer he excitedly called me over to talk just as I was going out one day and told me that he’d just spent a week in Spain with his girlfriend and they’d spent almost all the time on a nude beach there. They’d loved it, and they would definitely be trying out Studland at some point soon.
So for me, the message from this story is that if you talk to people about nudity whenever you can, and show people how normal and comfortable it can be, you may end up making new converts.
PS - The photo isn't me, and that isn't my parents' shed!
I had never been particularly bothered by nudity whilst growing up, not mine or anyone else's. My parents never made a thing about it one way or the other so I never picked up any of the hangups that so many kids get taught. I think like most of us I must have ended up naked around other people in changing rooms or houses a few times without ever thinking about it, but I don't remember being naked around people of the opposite sex until that first time on the beach.
I can't remember what first put the idea in my mind or what made me decide one day that "today I'm going to strip off in front of strangers", but that was pretty much how it happened. I was in my early twenties and had recently started driving, and then one day I remember thinking "tomorrow I'm going to a nude beach". Maybe I had seen something on the television, or heard someone talking about 'naturist clubs', I really can't remember, but whatever triggered the thought I remember going to bed very determined to see it through.
When I woke up the next morning I had the house to myself. My parents were out for the day so there was no chance of anyone asking what I was going to be doing or where I was going, so there was nothing to distract me from my plan. I have no idea what they would have said if I had told them where I was going, but although I was determined to see it through I was glad that I didn't have to have that conversation right then. So I grabbed some breakfast, stuffed a towel and something to drink in a bag and jumped into the car.
The beach I was heading to was Studland Bay in Dorset, and it was a little under an hour of driving to get there. I spent the time thinking about why I was doing this and whether I would actually go through with it when I got there. Part of it was of course that I wanted to see what the boys looked like with no clothes on (and the girls as well, I'm not fussy), but the main reason was that I wanted to see how I would react when it came to that moment of stripping off in front of people I didn't know, and what it was about public nakedness that people found so attractive.
If you know Studland Bay you will know that during weekends in August it can be quite busy. I had found some directions somewhere as to how to get there and I knew I was looking for a path by a bus stop about halfway between the ferry and the main car park. That whole section of road was parked up for about half a mile in either direction, so by the time I found a space and squeezed my little car off the road I was quite a long way away. I locked up, clipped my keys to my bag, and started walking.
The countryside is lovely and kept me distracted from the way that the only people I could see walking in the same direction as me were men. I was starting to wonder if I was going to be the only girl on the beach when I got there and whether that would make me turn around and come back or even more determined to strip off. Surprisingly it was a close call, so I kept walking and eventually came out through a gap in the dunes onto this huge area of open sand.
Immediately I could see that there were loads of families nearby, with couples and individuals tucked into the edge of the dunes and all over the beach, and well over half of them were naked. I didn't wait. As soon as I was in the middle of it all I stopped, put down my bag, and without hesitating I pulled off my top, then kicked off my shoes and peeled down my jeans and knickers. I was naked. In front of people. And no-one minded.
I stood there for a moment talking it all in. As I write this I'm now wondering what I must have looked like just standing there turning slowly around as I took it all in. Maybe they recognised that first-time moment, or maybe they thought I was a little weird, but either way I stood there for a few minutes just absorbing the experience. It was hot and sunny, and a couple of girls to my left were rubbing sun cream on each others' backs to stop the burning. A family to my right were unpacking a picnic and trying to keep track of the kids as they ran around in circles. Two older men were playing beach bowls, and a group of students - some naked, some partially dressed, and some fully clothed - were laughing and talking. And then I realised that no-one cared what the naked people looked like. I think I had gone expecting all the naked people to look like they had just walked off a photoshoot for Vogue, but I was surrounded by perfectly normal people with perfectly normal - if more than usually visible - bodies. If I'm honest with myself I had been a little worried about that side of it. I was in my early twenties and even I knew that I wasn't exactly ugly back then (I'm in my mid forties now), but there's a difference between "not exactly ugly" and "model hot", and I had subconsciously expected people on the beach to be in the second category. But they were normal. And so was I. And we were naked and no-one cared.
And it was amazing.
I spent the whole day there, and when it was time to go home I really didn't want to get dressed again. It felt wonderful being nude. I had talked to people, bought ice cream from the little hut on the beach, and even gone swimming... all nude. It was awesome. But by six o'clock people were starting to head home and the sun was starting to head downwards. So although I desperately did not want the experience to end I reluctantly took one last walk along the edge of the water before finally turning back towards the path.
I started walking back naked but all too quickly reached the sign that said I had to get dressed. So I ignored it and carried on walking until the path stopped being sandy and was too uncomfortable to walk on without shoes. I was the only one naked by that point, and although no-one walking with me seemed to care I thought that I had probably better put something on.
My top was almost long enough to count as a very short micro-dress (who am I kidding - no it wasn't), so I pulled that on, left the jeans and knickers in the bag, slipped on my shoes, and walked back to the car. There was about another half a mile on the path, then nearly a mile up the road to where I had parked and I walked slowly enjoying every minute. When the ferry unloads that road can be quite busy, but somehow it never bothered me that all I was wearing was a pair of canvas shoes and a flimsy spaghetti top and that everyone driving past could see my bum. And it was the best feeling ever.
I drove all the way home like that, wondering occasionally if anyone saw anything as I stopped at traffic lights, and really not caring if they did. I had become a naked person, and I wanted to keep that going for as long as I could.
That was my first time nude in public. And it is now something I do at every opportunity.
Btw - my parents were still out when I got back, which was probably a good thing as they would no doubt have had something to say about what I had suddenly decided to call an 'outfit'!
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