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.
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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'!
Being nude in public was something I never even thought about. I don't mean that I wouldn't have considered it - I mean that I never had a single thought about it one way or another. I'd been brought up quite conservative, and nudeness wasn't something that ever really happened, so when one day I found myself walking along Studland beach in Dorset with my boyfriend, it was all a bit unexpected.
We found a spot without too many naked people and sat down. It's probably the best beach in the area and the few naked people we could see didn't bother me so I was more than happy to spend a few hours there, but when the boyfriend stripped off I wasn't really ready to do the same. So there we lay for a couple of hours, him nude and me in a bikini that didn't really cover much. It was a hot day, and pretty soon we had to go in for a swim, so we walked down to the sea and jumped in.
It's funny the things you think of at times like, and I found myself asking "What's it like to swim without a costume? Does it feel any different?"
"Try it yourself," he said, and so keeping all the important bits under water I let him peel the costume off me.
It was different. Very different. And yet strangely I would say that it was the first time that swimming in the sea had felt 'right'. I swam around for ages like that until we both thought it was time to go back to our spot on the sand. I held my hand out for my costume, but he raised an eyebrow and said "Really?" We were standing in the shallows, and I hadn't even realised that I was already completely out of the water and visible to anyone on the beach. I looked around, and whilst one or two people may have been looking in our direction, most really couldn't care. So nor did I.
We walked back up the beach naked. I went straight to my towel, dried myself off, then picked up my purse and wandered down to the snack hut to buy us both ice creams. I bought an ice cream whilst naked!
I don't think I've ever chosen to wear clothes on a beach since. There have been times when I've ended up on beached where nudity isn't an option, but I'll always pick the clothes-optional ones if I have a choice.
Go naked! Really. Try it. You won't regret it.
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