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 firstname.lastname@example.org, with a picture if you have something suitable, and tell us all about it. See our submission guidelines for more info.
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.
PS - That photo really is me, on Shellness Beach on Sheppey.