I grew up in a very prudish family. I learned that nudity is something very private, only allowed for very small children and should be practiced only behind locked doors. I remember a picture showing me as a 2 years old boy bathing in a tub in the garden, with a swim suit on! I was nude only once a week when the stove was heated and it was time to take a bath. When I changed clothes, I managed never to be nude: First I changed my pants, well protected by my shirt, then the vest. My parents didn't talk about sexuality; One day I didn't believe when other children told me that adults have to do certain things to get their babies. This changed when I grew up. I knew that my parents didn't tell the whole truth.
As we owned an encyclopedia of 20 volumes, this was my door to the world. Though the language sometimes was a little unintelligible for me, I learned all I wanted to know. But I had to hide it very quickly when one of my parents entered the room. Of course I thought it was prohibited to read such things. In this encyclopedia I also found pictures of naked girls photographed during gymnastic practices (some pictures of German FKK movement of the 1920's). They were in the free nature, not behind locked doors. At first, this seemed very perverted to me, but also a bit exciting. This was the first time I wondered how the feeling must be moving around in nature, nude among other people. When my parents were not at home, I tried to walk around the house in the nude. It was great though I was always aware that this is a big filth.
Many years later, when I had left my home for studies, I decided to go to bed nude. I retained that until now, even if it's very cold outside the bed. This was my very first step towards nudism.
When I was 22 years old, I happened to be in Finland for a holiday, and my friends (all men) and I went to a Sauna, in the nude, of course. (But we took a bathing suit to jump into the lake.) At home again, I continued visiting a Sauna very regularly (still for men only). But nobody else knew about that.
Later I found out that a local nudist club offered public nude swims. I went there, not telling my friends. At the entrance, I had to write my name into a list. This was a slight shock because now I came out from anonymity. But I stood it, and it was a very great experience. Because I was a single until then, I must say that I saw a naked woman for the first time in my life, and I was naked in front of women for the first time. How freeing that was for me! And I did not get an erection as I feared. All was so easy because everybody was so friendly to me. There was nothing of a perversion at all: Families with children, students like me, just ordinary people.
Some time later, my friends (men and women) and I got used to drive to a hidden lake after parties to swim in moonlight - nude of course, because we had no bathing suits with us and darkness was a certain protection. (Is this what you Americans call 'skinny dipping'?) Then we met at this lake regularly, also during the day. I remember my relief when I recognized the first time that all my friends were nude. Nowadays I can't imagine to dress for swimming. I would rather refuse to swim than taking a swim suit. It is really awful to have such a wet thing slobbering between your legs.
I was with a woman for about seven years who liked to swim nude. We went to France for holidays, and we were always nude at the beaches. But I couldn't convince her to go to a nudist camp ground. So, starting from a nude beach, I went alone to a nearby nudist camp, and it was a great excitement for me to visit a supermarket in the nude. There was nothing strange about that. But I knew that I could not be there as a regular resident because my girl friend didn't like it.
After we separated, I was alone for 2 years. During this time I went to a nudist camp ground, and although I was alone, I felt fine. I knew that I did what I wanted to do all my life: to be nude the whole day, among other nude people. It was different from what I had done before: Not just undressing, staying on a towel for sunbathing, jumping into the water, and returning to the towel again. I slept nude, I got up nude, I felt the first sunbeams on my whole body. I felt the warm wind on my breast, on my stomach, between my legs. (This was one of the rare weeks when the weather was realy fine in northern Germany.) Nothing separated me from the rest of the world.
Then I became acquainted with my present wife. I introduced her slowly into naturism: at first at a secluded lake, then at a clothing optional beach. She likes it, too. From that time, I would call both of us half nudists.
But I feel that I am not yet satisfied with what I achieved. It is no problem in Germany to be nude on a beach, in the Sauna. Even in winter there are nude swims in several public indoor pools. But until now, I would not consider me as a real nudist. I know that I am not at the end of my way to this goal. What I intend is to do everything in the nude that I like to do, and to tell my friends about that - and to find friends who will do that together with me.
Only recently I decided to be nude at home whenever it is possible. I feel that this is another important step for me. Now I am nude at home, I know that nudity is the normal state for me, clothing is artificial. Even when I am clothed, I feel that I am naked below my clothing. When I am home, the first thing is to undress. Then I am really free.
Now that I am a 3/4 nudist, I would like to practice any kind of sports. (I was very un-athletic until now.) I notice that nudity is very good and healthy for me. As I am a little overweighted, I always try to decrease weight, but I never succeeded. But now, being nude, I feel my body, and the pounds are vanishing...
My wife would not like to be nude at home. (She says so.) She is afraid that neighbors could see her, that is is too cold, etc. But she tolerates my aim to be nude. But this year, we intend to make the greatest experience of our lives: we will spend our holidays in Southern France in La Sabliere where a whole valley is reserved for nudists. There we can be nude the whole day and night (when temperature and mosquitos allow it), we can do Yoga (my wife likes it, but dressed until now). We can hike, do jogging, whatever we like, all in the nude! I hope this will be THE experience that changes our lives as a couple. I hope we will both be 1/1 nudists after this summer.
Bernd, whose story this is, lives in Germany.
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Last updated: April 12, 1998