Since Charles posted my "I have met the nudist" story last January, I have gotten lots of email messages asking for more information, advice for reluctant spouses, and so on. I decided to take a few minutes to write an update on my naturist life and to share some thoughts that I have formulated over the past year.
1999 was a good nudist year for me and my family. My new year's resolution was to have one social nude experience per month. I didn't quite achieve that goal but did manage 10 out of 12 months. October and November were the months that I missed. By the time December rolled around I was really missing my social nude time and thoroughly enjoyed a swim with our local non-landed (travel) club.
I travel for work quite a bit and turned that to my advantage by getting to visit different clubs around the country. I will admit, it does take a bit of nerve to go to a club alone as a single woman, but I never had a bad experience. People were always open and friendly, and welcomed me warmly as a fellow nudist.
In January, my husband and I took a long weekend for ourselves and went to Desert Shadows Inn and Resort in Palm Springs. It was absolutely wonderful. Desert Shadows is a full service resort: big enough to have great amenities but small enough to be welcoming and inviting. The weekend we were there a writer's workshop for the Naturist Society was going on, so I had the chance to meet some other Internet authors. I didn't attend the workshop but did catch up with the participants around the pool and in the hot tub.
Another highlight of the year was the Eastern Naturist Gathering in June. I went with my two children for 4 days. My husband had to work so it was just the three of us, but we had a great time, nonetheless. The Gathering was held at Eastover Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts, which is a beautiful facility. It is not a nudist place but goes nude for the week. They had a full slate of activities which I kept planning on attending, but somehow kept getting waylaid by conversation next to the pool. The weather was hot which was great, because it can be cool in the Berkshires in late June. My children had a wonderful time and made some very nice friends. They had lots of kids activities planned so they were never bored. Plus they both love to swim and with two pools (one indoors, one out) they were able to swim morning, noon, and night. We are planning on going back this year.
We have a hot tub at our house and used that as the basis for entertaining. We've gotten friendly with several nudist couples and a popular evening is dinner and soaking afterwards. Overall, the summer of 1999 was pretty warm here in Maine, so I had lots of nude time at home and on our boat. I will admit, I had a pretty great tan by the end of the summer.
Generally, we have incorporated naturism quite comfortably in our lives. The kids and I take advantage of different activities, primarily monthly swims with our local travel club. I think they are still young enough to be "natural" nudists and just enjoy the activities and free feeling. My husband participates but still doesn't see why I make such a big deal of it. He had a great time at Desert Shadows and is hoping to get to the Eastern Gathering for at least part of the week this year. He is comfortable with my level of participation and doesn't object when I visit clubs during business trips. He has experienced enough activities with me to know that know that everything is as they say.that is, it is a just a social experience, meeting people, spending time talking, making new friends.
As I said earlier, I have gotten quite a few emails commenting on my article and asking different questions. There are some common questions that have come up over and over, and I have developed a few opinions on them. To wit:
1. What about your children? Aren't you worried about them?
No, I am not, but that doesn't mean I am not careful. I take my cues from them, not pushing them when it does not seem comfortable. For example, before I made the reservations for the Eastern Naturist Gathering, I showed them the article in N, and explained what it was all about. After talking about it, they decided it looked like something they wanted to do and then I made the reservations. One thing they enjoy are monthly swims with the Maine Solar Bares. The Solar Bares suffers, as many clubs do, from the gender imbalance problem (ie, more men attend than women or couples). The first few times I took them, I kept a very close eye on everything that was going on. I also had a frank conversation with my son (who is 11) about inappropriate touching, telling him to tell me immediately if anything unusual happened. To date, nothing has and I don't expect anything will. We have been enough times now that people at the club know them, and enjoy having them around. They usually are the ones that instigate the volleyball games, or water frisbee! My only disappointment is that not more children participate. There were kids at the Eastern Gathering, but at other events they are often the only ones there.
2. Is it true that women are really the reluctant ones, and more men are interested in nudism?
That is a common assumption, but I don't know that it is true. I have spoken with many women who would love to try a day at a nude beach or club but don't think their husband (or partner or boyfriend or whomever) would have the nerve. And it seems that for many men, the issues about nudism are not all that different than some of the issues for women. They are afraid they won't "measure up" or that they will be embarrassed. They are afraid they would feel out of place or that people will stare. In my experience, none of these things come to pass. Once someone takes that initial step, they find that the rest is remarkably easy.
3. So what can I do to convince my partner (male or female) to try nudism?
My first and most constant piece of advice is, make sure you have good open communication. Clearly, this is something that is important to you but your partner has some reservations and I am sure, lots of questions. So keep the communication open, answer questions, and provide information. The Internet is an incredible resource; take advantage of it. I printed articles for my husband to read. I email corresponded with others to get their stories, and shared this information with my husband.
Keeping communication open, though, doesn't mean to shove something down your partner's throat. Know when to push (a bit) and when to back off. Be prepared to go over the same ground, several times. For many people, this is a new idea that requires some social unlearning and that process takes time.
The next thing I tell people is, focus on the activity and make the nudity a secondary issue. For example, which sounds more interesting to you: "I heard about this nudist club where you can go and be nude with others. I really want to do this. When can we go?" or "I heard about this club that has a pool, a hot tub, a nice restaurant, volleyball, and hiking trails. Let's go and spend the day. Incidentally, it is a nudist club, so you have the option of not wearing any clothes while you participate in these activities." For me, I would much prefer the latter invitation!
Another thing to consider is how to introduce your partner to social nudism. Do you want to start small, say at a friend's house with dinner and a hot tub? Or would it be better to go away, to a club or a beach resort? Both approaches have their pros and cons and you need to assess which is going to be more comfortable for your partner. Some people like the idea of going somewhere anonymously with a bunch of people you may never see again, while others prefer an intimate supportive environment with friends.
If your partner does agree to give it a try, make a rule of "if I say no, I mean no." Let the person know that if s/he feels uncomfortable and says, "I want to leave" then you will immediately agree to that. Many people need that safety net.but in my experience, it seems that many of them never need to use it!
Finally, remember the power of positive thinking. Tell your partner of your love and support. Be generous with your compliments. For many, getting over that initial hurdle is a body acceptance issue; letting your partner know how much you love his or her body goes a long way to helping the person inside that body feel good about themselves.
In conclusion, I have had a good nudist year and have learned a great deal. I hope I have helped a few others with my thoughts and messages. And please feel free to write me with your questions or comments. My online friends have been a great source of strength and support. I like to offer that back to other "would-be" nudists.
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Last updated: February 12, 2000