Being naked feels great, doesn’t it? It’s the way we came into the world, and it’s the way nature intended us to be.
The feel of the sun, wind and water against our bare bodies is so natural and freeing.
The ancient Greeks knew this and celebrated the naked human form, especially when it came to sports and competition. In fact, the word gymnasium comes from the Greek word “gymos,” which literally means naked.
The original Olympic games featured nude athletes running, wrestling, and boxing. In Sparta, even the female athletes competed naked, much to the enjoyment of the Spartan boys who were allowed to watch.
We also know that ancient cultures in Egypt, India, and the Orient practiced nudism. And many remote tribes in Africa and South America wear little to no clothing even to this day.
Why did we start wearing clothes?
So, when and why did we start wearing clothes? Well, according to research, humans started wearing clothes about 170,000 years ago. Prior to that, we were naked for hundreds of thousands of years.
Blame it on the weather. Ian Gilligan, of the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University, says:
“Modern humans probably started wearing clothes on a regular basis to keep warm when they were first exposed to Ice Age conditions.”
Whether due to societal constraints, the weather or just comfort, it’s not really feasible to live our lives fully in the buff. However, depending on how bold you are, there are a number of fun and daring activities you can enjoy sans clothing.
What’s your level of nude comfort?
I’ve outlined 12 progressively more courageous activities that you could enjoy naked. It starts with simply sleeping in the nude and goes all the way to visiting a clothes-free resort.
What’s your comfort level with each activity? I’ve done the first eight on the scale, but the last four require a bit more courage. Given the opportunity, I think I’d try them all.
Level I: Cautious Nudity
These activities are for those who want to try being naked more often but don’t necessarily want to do so in public.
1. Sleeping and Cuddling
As long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred sleeping naked. It just feels too restrictive and uncomfortable to wear clothes. It turns out it’s not just about comfort. There are a number of studies showing that sleeping naked is actually much healthier for you.
And if you’re fortunate to have a partner who’s also sleeping naked next you, then you can enjoy the wonderful feeling of skin-to-skin contact. It’s well-documented that babies need this skin contact, so it would make sense that we all do no matter how old we are.
2. Yoga—Home Practice
You may not be ready to jump into a public Naked Yoga class just yet (more on that below), but you can start with a nude yoga practice in the privacy of your own home.
The nice thing about doing yoga naked is that you can really see and feel your form. Your clothes don’t get in the way of your poses; it’s just your body, the air, and your mat.
3. Getting a Massage
While many people leave their underwear on during massages, I can’t imagine getting a proper massage unless I’m naked. I love getting my lower back and glutes worked, and wearing underwear would just get in the way.
If you haven’t had a massage naked, don’t worry, licensed massage therapists make sure you’re always properly covered by a sheet or towel.
Being able to get some sun on your entire body feels amazing. If you’re lucky to have a private patio, deck, or backyard, then you can sunbathe in the nude whenever you want.
Even if you live in the city, you might be able to get away with nude sunbathing on your roof.
Precautions: Use plenty of sunscreen (especially in areas that have never been exposed to the sun) and watch out for helicopters, nosy neighbors and even drones!
Level II: Moderate Nudity
These activities are for those who are feeling a little bolder and don’t mind being naked in certain public settings.
5. Skinny dipping
Who didn’t go skinny dipping at least once when they were a teenager? Whether it’s a lake, a pool, or the ocean, there’s no better feeling than floating in the water naked. It’s almost like being back in the womb.
Precautions: In the ocean, watch out for jellyfish and sharp shells.
6. Being in nature
There are so many wonderful places in nature to be naked. There’s the forest, the desert, the beach, a meadow, or the mountains. If you can find a secluded area, you can enjoy the sun on your body, the wind against your skin, and ground beneath your bare feet.
Precautions: Watch for park rangers, unsuspecting hikers and ticks!
7. Communal Baths
In San Francisco’s Japantown, there are several communal bath houses that harken back to the ancient Japanese tradition of public bathing. You can enjoy a massage, and then go to the swimming pool, the hot tub, and the sauna.
Typically the clothing optional days are either all-male or all-female, and the coed days require a swimsuit.
8. Nude beach
At a nude beach, you can sunbathe, swim, walk around, read a book, play volleyball, etc. all while being naked with other fellow nude beach-goers.
I’ve been to four nude beaches from Hawaii to the Caribbean, and I’ve enjoyed the experience each time. My two favorites were Little Beach in Maui and Orient Beach in St Maarten.
Level III: Courageous Nudity
These activities are for those who have no problem being naked in a public setting and don’t care who sees them in their Birthday Suits.
9. Burning Man
Burning Man is a great place to be boldly naked. You won’t be alone, as many other courageous Burners will be frolicking in various stages of undress. However, it’s not a nude beach, so if you’re naked, you will stand out.
Precautions: Sand storms, hot desert sun, fire
10. Naked yoga class
Naked yoga classes are actually a thing now. There are both unisex and coed classes available. If you’re feeling very bold, try a co-ed class.
While it may seem daunting, most yogis are too focused on their own practice to worry about what other naked yogis look like. Once you get into the flow of the practice, it all becomes about your own body and practice.
11. Nude runs
This one requires a fair amount of courage. If you’re feeling bold, there are running events you can do in your birthday suit. There’s the Caliente Bare Dare 5K in Florida, the Nude Run of Finland or the World Naked Bike Ride.
You can also run Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, which allows all levels of clothing, costumes and nudity.
12. Clothes-free resorts
This is the all-out nudist activity, since you’ll be doing almost everything in the buff. You have to feel pretty comfortable in your Birthday Suit at one of these resorts.
Just imagine the freedom of eating, drinking, sunbathing, playing sports, etc with no clothes and surrounded by other naked people.
If you can do this, then you truly have confidence and comfort in your body and with naked human bodies in general.
If you’ve never tried being naked outside the privacy of your home, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
One thing you’ll find is that if everyone else is naked, then you quickly lose your inhibitions and soon forget that you’re not wearing anything. It soon becomes natural and not a big deal.
Start with the first few activities on the list and challenge yourself to go for the next few on the list. You may find the feeling to be wonderfully liberating! And just think how much you can save on clothing.
Author: Dylin Redling
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Image: Flickr/Richard Ault