“Shall we go to a nudist beach?” my best friend asked me during our vacation in Barcelona.
She later admitted she wasn’t sure whether I’d agree or if this idea would actualize. She merely just said it. But the idea was planted and I kept mentioning it to her, asking different questions, “But if…what/how/when…?”
“Calm down, I just said it,” she replied sharply.
But something clicked in my head. The thought of doing it would not leave me alone. On the logical and sequential sides of things, this idea was not something out of the ordinary. I had stopped wearing bras, and apart from this being a great decision in terms of retaining normal body temperature in summer (sweaty boobs and bras are not fun, trust me), I found it also made me feel sexier.
The idea of my unguarded nipples being close to the outside world provided me a newfound sense of sexuality and body comfort. It was also a way to move myself and others around me away from the over-sexualization of a female body.
If men don’t have to wear bras under their T-shirts, why do we?
If men can go shirtless in public, why is it different for women? After all, men have chests, too.
“Okay, let’s do it. Tomorrow?” I finally said. We settled on the next day.
I’m not a prude. I’ve had no trouble getting naked in the bedroom with different partners at different weights. Most of the time I was probably not fully happy with how my body looked, but I knew that it was unlikely the guy would leave or say something mean when we’re already “on it.”
Getting undressed in other situations was a different matter. I grew up in a family where nobody ever got changed or undressed in front of each other. I was surprised every time I saw other women (like mothers of friends) get undressed in front of me. Wow, so not everyone hides when they get changed, I would think.
My best friend and I had not seen each other naked before, so going publicly au natural was a double challenge. The intensity of the situation took some pressure off. The thought of doing it together with a person I’ve known for 12 years was what protected me from all the negative thoughts and concerns. The fear of people looking at me was halved since I knew they wouldn’t just be looking at me. They would at least be looking at my friend, too. But also, there are a few other naked bodies to stare at, if that’s what people are into—that provided slight comfort.
We ended up going to nude beaches twice. The first day, getting used to tanning and going to the water naked took some time. The craziest feeling was coming out of the water with your full frontal in everyone’s sight. The second nudist beach trip was easier.
I am not going to say “Relax, nobody will look at you.” People did. I try not to think about the two unpleasant moments that took place during our second time. One man was filming us both with a mobile phone. I wanted to do something about it, but I could only imagine the situation, in which I nakedly berate him, making me more vulnerable than I already was. And the thought of taking it further by getting dressed and reporting him to the police would ruin the whole experience.
The second case was noticing a man masturbating while looking at us both. The funny thing is that I only noticed the latter when my friend told me about the first guy, so I had to look at the crowd. Who knows what else was going on behind us when we weren’t looking? It’s just easier not to look or think about it.
If you do pursue going nudist, pick a place where you know you would feel safe. Barcelona was the place for me, as there were fewer chances of somebody I know being at the same beach. Also, there is a broad variety of nudist beaches to go to. I even saw a naked man at a regular beach too; I’m sure this is not allowed, but it illustrates the normality of nakedness in this region.
The vast majority of people at nudist beaches (at least the beaches we encountered) are men. And mostly on their own.
It’s a shame that fewer women think that a nudist beach is a place for them, but I can see where they’re coming from. Living through the nudist experience twice, I would not feel safe doing it on my own. But it is something worth experiencing. My friend and I joked afterward that it would become a habit and we will unconsciously undress at every beach we go to in the future.
The thought of going naked does hit me every time I go to a beach now, but obviously, I have not lost common sense and respect for the laws. I have also noticed another positive change: getting into my bikini has become a far less daunting experience. It’s funny how two small pieces of fabric can start feeling like a lot of clothes once you’ve experienced being nude at a beach.