Accept yourself: flaws, quirks, talents, secret thoughts, all of it, and experience true liberation. — Amy Leigh Mercree
In this installment of Nudist Planet’s Bare Voices George from the United States tells his story.
Bare Voices George USA
I live in San Antonio, Texas now and grew up in Miami, Florida. I think the overall attitude is not very open to public nudity in San Antonio. This is probably due to its large devoutly religious population. There are opportunities for nudism and naturism for San Antonio residents though. There is a private nudist resort just to the south of San Antonio in a small town called Elmendorf. San Antonio is also just 80 miles from Austin, home to Hippie Hollow Park, which is the only legal public clothing-optional park in Texas.
By comparison to San Antonio, Miami, and Florida in general, was and is much more open to public nudity. When I was a kid, there was even an official Miami tourism advertisement that featured the image of a topless woman from behind with the slogan, “Miami, see it like a native!”. I remember there was an unofficial clothing-optional area at Virginia Key beach. Now, of course, there’s the legal clothing-optional beach at Haulover. Plus there’s several other legal clothing-optional beaches scattered throughout Florida.
Becoming a nudist
I think more than the general attitudes about nudity, the attitudes of my family when I was growing up shaped my personal views on it. Although my family members were not nudists per se, my parents were pretty open about nudity and I saw both my father and mother naked on a regular basis when I was growing up. I had two older sisters, one of whom would routinely sun-tan topless at home, so nudity wasn’t really a big deal in my family and I grew up being pretty comfortable with it.
I will say that I’m pretty reserved about discussing my visits to clothing-optional venues in most circumstances living in San Antonio because of concerns about how casual acquaintances might react. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by my nudism, but I don’t want to have a negative encounter with someone who doesn’t approve of such activities.
Despite having grown up in a family where nudity was well-accepted, I didn’t actually practice any kind of social nudity until my mid-thirties. My wife at the time had to attend a seminar in Austin one weekend, and I went along so I could have some fun during the day on my own and we could do things together in the evenings. I had heard quite a bit about Hippie Hollow and was curious to see what it was like. So, without telling my wife, I decided to check it out. I went alone and while I was a little nervous getting naked at first, I quickly found it to be very freeing and relaxing. It also struck me how much nicer and more respectful of my space people were at Hippie Hollow as compared to non-nude beaches and lake parks I’d been to.
The visit was a very positive experience for me – at least until my wife noticed the parking permit in my truck when I picked her up from her seminar. She was very angry that I had gone, but I never could really get her to explain what she was so upset about. She definitely did not accept public nudity in general and certainly was not accepting of my participation in it, and she was pretty upset with me for probably a week or so after that.
Outside of my family as discussed previously, I think the first time I saw someone nude was a guy my father and I happened upon one day at a beach park we frequented in Miami. There was a mangrove forest that we would explore, collecting shells and driftwood. I was probably somewhere between 8 and 10 years old and as we were walking into the mangroves from the parking area, a nude man, probably in his late 20’s early 30’s, passed by us going the other direction carrying his swim suit in one hand. I didn’t really know what to think and I remember my dad kind of laughed it off with the comment, “Well, he’s a real nature lover!” He didn’t say anything more about it and we continued on our way, so I figured it wasn’t really a big deal.
My long-time girlfriend knows about my nudism and is very accepting of it despite the fact that she’s not comfortable with participating in social nudity herself. I’m not naked all the time at home anyway, but if she has invited someone over to the house, she’ll just let me know when I need to have clothes on. A few friends are also aware of my nudism, but again, do not participate in it themselves. I haven’t really discussed my nudism with my family, but given their attitudes, I don’t think they’d care one way or the other.
Generally, I don’t discuss my nudism with most friends and colleagues in Texas because I think they might feel uncomfortable talking about it. I don’t think they’d reject me because of it, but it might create some awkwardness. Every so often the subject might come up with someone who doesn’t know I’m a nudist and if they seem to have positive, or at least a “live and let live” attitude about it, I might talk about my nudism.
I don’t think it’s necessarily important to share that information except with serious romantic partners, because of my experience with my ex-wife being so upset when she discovered I had gone to Hippie Hollow. I think I’d probably raise kids the way I was raised and let them know that nudism was an option for them to explore if they wanted to. However, I don’t have any nor do I plan to do so.
My nudist life
I use the term nudist, I guess mainly because that was the first term I heard to describe clothing-free recreation. I love outdoor nude activities, but it’s not convenient to go places where it’s permitted on a really frequent basis. Hippie Hollow is about a two-hour drive each way from where I live, so I only get there maybe once or twice per year.
I have family that lives in Port Saint Lucie, Florida whom I visit three to four times per year and the legal clothing-optional Blind Creek Beach is about a 30 minute drive from where they live. Depending on the weather, I go to Blind Creek three to four times on each trip to Florida, so a total of a dozen or so visits there each year. If I have other opportunities for outdoor nude recreation, I take them.
But those are my regular spots, in addition to being naked during the warmer months at home. Unfortunately, my yard is not very private, so my home nudity is limited to indoors at the present. I hope to be able to move to a home where outdoor nudity is possible within the next few years.
The only naturist club I’m a member of currently is the Treasure Coast Naturists, which is the group that oversees Blind Creek Beach and was primarily responsible for getting it legally designated as clothing-optional. I joined them because I wanted to support their work with developing the facilities at Blind Creek, and that’s really the main benefit to me at present. If I lived in Florida, I think I’d enjoy the group activities they sponsor, but so far, the schedule for those events has not matched up with my visits.
Joy of nudity
The only thing I wouldn’t do nude is frying bacon because of the obvious risks! Really the only things I wouldn’t do nude are things where it would be physically uncomfortable (such as cold weather activities) or might present a risk of injury to “delicate” areas of my body (frying bacon, planting cactus, etc.).
Since I’m usually going to nudist venues by myself, I usually try to find someone willing to put sunscreen on my back. I have found that gay/bisexual men (there’s typically a section where just men congregate at the places I’ve been to, so it’s not too difficult to guess at their sexuality) usually do the most thorough job of putting sunscreen on me. The humorous part about that is that literally EVERY time I’ve asked a gay/bi man to put sunscreen on my back, they also THOROUGHLY cover my buttock area as well – I guess they don’t realize that I can reach that part myself! The first time it happened, it was a bit of a shock to me (I’m straight), but now I find it funny and take it as a compliment – as well as being a small price to pay for not getting sunburned!
Benefits of nudism
One big advantage of being a nudist is it keeps me motivated to stay in shape. I figure if I’m going to be naked in front of other people, I want to look good! I also think having the extra skin exposure to sunlight helps keep my Vitamin D levels up, which more and more research is showing to be a big factor in staying healthy. Also, I think I’m more open-minded about things and less focused on the material trappings of success (clothes, cars, etc.) – being naked kind of erases divisions in socioeconomic classes. I think I’m also more accepting of different sexual orientations since starting in social nudity.
The main change I would like to see is for the majority of people to accept nudism as a normal option for living as opposed to something that only freaks, weirdos, and perverts do. I would like the general population to look at naturism more rationally and without the fear that seems to be very prevalent about it. I would like for them to understand that we’re just people who like the freedom of being naked and that we’re not sexual predators.
Within the nudist world, I would like the really militant nudists to stop being so adamant that there’s absolutely nothing sexual about nudism. That’s just patently ridiculous and the more they insist on making blanket statements like that, the more it comes across that they’re either very naïve or being intentionally misleading, neither of which makes them seem credible to non-nudists. Let’s be real, at least some nudists get at least some sexual stimulation from social nudity. People go to “textile” beaches to see and be seen while displaying some skin. And of course the same thing happens at clothing-optional beaches. While nudism is not solely nor even mostly about sexual gratification, sexuality is a part of it. Nudists need to own that if they want to be able to have any credibility when discussing social nudity with non-nudists.
If I could hang out nude with anyone, I’d choose Helen Mirren because she seems like such an interesting and fun woman. The fact that she did so much nudity in her early acting roles when nudity was not all that acceptable to the general public, yet still managed to achieve a high level of respect as an actress, is very impressive to me. I would love to hang out with her one-on-one somewhere quiet and maybe just have a cup of tea and chat with her about her life.
I would love to go snorkeling nude on the Great Barrier Reef because I really love the ocean and seeing the beauty of a spectacular reef. I’ve never been to Australia, but hopefully I will get to go at some point. It’s certainly possible I could sometime be nude swimming on the Great Barrier Reef. I have done some nude snorkeling on the Meso-American Barrier Reef in Roatan, Honduras and that’s the second largest barrier reef system in the world, so hopefully doing it on the largest will be a reality someday.
My advice for non-nudist is to go to a clothing-optional beach or park and just observe at first. Once you see that the people are just people who happen to be naked, if you’re comfortable enough, give it a try yourself. I didn’t actually get any advice when I started. And so that’s pretty much what I did on that first visit to Hippie Hollow. I just walked around checking things out and when I felt comfortable enough, off came my swim trunks!
Tell your story
Each of us has a story to tell. An outlook on the world and on naturism that can be beneficial to others. Share yours here by contacting Kenn. I’ll send you a list of questions to get you started.