To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
In this installment of Nudist Planet’s Bare Voices Kris from the USA tells his story.
Bare Voices Kris USA
Whether I consider myself a nudist or a naturist really depends on the setting. Picking just one term makes me feel limited in the nature of things. I am a “nudist” at home or naked indoor parties. I am a “naturist” when I’m on the beach or in the forest or any other outdoor environment. Perhaps I take it to literal, but that’s how I understand it myself. Most of the time I use the terms “nudie” or “nakey-nakey”. LOL.
I currently live on the north side of Chicago, IL, and grew up partially here and in Europe. I’ll say that Chicago has a very broad view on the subject of nudity. Although not permitted outside, the city possesses many nude social groups and clubs that gather on a regular basis. Some events are even co-shared by the clubs making socializing in the nude more enjoyable.
My first time practicing social nudity was back in 2004, when I visited Miami for the first time and was able to go to Haulover Park Beach. I was 27 at the time, so my adventure started pretty late. But I guess it’s never too late to shed the extra layers and become one with nature. It was truly an amazing experience and it made me feel free and uninhibited. Also, seeing other people like myself around me was a thrilling experience and definitely one that I’ll never forget. A friend told me that there was such a park in the Miami area where you could enjoy naked time on the beach. I was intrigued and immediately drawn to the idea of finally trying it out in front of a larger population. We went and the rest is history.
I can’t exactly recall who was the first person I saw nude, but for the first ten years of my life when I was growing up in Europe – and of course Europe being much more liberal on things like nudity – I saw many movies that had naked men in them. It was pretty normal to see naked men in European movies. I couldn’t stop watching them as I was so drawn to them – hypnotized and enchanted.
I also remember going over to my neighbors house one day and surprisingly discovering a stash of magazines of a nudist nature. Not porn but nudism. Real nudism. They had lots of photos of people playing sports nude, having social conversations nude, cooking nude, etc. At ten year old, it made a profound impact on me. From then on, whenever I found myself being the only person in the house, I would hang out naked. We also had a family summerhouse in the country. I would go there by myself and hang out naked the entire time. Mind you, I was about ten to twelve back then. It was exhilarating, thrilling, and made me more and more aware of my own sexuality as a man who happened to like other men.
Socializing with nudists
Am I a member of any nudist clubs or associations? Yes, yes, and absolutely yes! To be socially active in the nude community, you have to be part of some sort of nudist groups and clubs. Otherwise, you’re missing out on fun events and gatherings. At the moment, I belong to groups such as CANS (Chicago Area Naturist Sons), Chicago Fan Club, Chicago Naked Male Bonding, Chicago Naked Men Yoga, and GNI. All have different beginnings and ownership; however, you can meet the same members at any of their gatherings. Chicago Fan Club is the only one that is co-ed – men and women – whereas the rest are men only – some gay only. I joined because it is the only outlet to be among other local nudists that allows you to be your true self.
Yet, I definitely prefer to be nude first and foremost at home. Whether by myself or with some company, home is always the safest place to be nakey-nakey. Then come the parties. And we have quite many of them here in Chicago. Lastly of course, is the outdoors in nature. I can’t say we have a lot of “safe” space open to nudism around the city, but if you drive out into the country you can find a few quiet spots to spend a day without any harassment.
Friends & family
Although I did not grow up in a nudist household, it wasn’t a secret that my parents always slept in the nude and walked around the house naked when my siblings and I were asleep – almost, LOL. We always managed to get a peak. As we got older they didn’t feel like they needed to do it in front of us.
I am actually living with a nudist at the moment and considering that he is my partner, I don’t feel exceptionally ashamed of it at all. We sleep naked every night so it’s not an issue for him. Anyways, I would definitely try to raise my family in a nudist home. The sooner you start the better it is for everyone. The comfort level of all family members being regularly nude would be equal to normal daily activities like showering or taking a bath.
Spreading the word about nudism
I openly talk to my “clothed” friends about nudism. They still choose not to participate. We laugh, make a few jokes about it and that is where it ends. But, I also managed to meet a group of friends that are nudists and also attend the same events and gatherings as I do. It is always important to be open about such things as nudism since you never know who is wanting to do it but don’t have the guts to come out with it. I once introduced a “shy goose” to nudism, and he loves it to this day.
I never pressure anyone into anything they don’t want to do. But, if a person is willing to try, my advice is always to start in a small group, maybe a small house party with very few people. That is only if they are not open to go full-throttle and attend a large event or public beach. I guess it all depends on the person. It was a step-by-step process for me. So I just say, “Do IT!”
Still, I don’t feel comfortable being nude among other clothed people. I have seen several nudists going out naked in public, trains, streets, or even Times Square in New York City. It is something that I would not do by myself. Perhaps in a large group to spread awareness, but it would have to be a very large group. I wouldn’t have the guts to do it by myself. Actually, I am still hesitant to do the World Naked Bike Ride. Perhaps one day I’ll just do it – what the heck.
Benefits of nudism
The world should definitely rethink today’s norms and social constructs. Ages ago, nudity was widely acceptable behavior, quite normal and without any restrictive laws. I definitely want to see that change. I would want to have all nudism/naturism bans lifted from beaches, national parks, and other places where it is currently prohibited but can be practiced peacefully and tastefully. After all, what kind of harm would you do to anyone by being completely naked? None!
The benefit of being a nudist is the ability to be myself in my purest form: no layers, no masks, no coverings of any kind. This makes me feel the closest to nature that I can be; the way we were meant to be: naked. Being a nudist has opened my eyes to other lifestyles, and how one can live and practice free living within their own space and community the way they want. It made me more at ease that there are like-minded people out there, who enjoy nudism whether at home or at social gatherings. I finally wasn’t alone. I was finally exposed to people of many different body types, shapes, and sizes, which allowed my own body image issues to go away.
Having nude fun
When choosing where to be nude, I would definitely rather go to a local men’s spa with my nudist buddies. Those are always most relaxing: sitting in the pool or a hot tub, and conversing about current issues. We currently have several men’s spas in the city, which makes socializing in the nude more accessible if nothing else is available at the moment. Even if you go by yourself, you can always meet other people and make new friends.
Also, I have always enjoyed beaches. That is the place I really enjoy and if the company is great it makes everything even more fun. I am fond of Haulover Park Beach in Miami. I definitely have more traveling to do knowing that there are plenty more nudist beaches in the US. If I could own my own island in the Caribbean, I would make it all nude. I would make it a cardinal sin to be clothed. I imagine that will never happen, but one can dream.
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.