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This report is brought to you by Ed & Linda W.


FIRST TIME MADE EASY

June 13, 1998

My wife and I were at a crossroads in our pursuit of a naturist lifestyle. We had only practiced nudity in private as a couple. We were now ready to try nudity in the presence of like-minded people.

We had been corresponding via e-mail with Dick W. of the Heartland Naturists. He was kind enough to include a couple of our e-mail letters in his new issue of the
Heartland Naturists E-mail Notes they post on their website. With our permission, he included our e-mail address. As a result, 2 people wrote us with solutions to our dilemma. 'Webb', who is a member of the Board of Directors at Lake Edun (Topeka, KS) recommended his facility and told us how to get more information. 'Dave Carver', who is both an Edun-ite and a Heartland Naturist, wrote and invited us to join him at Lake Edun as his guests. After several e-mails back and forth, we decided to accept his gracious invitation. We live North of Kansas City and even though it took us 2 hrs to get there, the roads were good and the place was easy to find.

Dave led us from the parking field to the meadow where we were introduced to Webb and other members of the Board of Directors (they were having a meeting). He signed us in as his guests at the barn and made sure we knew where the "rules" were posted. He also showed us how to sign in on subsequent visits as a visitor ($15 per single, $20 per couple). [NOTE: If we should decide to become members after a few visits, the visitor fees we've paid will be credited toward our membership.] At the North end of this meadow is a stage which is used when live bands are brought in.

Dave then led us around the barn, past the sauna, and down the trail to the main beach. There is a dock here with a separate floating dock just a short swim away. At this beach area they also have lockers, a universal weight machine, a paddleboat, a canoe, a sailboat, and a 'rolling' log in the water. Any member or visitor is free to use any of this equipment (if you feel the need for a life jacket, I think you have to bring your own). Community chairs and tables exist but are limited in number. Members have hauled sand in to cover the ground in the entire area & have covered the lake bottom with sand/gravel in the shallows. This beach is the center of activity and the fire pit here is the focal point of many a late night gathering.

Dave then took us down the trail to an area known as South Beach. It is located near the East end of the dam. This is not a true beach although you can still swim and sun here. It is a sparsely wooded meadow & the site of the sand volleyball court. A second pier out into the lake is located here. This area is perfect for sunning. Dave was camping at South Beach and left us on our own to go set up his campsite.

This is the neat part first-timers will like. Lake Edun is not a 'clothing-optional' resort. You are expected to be nude whenever possible, weather permitting. So why is this so neat? Well, the neat part is that at Lake Edun you can have as much or as little privacy as you want!!! Here we are standing on South Beach and we're still fully dressed! There are groomed trails that go all the way around the 10-acre lake and a lot of secluded spots along the way. Hike in until you find a spot that suits you and then disrobe. When you're ready to leave at the end of the day, get dressed, hike out, & leave. However, between disrobing at arrival and dressing to leave, you will be expected to practice full nudity. If you think you'll have a problem with shyness, start out in the boonies and slowly work your way back in toward the common areas.

After observing Edun-ite behavior during our walk to the South Beach, Linda & I decided it was time to ditch our clothes and bare it all! After about a half-hour, we got adventurous and decided to go exploring. Our trek took us over the dam and around the lake. By the time we got back to South Beach, we had grown comfortable with our nudity. In fact we started feeling kind of isolated & alone. We grabbed our cooler, lawn chairs, towels, and moved back up to the main beach. Our afternoon was spent sunning, swimming, & socializing with fellow Edun-ites. We would have stayed until well after dark but an approaching storm front sent us packing.

Will we go back? You bet!!! Do we think it's worth the drive & visitation fee? Definitely!!! Some people in the Kansas City Metro area will say that this is too far to drive. Hogwash! Some of the people that say Edun is too far are the same people that drive just as far fighting heavy traffic to stay at a commercialized campground in the exploited lakes region of Southern Missouri. Be forewarned. Don't come to Lake Edun expecting to find a posh resort,...it's not. The land is actually a nature preserve and is largely unspoiled & primitive. If it exists in nature, you'll find it here. Spiders, snakes, chiggers, ticks, turtles, fish, birds, deer, rabbits, they're all here. Toilet facilities are of the 'porta-potty' variety and if you plan on drinking anything, bring it with you. Glass is not allowed anywhere inside the gate. As a result, barefootin' around is pretty safe.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to Dick W., Webb, the Edun-ites, and especially to our sponsor, Dave.

Ed & Linda W.

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This report is brought to you by Dave.


The First Time - March 1, 1998.

Last night was my first experience of social nudism, or (my preferred term) naturism. The odyssey I took in order to arrive at such a previously-unthinkable place as a pool full of nude men and women requires some background in order to explain. I hope it isn't too tedious! :-) In any event, here goes:

As recently as six weeks ago, I wouldn't have given naturism a second thought. I had never particularly had a desire to swim or hike nude, or hang around the house unclothed. It wasn't an impulse that was "instinctive" or at all compelling with me. Whether learned or unlearned, it just wasn't there, and wasn't an "issue." At the most, I guess I would say that I've always had a fascination with, or curiosity about public, anomalous nudity, such as occurred at Woodstock, or with streaking, the impulsive naked-running fad which peaked when I was in high school. I would think, "How can they do that?" or, "Why do they do it?" But I don't think I ever considered doing such things myself.

I came to espouse the philosophy of naturism almost on a purely cerebral level (which is how I tend to approach a lot of things). I've undergone many "conversions" in my life, so that in itself was nothing new; most notably to Catholicism, after a background of various religious beliefs. I've always hoped that I was open to new truths and paths if I became convinced that they were objectively *true* and good and beneficial. I am not a moral or philosophical relativist. So it was very important to me to become convinced that nudism was "okay," especially from a Christian (Catholic) perspective from which I order my life and view the world and the universe - not just for *me,* but for *anyone.*

The first thing which made me curious about naturism was learning that a good friend of mine had frequented nude beaches in California. I had never known a nudist (or even someone who simply visited a "clothing-optional" beach), so this came as somewhat of a shock, and my reaction to it was perplexing to me. As I thought about it, I knew that I didn't regard nudity per se as "evil." That is not a permissible option within a Christian framework, which holds that creation is good, and that matter and the human body and sex (within proper limits) are good. The denial of that is found in Gnosticism, or in some forms of monistic eastern religion, not in Christianity (apart from certain warped, truncated versions of it). I realized that so many great masterpieces of art involved nudity, and that there was an altogether legitimate nude photography and portraiture which was qualitatively different from pornography. E.g., who doesn't admire Michelangelo's magnificent sculpture of David? Who would dare be asinine enough to put a giant pair of Fruit of the Loom(r) briefs on it? :-) There are, of course, also many paintings of the Virgin Mary breast-feeding Jesus.

So basically, I became extremely curious about naturism. I started seeking out websites in order to learn more about it, to "soak" in the mindset. Then eventually, I was directed by my friend to online forums in which I could post messages and chat live with other naturists. So one day (a mere three weeks ago) I posted a message which was an inquiry, with hopes of possibly being convinced of naturism, or else becoming persuaded in my own mind, on the other hand, that it was not a morally defensible viewpoint. I had to resolve it one way or the other. I shall quote from that post, in order to illustrate how I thought about the issue just a short time ago:

". . . Nudism intrigues me in part because I see it as a profound sort of "nonconformism," and I have always been a nonconformist in one way or another. I always respect the willingness to "go against the grain" and transcend mere custom and the status quo . . .

". . . [but] I don't see how nudity can be *totally disconnected* from sexuality. I can grant (never having experienced it, but from reading some of the nudist literature, and observing certain cultures) that this could happen to a large extent, but it's hard for me to accept that it can be a total "disjunction." I think it is self-evident that virtually all men are visually stimulated by female nudity. By virtue of this fact, we have almost all female nudity in movies, sex used in advertising in order to capitalize on this fact, flirting and seduction and manipulative game-playing which presuppose it, Playboy and Penthouse, topless bars, Internet pornography, etc.

"Now, how can it be that the sight of dozens of nude women could *not* be sexually arousing in a normal, red-blooded man like myself? Ironically, I would say at this point that naturism strikes me "prima facie" as UNnatural, since it seems to go against what appears *eminently natural* to me: being aroused by the opposite sex. I believe that's how God created men (in order to propagate the human race!). I get very aroused by my wife when she is nude, and by many pictures of other nude women. Wrong or right, our culture almost always associates nudity with sexuality . . .

"So how is it that nudists can "rise above" all that? Is it simply a matter of *dissociation*: after a few experiences it becomes clear that group nudity, sunbathing, hot-tubbing, etc. is NOT sexual, so that those impulses simply lessen and disappear? It is very curious and strange to me......I read some piece in here that distinguished between sexual and sensual. Perhaps that might be the key to this.....

"Also, I would never underestimate the power of male lustfulness. Again, I think almost all men struggle with this constantly. And indeed, women rightly complain about being reduced to sexual objects because of this shortcoming in us frail men . . . I think it is unarguable that men in particular can easily fall into lustfulness (which is definitely a serious sin in Christian thought) at the sight of a nude or scantily-clad female body. Now are you experienced nudists gonna deny that this is a factor at all? If so, that would be quite remarkable to me, and it would take a lot of persuading to convince me otherwise. I would say that nudism, due to this and other factors, is an activity that must be undertaken with great self-reflection as to motive and purpose, lest it become a "front" for lust and even "conquest" . . .

"I'm very attracted to beautiful women, and that includes inner beauty as well as outer (oftentimes predominantly so). I think the female body is extraordinarily beautiful, from a purely aesthetic standpoint. At the same time, I don't wish to treat women as mere objects, and this is always the temptation in a sex-crazed society such as ours. Most men will immediately understand what I am talking about. It is simply a fact of life.

". . . Let me tell you what does appeal to me very much about naturism, as an "outsider" looking in: I am very attracted to the notion that group nudity eliminates the frantic obsession our society has with body type, and with acceptance and affection due to mere outward appearance. Nudism (from what I understand of it) is a profoundly egalitarian and deeply "Christian" activity in that regard. People become truly equal on a very basic, fundamental level and are thus freed from the tyranny of personal appearance. And perhaps this even leads to an appreciation of various body types not considered "attractive" by our society. I would imagine that this is particularly attractive to women, who have it drummed into them their whole lives that they must look like supermodels or be thought less of and regarded as "undesirable."

"Secondly, I very much like the notion of freedom and lack of inhibition (i.e., as opposed to rampant sex and promiscuity, which I strongly oppose): the idea of running naked in the fields, getting back to nature, or (metaphorically) to the Garden of Eden. There is a certain simplicity and "naturalism" to that which appeals to me very much (and I would like to try it, I think) . . . Is it as simple as that? Does this get at some of the core motivation and reasoning and feeling and instincts behind nudism/naturism?"

So one can see that I was already "halfway there" at the time I wrote this. My primary remaining difficulties were two things:

1) it is unnatural and almost impossible to see and physically be present with (many) nude women and not be sexually stimulated and incited towards lustfulness.
2) the inconceivability of a more or less total dichotomy between nudity and sexuality.

This was where dialogue and more reading became crucial. I started talking to naturists in chat rooms and corresponding via e-mail, and they would repeatedly affirm that the above two concerns of mine were falsehoods in the nudist environment. I would keep saying, "I'll just have to experience it to believe it." I had no reason to disbelieve what everyone was unanimously telling me. They seemed sincere enough, and this was their own experience. But it was just so remarkable, so implausible to me . . . By the same token, the delightful reports of "first experiences" intrigued me to such an extent that I found myself unable to resist the compulsion to try it, and find out first-hand what all these very friendly, unpretentious naturists were telling me. My curious nature simply wouldn't allow me to refuse the experience. There was no turning back now . . .

I wrote to one of my new friends:

"I am becoming increasingly intrigued. This is a very interesting journey for me, sort of an adventure, since it is so different from my usual way of thinking. But I find myself unable to argue against it. I read some very good materials on the NLI site which defended nudism from a Catholic perspective (that's what I am), and I must say the writer (Jim Cunningham) did an *excellent* job. Very impressive."

To another naturist respondent to my inquiry letter I wrote:

"There is a refreshing honesty and openness about nudists which is very attractive indeed. I was always one who despised posing and game-playing of all sorts. How can one resist trying this? It is such a novelty to us "first-timers," but the way it is described is so inviting. Naturism is truly a revolution in the consciousness of appearance and self-image (at least from the perspective of the society we live in). Even my wife surprisingly agreed when I talked to her about it one night (although she is not likely to do it herself - long story). How often do staunch opponents (i.e., wrt themselves) change their minds, I wonder?"

Meanwhile, I was reading Catholic and other forms of Christian perspectives on nudism and discovering many amazing things, such as that the early Church for hundreds of years baptized men, women and children together in the nude, and priests even anointed them with oil from head to toe! Obviously, then, social nudity itself (even including touch) couldn't be regarded as evil or impermissible. Somewhere along the line, a different notion of modesty, more related to clothing (rather than based on inner attitudes, as in the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 5-7), came in, but it couldn't be that nudity per se was evil.

After all, God commanded Isaiah the prophet to prophesy naked for three years (Isaiah 20:2-3). Interestingly, when Adam and Eve first made clothes for themselves (the fabled "fig leaves"), it is to be noted that these were "loincloths." In other words, Eve was still topless! (Genesis 3:7). Even in the infamous episode of King David's adultery with Bathsheba, it is apparent that public bathing on a rooftop was a ho-hum occurrence (2 Samuel 11:2). That in itself was never condemned by God or the biblical writers. Clearly, it was David's lustfulness and adultery with a married woman (even having her husband Uriah killed) which was the sin. But the public nudity was not a sin, and in fact, such nudity or semi-nudity was common and accepted even in ancient Israel, a culture commonly regarded as "sexually repressive." Ancient Jewish religious bathing or "cleansing" rituals were performed in the nude, and there is good reason to believe that Jesus was baptized in the nude. There is even an excellent quotation from Pope John Paul II to the effect that all social nudity is not wrong, provided that lust is not present. I had seen a photograph of the pope in a gathering where a topless woman was present, and there are also reports that the pope swims nude in the Vatican pool!

So gradually, I came to accept the notion that nudity does not necessarily equal sexuality. No one could take that view any longer, knowing these facts, and also the universal reports of naturists who have first-hand experience. Furthermore, in countries such as Germany and Japan, not to mention "primitive" cultures, such nudity is so routine that it is fully as "natural" as wearing clothes is in our culture. America in particular has a huge hang-up about nudity. American culture is so over-sexed and suffused with sex that no one can imagine nudity in any other way. I myself was a "victim" of this mentality. How sad . . . And I should have known better, too. Religious and secular ethical views and societal norms about sex and when it is wrong are one thing, but that is a different proposition from the consideration of nudity in and of itself, because the two are not in fact identical, no matter how much our media-driven culture equates them. Nudity is NOT wrong.

I wrote, when I was almost-persuaded:

"I can't believe I'm even pursuing this, but it fascinates me to no end, the way you folks describe nudism. It must be a very remarkable experience, since it seems to have the captivating power of creating instant and lasting converts, even those who were very reluctant."

Now I was actively seeking a place to have my initial naturist experience. The only remaining barrier was my fear of my own personal reaction - that I would be sexually aroused at the sight of so many nude women. I could only go by my experience in clothed society, and with my wife. Yet, I was being told that this was something "other" - that such reactions rarely do occur. So it took some doing to convince myself that this was indeed the case. It took courage to "boldly go where (I) had never gone before...." But I did it, attending by myself last night, and I now testify that what I had been told is absolutely true. Commonly, it was said by naturists that one adjusts to being naked together with others in public in 10-20 minutes. For me it was almost an instant feeling of naturalness and ease. Maybe that was because I had thought about it so much and gotten myself used to the idea by a sort of "self-indoctrination" for a few weeks.

I walked into the pool room and remember seeing flesh and nude bodies all around, not yet differentiated into male and female in my mind's eye. I wondered what I would think and feel when I started seeing the nude female bodies closer up; if I would get nervous and appear visibly so. But I soon did see women and it was "nothing." One was about ten feet away from me, playing in the water, breasts exposed, and I thought to myself, "why is this such a big deal, anyway? It *isn't* that big of a deal." Then I saw nude women and men diving into the pool, thoroughly enjoying themselves.

I quickly realized that the conversation is free and easy, unpretentious, wholly lacking the sexually-charged and manipulative nature that often occurs in male-female personal encounters, where one or both are out to "get" something or to "conquer." All in all, the experience was almost anti-climactic. Whatever jitters I had driving out quickly dissipated. It is natural to be nervous about any totally new event in one's life, but that went away almost immediately.

Here was a place where, truly, all the nonsense and painful burdens of body-type-as-worthiness and women-as-sex-objects was transcended. And I loved it. I was so happy that this realization was actually possible and practiced somewhere in this world. It most assuredly was NOT a "sexual environment." In fact it was infinitely less so than what routinely takes place at a typical non-nude beach, where all sorts of seduction, head games, and conscious tempting goes on, fueled by the deliberately provocative beachwear.

So even when I actually went, I reveled in the thinking and the philosophy behind naturism. Not that I didn't enjoy the physical experience . . . I backstroked across the pool twice, and enjoyed the smaller warm, bath-like pool (it was heavenly), talked to people as normally as in any other social situation. People were simply enjoying themselves in the nude. They were rejecting all the claptrap that society puts on nudity and cross-gender interaction, and becoming as children, with all the freedom and relaxation that that entails. We've all seen that children think nothing of nudity. My three boys love to take baths together and run nude around the house after they come out. Why can't we adults learn to accept the same perfectly innocent behavior? It's weird when you think about it . . .

One semi-humorous thing comes to mind: the pool where I went was at a YMCA, and their rules require them to have a lifeguard for every 20 people. Thus, there were two clothed female lifeguards there. It turns out that one later said that she had been to nude beaches, so it wasn't such a novelty for her. I didn't know whether this was a "first-time" experience for the other lifeguard. But I felt somewhat embarrassed to walk in front of the two lifeguards, because they were in a "different category." I felt that they would "stare" at me, or feel uncomfortable themselves, unlike the others (where that does NOT occur at all - nudists always look each other in the eye). I found that curious and a little amusing, but it makes sense when you think about it. The ease and comfort come when all are in the same boat - everyone is nude. Being nude in a clothed context or vice versa is what is strange and uncomfortable. Even so, I worked up the gumption to walk in front of one later on. :-)

On a related note, I noticed one woman who started the night out in a full bathing suit (the only one clothed besides the lifeguards). She later emerged from it completely nude within an hour. She had felt the liberation, the innocence of social nudity, and the absurdity of wearing clothes into the water. I felt very happy for her, knowing that I was only a small step ahead of her in my own progression to naturism. We don't wear clothes in the shower or when taking a bath. Why, then, in a pool or lake?

So I swam and played and talked and was perfectly at ease. The people were very friendly. When they asked me later what it felt like the first time, what immediately sprang to mind was "natural." And that is what it all boils down to: simply being *natural* and enjoying one's body and the pleasures of water and swimming and floating (and, if outside, sun and wind and sand) without any hindrance: whether physical or psychological or from false moral objection (as the case may be). It is a beautiful, wondrous thing. And it must be experienced to be fully understood. It is a revolution in consciousness. Yet in and of itself, it is a very elementary notion and activity. The "revolution" is the result of having to unlearn a bunch of arbitrary norms and false fears and associations that our culture has brainwashed us all into. I hope all the non-naturists reading this will likewise become intrigued by the inherent appeal of social nudity, as I was.

To top it off, when I came home and told my wife about it, I eventually discovered to my utter amazement that she had come around to the place of being willing to try social nudism herself. She already had no moral objection (which also surprised me at the time). Her difficulty (as is the case - sadly but understandably - with so many women) was in working through matters of self-image and body-image and some very painful related experiences in her own background. This is not an objective matter (she is an attractive woman, by any criteria), but a subjective, very personal, emotional one. She has come to realize in talking with me, that public nudity (in the right naturist environment) is a way and means to transcend that, and to feel better about oneself, to rise above the "tyranny of image and body type." I think she knows that this is the route to her being truly self-fulfilled and enjoying life to the fullest. I never would have thought in a million years that she would even consider this, but it is true! Maybe that can encourage others who have a non-naturist spouse or mate. Not everyone can be convinced, by any means, but it is surprising how many supposed "unthinkables" might be persuaded if the outlook is reasonably and enthusiastically presented in a non-coercive fashion.

This, then, is my odyssey towards naturism and my first experience of it. I encourage all seekers and open-minded people to pursue this, and to be pleasantly surprised that life has something else wonderful to offer which is hindered only by false inhibitions, based on faulty, warped thinking and demonstrably untrue fears. I challenge you to try it just once, and I guarantee that you will never be the same.

"And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2:25; NRSV)

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This report is brought to you by John Lewis. Email him at
JohnL.


YOU ARE JOKING - The First Time

How did you become a nudist? Did your partner suggest the lifestyle, or were you attracted to nudism for other reasons?

If your partner or a friend initially made the suggestion, how did you react?

You will remember every moment of your first steps into the nudist lifestyle, the fear of the unknown, the discovery of the misconceptions that most newbies have, the joy and freedom of being nude for the first time.

Persuading a partner to become a nudist is an unenviable task that can go drastically wrong if one tries to force or rush things at any stage. Care and consideration of a partner's feelings must be paramount at all times. Even showing the wrong literature can be disasterous.

It must be remembered that everyone reacts in different ways to suggestions. How often have you made a hesitant suggestion of an idea only to find that it has been accepted wholeheartedly by the other person.

This is the experience of three people - my two wives and myself.

I have been a nudist for over twenty years. Kath, my wife, although used to being nude about the family home had never experienced social nudity.

I had had no difficulty in persuading my first wife to become a nudist. Surprisingly, she had simply agreed and the family joined a local club within days.

Several years later, I suggested the naturist lifestyle to Kath, my present wife. My suggestion was met with sheer astonishment and shock. Her initial reaction being to tell me to join a club if I wanted to but that she would have no part in it I explained that it would be impractical for just one partner to adopt the naturist lifestyle and outlined my experiences as a nudist and club activities then answered Kath's questions fully and honestly.

With Kath's eventual and reluctant consent, the National Naturist Association was contacted and an `Information Pack' was posted to us.

We discussed the contents of the `pack' with the result that it was agreed that arrangements be made to visit a local club. I also arranged for Kath to chat `on line' with a female nudist who assured her of the fact that her feelings were unfounded but understandable.

An e-mail was solicited from yet another nudist who informed Kath of her initial childhood upbringing and introduction to naturism. It was at this point that Kath agreed visit a nearby club.

With information supplied from the information pack an old well established `members' club was selected and arrangements were made for a visit.

Before visiting the local club, Kath chatted by telephone with yet another nudist who was also very helpful and reassuring.

On our first visit to the sun club, we were met at the gate by the club secretary (dressed) who showed us around the grounds and buildings, he then introduced us to members. At no time was any pressure put upon Kath to go nude.

The first visit was such a success that it was Kath, who asked for the necessary application forms.

A second visit followed a week later. It was a beautiful summer's day. We arrived at about noon. Again we were met at the gate by a committee member.

Finding a spot on the sunbathing lawn adjacent to the club's pool, I immediately stripped off. Kath laid down and tried to bury her head in the ground. She was nervous and wondered aloud how she had come to be there.

About twenty minutes passed before Kath realised that she was the only one dressed and that the pool looked so inviting. Finally, being unable to read her book upside down, she stripped off her clothing. Suddenly she was under the shower then in the pool. I joined her.

Two or three swims later, we walked around the club grounds before taking afternoon tea at the club house with other nudists. By this Kath was beginning to relax and feel more comfortable.

Afterwards Kath disappeared for a short while and was then found chatting, like a veteran, to another lady who had herself arrived that afternoon for her first visit to the club.

On the following day we traveled to Hampshire in the south of England where we stayed at the South Hant's Country Club. This club is a nudist resort with mobile homes, caravan and camping facilities. We had booked a `mobile' for three nights.

Freely available for guests are an outdoor heated pool, bar, restaurant, indoor pool, sauna steam room, and spa.

Here Kath learned to relax and begin to enjoy the naturist lifestyle.

We both enjoy the life so much that we purchased a small cottage at another club where we are now in permanent residence.

This summer we packed a couple of towels and tooth brushes and flew to the south of France for a three week holiday at Cap d'Agde.

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This report is brought to you by Bill(TX).


First Time Report

My parents were very much clothists. I did not share a tub with my younger sister after the age of 5. Only saw my Dad nude at the gym locker room. Got a spanking from my mother for running around outside without clothes with three other kids on a hot summer day at age 6, which was the last time I did that until I was an adult!

When I was 13, my 15 year old cousin and life-long best friend came to stay with us for two weeks. He slept nude. I was intrigued, so I tried it. Haven't worn anything to bed since. He also talked about skinnydipping, and promised to take me, but never did.

I was in high school when the streaking craze started. I thought it would be fun, but didn't have the nerve to do it. What I did do instead, was go out in my backyard nude after the rest of the family was asleep, and sit out there and look at the stars, and feel the night air on parts of me which were not used to it.

In college I tended to be nude whenever I was by myself in the dorm room. I had the same roommate from sophomore year through senior year. He would "catch" me from time to time, but never seemed to care. Junior year, he and I had a two bedroom apartment. I went nude in my room; to & from the bathroom; and to the kitchen if I was getting something to take straight back to my room. I would get dressed if I was going to be in the living room or dining area for any length of time. Senior year, he & I shared a three-story house with one other guy. I had the middle floor to myself and basically operated the same as I did in the apartment, except this house had a deck on which I would sunbathe nude. Also, my roomie's family had some lakefront property where I was able to slip out of my swimsuit once I was in the water. So, throughout this period I was basically a solo, home nudist.

Later in life, while living by myself for the first time, I met a woman whose family had spent time at clothing-optional beaches in Europe. As we set up life together, and subsequently married, we practiced a clothing optional home life, but initially never went to any nude / C/O beaches, clubs, resorts or whatnot.

In a previous job, I traveled a lot, and was often able to sneak into the hotel swimming pools after hours to skinnydip. At one point, I was traveling constantly to Austin, Texas, and one of the people I was working with mentioned that Austin had a nude beach. I was intrigued. I asked at my hotel and was told where it was. Now, at this point, I had not been nude with another person in a non-sexual situation except for a locker room or in the case of my cousin, a shared bedroom, and my wife (of course sometimes sexual; sometimes not). I was not sure how I would react. I had the erection concerns we've seen discussed ad nauseam on these boards, etc., so I decided to go when I thought it would not be too crowded, like a Wednesday afternoon during a warm spell in February. Had this beautiful place to myself. OK, no problem. Went back the next day, and found several other people had the same idea. They were about 100 yards away. Again, no problem.

To cut this down, over time, I kept going and as winter (such as it is in the heart of Texas) turned into spring, many more people were there. I found myself sitting closer to other people, and began engaging them in conversations. I found, as so many others have, that being nude with people is no different than being clothed with people except that there is something about the communal nudity that makes people more open and accepting and respectful of each other. Imagine my joy when, rather unexpectedly, my career took a sudden change, and rather than traveling to Texas from the east I found myself moving down here. My wife and I began going to Hippie Hollow together. We love it. We used to take the kids, until the county banned children. Now we still have a clothing-optional home life, and go to a stretch of beach on the Gulf of Mexico with the children where we and others go without suits without problems, even though it is not an official C/O beach.

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During High School.

Cool! I'm always up for a story! Mine was my first week in High School.

That's when I discovered that I love running. But I thought it was wierd how the locker room had group showers and I shunned the thought of such stuff. I'd outrun everyone so well in PE that the coach set me up for Cross Counrty immediately. Well, 8 miles was more than I was used to the first day! Suddenly the group showers were like "so-what!" I was hot, sweaty and couldn't get my rags off quick enough! So that's how I got numbed to the initial shock of group nudity.

Then when I got home, I had to take another shower. I was still hot and sweaty! And after that, I was so sore, and limping so bad, that nothing in a prior life mattered! I was naked and I was NOT going to put any clothes on! I went to bed that way, and that's how life began for Mr. Nudecoffee. Been sleeping that way ever since.

My wife had no problem with me nude about the house at first. She wasn't a nudist, and I didn't know I was; I was just doing what was totally natural to me. Then when kids came along, she started wondering about my nakedness a little. Then she got tired of me for other reasons, divorced me, and now my kids have been raised in a textile house. Sad. They go to San Onofre with me on our weekends, but they wear suits. I mean, they see other teens naked there; I look forward to the day when they allow themselves the freedom to participate.

Nudecoffee.

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Naturism - A Path to Freedom

One of the "aha! moments" of my life took place years ago when I took my ski team over to the house of one of the skiers for a pool party. The boy's parents were Norwegians, and the pool had a sauna next to it. The Norwegian boy set an example of taking his sauna nude - nothing new to me even then - but afterwards led the team - all boys - out to the pool to swim naked. I joined in, but after a while I started to feel tired, so I sat at the edge of the pool with my feet in the water and watched the guys. After a few minutes the Norwegian boy's mother came out to the pool area and sat down beside me and began to talk. I was a little disconcerted at first, but soon realized that this was normal for her, and so why should it worry me? We talked for several minutes, and I forget whether she left or I did - but afterwards I was struck by the complete naturalness of the moment. It has stuck in my mind ever since as one of those shining moments when something which afterwards seems so obvious, bursts into light: why do we bother to wear clothes in some situations? I will never forget how free I felt after talking to John's mother, as if a load had slipped off my back.

This last fall we took a cruise in the Adriatic, along the northern coast of Croatia. Speedos were the uniform much of the time, and the one girl on the boat was often topless, and even swam ashore to sunbathe in the nude. We showered naked on the deck of the boat, and for me, it was always disappointing to have to put trunks on again - so close to living simply and naturally! Other boats would put into the out-of-the way arbors we visited, their whole crew - a family - nude, and one family rowed ashore nude and set off to explore the beach and some caves - nude. I was so envious: if only I could be so nonchalant and natural. What a gift to the kids, to grow up without being ashamed of their bodies! This simplicity and total naturalness is the first element of true freedom that I find in naturism.

Later, after the cruise, we spent a week at Koversada, one of the world's largest nudist resorts, with some 300 acres and a capacity of 3,000+ guests.

This was the first time I had ever been consistently nude outdoors and in a social setting. We came away feeling that we had established a new relationship with our bodies, a much more natural and accepting one. It was a feeling of harmony and rightness - one that I want to bring into my life much more.

Think of it, why hide our bodies? Our bodies are the real us, as much as our minds and opinions. If not more so: so many of our attitudes are second-hand, culturally inherited ones, and as such, often unexamined and useless or even harmful. In naturism on the other hand, there is a naturalness and honesty that I want to make part of my life. Recently, when I mentioned naturism to a friend, he said that he too, would like to experience that kind of freedom, and this has lead me to try to formulate what naturism/nudism means for me.

(Let me define some terms: to me, "nudism" means doing things nude; "naturism" means nudism, plus a philosophy of relating more closely to the environment and to nature. The terms are usually used interchangeably, but I like to make the distinction).

I've been thinking a lot about what kind of freedom naturism represents, and why it means so much to me. Here's an attempt at working out an answer.

I want to live as well as I can, and as deeply. In Thoreau's words, I want to "suck the marrow out of life," and I want to get rid of the excess baggage that keeps me from doing this as fully as I can. To a large extent, I am finding that one very good path toward this fuller life is naturism. I want to work out a way to live as much as possible like this.

It seems to me that one secret of a successful life is to work toward freedom. "The truth will set you free." Only truth, rigorously pursued, will bring true freedom, and by freedom I mean most truly being as a fully realized creation. Being less than fully realized is the opposite of freedom - we are, in one sense, "born to be free."

What part of that freedom does naturism lead to?

Freedom from useless societal restraints. Not all societal restraints are a bad thing, but clothes-compulsion is one of the more useless ones, and many societies have had very different ideas as to what comprises modesty: toplessness is accepted in many "primitive" societies. Nudity was common and accepted, even required in some circumstances in Greece and Egypt. People who live in hot climates have always had a very relaxed attitude towards nudity, even in modern times. Other societies have defined "nudity" in very different ways: in Japan the back of the neck is extremely sexy, and when my grandfather was young, a woman's ankles were way out there. To us today, athis seems very strange. It is learned behavior, not necessary behavior, and thus not free. Going naked simply feels like a huge burden off your back in terms of expectations and taboos - which is good for your psychological health. It's also more comfortable!

I remember the first time I ever experienced this kind of freedom: I was in college, and the group of people I had gone through high-school with used to have parties over at a friend's "farm" on Hood Canal. Late one morning a friend of mine and I wandered down to the beach and decided to go for a swim. Having no swimming trunks and no one being in the area, we naturally went skinny dipping. Presently one of the girls in the group came down to the beach and sat down to watch us swim. When we were done swimming, Bart, my friend, simply walked out of the water and up to the girl and started talking, so I followed. We must have stood there talking for ten minutes or so - naked all the time. It was elating! Before, I never knew I could do such a thing. Afterwards, it simply felt to natural and so free of any restraints. This marked my first realization of what a natural and health-giving thing social nudity could be.

But I think it goes deeper, and into much healthier reasons. For my part, I'm trying to get more real as I get older, to get rid of illusions, even ones about myself. Clothes are illusions: they make you look different than you are, feel different, put up fronts. They can cover up all sorts of things, and while clothes are obviously needed at times (cold weather, frying bacon... ) and fun at others (I love to get all dressed up in when I'm in a city such as London) they present something that is not real, in the sense of "natural". What clothes allow is an "outwards pretension." They are, in short, status symbols ("I've got the latest Nikes, so I am a cooler person..." ).

But I think the inner pretension is worse and more dangerous: clothes let us pretend to ourselves that we are other than we are. They allow us to feel we are important, or wise, or athletic, etc. Illusions are not a good thing to build a self-image on. Reality, on the other hand, is a rock that will carry a lot of weight and weather well. Clothes alienate us from ourselves: you are a body. Naked, you are you. It is very healthy to recognize yourself for what you are, and be the real you. It is more honest, and because it is more honest, it is more healthy. This is the body God gave me. It seems silly to hide it. Sillier still for anyone who enjoys physical sports.

Largely because of this honesty, people who are naked in social settings are just plain more friendly, less pretentious. I am not alone in finding people at naturist resorts to be more friendly and open, and far less given to the pretenses of social orders. It is much easier to make friends among naturists, because you inter-relate more honestly and openly in the absence of the artificial barriers that clothes can be.

Clothes alienate us from nature. It is truly wonderful to feel sun and wind and water all over our bodies, and in places where we have never experienced the natural sensations of feeling the air and the sun. Who needs to sit around in wet trunks? I remember my first time at a naturist resort. I was walking on a woodland path and it suddenly struck me that "I'm out doors, in nature, NAKED!" It is hard to put into words how wonderful and free a sensation this was, and how absolutely right it felt. We are, in modern society, far too cut off from nature: we are surrounded by concrete, buildings, clothes, and artificial climates and smells. We need contact with nature and reality. This is why so many people go out into the mountains of go sailing of even simply walking in the part. It is healthy and in touch with the real and the natural - for no matter how we separate ourselves from nature, we are, in fact, part of it. Growing awareness of the dangers of pollution underline this. In being naked outdoors you are part of nature again, and in ways that it is impossible to be when you are clothed. Being naked in nature is almost, for me, an act of worship; it is certainly a very joyous one.

Finally, there is beauty: the human body is, quite simply, beautiful. To be ashamed of this beauty seems to me to be a very great sin, to hide it a denial of a wonderful gift as ungrateful as not taking care of it.

If I could, I'd live nude. I try to, within practical restrictions. And I try not to embarrass others. It takes some doing to get rid of shame issues, but I think it can be done. It's more useless baggage I'd like to get rid of. Living naked strikes me has being honest, natural, even honorable. I intend to work on it.

I want to make a life where I don't take clothes off when I can, but where I put clothes on when I have to.

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