You might never personally visit a nude beach. So, what's it like? We asked a few people about their sun-kissed experiences. For privacy reasons, we've altered or omitted their names.
"The first time was a little scary," says Scott, who was "decidedly nervous" when he tried a nude beach. But he and his wife were immediately hooked. "It's the sensations of the warm sun on your skin, the breezes moving across your body, the movement of the water. It's an indescribably sensual experience."
"I've never been embarrassed on a nude beach or any other social nude gathering," Scott says. "There are people of every age, size, shape, color and background there. Every-day, average, open-minded, non-judgmental, not supermodel, people. There's no reason to be embarrassed." Scott just cleared up another misconception about nude beaches: Not everyone on them has a fabulous body. There are plenty of folks with flabby or wrinkly skin or big potbellies.
"Matt" says his first nude beach conversation was, well, weird. "The strangeness of the situation was a bit difficult to process, and I was worried that I would do or say something rude. But after chatting for a bit I moved on and realized that it was no scarier than any other conversation. There's just an assumed, shared trust among nudists."
Most people admitted to feeling anxious before stripping. One experienced female respondent tells us, "Even now I sometimes need a little liquid courage to bare all," in part because she fears gawkers and the judgment of others. "The funny thing is, all that stress tends to dissipate once my suit is off." She waxed poetic about her lack of tan lines and said she's never had any scary experiences. "As a female, you do tend to catch some glances but I've never had someone outright make me feel uncomfortable."
A common refrain with men is that they're worried about having erections. The reality is that nude beaches aren't sexually charged environments, so erections are rare. And in the event that they do occur, you're expected to cover up with that useful towel or at least make some effort to conceal the condition, by turning over on your stomach or dipping into the sea. If anything, bodily movement might become more anxiety-provoking, because as Edwin tells us, "as a guy I was very aware of the now-unrestricted motion of my genitals."