I love being naked around other people. I don’t mean in the flashing-innocent-bystanders sex offender way, but in the naked-hippie-retreat kinda way. I’ve recently discovered the quiet power of exposing my bare body around others, sporting my birthday suit at clothing-optional baths, retreats, and hot springs galore. If you, like many of my friends, are someone who thinks they would never be able to do such a thing, read on. It’s truly not as scary as you think, and you may be surprised at what you discover about yourself when you’re immersed in a body of water with a dozen other naked strangers.
1. It’s Beyond Freeing - There is something to be said about spending some time in the form that we’re in when we enter the world. If you think about it, most of us wear clothing 23.5 hours a day, removing our clothes only to bathe or have sex. It can be nerve-wracking to be naked in a sea of naked strangers but, let me tell you, removing your clothes around others is a seriously liberating thing. Why? Because, in a clothing-optional space, literally nobody cares that you are not wearing clothes. Nobody looks at you weird, nobody judges you, and nobody stares at the flaws you think you have. In a world where we are constantly worrying about how we look and what we do, this ambivalence provides a level of freedom that is indescribable.
2. It Boosts Your Self-Esteem - Being in a clothing-optional place exposes you (literally) to a myriad of different body types – hairy, smooth, large, small, tall, short – you name it, you’ll see it. When I went on my first retreat, I realized that was the first time I had seen naked and near-naked bodies outside of advertising, entertainment, and pornography. These bodies had not been selected and airbrushed for their perfection, they were normal people with normal bodies – just like me. It made me realize that 1) I had been holding myself to an impossible standard of beauty and flawlessness that did not exist outside of a photo studio and 2) the body I was working with was pretty bangin’ in and of itself.
3. It’s Physically Comfortable - Many types of clothing and bathing suits, especially those designed for women, are inherently uncomfortable to wear. We’ve grown so accustomed to bunching underwear and scratchy fabric that you don’t really notice how uncomfortable it is – that is until you shed this outer layer. The first time I went for a swim in a pool without a bathing suit was nothing short of magical. I had never noticed how uncomfortable and restrictive it was to do the breaststroke in a suit of nylon, spandex, and elastic – aka the most uncomfortable materials known to (wo)man – until I tried swimming au natural.
4. It Restores Your Faith in Humanity - One of my fears going into a co-ed clothing-optional space was whether, as a woman, I would be the target of unwanted stares or advances from male retreat-goers. My experience, however, was so far the opposite it seriously restored my faith in the human species. I never got so much as a lingering glance or even an undesired conversation for the entire week I was there. I realized that rarely happens in a given clothed week of my life! People who flock to these types of retreats are normally there for spiritual and relaxation reasons, not to scam on unsuspecting women. I felt 100% safe and comfortable the entire time and realized that it was a nice break from the normal street harassment many of us, unfortunately, experience in day-to-day life.
Of course, it’s important to find a place that you feel comfortable and safe. Luckily, there are tons of clothing-optional places for you to choose from and the internet age has made it easy to find reviews from other newbies like you! Co-ed, single-sex, day-use, retreats, nude everywhere, nude only in designated areas – the options are endless and ready for you to discover your naked self!
Note: This article was originally posted on Thought Catalog. See the original post here.