As a naturist woman I can only tell you my story. A story of growing up in a clothes-optional house and how I came to be a naturist myself. It’s a small story of a short period in the development of naturism as we experience it today.
As a child, apparently I grew up in a clothes-optional house. My parents (particularly my Dad) were naked at home; he would arrive home from work and take his clothes off if he felt it was the right temperature. This was partly practical as it stopped my mum from complaining about his dirty clothes messing up the house but also because it was how he felt most comfortable. Naturism and nakedness weren’t mentioned; it was just something that happened. H&E sat on the newspaper pile on the bench seat. My sister and I kept our clothes on. There was no requirement for us to strip off, so we didn’t.
When I was in my mid-teens (the early 1980s) the family went on a camping holiday to France (as we generally did). We pitched our tent at CHM Montalivet. Close to a toilet block, as I remember. I really wasn’t happy to be naked myself and would happily read in the tent, despite the heat. Eventually I was persuaded to go to the beach. I was still wearing my bikini. This didn’t go down well with an elderly (as I saw her) French lady who made it quite clear, despite the language barrier, that I was unwelcome there if I was wearing a bikini. I wasn’t taking the bikini off, so we left the site.
Was it really the case that all clothing was outlawed on this beach? Was there really such intolerance of anyone who didn’t want to be naked? I’ll probably never know, but it was certainly off-putting. My experience today is that it is OK for teenagers to be clothed at a naturist site or on a naturist beach and I hope that such an incident as I experienced wouldn’t happen today.
Fast forward through a non-naturist marriage, three children, a divorce and about thirty years. Newly single and dating for the first time in a VERY long time I was ready to try new things. One boyfriend (do you call them that when you’re in your 40s?) mentioned naturism and was very pleasantly surprised when I said that I knew about that and would be happy to give it a try.
The rest, as they say, is history. This time I took to naturism like a duck to water. Ten years on that ‘boyfriend’ and I are still together and wouldn’t dream of taking a holiday other than a naturist one. It seems that this naturism business can be quite addictive and we have found ourselves becoming more and more social naturists. As a result of going to a naturist beach we met British Naturism members and were drawn into the social side of naturism in the UK. We are delighted to be part of that organisation as it campaigns actively for the rights of British naturists. The results of BN’s campaigning are that UK naturists feel more confident and the number of locations and events where you can participate in naturism are increasing rapidly. The Women in Naturism campaign recognises that women (amongst others) are under-represented in our naturist community and seeks to encourage them that this is a community which is not only safe to join but also has enormous benefits for them.
And my parents? What do they make of my change of heart? My Dad certainly finds it quite amusing, but also happy that I came round to the right way of thinking in the end! My Mum? She recently threw out all of her bikinis as she believes she won’t be needing them again! Apparently my ‘conversion’ to naturism and the regular chats we have about our naturist experiences have encouraged her in her own naturism. We all enjoy their garden as nature intended when we visit and the weather is favourable and indoor naturism is frequently possible as they keep their house warmer than we do ours!
Finally, I’d like to add that I look forward to the day when everyone can join a naturist club easily and there are no ‘quotas’ for couple and singles because the applications for membership represent the proportions of each in the general community. Here’s to more ‘Women in Naturism’ for a more balanced community!