How I went from a circumspect life to running around in my backyard in the nude.
This is a guest post, and a wonderful story from a new online friend, Chuck Douglas.
I believe our cultural and/or religious inculcation to avoid nudity or being seen nude, or seeing others nude, runs very deep for most people. Overcoming that, assuming one wishes to, isn’t quick or easy and even if we wish to, still isn’t easy. Most people are raised to believe that being nude is only about sex or bathing or maybe at the doctor’s office so social nudity runs against a lifetime of training for most of us. My parents were Mennonites-turned-Baptists and I was raised accordingly. Sex or nudity was a nearly forbidden topic and surely those people who were nudists could only be perverts. Because I was raised so strictly — movie theaters were places of sin and I never entered one until I was about age 17 — that I should develop a predilection for naturism seemed unlikely.
My interest in naturism did happen to begin in a rather unlikely way. Growing up under my parent’s strict rules I happily left home at 19 to embrace fun in whatever form would give me a rush. I had no taste for drugs and not much for booze, adrenaline was much better and legal. About a month after leaving home I bought a motorcycle and went motocross racing and later became deeply involved in the new sport of hang gliding. When I was young I’d give most things a go, dangerous or not.
Long about 1974 or ’75 I was at Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego to fly my hang glider. I was an early adopter of the sport of hang gliding and Torrey with its 400ft cliffs facing into the ocean breeze was a great place to fly. Below the cliffs was the well-known Black’s Beach, then an unofficial nude beach. I’d known since high school that there was a nude beach way down there below us but I had little thought to explore the possibilities.
A bit after taking flight from the top of Torrey Pines, the wind slacked, and my hang glider lost enough altitude that I couldn’t land back on top of the cliff. Black’s Beach here I come! Now, I still hadn’t really thought about the reality of landing on a nude beach, just the details of landing on a crowded beach. As I cruised in for a landing a number of people moved aside for me. I landed, put down my hang glider, and some guy stark naked walked up to me and said “Those things are far out! How much do they cost?!” I replied, “Doesn’t look like you can even afford a bathing suit let alone a hang glider!” He laughed and asked more questions. Then a very attractive young woman, totally nude >gulp<, walked over smiling and started asking questions about hang gliding. Hang gliding was new back then so it always attracted some attention when you flew and the location of a nude beach was no exception. More naked people gathered around the glider talking and asking questions as I set about folding up my glider. To say I was distracted by all the naked women around me would be an understatement. Up to that moment at age 23, I’d never seen another naked woman in person apart from my wife. I was enough of a gentleman to try not to stare but it was tough not to grab more glances than I should. But people were so polite, so friendly and a few suggested I shuck off my clothes and join their beach party. Perfect strangers invited me to their beach party! I grew up in California and no beach I’d ever been to was as friendly as that one. I noticed after a bit, too, that there was no “rocket in my pocket” as I might have expected. How can you be around so many naked people of the opposite sex and not be aroused? Had I been overwhelmed and struck impotent by a nude beach? It was puzzlement and my first inkling that nudism isn’t about sex.
Normally, packing up a hang glider back then was a 5-minute job but I took about 45 minutes that day do to the many distractions. The cliff path is a bit of a challenge anyway and I wasn’t anxious to start that trek. Carrying an 18ft long, 35lb hang glider doubled the effort. Someone kindly offered me a cold soda. More conversations and more trying not to stare.
I came away feeling that the nude beach scene was something special, something I’d like to try again. I was a risk taker so to me it was one more risk, less dangerous than flying from a 400ft cliff. A couple of days later I went back to Black’s Beach sans hang glider and hiked the long, sketchy path down the cliff to the beach. I found a reasonable spot on the sand not too close to anyone else and threw down a beach towel, took a gulp of air, and took off all my clothes. Suddenly everyone on the beach stopped what they were doing and looked at me laughing and pointing! Okay, no, no they didn’t. No one noticed one more naked person on the beach. Turns out there was nothing more amazing about my body than anyone else’s body, nor anything uglier or weirder. I was and am pleasantly average.
I knew, lacking sunscreen or shade, I couldn’t stay long on the beach. I hadn’t planned well. I lay out there for about 40 minutes, going in the ocean once, fully afraid that I’d be grabbed by a shark or an orca and the news would be screaming “Conservative Christian Man Killed By Orca At NUDE Beach!” Everyone I knew, my wife, parents, friends, and pastors, would KNOW what I’d done! I’d been nude in public. I’d watched naked coeds from the university nearby play volleyball. Worse, total strangers had seen my willy! Horrors! No sharks or orcas grabbed me, though, so once I relaxed a bit more it felt wonderful to be in the water. Out of the water, I got dressed for the rather arduous trek back up the cliffs. I had much to think about the rest of the day and indeed, over the next 35 years or so.
I really wanted to get involved in visiting a nude beach again but the woman I was married to back then absolutely refused to consider it. Subject not open for discussion. I pushed naturism out of my mind for the next three decades or so aside from an occasional nighttime skinny dip in my own swimming pool. When I found myself single again in 2000 and living in Arizona, I decided to at least work on getting some tan on my white body, and shape up a bit to be presentable as a single person. I worked outdoors a lot so I had a nice “farmer suntan” with a brown face and arms and a pasty white body. I begin laying nude in the walled backyard of my new home getting a bit of an all-over tan. I connected with a local naturist group but that never really went anywhere.Time moves on and recently the bug to be nude again struck me, in part because I’m now married to a lovely woman who is at least willing to be naked on our patio and in our backyard. We are talking about visiting a nude beach or resort on vacation next year and I’m very hopeful about that. I’ve been mostly nude around the house during the late summer and in the backyard, too. Our backyard is semi-private and on the days our next-door neighbors work, I’m more or less free to lay out nude or water plants around the yard. I may even mow the yard naked one of these days. It’s a long way, 47 years, since my unexpected airborne arrival at Black’s Beach and yet I feel like the fun part of the journey is just beginning and this time with my lovely wife’s support.