Painting by: iamcootis

Travelers tend to enjoy ultimate freedom on the road, though jumping the psychological hurdle of experiencing nude beaches can remain a challenge.

EVERYONE HAS ONE opinion or another about nudity in public places. My own was rather reactionary until recently. I come from a family where modesty was a virtue, and was shocked when I moved to the Netherlands and found an open approach to public nudity. (I once saw a naked man in Amsterdam, riding his bike to work.)

I felt outraged and insulted.

“Never, never in my life will I be naked in public,” I told myself. However, since then, some things have changed.

I became a nudist. My current boyfriend happens to be a nudist, and on our first holiday he introduced me to the joy of being naked on the beach.

And I rather liked it.

Being naked on the beach gives you the feeling of being free and in union with nature. And it is rather natural, considering that humans only started to wear clothes 72,000 years ago. For more than half of our existence, we have been nudists.

What I noticed at nudist beaches is that people come in all shapes and forms, and rarely do they resemble Kate Moss.

However, being natural with nature is not that easy nowadays. It’s still a controversial issue. Some regard public nudity as exhibitionism. Others say its sets a bad example for children. In most states of the US, a woman going topless can result in a fine.

Women are paradoxically bombarded with glossy magazine pictures that depict thin, beautiful, and mostly naked women. Even if you’d like to be a nudist, you might avoid going to a nudist beach because you feel your body doesn’t correspond to the standard of beauty.

What I noticed at nudist beaches is that people come in all shapes and forms, and rarely do they resemble Kate Moss. It can be a liberating experience, especially if you have confidence issues.

I started my nudist experience when I considered myself slightly overweight, and it helped me to realize that the human body is beautiful as it is. And I certainly recommend everyone try it at least once. Here are some tips, which might come in handy if you’re ready to give it a shot.

Photo courtesy the author

Tip #1 – Lather up.

Don’t forget to put sun cream on those parts of your body that don’t normally see the sun. It isn’t pleasant letting virgin skin burn.

Tip #2 – Watch the bend.

Don’t bend over when adjusting your towel or picking something up from the sand (unless you’re Brad Pitt, of course).

Tip #3 – Eyes to yourself.

Don’t stare at other naked people!

Tip #4 – Go incognito.

In case you do want to stare, there are two best ways to do it: (a) wearing sunglasses, (b) pretending to read a book (just don’t forget to turn the pages).

Tip #5 – Ditch the camera.

Be respectful of others when you take out your camera to get some pictures of the beach. The sight of it will make all the naked people around you suddenly very nervous.

Tip #6 – Watch for cold water syndrome.

Men, be aware that even if you’re well-endowed, it’s gonna shrink to tiny proportions when you emerge from the sea. Don’t feel bad about it….

Tip #7 – To shave or not to shave?

This is a difficult question, since enjoying a nudist beach is all about being natural. On the other hand, it’s nice to be well groomed.

Tip #8 – Avoid philosophy.

Try to avoid deep philosophical conversations with your naked neighbors. It sounds (and looks) rather weird when a naked person talks about Foucault.

Tip #9 – Keep your suit handy.

Take your swimming suit with you just in case. For instance, when all other nudists decide to leave the beach and you are the only naked person remaining.

Tip #10 – Top of the morning?

What to do in case of erection? Quickly lie face down on the sand, but don’t forget to fill in the imprint when you stand up!