During High School I was in our Cross Country team and loved Long distance running. A number of us would get together on the weekends for some local running through the bush near a local Power Station. Lots of fun, relaxed running with some friends. Sometimes if it was very hot, we would end up at an old quarry which was filled with water and jump in for a swim.
Anyway this one very hot Saturday there was just 2 guys out running. Myself and Geoff. We ran about 10km and then headed for the lake. We got to the lake and Geoff dared me to skinny-dip. We checked we were the only ones there, stripped off ( we were only wearing shorts) and jumped in the cool refreshing water. After sometime we heard voices at the top of the cliff overlooking the lake and to our surprise saw some of our female running companions looking down at us and calling out. As they came down the hill we quickly became embarrassed and wondered how we could get back to our clothes and dressed without being seen. It wasn’t going to happen, so we decided staying in the water was the safest, hoping the girls would come past, say hi, and move on. It was then we also realised our clothes were on the bank exactly where the girls would come down to the waters edge. How would we explain this? One of the girls eventually saw our clothes on the rocks and I remember her giving a half yelp half scream – “they’re naked”.
That certainly added to the embarrassment, no one said anything for what seemed like an eternity, until one of the girls Lorraine finally broke the silence with an even more embarrassing ” so do you mind if we join you”. Before anything could be said, she had her clothes off and dove into the lake.
The next minutes seemed kind of confusing as Lorraine asked us not to be embarrased because, as she went on to explain, she had grown up in a nudist family and had seen heaps of people of all ages naked. The other girls were half complaining to Lorraine about her “promiscuity” and half trying to ask questions about why she wasn’t embarrased about being open for all to see. Us boys were going from red faced to looking away as she climbed out of the water to answer more questions.
I knew I had to eventually take up the challenge and get out of the water. I decided to get from a deep water part and lift myself up on a rock – getting straight out instead of slowly walking out of the shallows. I firstly asked the girls if it was OK.
Little was said, Lorraine quite calmly encouraged me (she suggested going from the deep water straight up to the rock – to get it over quickly). Another of the girls – Tracey said she wouldn’t mind and that she would join us naked if I came out. So I swam to the waters edge grabbed the rock, held my breath and lifted myself out, in one action spinning around to sit on the rock, feet in the water and now not feeling not embarrased at all, but very very free. Lorraine came and sat beside me and we looked at Tracey.
Tracey took no time in getting her clothes off, she sat down on the other side of me and somehow the situation seemed normal, all tension displaced. We were longterm friends after all, and certainly I had hoped that this wouldn’t disrupt the friendships, or worse, cause sexual tension. These were people I respected and loved as sisters. They were the closest most intimate friends, but somehow Lorraine’s nudist life had escaped our knowledge.
Lorraine told us stories of going with her family to nudist retreats, beaches, living naked around home, freedom to be clothed or not clothed and especially the self confidence that no matter how you look, how your body is shaped, that you are respected as an individual. Clothes were useful for protection and warmth, but not as a fashion statement or to try to be more attractive. The respect no matter how you looked spoke a lot to me. Sure the girls were all fit beautiful athletes, and they all looked different, different shapes, sizes and blemishes. I know I had so much self consiousness during my teen years about how I looked. I particularly hated my face, but hearing Lorraines stories of acceptance I became less self conscious of my looks, body shape and size and more aware of how much judging of fashion, hair styles, body shapes and looks was going on amongst all my school friends, even the label of the running shoes my running friends would wear.
What no one ever thought about was sex in relation to being nude. Being nude was not being rude. Actually I’ve found that some clothing is designed to make you look more sexy, to stir up sexual thoughts from other people.To reveal just enough to make people want more. Nudity doesn’t do that. Everything is revealed and it’s definitely not sexual. As has been said sex leads to nudity, but nudity doesnt lead to sex. Lorraine explained that anyone who did behave inappropriately was dismissed from retreat centres and clubs. I remember not even remotely being “turned on” or sexually improper when I was with nudists.
It was starting to get late and we realised that we needed time to jog home before it started getting dark. The other girl Jenny wanted to join us nude but was very shy about undressing in front of us. We all offered to look away so she could undress. She eventually went behind some bushes to undress while we looked the other way, still talking about life and asking questions to Lorraine. Jenny came back out and said, “you can look at me now” Lorraine quickly interrupted and said, no we’ll just keep chatting here and you can join us when you’re ready. Lorraine said the nudity isn’t about showing off your body, its being relaxed enough to let it all be normal whether naked or not. It’s not about checking out each others body, although it does happen with newbies trying to find out what normal is when you’re nude for the first time.
Lorraine invited us to her place so her parents could chat more about the nudist lifestyle, if we wanted to know more. She promised we wouldn’t have to be nude at her home, but that her Mum and Dad probably would be if we were ok with it, she certainly would be as well as her older sister and brother. Her parents reffered to the nudist life as Naturism. Its not only about being nude, its about a respect, health and wholeness of mind, body, spirit in yourself, others and environment. The Spirit part was very important as they explained about their Christian Faith.
Lorraines parents told us about some of the nudist places around Brisbane and Queensland, even some of the nudist beaches at Noosa and Byron bay. It took some time of talking and skinny dipping together at the lake before I got up the courage to join Lorraines family at a retreat centre north of Brissie, a large property with a creek and heaps of bush for walking. Games and sports areas, camping and BBQs. They even had music events all fully nude and accepting of anybody – and their body. I became a regular with Lorraines family, meeting heaps of people of all ages. I was 16. Through my friendship with Lorraine, many of us started going to her Church Youth group that helped me so much to understand the Bible and God’s love for my life. It was like nudism helped me start to accept my body, and Christianity helped me except my failings and all my other lifes insecurities. I had found freedom and acceptence through both lifestyles, though my Christian faith soon became the priority way of thinking and believeing. We all made a decision to follow Christ in the same year. It was the end of year 11.
As life progressed, school finished, Uni and work took my friends away, and so too our nudist recreation. I continued on well into my late 20’s regularly doing nudist things – beaches, retreat centres, nude at home, sleeping nude, running/ bush walking in secluded places, nudists clubs that hired out pools and even boats for nude cruises. I loved being nude as much as possible but eventually moved out of parents home to rent with some other guys.
Many years passed into my mid 30’s and I really only went camping by myself and found a few Christian nudist friends. But at My Church, although a wonderful loving community did not seem like the place to openly confess my nudist practice. I did have a couple of friends I told and my then girlfriend. She was so relaxed and casual about it and saw no issues with it. We were able to go nude at retreat/camps/beaches. That relationship ended just before I met my wife.
So that brings me to today. My wife many times reminds me that I need to get away for my outdoor “nude” time. So I still do go to the beach or the retreat. My wife has joined me, she has seen many naked people, being an artist, she has done many nude paintings with Uni and art groups. When you become used to the nude body, body shame, fear and pornography looses all its power. I’ve never had an issue with porn, and I certainly can tell quickly whether a body is displayed for sexual stimulation. The places we visit are big enough to be alone, quiet and secluded (great for newbies to get used to being naked alone outdoors) or mixing with other people (more so on weekends). Its friendly to new comers and allow newbies to remain clothed for their first visits. I’ve met young couples, older retirees, singles, teens grandparents with their kids, lawyers, Christians, rich and middle class, people from all walks of life.
I’ve taken some interested people to nude beaches over the years, left them clothed while I went naked, some have taken up the lifestyle. I’ve met other Christian nudists and we all sort of agree that it’s better not to shout our nude practises from the Church newsletter. My personal stance is this, my first priority is my personal faith and relationship with Christ, everything else is secondary. But then my relationship with my wife and family. These three things do take place above any nudist lifestyle and I would do nothing to conflict or jeopardise the first three. If my Church leadership asked me to stop being a nudist, I would. If my wife or family asked me to stop, I would. And certainly if I felt being nudist contradicted the teaching of Scripture, I would stop.
So my life today as a Christian and nudist is not in conflict, it has priorities like many other things in life. We occasion a legal nudist beach near Byron Bay
I find being an nudist is so relaxing. Being a contemplative person, I find my closest times with God is when I am nude and outdoors being in nature. Adam and Eve had that pleasure, it wasn’t God who had to cloth them when they sinned. They clothed themselves by their own shame and guilt. I have also learned that historically the early church had no problem with nudity, they baptised nude and often worked nude.The Bible is full of Scriptures where Prophets, Leaders and Disciples were nude.
Do I think we all should be naked and have nudism everywhere. No. It’s a situation where our sin and perversion of being naked has created a society with paedophiles and perverts. I think nudist retreats/beaches, clubs and homes are safe environments for kids, teens families and single women to safely experience a nude lifestyle.