Do you want to kick up your body positivity a notch? Especially in light of your new post-baby body, which now includes stretchmarks and odd looking sags?
Or maybe you've long wanted to safely (and legally) explore exhibitionism?
Do you want to get rid of your tan lines?
Have you daydreamed about swimming in the ocean without worrying about a big wave practically taking your bathing suit off?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for you to visit a nude beach. There are many assumptions about what to expect when you go to a nude beach. Here are a few tips that will help you make the best of your first experience taking it all off and going for a swim.
1. Clothing is optional
This means that if you are not comfortable with being naked, you can keep your clothes on. Or you can take them off, then change your mind, then put them back on. Or you can wait until you’re comfortable, then take your clothes off. There is no nude beach police who will come and ask you to leave if you decide you don’t want to strip down.
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2. Your chances of sunburn are much higher on parts that never see the sun
Don’t assume that you won’t burn. Play it safe. Bring sunscreen and use it. A lot.
One young man who stopped by to chat with us had a penis that was large enough to rest on his ankle while he sat in a sort of half-lotus position.
3. It might feel a little strange when you first get there
This should subside fairly quickly once you get comfortable with the fact that almost everyone is naked and no one is making a big deal about it. Seeing hundreds of random people in the buff gives you one good reality check: the bodies you see on TV and in magazines are few and far between. I stopped counting the strangers with perfectly sculpted abs at exactly one. A day at the nude beach could make you feel a little better about your perceived flaws. It may even help you realize that bodies are just bodies and parts are just parts. Catching a glimpse of a random labia or seeing a hairy ass walk by is no reason to feel offended.
4. If you’re staying all day, and you brought food, eating naked (in public) for the first time will be an odd experience
You don’t realize how often you wipe your hands on your clothing (yes, even in a bathing suit) until you’re sitting in the sand eating a turkey avocado sandwich. There’s no way to prepare for the first time you find yourself dusting crumbs off of your nipple or wiping off a drop of ketchup that happens to fall an inch away from your vagina.
5. People are more uninhibited (duh) at the nude beach, so strangers will approach you
I have found that most people are polite and respectful. I also had to come up with creative ways to politely and respectfully say “go away, I don’t want to talk to you.” My go-to statement is “My friend and I came here to catch up and spend time alone,” followed by some kind of statement thanking the person for stopping by to chat for a minute. If I’m alone I might say, “Thanks for stopping by, I’d really like to start reading my book.”
It took me a little while to realize what made the nude beach seem more serene and peaceful. The answer: hardly any kids.
6. Take in the scenery, but don’t be a creep about it
If you’re going to stare, put sunglasses on, be subtle and live with the tanlines on your face. Seeing parts of people that you don’t normally see can be educational and remarkably interesting. Although I saw many age-appropriate sagging sacs, I was surprised to see a few older men who had perfectly firm, cute testicles that packed close to their bodies. One young man who stopped by to chat with us had a penis that was large enough to rest on his ankle while he sat in a sort of half-lotus position.
The sight of a grandma who appears freshly waxed or shaven is oddly endearing.
7. Enjoy the quiet
It took me a little while to realize what made the nude beach seem more serene and peaceful. The answer: hardly any kids. No toddlers crying, no tweens shrieking and no little kids whining. As a regular beach goer, it’s always a beach-pleasant day when not a single child runs past you and wrecks your towel. The nude beach felt like a sanctuary of considerate people who wouldn’t dare step on your towels or run by and kick sand in your face. This might be the biggest reason to love the nude beach.
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Ready to go? Find a nude beach near you. Call a friend. Pack a bag. Enjoy a lovely and relaxing time in the body you were blessed with. Take in a different kind of people watching experience. Feel the freedom and bliss of the ocean water against every part of your body and spend a day with no concern for whether or not your bathing suit is flattering.
And don't forget sunscreen.
Photographs by: Tiffany Speacht