Growing up, I wasn’t a nudist. Nudity was a topic that hardly ever came up in my home. I don’t recall any desire to be naked and I was uncomfortable with my body’s appearance. In my junior high and high school PE classes were required to shower after class so nudity in the locker room was accepted as the norm and it wasn’t a big deal. I can’t comprehend today’s phobia about locker room nudity but that’s another subject.
As an adult, I don’t recall ever having a problem with being naked, either alone or with others. Maybe exposure to other cultures and their more casual and practical views about non-sexual nudity helped shape my own outlook on nudity. When I was in Europe, I often made use of saunas and pools at hotels when I traveled. They were usually mixed gender and it felt perfectly natural to use them like the Europeans did, in the nude. I also enjoyed being naked at home but I didn’t consider myself a nudist nor had I even considered the idea.
About ten years ago, while enjoying some “naked” time at home, it occurred to me to investigate the idea of nudism. I found some good nudist web sites and forums and learned what I could about nudist lifestyle and the ideas behind it. I found that many of the ideals and philosophies surrounding nudism and naturism meshed well with many of my own ideas but I still wasn’t sure about actually getting out in a social context.
The desire to go to a nudist part and try social nudism grew stronger. About a year later I heard about a non-landed club in Columbus and learned that they were getting together at a nudist campground in central Ohio. I contacted the club president and he said that I was welcome to join them.
One sunny Saturday morning in June, I grabbed a couple of towels and dressed in a minimal amount of clothing for the drive, a tank top and a pair of shorts, and headed out. Once I was in the area of the camp, I passed the dirt road leading to it a couple of times. I was ready to give up trying to find it (maybe I was starting to get cold feet) and head back home. But I decided to try my luck with one of the dirt roads going off the main road. (Later I learned that the landmark I’d been looking for had been knocked down by vandals the night before.)
As I followed the narrow lane, I came to a fork in the road and, from the directions I’d been given, I recalled that the camp was on the left fork so I followed it until I passed through a gate and saw a sign telling me to stop and register. I got out of my truck and looked around but I didn’t see anyone until a woman wrapped in a large beach towel finally drove up in a golf cart. I told her I was a guest of the non-landed club and she asked me if I was aware that that it was a nudist camp. I told her I was and I paid my grounds fee. Then I followed her down the camping area and parked at the club’s campsite on the far side of the pond.
I got out of the truck and removed the two articles of clothing I’d been wearing (an A-shirt and a loose pair of shorts) and tossed them onto the seat. It felt good to feel the sun and the breeze on my bare skin. I grabbed my towels and walked to the edge of the pond. I set my towels down, slipped off my flip-flops, and waded chest deep into the water. The water was cold but at the same time exhilarating. I waded around for a couple of minutes before heading back to the shore where I retrieved my stuff and headed to a picnic table at the campsite.
I laid a towel out on the bench, sat down, and took a look around. There were families and campers along with some other activity on the other side of the pond but no one else at the club’s campsite. The club president was still asleep in his camper. Soon other club members began to arrive and they warmly welcomed to their ranks.
That was essentially my baptism into naturism. Any apprehension I may have felt about being nude with others melted away before I’d stepped into the water. It felt so natural to feel the warmth of the morning sun and the coolness of a summer breeze on my naked body, touching parts that they had never caressed before. I felt totally relaxed, without even the slightest bit of apprehension, self-consciousness or embarrassment. I was truly in my natural state.
As I sipped lemonade and chatted with the others around the table, it was one of the most natural things I’d even done. I don’t think I had ever felt so comfortable and at ease. The campground was very rustic but its lack of amenities didn’t matter. What mattered was that I had finally taken a big step forward into the world of social nudism, that I was comfortable being nude with others, and that I was comfortable in my own skin.
When it came time for me to make the long drive back home, I was reluctant to put my clothes back on. I was hooked and I knew I’d be visiting other nudist venues in the future. In fact, that was what I called my nude summer since I made several visits to nearby nudist parks over the next few months. I refer to it as my nude summer.
Since then, my ideas about naturism have evolved and melded with other aspects of my life to form a personal perspective of life. But my first genuine nudist experience will remain with me for many, many years to come.