I’ve always been interested in naturism – the practice of non-sexual nudity but I’ve always struggled with being embarrassed about it. Even at home, I’ve always been too mindful, perhaps too afraid or shy of being nude sometimes because I was insecure about my stand, or unsure where this would lead to. And also I have a bit of trauma of being exposed and shamed, due to a childhood incident. In other words, I’m a closet naturist.
However, all this changed when I decided to spend a few days in a naturist resort in Phuket, Thailand together with Marianne while on our annual trip to Singapore and Malaysia. It was our first attempt at public nudity (of course, in a place where nudity is acceptable) and we’ve never felt so rejuvenated, revived and inspired thereafter.
A lifestyle that grows with you.
When I arrived at the resort, I discovered that it was at the low season that we came in to – which means there were very little people. The main high season is actually from November to April. So when we arrived in June, apart from us, another British man, and a Danish couple who joined us close to the end, there was really no one else. That made it much easier for Marianne and I as we were both introverts by nature and I was also concerned about whether we could jump straight into social nudity while doing this for the first time.
After some issues with the safe lock and the admin things, I finally got to remove my clothes and stepped gingerly outside. Most of the staff were clothed and female so I was a bit conscious being the only male around. But the staff acted as if nothing was unusual, were really friendly and made us feel really welcome. I didn’t detect any shame or scepticism from them but they just acted as if we were dressed. The staff was attentive, but at the same time mindful of one’s privacy and did not go beyond what needed attention to. P and G, the resort owners were a really nice couple. P also emphasised the non-sexual nature of this resort, and if we were looking for other resorts where sex is the main theme, then we should not really be here. That totally assured and made us felt that guests in this resort would likely be respectable, and when this was upheld by the resort admin, this made us felt much more secure. She also gave us some tips, that even though this is a naturist resort, it is still clothing optional. For those who are just shy or not yet ready to bare all , it’s totally fine to cover up a bit at different times. Everyone going full in the nude is therefore not obligatory but encouraged, but the most important thing of all is to feel comfortable being naked eventually.
I must say that I am probably more willing to bare it all than Marianne, because this is not the first time I have been nude and walking about, although it IS still my first time being nude in public, in front of strangers. However, I know this is a first for Marianne and I have to be aware about this and look at this as a journey we take together as a couple and not just by myself.
We went for dessert as we got a late lunch and we weren’t very hungry. Yeah, having “Tab Tim Grob” and “krapraw” in the nude was a surreal and interesting experience for me. 🙂
By the 2nd day, we were already finding naturism an exhilarating experience. Naked, we ate dinner, swam in the pool (literally skinny dipping), sunbathed (now we have a REALLY nice EVEN tan that we are really proud of) in the resort even though we could have just dressed up and gone elsewhere to do the same, but we didn’t come to Phuket for a normal holiday, we came to experience the naturist lifestyle and it has been such a release to enjoy this new found freedom. Marianne had started to be more comfortable being naked like me and we really had a fun time sunbathing and playing basketball in the pool. It was really, really mind-blowing how much more convenient and pleasant being in the nude is, as compared to being clothed.
I had been nearly naked for the past 4 days, the only times I wasn’t was when I needed to go out of the resort to the shops to buy stuff or eat meals (other than that offered on the resort). What can I say except that it feels so free to the point that I began to really loathe wearing clothes. I wished I don’t have to do so any more. In fact, Marianne and I would rather pay a bit more to eat in the nude within the resort than to get dressed and go down town. Yes, Thailand, like most places, is still conservative with regard to nudity but it was good to have that in the enclosed world that we were in.
It is worthwhile to note that intimacy (including intimate touching) around the resort is understandably forbidden as one of its strict rules and it is only allowed within the confines of the resort rooms or chalet. It’s kinda assuring that this rule exists as nudity can cross over to sex very quickly, especially, in the case of males, as men are more stimulated visually than ladies. Having this rule also prevents other couples being turned on by watching other couples who are intimate, and when, under the influence of alcohol, this can also get messy quite fast. So it is interesting to see that this is spelt out rather than just a short blurb and everything else is implied. Basically, it’s a volatile situation, and I think not controlling this is akin to adding fire to something that’s already flammable.
I actually struggled quite a bit with non-sexual nudity in my early years. I always thought nudity has just sexual connotations and nothing else. But I was wrong. It was more than just sexual, it was more intimate than sexual actually. P also shared a couple of incidents where people from a certain culture equated nudity to free sex and were quite frustrated to learn that this is not permitted in a respectable naturist resort such as this.
Honestly, I do get sexually tense, especially when it comes to seeing my wife in the nude. But then once I begin to mindfully separate the two, I realise that there was so much I was missing out if I had just equated nudity with sex. I find that I could savour the taste of freedom even more when I distinguished the two. Ironically sex has actually became quite a hindrance to enjoying nudity by itself.
Beneath our clothes, we have really nothing else to hide. As we see our own nakedness, we not only see each other’s beauty but also our faults, scars and wounds. We are accepting it for what it is, rather than look at being naked as just a precursor to sex Nudity that leads to sex is actually just 5% of what it is, there’s a whole new appreciation that is yet to be explored on another level. That is what intimacy is, raw and not what the trendy image the world has falsely painted and marketed as being beautiful or ideal, but timeless, natural and truthful, it’s undeniably us in the flesh! And suddenly, in our eyes, I think we’re the most beautiful couple in the world!
The practice of being naked has in fact, opened not just our bodies but our mind and hearts to each other as well.
It had been a really nice time for Marianne and myself to talk about things that were close to the heart. As we sat naked by the pool talking about these things, we’ve gone closer, relationship-wise with each other. Of course we don’t need to be naked to do this, but being naked has an effect that our vulnerabilities are laid bare to each other and this gives the added encouragement to share more openly. The 2 weeks of our vacation leading up to the time at the resort had been quite stressful on some parts as well as frustrating as we dealt with not just issues with relatives, last min work, but also the bureaucracy and seemingly senseless policies of banking and other administrative issues. So during 4 days that we spent at Phuket, we didn’t just let shed our clothes, but everything else, including the covers covering our innermost thoughts as well. I’m really happy to have someone like Marianne as a soul mate, wife and friend. And I think the feeling is also mutual.
We enjoyed talking to each other, sharing about our struggles, our pasts and how they relate to the present.
And then when we were alone in our chalet, we started to yearn for each other. The sex that naturally followed was intense and unforgettable. Sex is always so lovely when there’s already a strong bonding of heart and minds. It’s also nice to discuss how, as a couple and as individuals, we struggled with sex in our relationship, and I’m glad we made some headway and an intent to improve our understanding of what makes each other click and to recognise how to give each other space sexually. It is also interesting to note that the healthier sexual health one has as an individual, the healthier sexual health one will have as a couple. Many think that it’s always been a couple’s compatibility problem when actually, the issue really relates to how one views sexuality as an individual and how willing this can be openly spoken, discussed and understood between a couple. I’ve learnt to respect Marianne’s feelings and opinions about this yet at the same time be open about mine and the struggles I face. It’s nice when there can be candidness and openness when discussing these things, especially when we had come from a culture and upbringing where mentioning or discussing some of these sort of things were discouraged or kept hidden.
Freedom without clothes
One of the things that Marianne and I were talking about was about freedom – or rather, the evolution of it in our lives. I grew up as an Adventist in a strict, controlled household. I didn’t have much freedom, diet and entertainment were restricted, but the worst part was having a strict period (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) where even more restrictions were imposed upon me. When I broke away from the religion I was raised at around 21, I remembered being able to see a movie in a cinema, my first cup of coffee, my first taste of pork and seafood, all for the first time since growing up. That feeling of finally being free, when the shackles of these ‘chains’ were removed, the uninhibited feeling of release, is very similar to how I felt when I first shed my clothes at the resort in Phuket.
Then I went from an Adventist to the Christian faith. Worshipping had evolved to being fun and more uninhibited, with no longer any dietary or holy periods. Jesus had set one free from sin and I was ‘revelling’ in the freedom.
Or so I thought. I realised that my upbringing had a lot of bad hooks, especially when it came to self-esteem and sexuality. Freedom, as I knew and as I had thought I had obtained, was only on the surface. I realised that despite being a freer believer of God then, I had still carried a lot of personal baggage.
Christianity didn’t help. Neither did counselling or prayer. My marriage was suffering in silence because I still carried these issues. I felt stifled and helpless. It was as though something was still chaining me up to the wall but I didn’t know how to break them. It didn’t help that I thought I could distract myself by being busy with ministry and music, that was just an illusion – an illusion that I had thought I was freed from but in actual fact, I was still in prison, just upgraded to a better one (with more security features).
I eventually got a job in Norway, and by this time, the relationship between Marianne and me to the church had deteriorated to one of boring routine and distrust. It’s like it had promised freedom, but the reality is that it had sucked out all the life out of us. I worked and lived in Norway for the first year before Marianne joined me thereafter. By that time, we had cut off all our ties with the church, and we were no longer attending any. I was still maybe a reluctant Christian then but while being alone in Norway, I had time to reflect and think about many things. Finally I realised that the thing that was really keeping me from being bold, open and honest was my enslavement to the dogma I believed in. The chains that came from being in a religion had formed me for what I am, but it had also kept me from being my true self. So finally, I let it go. It was actually tough at first, I was very unsure, it’s like suddenly, everything was taken away from you and you are left naked, high and dry.
But that was when the marriage life between Marianne and I began to improve. We began to be more open and honest about each other without the chains of religion. I could share my sexual struggles without fearing that it was taboo to mention and we could share our sexual intimacies without worry whether it is sinful or not. We can express ourselves in ways that we didn’t before because we were constricted by our Christian values and upbringing. Yes, it was nice to be finally free again.
And now, I’ve experienced about the freedom I have without clothes, that’s even better. I don’t think I can do that while being a Christian, although I have heard about Christian naturists, and no offence to them, but I guess I just needed a clean break from everything. I’m not anti-God nor am I an evangelist for atheism, I just believe that everyone has their own belief system and ours had taken shape and naturally evolved in this manner. For me, It’s just a nice thing to have the peace of mind to do things without being plagued by guilt and other esteem issues.
Freedom, as I once learnt in a Norwegian social class, is not about doing anything without restraint, but rather, exercising responsibility and respect while having the right to do things that one likes. At least this is how I understand it. And this is exactly how it has shaped my perception of naturism – the freedom to be nude, without the inconveniences of clothes, yet at the same time, taking responsibility and respecting humans. By taking responsibility, that means that although I have the right to be nude, I will cover up if it distresses anyone that I have to meet or if me being in the nude should inconvenience others who might not be ready. I would love to live life without the need of clothes, but I think respect and responsibility needs to be there. That also means for example, I cannot insist that being in the nude to mean that I can do my toilet business or touch myself intimately in the open just because I believe in my natural, free state. That is being disrespectful. Therefore, there ought to be respect and responsibility from both the clothed and the naked. Just like what I would like to have to see between those that believe in a religion and those that do not. As I have the space to be naked either at home or at a naturist friendly place, I wish everyone can respect that, just like I respect the need to be clothed when I’m not in these spaces.
And that extends more than just being naked in a time or at a place, it also refers to how fellow naturists see each other as respectful humans. Sensitivity and awareness are therefore important. For example, as a male, being naked leaves me vulnerable, because we males tend to get stimulated visually and it’s visually obvious when the environment is conducive for arousal. But again, accepting that this happens and doing something to douse it, is a responsible thing to do and should not be viewed as something shameful. It’s just part of how the male sexuality is wired that I need to accept, and what’s more important is what I do with this when it happens. That is also freedom with responsibility in a way.
Now I’m back in Norway, typing this blog entry naked in the comfort of my own desk. It’s nice to be back and it was nice that I went through this short journey of discovery. I am now more confident being without clothes at home and it will be my default mode as long as the warm weather permits.
It’s really nice to be without clothes. It’s really nice to have that freedom.