Some (more) thoughts about sim layout…and blog news.

It rathers looks that, as opposed to being a series of pages/articles/photos presented on a specific date, representing ‘Issue 1’ or whatever, that we’ll be doing rolling posts, and thus the concept of Issue 1, 2, 3 etc is redundant. Therefore, I’ll be lumping (and tagging) articles, photos etc together as the ‘Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn/Fall Quarterlies’. So we’re now in the ‘Winter’ Quarterly. Aapologies to southern hemisphere readers who are now moving rapidly into their summer. I’ve opted to adopt a northern hemisphere concept to seasons because SL Naturist is based in the northern hemisphere, most bloggers I read, and hunts, and most all else besides, adopt a northern hemisphere approach to seasons, and most SL users are in the northern hemisphere.

Wherever we are, though, it’s rapidly approaching Christmas, and a busy time for us all, so bear with the frequent ‘inactivity’ to due real life commitments, and the knowledge that I’m not actually being ‘inactive’ anyway. I’m discovering there’s a lot of research to be undertaken prior to publishing articles.

On the subject of naturist sims…many adopt that ‘paradise island’ look, and often there’s too much similarity in look and feel. Again, I’m looking at these things from a European perspective, but often I find that a ‘naturist beach’ comprises…nothing! It’s just a place naturists use. Pebbly beaches, lakes, rivers…all get used in Europe without them being developed as such. I’m currently looking around the grid in non naturist locations for such places, and then claiming them for naturism! I expect to blog, in due course, on a few potential skinny dipping spots that won’t be on the ‘naturist’ SL radar.

Armed for the beach

Of course Second Life isn’t ‘real’ but if you take human form and choose to do human things, then you make it as ‘real’ as possible. SL is an approximation of RL, in many respects, and the sims we visit are also approximations of RL. This is no different in the naturist sims, something that have a slight air of unreality about them in the way we approach them. For example, heading off to the beach in RL, apart from a husband and two small, over excited children, we’re armed with a variety of implements to aid our experience. Raffia mats, towels, probably some form of loose top half clothing in case the sun gets too hot, maybe a sun umbrella depending on location, and all other manner of items stuffed into a bag or rucksack.

I’ve already had Debs Byron blog the ‘over the shoulder’ towel since the blog began, but there’s a bunch of other items in my inventory that I regard as essential ‘wear’ (we’re so often not completely naked at the beach in RL or SL) for my SL naturist trips. Looking through it, I’ve rediscovered sarongs, bandanas, lots of sunglasses, hand-held towels, etc, all of which would kind of replicate my RL beach bag.

I’ve begun the process of checking landmarks and the availability of said items, and will link whatever’s available here in a ‘Beach Bag’ posting next week, in order for us SL naturists to replicate the RL version.

Forget the ‘budgie smugglers’ and grab that towel!

The Diamond Hunt is ongoing, and I think it’s aimed mainly at men and probably features clothes. Clothes in a naturist blog? I’m not going to doing much clothes blogging, I think, apart from sarongs, pareos and such like, exactly the sort of stuff found on naturist beaches. Nevertheless, I couldn’t let this item, part of the hunt at Utopia store, pass me by, I suppose it’s main aim is the freebie posing pouch available, something we’ll ignore, even though naturist locations often feature a swarthy and sculpted male in a pair of budgie smugglers, never quite confident enough to show us the contents. It includes a lovely over the shoulder towel, almost something of a naturist cliche.

Genesis 2, 25

Currently on the Marketplace, there’s a L$1 complete ‘forest fae’ avatar.

This blog is intended to be naturist in intent, but I couldn’t resist the outfit, particularly at that price, where modesty is covered by a fig leaf. Very biblical, very Garden of Eden, very ‘fall from grace’ following the temptation provided by the serpent.

Modelling for us is one of my old friends, Debs Byron, who I used to be a neighbour of on a naturist sim a couple of years ago now, I’m sure. Debs will be doing some more modelling and writing for SL Naturist in the future although, as an ‘occasional’ player, she probably won’t be featuring regularly. I’ve grabbed a copy of the outfit for myself, and as soon as I can grab someone to pose as ‘Adam’, we’ll do a photoshoot of us in our fig leaves.

What better way to kick off SL Naturist, then with a ‘beginning’, if you know what I mean.

What makes a good naturist sim?

In my opinion, what makes it good, apart from the relative absence of (or hidden away) poseballs is not ‘over cooking’ the sim. Too often (and this is true of many SL locations, naturist or not) is going for ‘the same’ and ‘the obvious’. Let’s have a mall…a tiki bar…a dance floor…7 seas fishing….and let’s make it look exactly the same as everywhere else. This is why Eden Naturopolis and Su Casa work so well. Eden’s so huge as to defy description (although that’s not going to stop me trying in a forthcoming report), and dedicates more of it to water than to land. So it becomes a sailor’s haven, costs little to fill with ‘stuff’, and provides little secluded spots where you and a companion can sit on an unspoilt beach, away from everyone else. Su Casa does the same thing.Not ‘over cooked’ with ‘stuff’, just a small welcome building, a balloon ride (everyone should try it!) and a few deckchairs and showers. Plenty of space for people to stretch out and do some solo sunbathing or swimming, just as in a RL naturist location. Sometimes, some of my more enjoyable naturist experiences in SL are in places not designed to be naturist. Think of this as the equivalent of finding a skinny dipping spot. No naturist designation, but isolated enough to be able to take in a swim and a conversation with a companion without clothes.

Sim owners sometimes need to think a little more laterally when building. The place needs space, and less ‘stuff’ than you would think. That way, it takes on a unique feel.

What is naturism?

What is naturism? Let us begin by defining it, and pointing you at how wikipedia defines it.

Naturism or nudism is acultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism.

Several other terms (“social nudity”, “public nudity”, and, recently, “clothes-free”) have been proposed as alternative terms for naturism, but none has found the same widespread public acceptance as the older terms “naturism” and (in much of the United States) “nudism”.

Naturism can contain aspects of eroticism for some people, although many modern naturists and naturist organisations argue it need not. The lay public and the media often oversimplify this relationship.

Pay particular attention to the third sentence, that it need not contain eroticism. This is important. Yes, there is a simple pleasure in a naked body, which is why artists, in whatever medium, have returned to ‘the nude’ again and again ever since man started drawing on cave walls. And for me, that is the beginning and end of eroticism in naturism. There is something attractive in observing a lovely looking man or woman in the flesh, or a well constructed avatar in SL.

As in real life (RL) naturism, we forget that the avatar is naked after a while and focus on the person’s personality rather than their looks. We connect, in RL, with their mind, not how ‘drop dead gorgeous’ they are. In the context of RL naturism, we find that the lumpy, middle-aged naturist with a library of memories and anecdotes are sparkling companions whereas, sometimes, the person who is young and beautiful can be shallow and self-centred with little or no personality at all.

I’ve found the same actually applies in SL. I’m actually drawn towards avatars (in a naturist environment or not) who wear ‘older’ avatars, because the chances are they actually are older in RL. And they’re some of the most interesting companions and conversationalists you can meet.

For me, and for most other naturists, there’s no focus or fixation on the body. It’s just the simple pleasure of swimming or sunbathing without a costume, of being able to rise in the morning and wander to the sea for a swim, along possibly public roads, and wander back to a holiday villa once more armed with nothing more than a towel. It’s about, in certain situations, wandering off to the shops armed only with my purse, to wander the aisles of a supermarket nude, pay for it nude and wander home again nude armed with fresh produce.

Ah! Fresh produce. Yes, I’ve found that naturists often embrace a larger concept of what their vision of naturism involves, healthy eating, exercise, arts and crafts. Essentially a return to simpler times. Of course, those simpler times are aided by all modern conveniences, but it’s clear, walking around some naturist campsite in France, or urbanizacion in Spain, that naturists do like to eat well and fresh. At 9-10pm, the barbecues are out and the air full of home made marinades being applied to fresh cuts of meat or vegetables. The air is full of the aromas of herbs, garlic and so on and as light descends, there’s the clatter of cutlery on plates as satisfied diners sink back into their chairs on a terrace, or in front of their tent, and make the simple realisation that life is good and filled with great, simple experiences if you only take the time to seek them out and experience them.

‘Sex’ isn’t part of the agenda. Well, let me re-phrase that. Sex can be part of the agenda. But it’s not taking place in public. There’s no RL equivalent of pink and blue poseballs. After dark, after wine, and after a bit of naked terrace dancing with my RL partner, we do sometimes get amorous with one another. A lazy day in the sun followed by taking the time to spend time with one another, unencumbered by day to day realities, freshly produced meals and some good wine enjoyed under a balmy starlit sky means that our libidos can become aroused. And yes, both of my children were conceived, as far as I can be certain, during lovely, loving naturist holidays.

In SL, there’s often blurring of borderlines, often simple ignorance of what naturism entails. Too many SL ‘naturist’ locations turn out to be nothing more than sex sims. I differentiate. ‘The SL Naturist’ will differentiate. Pink and blue poseballs will not strike ‘nudist’ sims off my review list -sex happens- but poseballs set two metres from the tp point will strike ‘nudist’ sims off the review list.

A lot of people in SL are naturists, percentage wise probably much higher than the general population. Why? Obviously there’s ‘opportunity’. Most people don’t live within RL easy access of a naturist beach. In SL, we’re all a click away from one. What’s the attraction? Partly because, in some people’s minds, nudity=sex. I’ve met enormous numbers of guys who imagine that because there’s nakie girls around, there’s going to be some rapid movement towards that pink poseball. Sorry, guys, no! If you meet genuine RL naturists you’ll understand that sex (in SL) is away down the agenda and perhaps even off it entirely.

Which brings me to…my profile! I don’t do cybersex. I find it ridiculous. There’s a whole world constructed by others out there to explore, and yet for some the sole purpose of logging in is getting a quick bunk-up with the first available female. But I don’t reject cybersex just for the stupidity of oversized penises poking out some poor girl’s back. I’m married in RL. And the idea of cybersex strikes me as being a kind of intellectual adultery. No, I don’t want to hear your theories on how it isn’t. That is my view and one I shall firmly stick to. In the past I’ve muted and defriended ‘friends’ who decided they no longer understood where the line was. It didn’t matter how long I’d known them…click, gone! If you encounter me in SL, read the profile and respect the views. I’ve done all the explanations I’ll ever do on this and I won’t even discuss it any longer. I like social nudity (in and out of SL) but I’m disinterested in sex, relationships, partnership or prim babies. This is not to criticise your SL, should you embrace all of this. It’s your SL and I’m not one to judge. Nor are you one to judge my SL path.

I’ll probably return to the theme of what naturism is, and quite possibly be linking to RL sites where necessary, as this blog develops. In the meantime, there’s lots to do for Issue 1, and limited time to do it in, so I’ll sign off now and -if you’re a genuine naturist on a genuine naturist sim- will probably bump into you in the coming weeks and months.

For now, take care and be nice to each other.



THE SL NATURIST Issue 1 (December 2011)

From the editor’s desk

 Hi! I’m Ella, and I was recently appointed editor of the SL Naturist, an idea that has been floating around for the best part of a year now without ever taking flight. What are my credentials for the job? I’m a RL naturist, an occasional RL freelance writer, and an SL naturist (and now SL writer). I’ve previously written stuff (on naturist issues) for 2ex, a blog written by my good SL friend Emmanuelle Warden, someone from whom I’ve learned a lot on matters pertaining to the blogosphere. I make no apologies for shamelessly thieving some of her blog style until I find my feet and can give this blog its own unique appearance and style (although I’ve already begun on that!).

If you read the ‘About Us’ page you’ll get some inkling into the thinking behind the launch of this ‘magazine’, and I’m sure we’ll be adding more and more pages as we go. I’m just beginning to get a team together to help with the content of the blog, but the offer is open for anyone to contribute articles, links, photos. If you’re an SL naturist it’s your magazine, and can only be a success with your help.

Ella Keng