Family Beach Afternoon

mother and daughter_001b

I see this all the time in Spain. A family (at least, part of a family) turn up on the beach in mid-late afternoon. Very often it’s a mother & daughter combo, and the daughter could be between 16-40 years of age, the mother’s age 20+ years in advance of that. And they then spend part of the afternoon swimming or sunbathing. Most often, they’ll arrive in swimwear, and most often the daughter, in keeping with her generation, will readily accept some form of nudity is part of the beach deal. If it’s not a ‘nude’ beach, being topless will still be a core part of Spanish beach life. No one blinks an eyelid at a pair of bared breasts, anywhere.

mother and daughter2_001b

The daughter will very readily go topless immediately.

mother and daughter3_001b

Often, ‘momma’ keeps her swimsuit on, but there are no disapproving looks regarding her daughter’s, at the very least, semi-nudity. Momma will not see her as a ‘puta‘ -a whore- for readily going nude, or semi-nude. It’s widely accepted as part of beach life, a normal dress code.

mother and daughter4_001b

Often, the daughter will go fully nude if it’s a naturist beach, clothing discarded before Momma can get a beach towel laid out.

mother and daughter5_001b

By contrast, a father/son, or even father/daughter combination is rare. It seems that, in Spanish beach life, a mother and daughter use this time as family bonding time. Perhaps Dad and brother have gone to watch a football match.

mother and daughter6_001b

Indeed, a father & son combination is likely to be only visible where the whole family take to the beach. Sunday afternoons are exceptionally popular for this in Spain, and I’ve often seen three generations of family, granny, her son or daughter, their spouse and her grandchildren all on the beach together.

mother and daughter7_001b

However, toplessness in a more mature generation is also fairly commonplace, and Momma may indeed shed her bikini top (or toll down her one-piece suit), to enjoy a fuller tan. The practice of semi-nudity, and beyond, has been going on so long that it is often a mother who has led the way for her daughter in this regard. My friend Mercedes, whom I’ll be seeking to interview about historical Spanish naturism when I’m out there in the summer, says that she was readily encouraged, but never forced, into going topless as a teen. ‘I don’t wish to make it seem like I was bullied into it’, she laughs, ‘but when I reached puberty I wanted to cover up my body, despite having previously happily run around the beach naked. My mother said nothing…it was a case of ‘whatever you want to do’, and then eventually, maybe 17 or so, I started going topless again, because my mother’s acceptance of it made it all seem normal!’*

mother and daughter8_001b mother and daughter13_001b


Occasionally, even the older generation will embrace full nudity. It’s not ‘rare’ as an occurrence, just perhaps marginally less commonplace. Indeed, I’ve often witnessed situations where grandma is on after-school childcare duties, and so she and her grandchildren hit the beach, strip off and play games….tag, football, volleyball, on ad-hoc courts, until it’s time to be collected by one or other parent.

My thanks to the unrelated Judy (younger model) and Nancy (older model) for playing the roles of mother and daughter in the shots above. Photos by Harry. *Mercedes’ words aren’t an exact quote, but a paraphrasing of a previous real life conversation we’ve previously had.


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