Vintage Season : Those naked Victorians (Part 2)

Even today, the male of the species will readily go naked much quicker than his female partner. I think that there tends to be a bit in the male’s social and psychological DNA that explains this. Males are more accustomed to being in changing rooms after team sports, where communal nudity is the norm. The female changing room tends to be, I think, a much less fleshier place and we do, as a species, tend to cover up a bit more. You can see this in naturist settings too, where the female will walk to the beach in a sarong, sort of covering up, before removing it on the beach itself and for swimming. It doesn’t matter that the wind may be blowing the sarong open and effectively revealing her intimate parts -the female naturist doesn’t care much about that- but she still needs her modesty and respectability, often, for that walk from a car park or apartment to the beach.

And it has tended to be this way for decades.

Before the mid-1800s, nude bathing was the norm. Indeed, the nature of clothing materials would have meant that a one piece, full body costume was actually dangerous, the weight of the materials in question (knitted! in some cases) adding a lot of extra weight that could have resulted in drowning.

One Victorian minister, the Reverend Francis Kilvert, was angered to find that, when he went for his swim, new legislation had been introduced at his local beach that insisted on swimwear. He wrote in his diary of

‘the detestable custom of bathing drawers that are now becoming de rigeur’ when he went for a swim at Seaton, Devon in 1873, previously unaware of the new requirement for wearing bathing suits and recorded that

‘the young ladies strolling near seemed to have no objection.’ (to his nudity).

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Below is a famous photograph (sorry it’s so small) of the police chasing naked swimmers in Hyde Park, London, during the Victorian era. Why? We’d now have been entering an era where nudity was frowned upon, but for poor families swimming costumes were an unnecessary purchase, and thus nude bathing continued.

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Across Britain during the Victorian era there also emerged the ‘gentlemen’s bathing place’, (Oddicombe Bay, Devon, Bangor Northern Ireland, Forty Foot, Dublin, Ireland & others retain the quaint ‘gentlemen’s bathing place’ titles)

This was a euphemism for  ‘nude bathing’, and the practice continues to this day at Forty Foot, Dublin (named after the Forty Foot Infantry Division who were once in barracks there, and used the beach -in Victorian times- as their bathing facilities).

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Don arrives at the ‘Gentlemen’s Bathing Place’ for his nude morning swim, prior to the arrival of ‘the gentler sex’
Photo taken at the New Brighton sim. Note that this is not an official nudist beach in SL.

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The ‘gentlemen’s swimming place’ at Oddicombe, Devon, showing typical features of the ‘facility’, steps into the sea,

and an isolated location with drying/changing potential -the flat area created from the rocks.

Another phenomenon of Victorian communal nudity would have been the spas and turkish baths of England. Some Turkish baths were built during Queen Victoria’s reign, and a spa had existed in Harrogate, Yorkshire, since the late 16th century, both forms of bathing being hugely popular across Europe.

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Nothing so rustic as a ‘ladies’ bathing place’ existed. Instead, females got to use the bathing machine, a hut on wheels in which the woman changed, before the hut was reversed into the sea (by horse) and from which the lady could emerge, clad in a voluminous swimming costume, away from prying eyes and thus pre sever her modesty.

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Roberta dons a retro swimming costume to take to the beach at the New Brighton sim. Note the pier in some shots. Piers were a uniquely Victorian construction, still much in evidence around Britain today.

At the beginning of the Victoria era nude, mixed bathing was the norm. As I’ve said, the purchase of a swimming costume was an unnecessary luxury, and the practice of what were effectively nudist beaches, before nudism or naturism existed as a lifestyle choice, and it was the pressures of Christian evangelism, so often the bearers of funlessness, that caused the practice to end, for swimming costumes to become essential for the sake of ‘decency’. Essentially this was a problem just of British attitudes. In other countries in Europe, the practice of mixed nude bathing, in discreet locations, remained widely accepted.

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In France, they do things differently. ‘Pierre et Catherine’ (modelled by Don & Heather) find a bridge beside a river, some way from town, where they can bathe nude.

It has been my experience that the reduction in SL’s variety of sims has seen some Victorian styled sims lost to us, evidence of the period exists more by accident than design in some architecture and, at the likes of the New Brighton sim, where an accurate depiction of an English seaside town remains.

Meanwhile, it remains possible to look at an emerging Victorian era pornographic culture (not unique to Britain, but around the world in the period of Victoria’s British reign, mid-1800s through to 1900) and replicate that for SL. Our next depiction of vintage, from the dawn of photography, roughly commensurate with the Victorian era, will be to re-enact, to some degree, early examples of photographic pornography. And with the birth of the nudist/naturist movement at the very  end of Victoria’s lifetime, at the beginning of the 1900s, we’ll examine how the early naturist movement looked.

Ella

Vintage Season : Those naked Victorians (Part 1)

The Victorian era refers to the British period of history covering the reign of Queen Victoria (who reigned from 1837 to her death in 1901).

I’m beginning Vintage season with a look at the Victorians, because they aren’t quite as po-faced and austere as history portrays them. Conventional wisdom sees them as sexually repressed, conservative and lacking in any sort of fun, but that’s not the whole story. Even the Queen herself, the epitome of British stiff upper lip and an expression that suggests she’s sucking on lemons was asked, having given birth to nine children, was advised by her physician if she understood what this meant. ‘Yes’, she replied, no more fun in bed’. Despite this, she hated being pregnant and breast-feeding. So within that there’s a paradox already, and paradoxes abound regarding Victorians and the Victorian era.victoriannude

We sort of covered the topic of Victorians and nudity before, in our post Steampunk Naturism. Why? Because the topic of ‘steampunk’ is something that is popular within SL as a role-playing fantasy life, and its arrival in SL has certainly aided in terms of Victorian styled clothing and locations.

Additionally, photography was developed during the reign of Queen Victoria, so it’s the period of history where images of real people and real locations originate. And, of course, as soon as photography was invented, nude photography followed and also photographic pornography.

In the early days of photography, of course, the nude was often depicted in some sort of quasi-classical setting (see the photograph above), and it’s a theme that occurs again and again and again.

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I’m guessing this photo is from the 1940s or 1950s, but even then the placement of a column was a trope to give the photograph a veneer of ‘classicism’.

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Pubic hair is often in evidence in early photography (see photos above) but the model is sometimes posed to avoid the genital area (see photos below)

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Diaphanous material is another familiar prop from the early days of photography, both adding a ‘classicism’ and partially hiding genitalia. In this photograph the model’s pubic hair is merely implied.

All of the photographs above have, to greater or lesser degrees, some nod to the classicism that would have been found in art up to this point. The centuries old themes are merely continued via another medium.

And now…drumroll or not…I’m not quite sure, a first for SL Naturist, and that’s some explicit photos from the earliest days of photography. If this sort of photograph isn’t to your taste, I would advise that you don’t follow this link to our Vintage Page (scroll to the bottom), where you’ll find several photographs that depict what have become explicit photography standard themes, the sexuality of ‘the beautiful savage’, inter-racial sex, and photographs implying gay and lesbian relationships, oral sex and so on. The point of showing them is that I think their existence makes clear that not only were the photographers of the period keen to record these acts, create these tropes, and that they were being made because there was a clear audience for them.

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Sexual or non sexual? This photograph implies gay love, and also adds on the ‘noble savage’ trope by showing two ‘exotic’ (non-European) males. 

Of course, sex wasn’t quite as commonplace then as it is now. A lack of contraception, the concept of being ‘a good girl’ and maintaining one’s virginity until marriage, the closeness of the family unit in smaller houses and the lack of privacy, the ‘brazen’ nature of the female who would frequent bars means that the models in these photographs are, quite probably, prostitutes who got paid more than the going rate to simply pose nude, or to be photographed in certain sexual situations.

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In a SL context there is one ‘Victorian Parlour’ (La Chambre L’amour) which apparently offers a fairly extensive set of ‘scenes’ with which to play and, judging from the photo below, is decorated with exactly the sort of photographic work we’ve been discussing above. We’ve got volunteers to road-test this sim, and we’ll pick that up in Part 2 of our exploration of Victorian attitudes to sex, sexuality and nudity, explore more sims that allow for a recreation of the period, and also add in a bit about public swimming in the Victorian era. I hope to have that published when I get back to SL in the middle of next week.7modelvictoria_001c

Ella

Second Life Naturist Vintage Season

SLN Vintage seasonbBefore we dive into our ‘festival of vintage naturism’, let me establish a few ground rules.

1. For many people, the 1990s will qualify as ‘vintage’. For our vintage-fest, though, I’m going to consider the 1970s as the cut off point for ‘vintage’. Why? In illustrating what is vintage naturism (with photography from both real life and Second Life), I want to concentrate on b&w photography. Yes, I know that there was colour back then, and even long before that, but I feel that in the main naturist magazines would have been largely b&w (the cover excepted, or an occasional colour shoot) in the pre-internet era, and thus that sort of photography does lend itself to having a patina of ‘vintage’ about it.

2. ‘Vintage’, in this series for the next few weeks, may therefore cover anything from Adam & Eve (the first nudists?) right through to….somewhere in the 1970s, when an increasing level of naturist acceptance was felt. I know you may disagree on the 70s as a date, and may willingly point me at a lot of post-war naturist club activity around the globe, but I can say from this viewpoint that the only real changes in naturism since the 70s have been an increased visibility of the lifestyle, and a ‘fracturing’ of a straightforward naturist lifestyle to encompass things like ‘swingers’ (Cap D’Agde for example).

3. The SL elements of this vintage fest will attempt to recreate certain periods in history where nudity was apparent, and how society responded to it. Ergo, God appears to Adam & Eve and says ‘get dressed’. Painters make the nude (particularly the female form) a recurring theme of their work. Missionaries imposing clothes on ‘uncivilised’ tribes in Africa. Sparta. Naked Olympians. And more. We may not get to cover all of that, but we’ll drop in on periods of history where nudity was evident, where nudity caused some kind of stir, and replicate that on SLN. And if I haven’t mentioned key landmarks in the history of naturism and visible social nudity above, feel free to comment on what you would like us to cover (particularly if it seems likely that we can also replicate the period within SL).

4. As many historical photographs are undated and lack a location, please don’t write to tell me I’m a decade or a border out! 🙂 If it looks contemporaneous to the period under discussion, I may include photos that aren’t strictly of the exact period.

Ella.

 

 

Vintage

We have our own ‘Vintage’ page here.

Harry used to try and style some photoshoots in a ‘vintage’ way, imagining what this blog might have looked like had SL existed in the 1960s, 1950s or even earlier. Not a page that’s regularly updated, but something he would have done on an occasional basis.

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I mention this because it’s my intention to briefly divert from all things current & naturist (in and out of SL) to all things vintage and naturist (in and out of SL).

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We begin with a trip to 1920s Weimar Republic Berlin (there’s an excellent, long standing sim dedicated to the period in SL) and using that as an excuse to go on a bit of a (naturist) history excursion alongside some RL photos that capture a feel of the time, alongside some SL photos that attempt to replicate the feel of the time.tumblr_ndm9bpTkVO1td0p2ho2_500

I anticipate we may stick fairly rigidly to a ‘vintage’ kind of theme for the next month or so (there may be brief diversions into the contemporary) as we explore naturism from Adam & Eve to 2014.

Ella

Get well soon, Harry.

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I checked my email earlier to find a message from ‘Harry’. Strictly speaking, it was from Harry’s wife, via Harry’s email.

Harry, our photographer, left SLN (and SL) a few weeks ago ‘for the foreseeable future’. I wasn’t privy to the reasons behind a sudden departure from SL. Now, his wife’s email has explained the circumstances.

I won’t go into the detail, other than to say that Harry had some health problems that required fairly urgent surgery, and carried some risk, hence the speed of his departure. Some weeks down the line it seems that the surgery has been a success. Regardless, his recovery period will apparently involve several more weeks in hospital followed by some months convalescing at home. His wife tells me that the two things he’s looking forward to when he gets home are her home cooking and getting back to SL/SLN.

However long it takes, Harry, get well soon, and we look forward to welcoming you back into the fold when the time comes.

Ella

The Naked Pumpkin run

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We’ve covered the Naked Pumpkin Run before and from an SL context too. Yep. It was possible to buy pumpkin heads for your avatar and replicate, exactly, the real life version. As a result I’m not going to go over it much again, other than to post a few photos and suggest that, if you can find a suitable pumpkin head, you too can have your own pumpkin run in SL.

Previously, in keeping with the RL version’s campus origins, a couple of models undertook a run through an SL university campus.

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If you do manage to replicate it in SL, remember to send us the photos!

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Dancing naked in the rain

I don’t know if you remember the Blue Pearl song ‘Dancing Naked in the rain‘ (from 1990). A big hit in the UK and on the US dance charts, it soundtracked my and my boyfriend’s summer of 1991 because our weekends always seemed to coincide with downpours. Disappointingly, there wasn’t any actual ‘dancing naked in the rain’ in the video.

At the time I lived in a pokey downstairs terraced apartment with a very small back yard. The yard itself wasn’t overlooked, and barely saw daylight except in the late afternoon in June, so it was possible to hang washing out there nude without any fear of being overseen. At the time I was more naturist-curious than actual naturist. And so my boyfriend and I did dance naked in the rain one day. A real downpour which was bouncing off the roof, bouncing off the tiles in the yard. No, it wasn’t Blue Pearl that was on. I forget what we danced to, an upbeat dance track certainly, and we giggled like children as we got soaked. It was fun, one of those spur of the moment things where we’d been sitting chatting, listening to music, then stood up to watch this particularly heavy downpour from the window, then just deciding ‘we should dance naked in the rain’ followed by a rapid strip and a dash outside to do one of those silly things it’s great to do.

I’m reminded of this incident because I’ve heard a particularly wet and windy weekend lies ahead of us in the UK. No going out and kicking up leaves around the local parks for us. A huge Atlantic storm is threatening to reach the UK, having already caused some damage in the likes of Guadeloupe as part of Hurricane Gonzalo.

We don’t get hurricanes in the UK. Well…we do…but they’re a rare, rare event, and are usually substantially weakened before they reach us. Note that the UK Hurricane of 1987 was on…October 15th! 27 years ago yesterday!

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From my study, I have watched the rain this afternoon, and when the other half came home about an hour ago he came up the stairs and poked his head around the door. ‘Oh…back on Second Life’, he said, before heading to the bedroom to get dressed down in his jogging pants and sweatshirt. ‘What are you writing about?’

‘Dancing naked in the rain?’, I called after him.

‘Yes!’ came the immediate reply.

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🙂

And so….we did! We tore off our clothes and ran outside into our garden (and we’re lucky enough not to be overlooked) to leap about like two big kids. It was fabulous.

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Ella adds: I’d never been naked in the rain until last June, when we experienced a torrential downpour in Spain, beginning about midnight and lasting for a couple of hours. I ran down to the pool and sat in a corner, watching the rain bounce off the surface of the water. I found it to be a magical experience. 

No Bra Day

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I missed doing this on the day due to work commitments, but I’m happy to pick it up now and fill you in on the background to the thing.

It seems there are two No Bra days, one in July, one in October (October is generally agreed to be Breast Cancer Awareness month, and you’ll generally find many events in SL that are designed to raise money to eradicate breast cancer). No Bra Day, on the other hand, appears to have been some sort of novelty event about ‘freedom’ and then there has been some subsequent jemmying of it to see if it can be made to fit into October events.

I don’t think we can assume No Bra Day to have any sort of cancer awareness intention, something that Sarah Michelle Gellar commented on via Twitter, suggesting it may exist to pander to perverts

Is she right? Possibly. I’m not seeing much that can be clearly identified as ‘breast cancer initiatives’ about the campaign.

Again, there was ‘a thing’ a while back where there appears to have been some sort of urban myth that a bra might contribute to breast cancer, but that has been dismissed via scientific research.

I’m simply going to say that I kind of agree that it has no proper purpose other than an opportunity to encourage ladies to flash the flesh. As usual, though, Fox News manages to talk the greatest load of drivel about it in as few words as possible.

For the record…there is NO ‘annual holiday’ for ‘setting the girls free’. There’s no real sense of breast cancer survivors hard-selling this on social media. Additionally, I would say that almost 100% of the world’s males are attracted to breasts, so I’m not sure that looking at them makes men ‘perverts’. Rather more…normal? Even one of my Spanish friends who is gay will remark on mine (and other females too) so it seems it might not even be exclusively a hetero male thing (admittedly a poll sample of ‘1’ is hardly scientific).

I’m minded to think that it’s not really a serious attempt to raise aware anything in and of itself though, and Hollywood Life blog certainly does its bit to reinforce that idea. That link shows a parade of braless (but clothed) ‘stars’, many of whom I’ve never heard of, and ‘braless’ in a couple of photos are of evening gowns. Who amongst us has worn an evening gown with a bra? I’m no fashion victim, but even I know that you aren’t going out dressed like that!

The only positive I can draw from this is that if another tranche of braless celebrities sharing their nipples with us reminds someone to check for anything unusual about their breasts, then it’s worth it. But please let’s not pretend that ‘No Bra Day’ is a particularly serious event.

 

Ella

 

 

 

When did we get so scared?

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When did we get so scared? by guest columnist Phillipa

Twenty odd years ago, as a teen, we holidayed at my aunt’s farm in rural Britain, a fairly wild, inaccessible and out of the way place. I set off with the idea that I would hate it terribly. I wanted to be hanging out with my friends for six weeks, not stuck out in the wilds for three of them.

Life on a farm seemed like it would be boring. It also felt scary. No noise at night. No light at night. Dogs….were they dogs? Might they be wolves? 🙂 …howling in the dead of night. (Note: there are no wolves in Britain)

My cousins, twins, a few months older than me, were maybe glad of a new face, but they initially seemed less sophisticated than me, a city girl.

Mobile telephones (cellphones) were in their infancy back then, unaffordable to teens and even if they had been, the idea of getting a signal there (and even now) was unlikely. So I was effectively cut off from civilisation for three weeks.

Around the end of the first week a couple of guys arrived by bicycle. They were the son of the neighbouring farmer and his friend, who lived beyond that. He’d cycled around four miles to get to where we were. I found this to be mind-boggling. Who cycles four miles to socialise? Anyway, for most of the second week we just hung out and a bicycle was found for me to huff and puff my way around country lanes in the wake of four rather fitter cyclists than this city girl.

The weather was glorious, the days long and warm. The five of us convened one day with the intention of climbing the tree covered hills beyond the farm, so we made sandwiches and set off. No drinks? No, they explained, they had mountain streams for that. After a hot morning’s climbing I was kind of surprised to see the others arrive at a stream and go face down into it, drinking the water tumbling off the mountainside. Eeuuuww! It isn’t even clean. My companions simply laughed, saying that it was cooler, fresher and cleaner than anything that came out of the taps at their homes, and definitely at my city home.

So with some trepidation, and hot and thirsty, I followed their lead. Wow! How incredible is it that one of my young life’s experiences was drinking water that had a taste of pure, clean nature to it.

For the rest of the day -I told you I wasn’t as fit as my companions- I ended up taking the lead to drink from streams when we encountered one. The drinks were free, tasted wonderful and refreshed me every time.

Of course, all of that water going in had to come out. I whispered to my cousin that I was dying for a pee and she just shrugged and told me to go where I wanted to. But there were boys there! She laughed. ‘Pee break’, she said, and without any warning dropped her shorts, squatted there and then and did what she needed to do. I was shocked. The boys paid no attention to her, but merely unzipped themselves and began to pee against nearby trees.

One of the guys suggested that we do it again the following week and I was more than ready for that, even as I huffed and puffed my way home on the bicycles we’d left unlocked several hours before and which remained untouched on our return.

***

Over the course of the next few days the plan developed. We’d set off later in the day, take some sausages and make a fire, then cook our own dinner as night was falling. That sounded like a proper adventure.

We set off, minus one of my cousins who had badly sprained an ankle. We climbed, drank from streams, then climbed some more on a new route, eventually emerging in a fern covered glade beside a pool being fed by a waterfall.

‘Anyone up for a swim?’, my cousin asked no one in particular.

‘We’ve no towels or costumes’ I said, also to no one in particular.mountainman mountainman2 mountainman3 mountainman5 mountainman7

All three of my companions laughed and began shedding clothes rapidly. Oh! My! I didn’t know where to look, but still got an eyeful of the first two naked males I’d ever encountered in my life as they leapt off a rock and into the water. My cousin, having to wrestle with a bra, was a little bit behind them, but already bottomless and fiddling with the clasp.

She leapt into the water too.

‘Come on, join us’ she yelled at me. I….I couldn’t. ‘Chicken!’ said one of the boys. No. No one was for calling me chicken. And so I turned my back to them, stripped and, with one hand covering my breasts, the other my pubic hair, joined them in the water. Once in, it felt free. We splashed in the water for what seemed like ages before one of the boys decided it was time to get a fire going before the sun went down, and make a start on our sausage supper.

My cousin and I continued to swim around or now stand, rather bravely I thought, under the waterfall, while the boys got out and then scurried back and forward, naked, gathering twigs and branches to set a fire. In no time it seemed that a blazing fire was underway in fading light. Sausages were thrust onto thin twigs and then thrust into the fire. ‘Come on girls’, one of the boys said, ‘we aren’t cooking your dinner for you’.mountaingirl mountaingirl2 mountaingirl3 mountaingirl4 mountaingirl5 mountaingirl6

So we emerged from the water to be passed twigs to which sausages had already been skewered, and the four of us sat naked by the heat of the fire slowly revolving the twigs until the meat had cooked. Concentrating on the task of keeping the sausages revolving, and not falling from their skewers, I had forgotten I was naked.

Dinner was eaten and we then got dressed before extinguishing the fire and making our way back down to my aunt’s farm. Did I just dream what happened?

I sometimes wonder just when it was we got scared of nature. Scared of drinking from streams. Scared into thinking the water wasn’t clean, wasn’t chlorinated or anything else. Scared to just grab a moment or an hour and live in nature, experiencing nature fully. Scared to go for a walk and, if circumstances dictated, simply strip off and go for a swim. When did we allow our governments to scare us like that?pipps farm4_001bc

It was my only ever skinny dip, I’m sorry to say, but it was an innocent, wonderful thing which was still charged somehow by teenage sexuality. I remember every second of the day vividly. And some day, when opportunity arises, I would love to repeat that mountain waterfall skinny dip if I can.pipps farm6_001b

I’ve never had the opportunity to go on a naturist holiday, but I can relive that day in the context of Second Life. I’m not a particularly avid SL naturist person. Yes, I’ll visit the odd naturist sim but that’s not the main element of my Second Life. But when I’m exploring sims, and I come across a mountain stream or waterfall, I certainly do try to recapture that wonderful RL afternoon of twenty odd years ago.

Phillipa