Naked in Cambodia

The Guardian newspaper reports today that there is something of a mini outbreak of tourists in Cambodia posing for nude photos in front of the country’s sacred temples, with several having been arrested and deported.

There’s a time and place for everything, dears, and while we’re broadly in support of nudity in many places, trampling barefoot over a country’s sacred (or other) sites is not the way forward. Basically, you come across as boorish, ill-educated, disrespectful western morons.

A little research has shown that this story is essentially old news, with the Guardian away behind the game in this respect, The Mirror having reported the same story two weeks ago.ย As for ‘nude’, at least one case appears to show ‘topless’, not quite the same thing, really.

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That’s not to condone the behaviour, far from it.

But it’s not just ‘abroad’ that people like to take risquรฉ photos in front of tourist attractions, the Empire State Building also having filed a $1.1m law suit against a photographer who took photos of a bare-breasted model on the city’s observation platform in August last year.

We’re all in favour of nudity. All in favour of ‘Free the Nipple’ campaigns. But there’s a time and a place, and it’s not at Angkor Wat, Machu Pichu or on top of the Empire State.

I particularly liked this almost Second Life youtube video re-enacting two American sisters taking the photos that got them deported from Cambodia.

Not because it was such a smart thing to do, but because the accompanying video does have a Second Life look and feel to it.

So…what to do? Get out into Second Life and start snapping? Would it be possible to get the Second Life equivalent of deportation, banned from a sim, by undertaking such shots?

Let me have a quick whistle stop tour of the grid, taking in some of the world’s better known landmarks…

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Amsterdam, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Hollywood and London…

Nope. No one batted an eyelid, despite me landing nude in occasionally very busy SL locations (Ella adds: part of this may be down to the introduction of ‘mesh’ clothing. Previously, landing naked in a sim was immediately obvious and would have resulted in some remarks made. Only very rarely ‘negative’ in intent, and most of the time more of a ‘hey, hun, did you know you’re naked?’ variety. Since the introduction of mesh the clothing seems to tp in horizontally to your body so you might end up briefly naked before mesh clothing fits itself to your avatar. I think most avatars are now used to this to the point where it’s now unremarkable to occasionally see a naked avatar at a clothed sim).

I could have kept on my whistle-stop world tour, but it seemed pointless. Which is a very good analogy to what people are doing in historical sites around the real world. Pointless.

We need to remember that we’re in a different culture, where offense may be taken in situations we might not find offensive. So if you are going to take nude photos of yourself for publication on Facebook or a blog, I’m supportive: it shows that the taboo of being seen, or embarrassed to be seen, naked is no longer the case. We are all becoming increasingly self-aware of the beauty of our naked bodies. That’s a grown up attitude to be applauded. Offending other nations’ cultures is not, however, such a great idea. In fact, it’s dumb. Don’t do it.

Anne

Wild swimming

Wild Swimming is, apparently, now a very popular thing around the UK and in parts of Europe.

So much so that I’ve found out the BBC3 television channel have previously undertaken a series of programmes on it, with presenter Alice Roberts going skinny dipping in a tarn in Yorkshire. The other main channel in the UK, ITV, have also done something similar with British actor Robson Green sharing his love of wild swimming.

What is wild swimming? It’s essentially a case of going swimming in bodies of water where you would not normally expect to find swimming taking place.

I wasn’t previously aware of this as ‘a thing’, but I’ve spent the afternoon researching it, and was delighted to find a number of websites and books dedicated to the practice, and that naturism, or skinny dipping, are often found in close association.

You’ll find other websites here and here, and books on the topic here and hereย (this is not an exhaustive list of sites or books). From what I can see it is mainly a British based phenomenon, in terms of television programmes, books and websites, although you may be aware of websites, books or TV programmes in your own country and if you are, please let me know so I can add them to a list of links.

A word of warning: wild swimming is not without its dangers. The water is liable to often be very cold, and there could be hidden dangers lurking under what may well be very dark water, so extreme caution should be exercised in all aspects of the sport/pastime. I’d advise the use of wet suits where sensible, not immersing yourself in such icy bodies of water if you have medical conditions, remain aware of keeping within your depth -at least until you become very familiar with the water you’re using- and never swim alone in a ‘wild swimming’ situation.

Wild Swimming
My own web-based research into the topic did seem to create a very close relationship with skinny dipping, possibly a core element of its appeal, which certainly gladdens my heart and makes me want to investigate the topic, as something organised, more closely.

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An image search for ‘wild swimming’ certainly infers a close association to nude (or at least, topless) bathing.

I mention this because before SL Naturist began I would have sought out places in SL where I could have indulged a little isolated skinny dipping and the other evening I found a folder in which I’d saved some slurls to these locations. All are long gone now, of course, but it got me thinking as to whether it was still possible to find some particularly photogenic ‘wild swimming’, or skinny dipping, locations in Second Life.

Well, of course it is: it’s very easy. But the trick would be to locate somewhere remote, beautiful yet not ‘naturist’ as such, to add a frisson of danger to the subsequent photo sessions. Could I ask several of my SL friends to seek out new locations and bring back a portfolio, complete with slurls, where you too, as a SL avatar, could indulge yourself in such a simple pleasure?

Let’s ask them.

 

 

Ella

 

 

 

 

 

Woodstock Wednesdays at Commune Utopia.

‘Go over to Commune Utopia’, Ella said, ‘and get me some photos from a non-naked night…the atmosphere, the vibe, the…whatever’.

By chance, pure chance, I landed in on ‘Woodstock Wednesdays’, a night when what I suppose would be classified as folk/blues/country solo acts -certainly this evening- are performing. Generally I play SL in silence, sound muted. But the nature of the evening was that it seemed important to turn the sound up and…wow!

First, Vinnie, doing a varied set of songs, followed by Whirli Placebo, doing a mix of covers and original songs and then Dango.

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An atmospheric shot of Vinnie against the fading light of sunset

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Vinnie performing on the Commune Utopia stage

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A refreshing ‘clothing optional’ atmosphere exists at Commune Utopia at any time

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Vinnie performing to a decent crowd at Commune Utopia

All three performers were stunningly good. Ostensibly there to take photos for SLN, I sort of gave up at a couple of points in the evening and moved away from my computer to my comfy chair so I could listen to the music. I don’t ever recall doing that in SL before, so after several years of this game, I’ve managed to find something brand new and exciting.

whirli placebo prepares to takt the stage

Whirli Placebo, possessed of a great voice and a pocketful of truly marvellous original songs.

Whirl even managed to name-check me during his set. Is this the equivalent of a total unknown Courtney Cox being pulled out of the audience for ‘Dancing in the Dark’ with Bruce Springsteen?

diane and 'hunk'
Or you can just stand next to hunky guys… ๐Ÿ˜‰

tl
At the real Woodstock festival (the pic above is from 1994), topless crowdsurfing seems to be ‘a thing’, and so….

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…slightly starstruck by this stage -the music was really good- I shuffled up to Dango as he prepared to take the stage and..well, we are SLN. What’s a post without some nudity? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m sorry to say that I, and some others, judging by a very lively, vocal crowd, were having some difficulties hearing Dango, which was disappointing, as it was almost certain that his set would have been as entertaining as those who preceded him. Others did seem to be able to hear the set correctly, I should say.

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dango's set

The event was superbly hosted by SoCo Southern Comfort, and it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had in SL for a long time. Usually, I get wrapped up in the photos, but this time I was able to do that while enjoying the music, and I’ll certainly make an effort to revisit the Commune’s ‘Woodstock Wednesdays’ in the future.

While it’s not exactly ‘rolling 24 hour news’, I’m guessing that this is the closest SLN has come to a ‘live’ report, as the evening is still ongoing as I publish this post. ๐Ÿ™‚ And there’s 40 minutes of it left.

Diane.

Driving naked, and rather lovely SL cars.

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For decades, cars have been promoted with a female model draped over it, sometimes not wearing very much.

I was lucky enough to find the photo above on line, of a model standing next to an Audi, and a lighthouse -something of an SLN trope- in the background.

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So here I am, standing next to an Audi (no lighthouse visible, though) which was a Midnight Mania prize at Knight Performance, a showroom that sells hi-spec cars. The Audi is still the Midnight Mania prize at the time of me writing this, so if you want to tp over, join the group (free) and slap the board.

What has this got to do with naturism? Not a lot, although it does give me the chance to tell you about some of the times I’ve driven naked, which is a lovely experience. Where circumstances have dictated, I’ve hopped in the car from a camping pitch (at a French naturist site) and driven to the campsite’s shop nude. I’ve also driven in Spain, at Vera Playa -Ella’s regular haunt (no, we’ve never met in person yet)- for about 10 miles to a friend’s house in the hills beyond the coastline. They own a house away off the beaten track and they live a naturist lifestyle out there. What was even better was that we’d hired a convertible, so it was top down (and bottoms down too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) for a drive out there on a quiet Sunday morning to spend the day by our friend’s pool out in the hills.

Below, my SL friend Heather poses with me in a replication of that wonderful Sunday morning’s drive, although thankfully we didn’t break down or have to stand naked at the side of the road awaiting a tow truck.

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Howie

An interesting naturist weekend, in and out of SL.

It was a rather interesting naturist weekend for me, in and out of SL.

On Friday night I was at the Commune’s naked dance, when our publisher Howie (also a member of the Commune) popped online and tp’ed over to join me. So naturally we posed with an important message for the world…

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Part of Saturday was spent booking tickets for the summer holidays, and this morning a friend drove me up to the Western Baths in Glasgow. A bit of a hike for me, not something I’ve done before, or would necessarily do regularly, but it was fascinating to see these old Victorian Baths first hand and, yes, attend my first ever organised naturist swim. It was an interesting experience, and something I would repeat again were it not such a drive from where I live (and back again).

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I shall certainly be trying to attend the Commune’s dance again next Friday night, so if you’re online, pop over and say ‘hello’. It begins at 10pm, GMT, and I generally get over there about 1045pm. I’m sure I can squeeze in a bit of SLN related work if you wish to discuss anything about the blog.

Ella.

I bloody well hate Queen ยฉ The RL Mr. Keng….

Her Maj? A dedicated individual who has been the figurehead of a nation for six(!) decades. I’ve nothing but admiration for her. Respect, etc.

The band? Overblown, bombastic bollocks, (ยฉ Mr. Keng, any year since I’ve known him ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Some things are ‘real’.

Other things are fake.

Some things, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Jeff Haynes photos...are these RL photos? Or Second Life photos?

It’s hard impossible to tell the difference.

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Check out Jeff’s website. Marvellous photography.

And we’d love it if you were to do a small album of RL/SL photos, Jeff.

 

Ella.

 

 

 

The inevitability of ageing, the possibility of reinvention

Being a bit older myself -I’m 55- regular readers will know that I’ve turned up on the pages of SLN to write, almost exclusively, about the ‘older avatar’. With SL fixated on being full of young and beautiful avatars, there’s sometimes a sense of me being a bit-part player in SLN, and that’s correct. I’m a semi-regular player and when I started writing for the blog I wouldn’t even have classified myself as naturist.

I’d have skinny dipped if opportunity had presented itself, and I occasionally did with my late husband, when we’d head down to a dark bit of beach on holiday, strip off and splash around in the water like people who’d stripped away 20 years with our clothes. Equally I felt comfortable fully nude in the changing rooms of my local swimming pool when other, younger women were occasionally giving me scornful looks. But I wasn’t one for social, mixed gender nudity.

I joined SL following my husband’s death around five years ago, simply as a form of social interaction, and fell into the naturist element of SL by accident. One of my SL friends invited me to an SL naturist venue for a dance and it was there I slipped out of my pixel clothes for the first time. It was also where I first met Ella. (Ella adds: I’d forgotten that! Yes, we met at Manatee Naturist!)

I enjoyed the very social aspect of the location, and it didn’t feel embarrassing. After all, it was only a cartoon ‘me’ on the screen. I became familiar with naturist etiquette through socialising, in SL, with some of those RL naturists. I still wasn’t a particularly regular SL user. I’m still not. But I did enjoy playing it sometimes and I was drawn back to the more sociable naturist venue my friend introduced me to.

Last year I met a wonderful man and found the chance to find love again, another reason why I’m not so regular a contributor to these pages. I honestly felt that love, cuddles, feeling attractive and sexually active with someone else might have been a thing of the past.

My new love is 60 and also widowed and while we were in the stages of getting to know one another he confessed that he’d always harboured a desire to be a naturist but his wife would hear none of it. It was his big secret, his big desire. I laughed when he told me this, and confessed to being an occasional writer for a blog that dealt with naturism in a virtual world. He loved the idea and, last year, joined Second Life. His work meant that he was located some distance from me during the week, and so our face to face meetings were confined to weekends. During the week, however, we would talk on a daily basis, on the phone, on Skype and yes indeed, through Second Life.

In time, our relationship developed, emotionally and physically ๐Ÿ™‚ and not only were we enjoying a renewed and possibly unexpected sexuality for real, but also -should I blush here?- cybering when we were parted during the working week. (Ella adds: Barbara! You dark horse! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Last summer, we went on vacation together and yes, indeed, we plotted part of it to be naturist, spending time on the La Jenny complex in France. Naturist with each other, naturist within sight of our neighbours, and eventually naturist by the pool and on the beach. It was wonderful! I wished I’d been naturist years, decades before.ย lajenny1 lajenny2

All those articles that Ella and Pookes had contributed almost ended up as a guidebook. Of course I read SLN, even when I’m not contributing! Through their experiences I felt I knew a little of what to expect. Their words very much had a truth running through them. Yes, the first time is daunting and yes, you quickly become unaware of your nudity and, yes, it does get to be a totally natural way of being.

One thing we noticed was that many naturists our age and older (and younger) are shaved, while neither of us were and it made me feel a little out of place from time to time, as if I wasn’t quite properly (un) dressed. I got talking to one lady who said that she’d made the decision to become fully shaved due to thinning pubic hair, an inevitability of age and the menopause.

At Christmas we decided we should repeat the experience, and we’ll be jetting off to Croatia this summer to enjoy our second naturist vacation. We also made a New year resolution to be fully depilated this year, and thus we both went ‘bare down there’.

It itched, it left us with razor rash, we wondered if it was right for us, but we persevered, and I have to say that we’re now delighted with the look and feel of being fully shaved.

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And of course my avatar must reflect real life ๐Ÿ™‚ In that respect, too, I’m delighted with my avatar’s new, permanent look.

Second Life offers us the chance to re-invent ourselves completely. Sometimes, real life offers us the chance to do the same. ๐Ÿ™‚

Barbara.