Karen has awoken to the sound of waves somewhere in the distance, having been surrounded by the naturist lifestyle for less than 24 hours. Today is the day she finally goes nude in a public setting. Or is it? Karen continues to tell us about her first experience of naturism.
Aaron, my boyfriend, had immersed himself into naturism immediately, and was happily standing naked while speaking to the (French) residents of the neighbouring chalet and soaking up the experience, and their experience of St.Maarten, while I drank some coffee inside. The sense of wine-driven bravura from the previous night had dissipated, and it was back to the bikini being on, and the sarong over that.
‘Lovely people’, Aaron enthused as he returned and excitedly told me about all the things we could do and see nude. Did he really need to add that final word? I was still very much of a mind that I could probably get through the two weeks without ever being naked, except in the privacy of our own chalet. So I was rather delighted when it transpired that we could go shopping and wear clothes. Shorts on, tank top on, sun tan oil on, hat on, sunglasses on. Great!
We headed off to the island’s main shopping area, picked up some provisions, had coffee, and I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of sitting there in a whirl of foreign languages. Not that that’s a unique experience to anyone who lives in or visits New York, but this seemed somehow much more exciting than Sheridan Square to Wall Street on the subway.
Aaron had maybe picked up on my sense of unease. He’s a guy, so how much he picks up on feelings is maybe moot, but he seemed to have laid off the enthusiasm a bit, as it had certainly been making me uncomfortable. We had lunch, and headed back to the resort. Aaron said he was going to the beach and would maybe swim, but there was nothing of ‘are you coming or not?’ about it. I said I might join him in a bit, as I was nearing the end of a novel on my Kindle, and decided to finish it before exploring by daylight.
I finished the final chapter and put my bikini on again, my sarong on again, and with towel in hand, I headed to the beach where I was shocked, surprised and thrilled to see that it wasn’t busy. Just a few resort residents scattered around. I spotted Aaron’s towel and dumped my bag of things on top of it, then wandered to the water’s edge to speak to Aaron who was splashing around in the water like an overgrown schoolboy, a look of delight on his face.
‘It’s fantastic…we need to snorkel….the water is crystal clear…’, the words tumbled out of his mouth in excitement.
Returning to our chosen beach beds, I was emboldened by the fact that the beach was relatively quiet. Sure, there were others swimming, or sunbathing, but not so close that I felt I was under scrutiny, being eyed up and down in a sordid or seedy way, nor being judged for still being ‘clothed’. Suitably emboldened, and not so desperately close to anyone else that I felt directly under their gaze, I removed my sarong and bikini top to sunbathe, face down, on the sun bed. I’d never gone without a top before, and it felt strange, yet deliciously nice, under the Caribbean sun.
There comes a point where it is necessary to roll over, and I was desperately self-conscious when I did so, not that anyone was looking or, by this point in time, near enough to see anyway. There! My breasts. My very small breasts. Bared in public.
Throughout the afternoon Aaron, nude, and I, still with my bikini briefs on, would wander back and forwards from the sea to cool down, then resume our sunbathing place. As the afternoon wore on, there were fewer and fewer people on the beach, and lying around in wet bikini panties isn’t particularly comfortable. At some point it just seemed the sensible thing to do to lose the panties. Ultimately, there was no big build up, no heart beating fast, no sense of shame or embarrassment, just a sensible decision made.
Even so, it felt simultaneously strange and wonderful. You aren’t prepared in life for the moment where your most intimate parts are naked, outdoors, under the sun, in ‘public’, even though the public weren’t really anywhere in evidence. It felt good, is all I can say, rather than embarrassing. The lack of crowds helped with the moment, I would say. A glance left and right, no one around, and a quick dash down the beach and into the clear, warm waters for my first ever skinny dip. Wow! Who knew swimming could feel so good, that swimming could feel so free.
Yes, the sarong went back on for the walk back to our chalet, but it was a sort of breakthrough. As the days went on there was more and more a sense of ‘who cares?’ The terrace at the bar would provide entertainment, and naturists seem to be a naturally outgoing, vivacious lot. I never did go for the topless dancing with Aaron, as other females did, but we socialised and made new friends. Within two or three days I would say that I was probably contentedly sitting there with the sarong tied at my waist, my breasts bare. It doesn’t take long to realise that you aren’t that ‘special’ in that regard, and men, regardless of size , aren’t that special either. We’ve all got the same basic bits. It’s never quite a case of ‘you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all’, but 72 hours surrounded by naked people does mean you don’t think there’s anything unique. Yes, of course I was peeking. I was peeking for the first day or so and if I’m honest I did think ‘he’s bigger than Aaron’ or ‘Aaron’s bigger than him’. That stopped at the point, maybe on about our third day, where my confidence had grown to the point where I was wandering around the chalet and had forgotten I was naked, and that I didn’t even notice Aaron was naked either, that I was now waving at out French neighbours and not particularly aware if they were dressed or not.
Eventually, yes, I was making it to from our chalet to the sea without bothering to cover up, and wasn’t ashamed, embarrassed or, as I say, even aware of the fact.
I could tell you chapter and verse about every little event over the next two weeks, the ‘firsts’ for each naturist event. I could write a couple of entries for SLN based on the experience of naked snorkelling alone. Ultimately, though, my experience was that, with no pressure to disrobe immediately, it all came rather naturally and uneventfully because we were in the proper context for it happening. I started out the holiday a reluctant non-nudist. I returned a convert. Which makes me think…if people like me are given a proper, unpressurised entry into the naturist lifestyle is there anyone on the face of the earth who couldn’t, in those same circumstances, embrace naturism? My personal opinion now is that if the circumstances are right, all of us have an inner naturist.
The only down side is that next January seems so damned far away before I can do it all again.
Karen, growing in body confidence over the first few days of her vacation.