My nude debut : Amanda

Back on our old site, one of the recurring posts was one entitled My Nude Debut (last aired in June 2015), wherein several members of staff and readers reported their first time nude in public, and the circumstances surrounding that. It was a particularly popular posting series, so when I received a notecard from a reader regarding their nude debut, I thought it was time to revive it.

SL avatar Amanda has written about her nude experiences as a college student, something that led directly to her experiencing naturism for the first time.

Before I track back to a younger self, let me provide you with a little bit of back story.

These days, I’m a lady who lunches, which is to say I’m someone who married a high flyer, meaning that I raised the children, didn’t need to work, and spent a lot of my earlier years looking glamorous on the arm of my high-flying husband.

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With the children now largely raised and having flown the coop, I meet ladies of a similar ilk for lunch, or at the spa or beauty salon. I know there’s a lot of negative connotations with this sort of description, with many in that realm being very high maintenance and fairly empty-headed. I rather hope my friends and I don’t fit that bill, with us all volunteering to work in various charity shops the length of the High Street, or volunteering to work with some of the UK’s major conservation charities like The National Trust or Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I think we all see our roles, beyond that of being wives of well-to-do men, as being people who do our bit to help according to our interests. And yes, there are one or two of our number who’ve, over the years, lost their husbands to younger versions of themselves, as sometimes happens in relationships where high-powered men spend time away from home in the company of younger colleagues, PA’s and suchlike.

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My husband spends periods of time away from home so when I chanced upon Second Life a couple of years ago it seemed like a fun way to while away an evening or two. There was some social interaction in a house now large and empty, and I would dance the night away at some ballroom or other in SL. Lots of fun!

Eventually, though, I found myself forming SL relationships with some of the men I’d meet in SL and…yes, the relationships became sexual. Virtual affairs! I was a little shocked by myself, but also considered it to be a safe way to conduct an affair. So far, so good, on the basis that many of you who use SL will recognise your own usage of the game in a similar manner. Buying lots of sexy lingerie? Tick. Buying expensive, wonderful looking outfits around the grid? Tick. Getting aroused when another avatar who could write and emote well typed things that sounded incredible? Tick. Getting naked and hopping onto pose balls for participation in some form of sexual activity that never reached the marital bed? Tick. Recognise anyone?

Thirty years ago things were very different. I was a photography student at a polytechnic somewhere in the south of England. Nowadays, all have been rebranded as universities but back then they offered courses that weren’t always regarded as ‘proper degree’ courses. Many would be related to various aspects of creativity. As I liked taking photographs from an early age, had some aptitude for it, held down a job related to it (until I got married) and have had some success in the past (and more recently) having photos published in various magazines, it was the one thing I really enjoyed doing. A photography course, and diploma in that field, seemed like my future when I was 18.

Back then I was very much a jeans and T shirt kind of girl, with no sense of ‘glamour’ about me at all.

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Entirely content to be weaving my way back from the pub to the student flat I shared, in my second year, with some fellow photography students.

We’d get drunk and marvel at the work of Ansel Adams or Robert Capa, trying to unravel what it was that made their work so immense. We’d go out on assignments, as part of the course or simply because we were ‘photographers’.

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We’d experiment with infra-red, printing techniques and, in the main realise our future lay in weddings and not much else.

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One night, while exceptionally drunk, one of the boys in the flat suggested we try our hand at glamour/erotic/nude photography. It was scheduled to be on the course, but we hadn’t yet got to that point in our photographic journey. ‘Sure!!!!’ the four of us, two boys, two girls, all chorused. But our flatmate was serious!

In the cold light of a sober day, we did backtrack from that idea initially, although I did agree to pose in lingerie to give the others some experience of ‘glamour’ shots (note that they each reciprocated in turn, but there wasn’t much glamour to be had in photographing a couple of guys in their old boxer shots against a white backdrop we’d ‘borrowed’ from the college!)

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Pete, the guy who initially suggested nude photography, wasn’t content to leave it at that, though. We were buying tatty old burlesque fancy dress costumes to double as ‘lingerie’, borrowing people’s tatty old boots and so on and they simply looked tawdry in everything we did. Pete decided there needed to be leap forward…

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…we all got drunk again in the pub the next Friday night, Pete told us to get our cameras out and went into the next room, then came back stark naked and proceeded to pose while we took photos. Thirty years ago was much more innocent times. No internet. So no readily available source of male nudes to observe on a nightly basis. I was this innocent young girl from the countryside and seeing a naked man up close and personal was a real eye-opener!

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Saturday were usually a time when Pete & Len, the two guys in the flat, headed off to the football on the afternoon, then a pub of see a rock band at night. Annie, the other girl in the flat and I (all four of us were on the photography course and decided to share a flat because we’d known each other from Year 1 of the course and got on well, so thought a flat share made some sense) would go out to a discotheque, get drunk and come home or…not come home! 😉

Money was a bit low, though, so we decided to curtail the going out drinking by, instead, staying in drinking…it was a cheaper night! Not paying pub prices meant we could also buy more alcohol, so we were absolutely legless a couple of Saturday nights later. It was really messy drunk!

We were all these idealistic teens, full of ideas and going to change the photographic world, and of course the subject of Pete’s previous naked escapade turned up in conversation as he’d done up this fantastic black and white print of it and had it framed. We were all agreed (it was actually one of Len’s photographs had made it to framing, but Annie & my photos also turned out really well) it was one of the best photos we’d ever taken. One thing led to another…

The next thing I know, barely able to stand, we’ve all got our own cameras lined up in a row in front of the white backdrop and each of us is taking turns to pose naked in front of the backdrop. My nude debut! And so drunk I can barely press the camera release or stand to pose. Not exactly a ‘naturist’ nude debut, or outdoors nudity, but the first time I went nude with members of the opposite sex present and it kind of seemed so natural and innocent.

I also posed with Len for a number of photos.

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Within days we’d begun a relationship and when ‘the human form’ needed to be photographed we were each other’s models thereafter. Many photos were taken out in nature, in woods and in rivers, and I’ve never forgotten the feel of a gentle breeze kissing my skin, something I imagine naturists experience regularly.

The dynamic in the house changed as well, with all four of us being relaxed and blasé about our nakedness. They turned out to be a lot of fun times! Equally, they were times when there were some photos of a sexual nature, a very sexual nature, that seem very embarrassing now. Fortunately I think we’re all of an age when people were more coy. To my knowledge, none of the photos, either the more sexual ones or the more ‘soft core’ ones, have ever surfaced on the internet. I’d die of shame, I think, for my husband or children to see me portrayed thus.

Postscript: Len and I drifted apart after we’d graduated, as he went touring the world, settled down in Australia and eventually married an Australian girl (ah! the pleasures of Facebook stalking! 🙂 )

In the meantime, I’d gone along to a New Year’s Eve Ball, met the man who is now my husband, and had locked the negatives of my wild drunken photo sessions away ‘forever’, although thanks to advances in photography and scanning negatives and so on I’ve looked at them all in recent years. I couldn’t bear to destroy them. They’re part of my past, part of me, part of the person I am now. At the same time, many are of situations which I would regard as being exceptionally personal and sexual in nature.

However, it’s part of my past, and while some of the photos are exceptionally risqué, and not something I’d replicate in SL for SLN2, some of the more glamour or erotic ones are still great photos.

Amanda

 

 

Ancient lands don’t belong to big business.

Although they’re out of fashion now, in the cinema and on TV, there was a time when westerns were a dominant cinematic genre.

There was a time when John Wayne could be relied upon to ride to the rescue, fight off ‘redskins’, save the damsel in distress and bring peace to a land still marching westward across undiscovered tracts of land. Often, a bugle would sound and the US 7th Cavalry would ride to the rescue.

Thus, we think we know about ‘redskins’/Red Indians or, more accurately in the 21st century, indigenous people of America or ‘First Nation’ peoples. We think we know about their reservations, their smoke signals, their capacity to ‘scalp’ victims and drink ‘firewater’.

I’ve been thinking about the indigenous people of America lately, due to them being in the news regarding Native Americans battle against the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s a battle not confined just to them, as there have been other battles across the north American continent to defy it being built.

It’s part of an ongoing battle to defy big business from scarring the land forever, rather than for them to examine alternative sources of energy -wind and wave. I alluded to the arguments surrounding this in a post earlier this week, ‘This Planet Earth‘.

An ongoing trope in erotic/soft porn/glamour photo shoots is to cast the ‘squaw‘ as some kind of sexualised and ‘unattainable’ being. We tend to see a similar thing occur in other ‘unattainable’ women, from nuns to hijab wearing Muslim ladies and it’s an image also portrayed in sexploitation films as far as native American women and nuns are concerned.

While researching Keystone XL to satisfy my own curiosity and the issues involved, I discovered that, in some native American tribes, going topless was an accepted form of dress, particularly in summer months (like naturists, it appears that native American women were pragmatic in this approach. Dress or undress according to the weather).

I found, and have used, some photos of these native American ladies at the top of the page.

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Naturism doesn’t always get things right. The photo (below) is one I’ve seen on various genuine naturist web pages, and shows three (white) girls participating in some naturist club costume play.

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These days, such costume play would be frowned upon as ‘cultural appropriation‘.

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I suppose the only defence of it is that we used to live in simpler naturist times, and while many of these displays of native culture costume play may well have been faux-nativism, there was not, I imagine, a lot of malice involved. Just the lack of awareness (in the 70s and 80s when these photos were taken) compared with today.

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As a lot of Second Life revolves around role-play, it’s hard for me to condemn those occasions where people dress up in roles that they don’t fit into in real life, as long as that role-play isn’t malicious. Some is. For instance, there’s probably more than a few people who adopt black, female avatars with the intention of reinforcing stereotypes – that ‘she’s black, so she must be played as a hooker’ mentality. But where’s the line drawn? Is it OK to live your life as a furry, an alien life form, a cat, but not OK to adopt a native American avatar if you’re white? As I say, as long as there’s no malice involved, I’m OK with that in the context of SL.

I logged in my alt, to see how well, and how cheaply, we could replicate native Americans in SL. First stop was Entwined Hair, to grab a free hairstyle in plaits. We found that this works equally well on a male avatar for that native American or Willie Nelson look.

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I did buy the outfit you see in the first SL photo from the Marketplace, for L$10, after which we found there were a couple of places where you could pick up a similar item for ‘free’. I still think this outfit was worth the cost just for the feathers that could be attached to the hair (not photographed).

The ‘free’ outfits were found at Cherokee Sensations store. (By ‘free’, there’s a group join fee of just L$1).

In search of a good photo location I went to Amazon River, where an avatar told me her loincloth, complete with moccasins, cost L$20 from Yuma on the Marketplace, so I added this to our native American’s wardrobe as well. As with the hair, I’d suggest that the loincloth would suit a male avatar too, even if it isn’t totally historically authentic in isolation.

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Remember: it should be harmless, role play fun within SL. Educate yourself as much as you can on the ways of other cultures (be they native American or anything else) in order to fend off accusations of cultural appropriation. Or just ignore any of those accusations anyway. We sometimes live in a far too uptight, has-to-comment-on-everything, po-faced, lemon sucking naysayers world.

Why not have a bit of fun, even if it’s not historically accurate or politically correct?

Ella

 

 

Heroes of Naturism: Naked and confident: Dorothy Ellen Partington

Often, when considering nude models of bygone eras, there’s a handful of names that turn up, such as Josephine Baker and Betty Page.

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Josephine Baker

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Bettie Page

Back in the 1940s, when Betty Page was in her hey-day, it would have been a little more risqué to appear fully nude than it is now, but she certainly helped define an era and a style that still looks coolly sexy, never spilling over into tacky, tasteless porn -which appears to have been around back then in a more innocent era, as ‘hardcore’ as it is now, if some of the photos of the period are to be believed.

While we might define that late 40s and early 50s period as belonging to Bettie Page, I’m going to throw another name into the mix as a model of nude, natural classiness.

Dorothy Ellen Partington. I’ve found a small biography, but it’s in French.

While she appeared in films, she hasn’t had the same recognition for her work as Page (or Baker, in another era and different field of production).

Born in 1922, in Staten Island, Dorothy Ellen Partington oozes the same classy sexuality and confidence in her nudity as Bettie Page did, and it’s a shame he hasn’t been recognised more fully for her modelling work. These photos have it all, that sassy sexuality, high heels, gloves, stockings, a pearl necklace, even a colouring to the photo that seems time-locked yet timeless.

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She died in 2011, but perhaps it’s time to recognise a terrific model who pushed forward the boundaries of what constituted 1950s nude modelling and photography.

In traditional SLN2 style, we asked our model Abbey, with the aid of Harry, to do a little ‘SL replicates RL’ photo session, and the results are below.

nb: there’s no evidence that Dorothy Partington was naturist, but at a time when naturist magazines were routinely airbrushing pubic hair and genitalia (even male naturists seemed to develop a little posing pouch in many photos), it would have been photos like these, the ‘porn’ of their day but now very much artistic and glamour shots, that might have pushed the naturist press forward. That’s why we’ve decided to adorn her with our ‘Heroes of Naturism’ accolade.

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Ella

Indoor naturism

For those of us in the northern hemisphere the naturist ‘season’ is now over. I tend to find it’s really rather too short, effectively lasting from June to September, after which it’s a retreat to clothes or indoor naturism.

For some, ‘indoor naturism’ is a thing, and there’s certainly some web pages where it’s the main focus of attention. I understand that some people aren’t blessed with a nearby naturist beach or their own (secluded) garden, so being nude is something that has to be undertaken indoors.

I was asked recently if I was an ‘indoor naturist’ and I said that I wasn’t, but on reflection that’s not strictly true.

We’re in the wonderful position of living rurally, so during the summer months we use the garden as another room. We aren’t blessed with reliable hot, sunny weather though, so there are times, particularly at the beginning of the summer months, where the sun ducks behind a cloud and you can feel the temperature drop sharply.

I find that when this happens I’ve a tendency to go inside and maybe make a cup of tea, maybe vacuum a room, empty the washing machine, whatever, and not get dressed for that task, so yes, in that respect I’m an indoor naturist.

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I don’t, though, tend to say to my family ‘hey, let’s all get naked for the evening’. We’d maybe have naturist friends round in the winter months but we don’t ask them to park their clothes at the door on arrival. In that respect we aren’t ‘indoor naturists’.

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Of course nudity just happens at home. No one locks the bathroom door, and I can find myself soaking in the bath when one of the children turns up to get some help with homework, show me a painting they’ve done or some other reason. This, to me, is a perfectly natural state of affairs.

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People will adapt their naturism to their surroundings. The important thing is that we, as people, embrace and are comfortable with our bodies. There are no rules. So wherever you can grab your naturism, just do it. It’s a door that leads to a happier existence, learning to love and accept the body with which you’re living.

Hanna and Harry are entirely comfortable with home naturism in their lounge.

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Heather does her washing up in her underwear.

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Helene has determined that even the most mundane tasks around the house are more fun when nude.

Ella

 

This planet Earth

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I’m in the middle of reading Naomi Klein‘s ‘This Changes Everything‘, a book wherein she tackles the issue of capitalism vs the climate.

While I’ve not finished it yet, it’s already apparent that we’re all hostages to big energy businesses who will ride roughshod over society in pursuit of profit.

Just as we are to big business when pharmaceuticals are concerned.

There’s a theory that the cure for many diseases are already with us, including cancer, but the big pharma companies have a vested interest in ignoring it because the profits from it are too large to toss away for the benefit of mankind.

And Klein’s book pretty much shows for certain that that is how big energy companies behave too. Ignore the warnings of global warming, of burning fossil fuels, and tread on everything that gets in the way of share dividends.

We live in an increasingly fractured, dangerous world in which another big profit industry -arms- encourage us to make weaponry to sell around the globe without any moral obligations as to how they’ll be used, and maybe even encourage wars that go on around the world.

You can also add into this the (in)security industry. Today the UK announced a £2bn ‘investment’ in fighting cyber crime. Well, we could use more real money in real banks on real High Streets to counteract much cybercrime. But that isn’t government’s approach to the issue. They liked the idea of a cashless society because it meant there was a paper trail for everything. Fraud would be minimised. As usual, though, criminals are often one step ahead, inventing new scams and methods with which to undertake their crimes.

Last weekend we saw a computer glitch at one of the UK’s supermarket chains, Asda (it’s part of the Walmart Group), see all of their tills go down, causing chaos.

It appears that we’re at the mercy of a world we don’t necessarily recognise of like because ‘this is how we do it now’ (don’t get me started on the ‘pressure’ from my bank for me to do internet banking…I won’t be doing it now or in the future, despite it being ‘how we do it now’). Every bank in the UK will need to remove every branch from the streets before I am forced to bank electronically.

All of this got me thinking about how naturism is part of a simpler, less complicated lifestyle if seen as a broader concept than just taking our clothes off. True naturists will care for the environment they live in, adopting a ‘take nothing, leave only footprints’ approach to a beach (or any other space in which they practice the lifestyle). Naturists don’t poison the water where they swim, cut up the woodland and burn it for cooking. That’s the sole domain of big business, in various ways. Oil spills in our oceans, chemical spills in our rivers, the deforestation of the Amazon and elsewhere.

We -naturists- are at the spearhead, in many respects, along with a mixed bag of fellow travellers from the Rainbow Gathering hippy people to those who organise Burning Man, to indigenous ‘First Nation‘ tribes in north America, to environmentalists, alternative energy companies investing in wind and wave, to alternative lifestyle folks, to vegans, vegetarians, people with allotments and a whole lot more.

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We grow vegetables without pesticides, recycle the rainwater to water the gardens, use vegetation to make compost and so on, all with one eye keenly on tending nature so that she tends for us.

There’s some ironic content in promoting these ideas while we use computers and energy to access Second Life. That doesn’t mean that we should be ignoring a message we can put out about the benefits of wind and wave power, allotments and the like.

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You can buy your own wind turbine on the Marketplace.

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You can also buy an allotment

Time permitting, I will, in my second tenure as editor of SLN2, be promoting this more ‘holistic’ approach to naturism, and hoping to engage naturist sim owners to, in part, reflect this more rounded approach to a wider naturism and encourage them to show their nature credentials with the inclusion of items like wind turbines, allotments, garden sheds and the like in their builds. Just demonstrating that, as part of the a wider naturism would, I think, encourage avatars to be open to the idea of a wider naturism.

That’s probably my project for 2017, encouraging people to reflect a wider naturism.

Ella