Nude male swimming in High Schools?

A couple of years ago, when Trine was editing the blog, she covered a story about nude swimming at the YMCA (in America).

Some readers commented that boys did swim nude, and girls in costumes, but on different days.

 

As I wasn’t editing at that point, it was a story that largely passed me by, until I discovered some photographs online today purporting to tell the same story.

It’s hard to know what’s true. CFNM (Clothed female, nude male) is, I would suggest, a bit of a fantasy thing in the internet era. Wiki calls it ‘a genre of erotica’.

From what I can gather, nude swimming was present in the YMCA -because the clue’s in the name, Men- but was discontinued when the YMCA began admitting females. This seems to have been a fairly commonplace change in attitudes in once male-only preserves.

So some of those photos of nude male swimming teams may just be true, although I don’t really see those photos making it to the school yearbook, do you?

There’s quite a number of this type of photo around, but note, if you’re doing your own research on the topic, just how poor quality some of the photos are, and without any definite sort of detail, i.e. the school involved, where they were located and so on. Are they hiding a bit of photoshopping?

The colour ones are almost certainly ‘real’ photos, but ‘modelled’ to play on this ‘genre of erotica’ more than anything else. They’re unlikely to reflect the real world.

But it was certainly a scenario, whether it ever happened in real life or not, that was simple to recreate for the blog.

Ella

 

63 thoughts on “Nude male swimming in High Schools?

  1. My recollection is that in New Zealand, swimming at the YMCA was naked. This was certainly the case in 1964 at the Christchurch YMCA for their holiday programme. Swimming at the Hamner Springs hots pools was segregated and naked in the middle 1960s and this had been the situation for years.. The same applied at Rotorua and was definately the case in 1967. Around that time social attitude to public nudity changed. No state schools had naked swimming, but one of the private prep. schools in Christchurch did to about 1967 also. One historical oddity regarding the Government run facility at Rotorua, is that around 1907 the state proposed to make costumes compulsory. This caused a huge uproar from those using the pools and the Govertnment had to back down.

  2. An update to my earlier post It was 1967: Naked swimming at YMCA swimming pools in NZ was male only. There was an exception, this being the school holiday programme for boys up to the age of 14/15. This was overseen by the Matron at the Christchurch YMCA. Swimming instruction and water sports were only part of the programme : there was gym work and various trips around the City. The instruction was carried out by older school boys. I cannot recall if they were nude or not, but probably were on account of them participating in the various games in the pool. The Matron was a close friend of my mother. Her boys were enrolled in the programme, one a little older than me, was one of the instructors. The question was asked would I and my close friend like to join in, this is 1967. We were shown around the facilities by the Matron. The pool was in use for a water polo game. Not too many boys of my age I thought. My friend was really keen on the nude swimming. This matter did not appeal to me as I was having a difficult puberty, which none of my friends were having by the way. I was 13 at the time. It was difficult enough wearing a swimming costume : the mind boggled on what would happen being naked. Anyway we had been a little irresponsble and had spent the fee we were meant to pay to the Y, so that was that. No fee paid, no entry. That programme was the last as the building was knocked down later that year. Attitudes to nude swimming were quickly changing at that time. Some private primary schools with boarding facilities had nude swimming instruction for boys 5-13. This was over around 1968. The Government run thermal hot pools at Rotorua and Hamner Springs had nude segregated swimming for many years. This was also done away with about the same time. Rotorua was naked in 1967, and Hamner Springs clothed in 1969.

  3. It’s an interesting subject for sure. The old pics I would think would be pretty hard to photoshop and it would appear they add credibility to the fact that these things did actually happen. The newer color pics I believe are staged by some porn sites. The logic of swimming nude is one thing that most people these days just can’t deal with.

    • @ Gerald What I find interesting is that 50 years and more ago, a period where we think of a world being more repressed in terms of the naked body, there is often evidence to the contrary, even if the nude activities involved were segregated by gender. Nowadays, any evidence of instructors or people in charge overseeing nude children (or adults) would almost inevitably lead to accusations of ‘pervert’ behaviour.

      @sassycoupleok. Yes, the colour photos are almost inevitably ‘porn pics’ aimed at those who have ‘CFNM’ fetish/fantasies. Not usually the type of photo we’d publish, but I used them to demonstrate that, real or staged, it still exists as ‘a thing’.

  4. Nudity in colonial times in NZ is another interesting topic, in those years to about 1910 there was considerable freedom for males to swim naked at public breaches, in rural localities, and at certain locations within cities. At public baths, the sexes were segregated and men and boys swam naked.. Reports printed in the papers of public nudity in the cities was as a rule accompanied by the demand for the authorities to take firm action and put a stop to this nakedness, In Wellington there even was a naked beach scene at Lyall Bay during the weekends in summer of course. Echoes of the earlier open era are found in World War One where ANZAC troops at Gallipoli swam naked in the sea, and favourably described in the press reports. I can recall my Grandfather speaking of naked swimming near Christchurch when he was a member of the Home Guard in the Second World War. With respect to the British settlement of NZ the social space afforded of public nudity was one of several differences with Britain that soon became apparent. Probably reflecting a desire of many immigrants to break away from the social conventions of Britain.

    • The CFNM fetish/fantasy has a very strong following. In some settings it is a wholesome opportunity offering females a safe place to view full male nudity. There are however some CFNM events that are porn in nature.

      • Agreed. Within naturism CFNM (or CMNF) situations arise all the time. I speak to my holiday neighbours when I’m dressed, heading out to a supermarket, and they’re nude, and they speak to me when I’m nude and they’re coming home from their church on a Sunday morning (yes, they find the time to attend a Mass, even on holiday) and neither situation is fetish/fantasy. Just ‘normal’, everyday happenings in a naturist resort. As you say, ‘wholesome’. But there are those who elevate these CFNM (or vice versa) scenarios into porn.

  5. The current Naturist Society’s N magizine has a nice lengthy article with facts and figures showing that this practise did indeed exist in schools. Interesting reading.

  6. Interesting post. However, after doing some net research, I have found that many if not most of these grainy b/w photos that seem to show naked men or boys swimming with clothed females are in fact fakes, with the original mens’ trunks having been edited out and replaced with genitalia. The originals can often be found on the web, especially in a Russian article on the history of swimming in that country available at the site https://studfiles.net/preview/1844727/ from which many of these fakes have been taken. Others of the b/w photos I think are just modern. This is not to say that males did not swim naked in schools in the 1960s and before. In fact we did at my school in South London in the mid-sixties. However, we did not have our pictures taken and there were no women around. There are just a few genuine pictures out there and some of these feature in the Naked Swimming in School videos mentioned above including a few published in Life magazine. These are generally discretely photographed though and don’t show genitalia.

  7. I have found the original for another of these fake CFNM images: the vintage one of a naked man flanked by two women in bathing costumes. In the original (from site http://www.shorpy.com/node/15984?size=_original), there are four figures, all in costumes. The young boy on the left has been cropped from the fake image and the old-fashioned trunks of the other man removed digitally. Faked CFNM images are rife on the internet. As the original post comments, there seems to be a fetish for this type of image.

  8. We were made to swim nude in gym class back in late 70s at my jrhs. In Kansas. The girls didn’t have to. Double standards and kinda perverted looking back at it now.

  9. Pingback: More nude swimming at the ‘Y’? | the sl naturist

  10. Pingback: More nude swimming at the ‘Y’? | Nudie News

  11. My grandmother was on a swim team in the 1950s in Texas, and she said that the boys swam nude and girls wore a swimsuit. However, she also said that there were times that girls swam nude also. She said no one looked at nudity in a perverted way back then. It was considered natural and healthy. She also said boys worked out and ran track nude. She also told me of a time that she went to summer camp nude. It was a mixed summer camp meaning girls and boys. Most likely that wouldn’t happen today, but back then I guess people were more open minded. Go figure.

  12. Jennifer, definitely a different time. Nudity on farms and such was quote commonas well. I inexperienced this back in th 50 and 60s. After hard hot dirty work the men and boys often stripped off and hosed themselves off with a hose and go set under a shade tree to cool and dry off. My mom or other moms plus daughters depending on whose home we at would bring ice water and lemonade to us. No one thought anything of the full nudity of the men and boys. Us boys often went off to the farm ponds to skinnydip, my mom often would come set on the pond bank and watch us swim and play. None of us ever thought a thing of it.

  13. Mind blown! That would be indecent exposure today. That’s crazy! I thought my grandmother was misremembering or something. She also told me that a lot of people from her town didn’t wear clothes often to cut down on expenses of having to buy new clothes as soon as the old ones wore out. She said it was common for her to take a walk on the street, and see a nude woman sitting on a swing on the front porch. Or see naked girls playing in the yard with naked boys. That’s just mind boggling! And this was in the early to mid 50s! Omg!!

  14. So,I just talked to my grandmother again. I asked her about the nudity when she was growing up. Just like before she told me that no one thought anything negative about nudity in those days. She told me of another time that her girlfriends came by to pick her up to go to the lake. She said they drove up in a Chevrolet coupe, and got out of the car wearing nothing but sun hats with bows. She said when they came to the door, her mother answered the door and invited them in, and they were nude. She told me her mother called for her. When she came to the front room she said she was wearing a light blue sun dress and hat. She said she laughed when she saw her girlfriends nude, and took off the sun dress and went to the lake nude with them. She told me of another time that she and a friend of hers had PE class nude. She said both she and her friend left the gymnasium ,and got into her friends car nude and went home. When she got home she said her dad was in the front room listening to the radio. She opened the door and she said her dad asked her how PE class was. I asked her if he minded that she was nude, and she said no, not at all. Wait for it.. HE WAS ALSO NUDE. Lol. That’s just so crazy!! I had no idea people were like that back then!!

    • Thank your for this information.

      I think we’ve (as a society) become more conservative in recent years, much more so than the ‘golden years’ of naturism (post-war) in which a relaxed attitude prevailed more than it does now.

      • Yes, you very correct, it’s a sad situation to realize that families and people have lost their ability to be comfortable with social and family nudity as a casual way of life. 😦

    • WOW !! This conversation has stirred many memories that I had taken for granted simply because we lived in a more relaxed and accepting time of what was considered normal and at times necessary as a way of life. Has brought back to mind many stories. 🙂

      • I’m intrigued by the way an historic post has suddenly come to life once more. So much so that I’m hoping to do a new post, linked to this old one, and discuss not only naked swimming at the ‘Y’, but further investigate Jennifer’s understanding of how things were, and research this further. Stay tuned! 🙂

  15. Thanks Staff, and sassycoupleok! Because I’m so fascinated by this subject, I had to know more about my grandmother’s life in the 50’s. So I called her back again today. I asked her how many boys were in her gym class and how many girls. She said there were about 15 boys and 20 girls. I asked her if they swam nude in the same pool. She said honey, we swam nude side by side with the boys sometimes. I asked her if any of her teachers cared that both the girls and boys were naked? She said no, back then it was common for boys and girls to swim nude in lakes, ponds, creeks or pools. I asked her what year this happened. She said it was 1954 to 1956. My grandmother is in her early 80’s now. Her looks have faded, but in the mid 50’s she had long blonde hair, and was skinny. She was very pretty.
    I asked her if she ever did anything while nude that was daring or be considered illegal nowadays. She said everyday after PE class, she never bothered putting on clothes unless it was cold out. If it was warm enough, she stayed nude. She said she wasn’t the only girl who stayed nude. Several girls stayed nude after PE class. She said her friend Dixie would sometimes take her home after class. She said many times she got in the car with her friend nude. On this one occasion Dixie had to have a package of Old Gold cigarettes. She said Dixie drove her Chevrolet coupe to a smoke shop to pick up the cigarettes. She said that they were both nude, and they walked into the shop to pick up some cigarettes. I asked her if anyone said anything to them or complained to them about being nude. She said no, everyone just minded their own business. I asked her if the men in the store stared or made cat calls or anything. She said that there was a guy who whistled, but she said both her and her friend took that as a compliment. I asked her if that was all that happened, and she said yes. I asked her if it was common for people to go the store nude back then or ride around in cars and trucks nude and she said she saw it almost everyday. She said back then no one thought anything of it. It was common to see that in those days, but it never was mentioned in the newspapers or in the news like it would be today. That’s so crazy! I never knew that in the 50’s people were more open minded than they are today!!? Well, that’s all I got for now.

    • Jennifer, your stories are quite interesting for sure, I have several myself but were not as bold as your grandmother’s. That being said my experiences primarily were from the mid 50s to the mid 60s, so things were probably becoming scrutinized by others. Sadly none of what your grandmother did or what I experienced could be experienced today becuse we have become society prudes.

  16. Right. I agree that society has become much more prudish. I really can’t believe how much more open minded people were back then! Omg! I don’t think my grandmother was being bold as much as that was just the way society was back then. She did say she wasn’t the only girl who walked out of the gym building nude. She said several other girls walked out nude and got into a friends car or their mother’s car to go home. It was just what they did. There are still parts of Texas in which public nudity is still legal. The high school she attended is near Dallas, Texas. Nudity is no longer legal there, but it is in Austin, Texss. The old school building and gym where she had classes and swam was torn down in the mid 1980s. I did find a blog that mentioned a woman from California had to do nude P.E. class in the early 50’s. So, it seems there were other schools that made it a requirement for girls to do nude P.E. and nude swimming.

    • Ranger, Texas. Its near Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas. It was Ranger High school. The high school was torn down in 1979, and the swimming pool was closed and torn down in the mid 1980’s.

      • How interesting, most of my experiences occurred in and around Shawnee OK and few in Ark with my dads mother. Until blogs like this came along I never really thought much of those expereinces except that I always thought it was sad how prude our society has become.

      • I would be pretty sure that nothing like this occurred in New Zealand in the modern era aside from nude swimming at certain boys schools and the YMCA. In colonial times there was a degree of freedom for males to go naked in certain situations but restricted to what was called bathing at certain beaches and rivers some within the boundaries of colonial towns and at privately owned swimming pools open to the public. Bathing was segregated and only males could swim naked. In pre colonial times with Maori it was different again.

    • Paul LeValley, my grandmother said Ranger High School had nude swimming in the 1930’s because her mother( my great grandmother) also swam nude there. She graduated in 1936. I just thought I would tell you because I noticed that the date you added for Ranger High School was 1954 to 1956. She also said that nude swimming was mandatory at that school until the late 1960’s.

  17. We’ve been doing some research (via Ella’s original posts and other stuff we’ve unearthed ourselves) and a new post (which will contain a link to this post) is imminent, not that we’ve definitively identified any place names. But it’s certainly a ‘live’ topic for readers and is often the ‘most read’ post of the day from the archives, so definitely worth a second bite at it.

    GG

  18. A correction: Mixed nude swimming at high school did occur at the New Zealand alternative state secondary school, Four Avenues. The school was located at Christchurch and established in 1974, from a demand that the state system reflect alternative ways of life being promoted at that time. Four Avenues is associated with the Chippenham Commune, but alternative schools were set up elsewhere such as in Auckland becoming known the Auckland Metropolitan College. In the same year I attended a meeting at the commune. This was also attended by the Head boy and girl and some of the school trustees. Afterwards there was a discussion between those associated with the school about nude swimming, a point requested to be raised by the student body. The school had no swimming pool. The proposal agreed was that the school would hire in the day a small council pool nearby for senior pupils for their ‘free periods’ who would supervise themselves. The proposal was put into effect for the start of the 1974-5 summer season. I have no knowledge of what happened for any subsequent seasons and years. A perusal of the literature on alternative schools does suggest that within the alternative schools movement as a whole that there was a general culture that permitted students to be naked at the swimming pool. Four Avenues closed in c.2000. The Auckland College about the same time, c2001.

  19. Gerald Davidson, interesting post about New Zealand. It seems that nudity was accepted in many parts of the world not just in the United States from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. That confirms what my grandmother told me about her life in 1954 in Texas. I talked to her again a couple of days ago, and asked her why nudity was not accepted on television or talked about in newspapers. She said You know what we called television in those days? We called it the funny box, or funny tube. She said anything on television was considered to be fantasy. She said the news never mentioned that nude men and women took a walk outside. It never was necessary to mention because it was not unusual for people to see that. She also said that she supposed that there were regulations for television when it first came out. I asked her if she ever did anything else nude besides PE or swimming class. She said one day in May her class and several other classes went to watch and compete in track and field day. The men competed nude. The ladies competed in swimsuits. On this one occasion she said it was very hot. She said the girls began sweating heavily and one of them passed out because of the heat. A teacher picked up a horn and announced that the girls remove their swimsuits and they would compete nude. So both the boys and girls competed nude. She said because of the heat that day, the teachers did not want to take a chance on someone else passing out, so they allowed the girls and guys to go back to class nude because there was no air conditioning in the classrooms. She said she and her friends went to class nude that day. The teacher opened windows in the classroom. She said many of the students left the class nude, and were picked up by parents while nude. She said no one said a word about it. I asked her what the parents thought of their kids being nude, she said nothing. She said it wasn’t anything to complain about those days. She said it was just as normal as seeing someone in clothes today. Unbelievable! And to think that most teachers today freak out when a girl shows up to class in shorts that are cut above the knees. How did we become so prudish?

    • We became prudish in many ways. It started back in the early 60s when moms started questioning school boards about their sons being nude for their swim classes. I think it was the moms who were embarrassed about the nudity far more than any of the students. To this day I have never seen a male or female student complain about the nudity, it was simply accepted as normal behaviour. Then the porn industry also started making nudity into a sexual thing which has filtered down to parents now associating nudity with sex. Young men and boys now days are really afraid for any one to see their penises. They typically will not us urinals in public restrooms because of this. So we now have several generations of what I call sissified boys and men that are totally scared of non sexual nudity.

  20. Four Avenues was established in the era in which there was a widespread rejection of existing social values by young people and a general alienation from society. One of the demands raised related to social nudity, but not so much the right to be naked, but over the wearing of clothes. This is a subtle distinction. What was being sought was a climate in which you could choose to wear clothes or not and should the choice be nothing this would be not something for comment, something taken for granted and not worthy of observation and with total acceptance. Social nudity was a big feature of the Nambassa festivals. (South Auckland). The event struck a cord with young people who attended in their tens of thousands. It is thought between 70,000 – 100,000 (a higher estimate than that usually cited) attended the 1979 festival. It is estimated that 5,000 went naked : this is a world record apparently. It was truly a golden age in NZ. The beach below at Homunga Bay in 1979 was especially popular. Within the Festival itself it was common to see naked people walking through the crowd at the venue this more in terms of what was being sort and there were a group naked for the duration of the three day event in front of the stage. The 1981 Festival (the last.) was similar. I recall being told by a visitor to our flat after the 1981 event how she had spent the entire time naked in the crowd and how this choice was totally accepted and respected.

    • I’m not a mom, but I wouldn’t have a problem with it if I were. It seems like it’s the mothers who complain and change history. My grandmother thinks it was a “dirty shame” to end the practice of nudity in high schools. I have a niece and she won’t even change in a locker room that’s full of girls only. The other niece of mine got into trouble for wearing shorts that were too short. The teacher complained because when she sat down she could see “HER PANTIES!” Really? Lol. I think the way people think now is so ridiculous. Omg! Do those teachers know that their moms and grandmothers probably swam nude and played nude sports with boys when they were in high school!??

      • Interesting you mention gym/swimming pool changing rooms where even same sex people are so uptight and shy about their bodies, because that topic is one I’m writing a blog post about right now.

        Flo.

      • Wow Flo, that’s a good topic! I had no idea. I think its definitely a good idea to raise this subject because it’s unbelievable how prudish our society has become. I’m not sure how it was in the 70’s and 80’s but I know in the early 90’s most girls did not change in front of other girls. I did once or twice, but it was very rare. I didn’t even skinny dip with mixed company until I was 21 I think it’s worth mentioning that some girls had to do nude PE in high school in the early to mid 1950’s like my grandmother.

      • Stay tuned to the blog. Mostly ‘real life’ related but probably illustrated with a few SL type photos (as well as RL ones if I can source them)

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  23. Gerald Davidson, interesting story! I never knew that about New Zealand. It definitely sounds like most of the world during the 30’s, 40’s 50’s 60’s and 70’s was experiencing a golden age for sure! Apparently nudity was the norm for a lot of places in the U.S. and many parts of the world!

  24. Is there a method of adding pictures or sending pictures to be added. I have two of the naked band and others at Nambassa, one of which shows nudity in the construction stage of the festival.

    • Not sure, Gerald.

      Flo and I are new to this, so still learning the blogging ropes in many ways, but I’ll see what’s possible and let you know.

      GG

    • Gerald,

      I’ve just discovered that Ella had set up an email account called slnaturist@gmail.com, the passwords for which were handed over to me when Flo and I took over the blog.

      It rather looks like Ella didn’t use it much as I’ve had to clear over 20,000 (!) group notices from it, lol.

      But if you upload photos to there, we can paste them into a future blog entry.

      If you want to give them a title, and some background writing, I’ll be more than pleased to create a blog entry of its own, listing you as a guest contributor.

      GG

  25. Paul LeValley my grandmother has some information for you about (name of school redacted). Omg!! She said that she had a friend named Barbara who graduated from (name of school redacted). She said she and her parents moved from (place name redacted) to Dallas Texas, but Barbara stayed friends with her until Barbara got married and moved to Galveston in 1957. She said that Barbara mentioned to her that her gym class and swimming class at (name of school redacted) were also nude. She said the boys ran track nude there too. She said Barbara came to visit her in Ranger, Texas every other weekend and she and her friend Dixie went nude to the lake many times. She said they left the house nude, and went straight to the lake. Barbara told her that she swam nude with the boys at (name of school redacted), and she had a nude dance class!! Omg! Just thought I would let you know. Hope this info helps with your list!

    • Jennifer, I know that there’s such a long distance between then and now that it is probably immaterial, and the people involved are exceptionally unlikely to see this blog, and possibly even dead, but we need to be careful about identifying places (and people…first names only are fine). I’ve no problem with city names but small town place names I’d be uncomfortable with.

      I’ve redacted the name of the school you included. We live in litigious times 🙂

      Thanks for understanding.

      GG

  26. Interesting how many people still find it hard to believe when I tell them that male students were not allowed to wear swim suits while females were during high school PE in the 60’s. I transferred into a public high school in Queens, NY back in 61 as a sophomore and was surprised that students were required to take and pass a swim class in the schools indoor pool. There were certain inspection “indignities” that we had to endure after showering but no one thought to question the schools protocol during those mandatory classes. Times were much simpler and wholesome back then.

  27. Growing up in the 50s & 60s times were much simpler. When we camped out bathrooms and showers were hard to come by so people often bathed and changed in the openness of their campsites, No one really though much of it just like nudity of the swim teams.

    • When I was 14, I can still remember a fun camping trip with my older brother where we canoed a lake chain in upstate N.Y. and camped at remote lean-to sites with no facilities for 10 days. After paddling all day in the hot summer sun and not having seen another person, we rounded a bend and finally found a lean-to site where a tree leaned out over the water with a rope hanging from it and decided to camp there. After setting up camp, we took the seclusion as an opportunity to skinny dip in the crystal clear water where we took turns climbing the tree and using the rope to play Tarzan and swing out for a huge splash down. On one of my turns, I started to swing out when suddenly a canoe with 3 (I assume) girl scouts rounded the bend and they all stopped paddling as I was jumping and my brother was about to climb out. I was somewhat mortified as the older girl (scout leader) watched me and told the younger girls to paddle up to an adjacent secluded site to disembark for the nite! Then their canoe was subsequently followed by 3 more and we waited till they all passed until we got out of the water. We knew they could see us in the clear water as they pointed and giggled as they resumed paddling by. As we paddled by the next morning after breaking camp, they waved and laughed again. Innocent and wholesome times!

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