Countryside/Habitat Springs

I use the blog page Scoop.it Second Life destinations quite a lot.

Less an emphasis on fashion, more a focus on the photogenic aspects of SL.

And autumn (Fall) is always a beautiful time in SL with the vibrancy of the colours. So imagine my delight to discover a sim that is not only autumnally brilliant, but ‘clothing optional’! 🙂

 

Habitat Springs (or Countryside) offers all of that!

All bedecked in autumnal splendour!

So I’ve been asking several of our models, Harry’s models, our friends, etc, to hop over there and grab some photos, beginning with Mandy and Jose. Others will follow as we illustrate subsequent posts.

At some sims we feature, we remind avatars that they’re not ‘naturist’. No need in the case of Countryside/Habitat Springs.

It looks magnificent, dressed in browns, oranges, reds and yellows!

It feels to me like SL is becoming more conservative, in some ways. Several ‘naturist’ sims have become a little more ‘clothing optional’, a sure fire sign that you’re sacrificing your ideals on the bonfires of ‘traffic’. I’ve been asked to leave a couple of sims recently while taking photos for the blog in my birthday suit, as my appearance contravened…and some sort of Linden Labs TOS would be cited. As if Linden Labs’ staff, employees, directors, shareholders or users in the form of avatars never stripped off somewhere in SL, even if only to change outfits.

I admit that in SL I’ve more or less abandoned any ‘discretion’ as regards nudity. Everyone knows what a naked avatar of either gender looks like, and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. So why some ridiculous coyness when a naked body turns up, a long distance form anyone else on a sim, to take a few naked photos? I won’t be making any attempt to reel in this approach. You signed up to SL as someone aware of what the naked body of the same, or other, gender looks like and the sight of one won’t shock or offend you, so why pretend otherwise?

But back to Habitat Srpings/Countryside. It’s extremely satisfying that someone should create a sim that’s ostensibly a beautifully photogenic autumnal countryside sim and then say ‘hey, but do you know what? In such a real life environment someone might take off their clothes…feel free to do the same’. Do you have any idea what a positive, realistic message that sends out????

If you use Flickr, be aware that Countryside has its own pages on the service, many of which utilise naked photography sitting comfortably alongside ‘textile’ shots. I don’t imagine users of the Flickr page or in SL will have had any problems coming up against others with a different dress code from themselves, and perhaps SL and its users need to take a more adult approach to the presence of nude avatars in exactly the way Countryside/Habitat Springs have.

Brilliant sim. Brilliant mindset by its creators!

Ella

North East Skinny Dip, 2017

It was the annual North East Skinny Dip last weekend, widely covered by a prurient UK media fixated on the naked body, but then proclaiming themselves to be the nation’s moral guardians by pixellating every nipple, penis, vagina or in some instances, bottoms of the participants. What a great opportunity to report ‘news’, frivolous news, granted, in the context of global tensions, but news nonetheless, and that opportunity spurned and wasted. Why not simply report a terrific money raising event and normalise public nudity at the same time?

Hopefully, some of those participating for first-time public-nude participants but it has inspired them to be part of the naturist movement.

I participated in this last year and wrote about it.

It’s on behalf of a UK mental health charity, MIND, so it’s a worthy cause as well!

I couldn’t make it this year, due to prior commitments, but I do hope to be part of it again next autumn.

 

Ella

Personal nude photos

It seems like everyone in the world is, in the digital camera age, taking nude photos, either of themselves or a partner/friend.

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about not comprehending nude selfies. I still don’t. Then there was the article about me apparently being out of touch in this regard.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a naturist that I don’t ‘get it’. I’ve thousands of photos of us nude over the years, all in naturist situations. The only time we’ve taken photos that weren’t naturist were during each of my pregnancies, setting aside a night in the month to photograph my increasing tummy, part of each of our children’s ‘journey into life’.

I’ve never had any urge to stand in the bathroom, mobile phone in hand, snapping away.

They say that men think about sex every seven seconds, but let me tell you…stick a group of women together and they can shatter that remarkable statistic!

I was out recently with a few female friends for a ‘pampering day’ at a spa, as part of a ‘significant birthday’ celebration. Afterwards, we headed to dinner, some wine was consumed, and the conversation then turned to sex. And fellas, please know that if you put a bunch of women together and add in a little alcohol, the air is full of innuendo.

Eventually, the chat took a turn towards personal nude photos. Most of those in attendance know I’m a naturist, so I outlined, to them, what I’ve just said to you in the lines above. I’ve never felt any need for photos to involve a cell/mobile phone, and I’d certainly not be interested in moments of passion being interrupted by the presence of a camera. We like to focus on the passion. 😉

I was rather shocked to discover I was the only one who’d never taken a naked selfie. Everyone else at the table appeared to be taking them quite regularly, and were now utilising nude photography and video into their sex lives to ‘spice things up’! They were even confessing to having videos or photos of themselves and their partner indulging in oral sex, or full penetration and even, in one instance, a lady of rather more mature years confessing that dressing up and indulging in some ‘light bondage’ was now part of her sex life. I’m not sure what ‘light bondage’ is, or how it differs from ‘heavy’ or ‘medium’ or ‘needs a crane to be lifted’ bondage, and I didn’t think, or care, to ask.

SL avatars take a camera into their bedroom

But this lady of certain years claimed that her diminishing sex-life had been reignited by digital technology (and toys), with it extending to some exhibitionism, going out without underwear on, flashing for her husband who would take photos, etc,.

A mature lady provides a small portfolio of herself in various scenarios.
While this lady is perfectly at ease posing fully and confidently nude on holiday, presumably for her partner.
Even if unprepared to go fully nude for the camera, increasing numbers of women are perfectly at ease going ‘topless’ Topless, but no further? Lingerie might be the preferred option for some women In the shower… …or at home… In the bathroom, ‘age’ no longer being a thing where many, many women think they no longer have the body to bare. While some women will pose, on assurances that their identity is blurred Swimsuits may be the preferred option And it’s not just a ‘young woman’s thing’, as my experience at dinner showed. Older ladies are happy and confident in their own skin.

 

None of which has any relevance to naturism, or this blog, at all.

But…

…at that dinner two of the ladies present were very keen to know about naturism, and maybe going on holiday to a naturist beach.

‘I like the idea of walking naked on the beach and maybe a little fun in the dunes’, said one. ‘How hot might the sex be when reviewing photos and video of that!’

Wait a moment!!!!! Let’s retrace our steps here.

I’m all in favour of ‘new naturists’ discovering the lifestyle, but it got me thinking how new technology might be attracting people with the wrong idea of what naturism is. I’m particularly fond of the idea that women are much more confident in their bodies than might once have been the case.

For years, decades and perhaps the entirety of naturism’s existence, we’ve hammered away with the message that it’s not about sexuality, but body freedom. It’s not about sex, it’s about comfort and logic applied to pursuits like running, swimming and sunbathing. It’s not about showing off all manner of genital jewellery in a peacock-like display. It’s certainly not about sex in the dunes.

Of course, I’d be dreadfully naive to suggest that there’s no sex at all in naturism. After all, I’m a woman who -as far as I can be certain- has conceived three times while on naturist holidays. Yes, we like to get passionate with each other, particularly when away from the routine of home and work, when we’re feeling energised and enjoying one another’s company. But I never felt I needed to conceive in a sand dune! And yes, with a balcony not overlooked in one apartment we’ve used, high up on a third floor, even some outdoor passion has even been enjoyed. But we’d not have considered it something that needed to be public for what is a private activity. So, sure, sex does occur while on a naturist holiday, but no more or less than it might on a textile holiday.

I’ve written before how I feel that the arrival of digital technology has led to an explosion in nude photography, either with selfies or a partner taking photographs and how this might have led women to think slightly differently about their bodies, making them more confident to do something they’d never have dreamed of doing 50 years ago, (see the gallery above) when the only women getting naked for the camera were models or the partner of some guy who had photography as an interest. It used to be that you shot a film, then dropped it into the chemist (pharmacist) for development (at least it was the case here in the UK. I’ve no idea how other nations approached the issue of having film developed). Around the time I became a naturist the old ‘instant polaroid’ cameras were already readily available, but I didn’t own one, so no photos exist of my first time as a naturist. A shame, really, as I’d have loved to have had some from my first time as a naturist as I’ve pretty much got a full collection of my subsequent naturist life. I’d never have allowed film to be dropped into a chemist for development, not even a topless shot, never mind fully nude.


A gallery of photos from the time when Cap D’Adge was genuinely naturist.

My first time was at Cap D’Agde, in the south of France (I’ve written about this before, check the archives), a huge ‘naturist city’, complete with almost every shopping facility you could find in any other town, and the photos above give a flavour of what it was like when I was there. They did have facilities for developing film, but neither I or cousin Sylvia, who was with me, felt we wanted to leave the film in to be developed. Go figure! We were happy to be naked all day, quite possibly under the gaze of someone’s camera, but rather didn’t want photos of ourselves to exist while unclothed!

A few years later, Cap D’Agde lost its naturist innocence and the swingers, exhibitionists, voyeurs, foam party and sex-in-public crowd moved in. How it changed, for the worse in my opinion, is well documented online, but not really within the remit of this blog, as it now doesn’t really qualify as genuine naturism in my eyes.

So women appear to have had some subconscious change in their thinking as far as going naked for the camera is concerned, even during the course of my naturist lifetime. When I began, I was 18 and rather shy of telling anyone about my naturist experience. As a couple, Jim and I didn’t tell anyone for a couple of years. Now we’re quite open about it, and what’s more, people love to hear about it, with many saying they’d love to try it.

But, to get back to my point, are they getting into it for the wrong reasons? Do they arrive at it with the wrong perceptions? Are they being educated as to naturism’s real values? Or will we get to a point where the lines between naturism and libertarian behaviour are further blurred?

Ella

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding

Breasts.

You guys love them, and I suppose, despite some hangups about size (too big, too small) we women like the way they define -or we sometimes imagine they define- our ‘femininity’ too. Well, that’s not strictly true, a flat-chested, androgynous woman can be the very pinnacle of femininity. Think, for example, actress Jane Birkin.

Jane Birkin

There’s not a lot of bosom going on there, is there, but it doesn’t detract from her beauty, her femininity and her general sex appeal.

Or Keira Knightley

Or Charlize Theron

Or less well known, but only marginally better endowed up top…Ella Keng 🙂

So an ample bosom isn’t, strictly speaking, defining femininity or sex appeal.

There’s a thousand pet names for breasts, and they’ve occupied most mens’ thoughts for thousands of years. And perhaps up to the 1950s, the only source of nourishment for a new born infant. All societies, around the world, took the presence of a breastfeeding mother, a breast visible, for granted. And in times when the breast wasn’t as regularly visible as it is now in society, when a ‘decent’ woman would never think of baring hers, all manner of women, from all starts of society, and around the globe, routinely breastfed. In public, if demands required.

The breastfeeding mother was even visible in advertising…

Which brings us up to date, with society now having decided that it can’t tolerate the most natural thing in the world. Time magazine did a piece on ‘breastfeeding controversies’.

Facebook bans photos of breastfeeding mothers. (Well, strictly speaking, you can show breastfeeding but not a nipple (!!!!)

????? 🙂

Some cafes ask women to cover up or get out. 

As do some Pizza chains.

Some people are even moved to get their camera out, take photos of a mother breastfeeding, publish it to social media and label the mother a ‘tramp’ (a story we covered in March 2014)

Insane, isn’t it?


Breastfeeding photos are out, while advertising campaigns, such as those shown below, are deemed ‘acceptable’ (not by all, by any stretch of the imagination, but advertised in magazines or on public transport).


Both campaigns operate(d) on a rather sexist approach to women, as well as being racist. But they’re OK. And breastfeeding isn’t?

And yet it appears that it might be traditional, conservative, Islamic states that now have a more tolerant approach to breastfeeding than we in the west do, as one Australian woman reported when visiting Oman.

In this family-centric Gulf State, Omani mothers, often dressed in the abaya, modestly breastfeed in public everywhere! They’re offered seats, bottles of water from kindly strangers … I just hadn’t expected this at all in an Islamic country, and it really struck me. 

Anyway, SL avatar Alison sent me some photos of her breastfeeding in SL some years ago, so let’s reprise her role to demonstrate breastfeeding being acceptable in SLarbucks, an inworld coffee shop that clearly follows the conventions laid down by its RL equivalent.

Please, fellas, (and ladies) whatever you can do to support the practice of public breastfeeding would be greatly appreciated by a world of nursing mothers/

Ella

The Sweat Lodge

Thanks to Gerald’s excellent description, in the comments on the Rainbow Gathering post, which are posted below, I’ve been reminded of my one and only ‘sweat lodge’ experience.

Gerald writes…

Gatherings are clothes optional. Many like the feeling of freedom. Others see in nudity a spiritual component. Either way here we are creating an Eden where you can be naked without shame. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear clothes, you just don’t have to. We celebrate diversity with tolerance + acceptance, knowing we are all really part of the ONE. I would like to share a report I wrote on thw winter gathering held at a old hippy community at Takaka. The occasion of Matariki was marked by a sweat lodge ceremony held on the nearby beach at Milnthorpe. Proceedings began with the lighting of a large bonfire at dusk of driftwood into which stones were placed. A structure of bent branches covered with blankets, the lodge, was located nearby. At a given time we removed our clothes and moved inside in an orderly way where we sat cross legged in circular fashion. On four occasions hot stones were received and welcomed from the fire and placed into a central fire pit.
Water sprinkled, to a prayer, generated clouds of hot steam, and a feeling of close oneness.
At one point personal prayers of thanks and appreciation were recited. Gathering around the bonfire, on leaving, for seemingly ages , the heat dried and warmed our naked bodies.
Some choose to swim in the incoming tide, the phenomena of green luminescent water adding to the occasion. Overhead the Milky Way slowly traversed the sky and in the distance the lights of Farewell Spit and the dark shape of hills. The quarter moon came and set. And not a breath of wind.
Sunset was just as spectacular as the night was. Pure magic. What a memory.
Back in the house [of the community] the lights were off for the night. The coal range generating a warm comforting heat in the dark.This was the time for head-torches and freshly baked bread.

One of the advantages of living in Scotland is that there are some fabulous and remote beaches an hour’s drive away. Less, but not quite as remote or wildly beautiful.

Beaches such as the one above are two-a-penny as one goes up into the Highlands and Islands. Naturism is entirely do-able because it’s likely you can find a spot where you won’t see another soul all day. Before the children came along we used to spend a couple of weekends a month in places such as this, and it was up in the Highlands where we came across a group of rather lovely New Age travellers who’d had a bit of a hard time with the authorities.

(Note: the story in the link doesn’t refer to the people we encountered, the time frame is wrong, but I offer the link to illustrate Scotland’s approach to New Age folk).

On a Friday evening we’d pack a tent, a camping stove and some food into the car after work and then drive north. It was possible to live nude all weekend if the weather was good. Which isn’t always the case in Scotland! It could be 10pm or beyond before we’d find a place we liked, but as it’s fairly northerly not dark until 11pm and beyond so it was still possible to pitch a tent and settle in for the night.

The two of us arrived at a beach late one evening to discover a quartet of nude bathers a little distance off. Reasoning that they obviously wouldn’t mind if we did the same, we stripped off too and went swimming after giving them a cheery wave to declare our solidarity with them. One of them eventually approached us and it transpired they were New Age folk who were spending the summer travelling around the Highlands and Islands in a tatty old van, living in tents like we were.

For once, they’d discovered a friendly farmer who’d provided them with some vegetables for free and they were cooking up a lentil stew at their ‘encampment’. By way of repayment, the guys in the group had been helping the elderly farmer rebuild some dry stone walls on the land, and the women had been whitewashing his croft dwelling for him.

A Scottish croft house

We got invited along for a bowl of stew, and discovered their ‘encampment’ was an awning draped off the side of their van, a tent, a fire pit they’d dug (with the intention of replacing the turf and leaving no evidence of them having been there when they moved on…and it’s ‘regular’ people who litter their way up and down the coast, yet it’s these guardians of the planet who get the bad press????) and a strange little structure. A sweat lodge, they explained over a bowl of hot stew.

At the time, I don’t think we’d ever heard of the term, but we grasped the ‘sauna’ concept of it. A whole purification process was explained in terms of mystical ritual, but it was also possible to use it as a sauna without a need to buy into the purification ritual.

The sweat lodge has its roots in the indigenous peoples of north and south America, although they can be found in other locations too.

The following evening, after a day in and out of the sea, going walking (clothed) and a trip into the nearest town to buy some extra provisions to share with our new friends, we wandered over to their camp, broke out the bottles of wine we’d purchased, offered some bread, and I helped prepare a simple curry meal while Jim helped light up for the sweat lodge.

We then formed a drum circle and drummed for an hour around the camp fire. The drumming got hypnotic. It was also physically exerting, so it wasn’t long until someone would drop out of the circle temporarily to remove some of the few clothes we were wearing to begin with. A little way away, the elderly farmer watched with a kind of amused detachment and puffed on his pipe. Elderly he may have been, but he was young at heart, but declined the opportunity to be part of it. But I think he was loving the idea of young people indulging in a bit of fun.

A naked drum circle

After we’d drummed ourselves into silence, it was into the sweat lodge, followed by a race down the nearby beach and into the sea -Finnish sauna style- to close up the pores after a bit of sweating out the body’s impurities. A nice experience, but something I’ve never had the chance to repeat.

For once, SL let me down in terms of the availability of a sweat lodge, either on a sim or on the Marketplace, but I was able to locate a Native American sim complete with a tent containing a fire, which is certainly appropriate given the historical aspect of sweat lodges, and replicate the idea of one.

Anton joins me in the ‘sweat lodge’

One thing I would say is that there appears to be a certain risk with sweat lodges in the hands of people who don’t know what they’re doing.

If in doubt, don’t! Perhaps stick to a sauna. I’ve no idea if the folk we shared a sweat lodge with knew what they were doing. They appeared to, but I’m no expert. We survived it and enjoyed it and their company greatly.

Ella

A Rainbow Gathering…and Burn 2 is getting nearer.

I begin lots and lots of blog posts, but many invariably slip through the net as we move on to other naturist-related news. Some begin as a ‘good idea’ that peters out. There’s about 500 drafts for the 2000+ posts we have published, so a 25% failure rate.

I began the following post at the beginning of this year, but it was (yet another post) never completed. This week I’ve been tidying up aspects of the blog, trashing some posts and examining others for possible use. With SL’s own ‘Burning Man’ happening in October (21st-29th)*, I thought it was a useful time to revisit this particular ‘counter culture’ posting, rework it and expand it.

 

One fascinating article I read in the media, early in this year, was about Rainbow Gatherings, a loose conglomeration of ‘new age’ type people that we’ve written about before in the context of a hippy counterculture.

SL serves people interested in this sort of hippy look very well, with ‘boho’ fashion being regularly blogged by various people, there’s a variety of dreadlock hairstyles in SL, and becoming a hippy avatar is relatively easy and cheap to do, whereupon you can visit numerous sims where aspects of this alternative lifestyle takes place, and usually these sims are nude-friendly, as they are in real life.

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p1100410There are several excellent sims where you can indulge your inner, or visible, hippy, counterculture lifestyle.

peace03

rainbow-gathering-montana-201337

Flower Fairy practices her yoga in a quiet, SL gorge

I’ll be revisiting the ‘Burn 2’ (SL’s own ‘Burning Man’ festival) again next week, as well as talking to and hopefully photographing some of SL’s ‘hippy’ avatars.

 

Ella

*We were part of the press team for Burn2 last year and have applied to be part of that again this year.

Topless Tuesday

 

While researching this blog I occasionally land somewhere…unsavoury. Sites that are more pornographic than naturist, despite being dressed up as naturist (hey! some SL ‘naturist’ sims are like that too!). Links to ‘naturist’ sites aren’t guaranteed to be naturist by any stretch of the imagination.

And so it was that I clicked into a site recently that was focussed on voyeur photos of women on holiday. Not pornographic, just exploitative. Several photos were of naturist women, of all shapes and sizes and ages on the beach. Fine…apart from the fact that most of the photos were taken without the subject’s consent. Laughably, one contributor even had the audacity to watermark his work with copyright!

Other photos were topless women on the beach. What caught my eye here was one commenter, presumably from somewhere other than Europe, referencing a young woman with large breasts emerging from the surf, with the words that ‘guys are pretending they don’t notice. I’d have a [insert word for erection here] all day!’

Weird?

Yes, it’s weird, because in Europe most guys have seen it all before, and they genuinely don’t notice. A glance in the direction of someone fully clothed, or in a full bikini, is about all they’d give any woman. It used to be that ‘going topless’ was something of a first-holiday-with-your-pals-and-no-parents-around ‘rite of passage’, but topless sunbathing and swimming has become so much part of the beach furniture in Europe now that many young women have never covered up top, from childhood, through puberty and into adulthood. Grandmothers, mothers, teenage daughters, children…all ‘topless’. And while full nudity is still a lump in the throat moment, many women go topless, even the first time, without so much as moment’s thought.

This woman’s young son(?), right of the pic, and the men in the vicinity, remain disinterested in her topless state.

More interested in their smartphones or gazing into the middle distance.

Her breasts are being bared, but there’s the sun to turn your face to, or waves to watch

Not even looking in her direction, he’s seen breasts before.

Tops pulled down, hamming it up for the cameras, tan lines giving away the fact that there’s not been any topless sunbathing before today, there’s a good chance this trio are going topless for the first time, with possibly some sort of dare having been issued and a holiday ‘rite of passage’ having been ticked off.