Growing up with naturism

I think I need to give up work and just write this blog full time. 🙂

Why? The more immersive the SL experience, the more satisfying it becomes. The more time you get in SL, the greater the sense of fun. As if my weekend hasn’t been action-packed enough -let’s blame the Irish for their capacity to drag us along to their party, yes? There have been many well-attended St. Patrick’s Day parties this weekend which have certainly manifested themselves as well-attended clothing optional events). May I raise a glass of stout to St. Patrick for that – I tp’ed into Blue Lagoon (again!) this afternoon. More pix of this afternoon’s dance coming up…

Their St. Patrick’s Day party was still going on. From Friday night????? While there Brenda, co-owner of Eden Naturist Estate, IM’ed me. We spoke about a range of topics (yes, I’ll be sharing some of the other matters we discussed here on SL Naturist in due course) but Brenda and I were focussed on one thing in particular: a post she’d received from Swedish avatar Kynlif.

Kynlif had hoped that she could share her words, her experiences and her photographs on the Eden Naturist web page, but Brenda thought that Kynlif’s contribution fell more into SL Naturist’s domain, and that it might realise a greater, wider audience here. It’s a beautiful story of a young girl’s first experiences of nude bathing due to her Mother’s sensible, logical conclusion that swimming naked at a bathhouse on their doorstep made more sense than a 40 minute round trip to swim at a textile swimming baths. 

Swedish avatar Kynlif, author of the experiences recounted below

That resonates with me. I keep arguing that if naturist facilities are provided, people will overcome any fears, shame or embarrassment to readily embrace the naturist lifestyle. The only thing that prevents the availability of such readily available facilities are our legislators. Those of us in Europe, in particular, may argue we live in a secular continent, but the reality is that far too many of our politicians nail their colours to the mast of their religious faith, their Christianity. And the main Christian denominations, based in Europe, still hold power and influence over our politicians and legislators to ensure that the act of going naked or being naked is still being outlawed or limited because of a couple of verses at the beginning of the Bible.




When I refer to my ‘first’ experience of nude bathing it was not my first experience of swimming nude, but rather the first nude bathing I had done in the presence of an ‘audience’.
The summer I turned thirteen we lived in a small town 30 kilometers northeast of Gothenburg.
When we were out in the boat there were hidden coves along the river, so we had swum naked as long as I can remember.

secret swim
When I was a child we swam naked in hidden coves

But the summer I turned thirteen we moved to the coastline near Gothenburg.
Five minutes walk from our new home was a nude beach, Saltholmen Bathhouse. (website in Swedish)
The nearest textiles bathing was twenty minutes drive away.

cold bathhaouse
The entrance through the fence looked exciting. I fantasised about what it looked like on the other side of the entrance.

A sunny warm weekend my dad was out of town on business. My mom and I walked past the entrance to the cold baths: the Kallbadhus (Ella adds: from what I can find, there are numerous Kallbadhus in Sweden, and it appears these refer to organised cold water swimming areas, complete with facilities, and would be differentiated from what might be classified as ‘warm’ bathhouses such as Turkish Baths.)

‘I wonder how it looks in there’,  I said.
‘We’ll find out’, responded mom.
‘Do we dare?’, I said with a thirteen year old’s inbuilt cowardice.
‘Of course we dare’, replied mother. ‘Everyone is naked in there, it’s not (as if we’re going naked in the) town square. Now, let’s go and buy some sleeping mats, towels and coffee, and then we’ll go in there. It’s silly to travel twenty minutes to another bath when this one is so close’.

When we went into the Bathhouse on a beautiful day there were naked people bathing everywhere, young and old.


These older people told us that they had swum here since they were small and could not imagine going anywhere else

For the first few minutes it felt a little strange. Both Mom and I had swum topless before, but now the panties had to go too!
The older ladies were very curious about who we were. But in a nice way. They sat down next to us and we talked and drank some very nice coffee. And had many lovely swims.

We were also told that the beach was divided into three parts; Ladies, Men and Families with children.
So the next time we bathed we got Dad to accompany us too.

My three children have followed this tradition to go to the nude beach since they were little, so for them it is completely natural to bathe naked.

Moreover, they now have, aged 10,12 and 14 years, a very relaxed attitude to nudity. They know that nude is one thing and sex is another matter.

I perceive a nudist beach as a a place to reduce segregation (and division), which otherwise is very evident in Gothenburg. Being nude we lack “insignia”. Everyone is equal and can interact in a nonthreatening manner.

naturally speaking

Anyone can hang out on equal terms on a nude beach


Credits: Words, RL & SL photography and photo captions provided by Kynlif. Many thanks to Brenda Hoisin for providing me with Kynlif”s article.

An English language page about Saltholmen is available here.

Vintage Season : Those naked Victorians (Part 2)

Even today, the male of the species will readily go naked much quicker than his female partner. I think that there tends to be a bit in the male’s social and psychological DNA that explains this. Males are more accustomed to being in changing rooms after team sports, where communal nudity is the norm. The female changing room tends to be, I think, a much less fleshier place and we do, as a species, tend to cover up a bit more. You can see this in naturist settings too, where the female will walk to the beach in a sarong, sort of covering up, before removing it on the beach itself and for swimming. It doesn’t matter that the wind may be blowing the sarong open and effectively revealing her intimate parts -the female naturist doesn’t care much about that- but she still needs her modesty and respectability, often, for that walk from a car park or apartment to the beach.

And it has tended to be this way for decades.

Before the mid-1800s, nude bathing was the norm. Indeed, the nature of clothing materials would have meant that a one piece, full body costume was actually dangerous, the weight of the materials in question (knitted! in some cases) adding a lot of extra weight that could have resulted in drowning.

One Victorian minister, the Reverend Francis Kilvert, was angered to find that, when he went for his swim, new legislation had been introduced at his local beach that insisted on swimwear. He wrote in his diary of

‘the detestable custom of bathing drawers that are now becoming de rigeur’ when he went for a swim at Seaton, Devon in 1873, previously unaware of the new requirement for wearing bathing suits and recorded that

‘the young ladies strolling near seemed to have no objection.’ (to his nudity).



Below is a famous photograph (sorry it’s so small) of the police chasing naked swimmers in Hyde Park, London, during the Victorian era. Why? We’d now have been entering an era where nudity was frowned upon, but for poor families swimming costumes were an unnecessary purchase, and thus nude bathing continued.



Across Britain during the Victorian era there also emerged the ‘gentlemen’s bathing place’, (Oddicombe Bay, Devon, Bangor Northern Ireland, Forty Foot, Dublin, Ireland & others retain the quaint ‘gentlemen’s bathing place’ titles)

This was a euphemism for  ‘nude bathing’, and the practice continues to this day at Forty Foot, Dublin (named after the Forty Foot Infantry Division who were once in barracks there, and used the beach -in Victorian times- as their bathing facilities).

don gentlemens bathing place_001b


Don arrives at the ‘Gentlemen’s Bathing Place’ for his nude morning swim, prior to the arrival of ‘the gentler sex’
Photo taken at the New Brighton sim. Note that this is not an official nudist beach in SL.


The ‘gentlemen’s swimming place’ at Oddicombe, Devon, showing typical features of the ‘facility’, steps into the sea,

and an isolated location with drying/changing potential -the flat area created from the rocks.

Another phenomenon of Victorian communal nudity would have been the spas and turkish baths of England. Some Turkish baths were built during Queen Victoria’s reign, and a spa had existed in Harrogate, Yorkshire, since the late 16th century, both forms of bathing being hugely popular across Europe.



Nothing so rustic as a ‘ladies’ bathing place’ existed. Instead, females got to use the bathing machine, a hut on wheels in which the woman changed, before the hut was reversed into the sea (by horse) and from which the lady could emerge, clad in a voluminous swimming costume, away from prying eyes and thus pre sever her modesty.

roberta new brighton_001b roberta new brighton2_001b roberta new brighton3_001b roberta new brighton4_001b roberta new brighton5_001b roberta new brighton6_001b

Roberta dons a retro swimming costume to take to the beach at the New Brighton sim. Note the pier in some shots. Piers were a uniquely Victorian construction, still much in evidence around Britain today.

At the beginning of the Victoria era nude, mixed bathing was the norm. As I’ve said, the purchase of a swimming costume was an unnecessary luxury, and the practice of what were effectively nudist beaches, before nudism or naturism existed as a lifestyle choice, and it was the pressures of Christian evangelism, so often the bearers of funlessness, that caused the practice to end, for swimming costumes to become essential for the sake of ‘decency’. Essentially this was a problem just of British attitudes. In other countries in Europe, the practice of mixed nude bathing, in discreet locations, remained widely accepted.

don and heather_001b don and heather1_001c

In France, they do things differently. ‘Pierre et Catherine’ (modelled by Don & Heather) find a bridge beside a river, some way from town, where they can bathe nude.

It has been my experience that the reduction in SL’s variety of sims has seen some Victorian styled sims lost to us, evidence of the period exists more by accident than design in some architecture and, at the likes of the New Brighton sim, where an accurate depiction of an English seaside town remains.

Meanwhile, it remains possible to look at an emerging Victorian era pornographic culture (not unique to Britain, but around the world in the period of Victoria’s British reign, mid-1800s through to 1900) and replicate that for SL. Our next depiction of vintage, from the dawn of photography, roughly commensurate with the Victorian era, will be to re-enact, to some degree, early examples of photographic pornography. And with the birth of the nudist/naturist movement at the very  end of Victoria’s lifetime, at the beginning of the 1900s, we’ll examine how the early naturist movement looked.