What makes nearly four million Brits want to go naked in their spare time? Members of the naturist community tell (fully clothed) Eimear O’Hagan why losing their inhibitions helps them strip away their troubles, too
Naturism – the practice of social nudity – has seen a huge surge in interest over the past 18 months. British Naturism, one of the sector’s leading organisations in the UK, reports it has gained 2,000 new members since the beginning of 2020 – a figure which far exceeds its usual membership uptake.
It’s perfectly legal to be a naturist in the UK – the 2003 Sexual Offences Act excludes naturism providing the naked person doesn’t intend to cause ‘alarm and distress’ – and the most recent survey into the lifestyle choice revealed there are around 3.7 million naturists stripping off in their spare time.
The timing of the 2020 lockdown during the spring and summer months was significant, according to Andrew Welch, a spokesperson from British Naturism, which currently has 9,160 members in the UK (its highest number since 2013). ‘The sense of freedom and empowerment nudity brings has been a very effective antidote to the feelings of being trapped and out of control many of us have experienced since the pandemic began.’ Overleaf, naturists reveal how going naked has changed their lives… for the better
Helen Berriman (above, left), 46, is a carer and lives in Bromley, Kent, with her husband Simon, 46, and Helen’s 14-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
As someone who only discovered the joy of being naked last year, it’s still a source of amazement to me how good it makes me feel. Like many British people, I was brought up to believe being naked was a private act.
I met Simon in 2015 and one of the first things he told me about himself was that he lived a ‘clothing optional’ lifestyle. I didn’t pay it much attention until he moved in with me and my teenage daughter later that year.
He works from home and if I got back from work earlier than expected, he’d often be naked at his desk. I loved him but felt very uncomfortable about the nudity. We married in 2017, by which point we’d reached an understanding that naturism was his ‘thing’ but he was only to be naked when home alone or in our bedroom with me.
During the first lockdown, when I was furloughed, I came across an ad for women of ‘all ages, shapes and sizes’ to take part in a lingerie campaign for an online retailer. I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to apply. To my surprise, I was chosen and featured in the ad campaign which was a real confidence booster.
Last July, we went to a photoshoot at a naturist resort. At first, I kept my clothes on, but after a while I felt silly because everyone else was naked and they all seemed so comfortable. Taking a deep breath, I stripped off and posed with Simon. To my surprise it felt so liberating.
Just over a year later, I love to sunbathe naked in our garden – our neighbours are used to seeing both Simon and I nude.
Source: Original Source
Original publication 5 September, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 3 weeks ago
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