Our Maui travel plans hadn’t included a nude beach. The bohemian escapade happened by accident, when, after a stroll down Big Beach and nary a shell for my mother to collect, she asked which beach I liked best.
I decided to be honest. “Little Beach. Quaint and clothing optional.”
t was the spring of 1998, four years into the Clinton administration’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. At the time, my sexual orientation was subject to a similar self-imposed policy within my family.
I was 36, and for over 20 years I’d scrubbed gay life from our conversations — boyfriends, drag parties, the gay swim team, the law firm homophobia — all nonexistent. Even the two mentors lost to AIDS, a painful awakening to the fragility of life, omitted. I’d created a social distance I hated and now wanted to close with this vacation, pitched as a parent-son bonding experience — no siblings, the three of us, alone.
“Any shells?” my mother asked. Not the response I expected. We didn’t lead ascetic lives, but prudish attitudes had invaded our psyches. Body exploration was private; porn, proscribed; sex, kept secret. My inner teenager, that prone-to-shock kid, dangled visions of shells and fun lava pools. Her eyes lit up. “We should go tomorrow.”
The wish of South African nudists to bare it all on a 250m stretch of beach near the Mpenjati Nature Reserve, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, will go ungranted for another festive season.
More than two years since the public protector set aside the Ray Nkonyeni municipality’s decision to allow nudity in the area, the South African National Naturist Association (Sanna) is still working on a plan to petition the national government to amend the Sexual Offences Act to allow for legal nudist beaches.
The association’s chairperson Christo Bothma told TimesLIVE that he plans to meet lawyers in the new year to prepare the petition.
Although Bothma made the same statement a year ago, he remained confident that 2020 will bring nudists closer to achieving their goals.
“The idea is not scrapped and we are not giving up. We are working on a representation to see if we can amend the act to allow nude people on public beaches and places. This will force municipalities to amend their bylaws and we will then reapply for Mpenjati to be a legal naturist beach,” said Bothma.
At the first public hearing into the proposed nudist beach, at Trafalgar in 2014, residents were divided, with some opposed to “drooping boobs and buttocks” on their beach, while others wanted to strip down without fear of getting in trouble with the law.
In a 2017 report that voided the municipality’s permission for a legal nudist beach on technical grounds, the public protector pointed out there was no wording in the act that suggested criminalising nudity in a designated and access-controlled nudist beach.
It’s that time of year again when the mercury soars and a quick dip beckons.
But who wants to wrestle with soggy swimmers? There’s nothing that will make you feel further from the office or worksite this holiday season than tossing aside your clothes – yes, all of them – and plunging into the waters of the Sapphire Coast au naturel.
And if you’d like to make it a legal skinny dip, Armands Beach near Bermagui should be on your list. It was declared legally clothes-optional by Bega Valley Shire Council in November 1993 and is frequented by a posse of locals known as the Armands Beach Leisure Group. The group runs annual events which are open to all.
“It is a clothing-optional beach,” emphasises Dave Bulman, a member of the beach leisure group and frequent visitor to Armands Beach, “so people can wear whatever they are comfortable in”.
The beach was named after Armand Lemmeric, a Frenchman who owned a farm behind Armands Beach and regularly swam nude there.
According to Dave, in the 1930s the beach was known for its nude cricket matches.
Dave says that after growing up “very shy and self-conscious”, he now lives nude as much as he can and feels comfortable in his own skin.
In Cornwall we really are blessed with some of the country’s finest coastline and it’s most beautiful beaches. There are literally hundreds to choose from. We have prehistoric beaches, beaches with shipwrecks, lots of shipwrecks. Beaches with smugglers, beaches with treasure and romantic rock carvings. There are so many fascinating stories. But one such beach in Cornwall not only has some fascinating history attached, it is also a must for an entirely different reason.
At low tide Cornwall’s longest beach stretches for 3 fabulous miles between Hayle and Godrevy Head.
Known as Gwithian Towans Beach, or at the other end Godrevy Beach, this magnificent stretch of golden sand really is one of Cornwall’s finest.
It’s position on the dramatic north coast means that the Atlantic swell and prevailing winds makes this both a surfer’s paradise and a great place for kitesurfers and windsurfers alike.
But with 3 miles of sand to choose from there is plenty of room for everyone. And plenty of opportunity for swimmers and the bucket and spade brigade too!
In this post I want to lay out a few thoughts I suddenly had about the reason that so many people stick their clothes, even when deep inside they know better.
For instance: imagine it’s a hot summer’s day. The the only logical thing to do is take off your clothes. And folks still need to wear something, no matter how flimsy. There is this need, this weird mental obligation to cover up.
I suddenly realised it’s not only because people are afraid of being naked. It’s also because of their inbred body-shame issues. Even people who don’t look bad according to these disgusting, modern beauty-standards, suffer from this same thing. I am convinced of that. TV and ads convince everyone they never look good enough. That is the beauty-dogma for me.
Does your Christmas or New Year’s tradition dictate that you take an icy dip, to ready yourself for the year to come? Try one of these beautiful nudist UK beaches, if you’re feeling extra brave.
How often do you just hang out naked? Maybe padding around your flat in the nude is normal to you, a pro in spending time in your own skin. Maybe you share your home with housemates and live for those elusive moments of quiet when everyone’s out and you have the place to yourself, delighting in the novelty of swanning around without a stitch on. Or maybe, being naked really isn’t your thing: it can feel exposing and vulnerable, even if you’re alone.
Well, in the spirit of embracing ourselves just as we are, we’re stripping back and stripping off to get comfortable with our bodies in the purist sense. As far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing more beautiful than the female form and if you feel like getting more in touch with yours, we’ve found a very freeing way to do it.
Going to a nude beach like Haulover Beach or to a nudist resort like Cypress Cove is a ton of fun – especially if you have some nudist friends to go with!
If you don’t have any friends who enjoy nude recreation, don’t fear! Nudists are a friendly and social bunch, who love to talk about anything from their lifestyle choice to other hobbies and – quite literally, anything! The open-mindedness that comes with nudity often makes for super interesting conversation, so you can expect to discuss anything from the strange and unusual to the controversial, all without fear of hate or judgment. Quite often, nudists know what it’s like to be judged – and they avoid it!
If you’re still a little shy of approaching another naked human or are intimidated by the whole nudity factor, here’s a few tips on how to break the ice, and get yourself some nude buddies!
The specific place is between the pair of high tower towers of Torreguadiaro to the south and the rocks that separate it from Cala Sardina to the north. In the middle of this stretch of coast is the small hotel of La Milla de Plata, from which the beach takes its name. The southern half, that is between the hotel and the apartment towers, is the quietest for nudism and although it has more rocks it is always possible to give us a refreshing soak in its transparent waters. There we have seen some that others practising nudism, always without conflicts with the other bathers.
Nude bathing enthusiasts have slapped down a plan to build an elevated walkway through the clothing-optional Lady Bay beach near South Head, saying it will expose them like animals in a zoo.
The $80 million proposal, which would include a three-kilometre wheelchair accessible path through the national park, has been met with strong opposition by locals and nudists.
London-based financier Angus Murray plans to transport tourists to the small headland via a private, ticketed ferry from Circular Quay. The plan would also refurbish the park’s eight heritage buildings and restore the war tunnels at Signal Hill Battery.
The hedge fund millionaire says he feels compelled to repay the environment after shooting African game earlier in his life.
In order to ensure the trail would be wheelchair accessible, Mr Murray said a 60-metre long elevated walkway would need to be constructed at Lady Bay beach, a popular destination for nude swimmers.
While Mr Murray said the walkway would include a “privacy screen,” some nude swimmers say it would wreck their privacy.
I stand at the top of a cliff looking over the Mediterranean Sea on the island of Agistri in Greece.
I’ve just hiked and “scrambled” (a new hiker’s term I learned for this experience — when the hill is too steep to walk normally, but not quite extreme enough to qualify as rock climbing) my way up a narrow, rocky path through the pine forest, with no map to guide me but the ocean on my left telling me I’m heading the right way.
I’ve reached my destination. Below me is a hidden beach nestled between the sheer cliffs, and sunbathing on it are roughly twenty or thirty naturists, also known as nudists.
An old, fully clothed man is sitting in a lawn chair a little way away from me on the rocks, and as I squint at the cliffs trying to spot a path down to the beach, he yells something in Greek and gestures for me to come over to where he is.
“Milate Anglika?” I ask as I approach; it means “Do you speak English?”
“No English,” he says, but gestures to his eyes indicating that he is going to show me something. I join him at the cliff edge and he points out a steep path around the rocky outcropping below us that leads to the shore.
“Efcharisto!” It means thank you, and I am so grateful I do prayer hands and bow my head too.
As I start to leave for the path, he calls after me and starts speaking in Greek again and pointing to his lower calves and then to my hiking shoes. I have no idea what this could mean, and I don’t know enough Greek to ask him, so I just pretend to understand and assume I’ll figure it out as I go.
The beach itself is beautiful, but what makes it remarkable are the demographics it attracts and the liberating sensation unique to this place.
It was another Sunday morning on Balmins Beach. A group of naked old men were gathered in a circle, one of them holding hands with his unclothed 5-year-old granddaughter. The old guys were chatting and chuckling, oblivious to the fact that the little girl’s eye line was located at a pretty interesting angle.
“Oh my God,” drawled my visiting American friend, a New York assistant district attorney. “That’s a crime scene right there…”
In the U.S., maybe, but here in Catalonia, Spain, being publicly naked on a beach is still the ultimate sign of liberty. On Balmins Beach in the cosmopolitan town of Sitges, famous for its association with Picasso and Dali and the jet set of the 1960s, the right to be naked and proud is as deeply ingrained as the insistence on speaking Catalan or the unspoken pressure to eat a weird kind of barbecued leek called calçots on Sundays in the winter.
But even by the standards of Catalan nudist beaches, Balmins, 30 minutes south of Barcelona by car, boasts a demographic unparalleled by any other nudist beach I’ve ever been to. Calçots eaten with the traditional almond and red pepper Romesco sauce is actually a great combination, but the reason I bought an apartment in Sitges 17 years ago is Balmins Beach with its utopian mix of gay men, Catalan bourgeoisie, and senior citizens and their grandchildren.
They all co-exist in a fascinating way that reaches its apotheosis on weekend mornings when imperious Catalan couples are out in force with their pristine sun loungers and their copies of La Vanguardia. As they liberate bosoms from bras and buttocks from underpants, they hardly notice the gay men with expensive cock jewelry strutting along the shore. The gays will, however, respectfully defer their frolicking when they pass groups of au naturel women of a certain age, ample legs planted confidently in the surf discussing the latest Spanish royal family scandal or the best way of cooking cuttlefish and potato stew.
The Hauts-de-France Naturistes group were astonished when a post promoting the first ever nude run in Berck-sur-Mer in the Pas-de-Calais département was viewed 600,000 times on Facebook.
The post, featuring a stylised drawing of naked runners, asked viewers: “Do you like to run naked or have you always dreamed of doing it? Come and join us on Sunday, September 22th on the naturist beach of Berck.”
“We didn’t think we would arouse such interest,” says Philippe Lehembre, president of the Hauts-de-France Naturistes.
“It’s true that this is the first time we’ve organised a race, but we do activities all year round,” he told Le Parisien.
In fact local officials became so worried about the potential size of the event that the group was forced to apply for a permit and limit numbers for the race – which consists of two laps around a 3km circuit on the beach – to 60.