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    A new and a-maze-ing experience by Beth

    Recently I attended my first naturist event. It took place at York’s Maize Maze on a sunny Saturday night in July.

    I had seen an advert for the maze, which mentioned some special events, including “Naked Maze Night”. This intrigued me, so not quite believing that this could be what it seemed to be, investigated further. It turned out that this was indeed a naturist event, and one that was open to people like me who had never done this before.

    Having discussed this with my husband and a friend we decided that this was something we wanted to try. None of us are shy and we all believe that the human body is a natural thing, not something disgusting to be hidden away.

    Mike and I discussed this lots in the days running up to the event (we only found out about it on the Tuesday before) and lots of questions and issues occurred to us, from simple things such as “can we wear shoes?” to more complicated issues such as “what happens if we meet someone we know?”.

    On Saturday the weather looked uncertain and rain was forecast for the evening. We had a perfect excuse not to go; after all who wants to trudge around a maze in the rain? Since this was our first time though neither of us felt we should give up so easily. Accordingly we made our way to the maze feeling apprehensive but excited.

    Driving into the car-park was odd because there were lots of naked people walking around. I had expected, naively, that we would go into the event and then go off somewhere to get undressed, probably separately from Mike. I think that this was because I had equated this to going swimming, as the most naked thing that I had done before.

    We parked and after one last look at each other to see if we were going to back out of this we got out of the car. We got undressed without ceremony, having noted that there were people wearing shoes and deciding to do likewise, and made our way to the entrance. I found that this had made getting undressed much easier, as we were still together and also protected by the car. Around us people were greeting friends and catching up on news and it seemed unremarkable that they were all naked.

    Neither of us had been to the maze before, so having paid our entrance fee and gone into the site we paused to gather our bearings. The maze stretched out below us with numbers marking locations to be visited and towers to climb to help get your bearings. Near the entrance were various other activities that were available, from giant football to animals to stroke.

    Walking around all of this were people in varying stages of undress, mostly naked but with a few still partly or fully clothed. The sight was quite natural and most of my doubts had disappeared along with my clothes.

    There was quite a sense of camaraderie as we and various other groups who had entered at a similar time crossed paths again and again, stopping every so often to compare notes on where to go next. Another set of concerns had been that I would be unable to stop staring at people and that they would stare at me. I found that neither were a problem as we chatted away quite normally. We looked at each other, of course, as would be normal when meeting people clothed, but there was no sense of being ogled.

    One thing that I did find disconcerting as we wandered round was of being very aware of my bottom. I had thought that it would be my breasts, tummy (I was then 7½ months pregnant) or genitals that would concern me, but at no point were any of these an issue, my bottom on the other hand dominated my thoughts for quite a while. I’m still not sure why this was the case, but I think it may be because it is a part of myself that I don’t get to see and so don’t really know how it looks and having it exposed for the first time made me wonder what people were thinking.

    Another concern that I had was about sexual feelings. This turned out to be another area where I had worried needlessly. Although surrounded by naked people it was not an erotic experience in any way. Those around me were beautiful in many ways but I felt no arousal being around them. I also felt no sexual stimulation from my own nudity. There were new experiences as the sun and breeze touched newly exposed areas but, although pleasant, this was not sexual in any way.

    We made it round the maze and found somewhere to sit and eat our picnic. By this point we both felt completely relaxed about the experience and decided that this was definitely something we wanted to do again. After listening to the band, who like us were first-time nudists, for a little while we made our way to the British Naturism stand to look for more information. Taking an application form and information pack away with us we made our way back to the car, got dressed and left.

    I spoke to my husband about the experience and, as I said to him, I think it can be summed up as “bizarrely normal”.

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