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    My first experience of public nudity was around twenty years ago when I attended a Five Rhythm dance workshop on the Isle of Mull. I was dancing on the beach to my own internal music in the pouring rain and it just felt right to throw my clothes off and dance naked before swimming in the sea. Being an extremely shy person I was amazed at how liberated I felt. However it was only ten years later when I met my partner that I realised that Naturism was a way of life for some people and that there were organisations which I could join. I became a member of BN but as I didn’t live near any clubs was only Naturist in my own home and when on holiday abroad. This changed a couple of years ago when my home town of Dunoon played host to Scotland’s first national Naturist weekend. I really enjoyed being Naturist at home and earlier this year I joined the Scottish Outdoors club on Loch Lomond. I am completely open with people about being Naturist and it is hard to imagine now living any other lifestyle. All I need now is some more Naturist beaches to dance on!

    With two small children living in Germany I found myself on a well earned ladies night out to the local spa. Thursday was ladies night, a group of us took our costumes along only to find costumes were not allowed and it was naked only, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, not sure that I thought it was anything but normal then.Back in England I found myself home alone when my girls had gone off to Uni, flicking through the TV channels I came across a tv programme called ‘Going to Work Naked’, I found a local swim at Tewkesbury gave them a ring and arranged a visit, at this point I was nervous about been seen naked as I was not a 28 year old anymore, I sat in the car wondering what on earth I thought I was doing then decided just to go for it. I was met at the door by a lovely lady who told me all I needed to know, I still have some of that wow factor and wouldn’t change my Naturist lifestyle for the world.

    If I can do it, so can you! I was adamant to my husband, when I first met him, NOT to even ASK me to go along to his club with him when I first found out he was a member. I told him; I would NOT be going and I meant it! Then I felt a little guilty that it might stop him from doing something he liked and of course how could I say I didn’t like it when I hadn’t even tried it? So I plucked up the courage to go along. When I found a wonderful, woodland setting and met such nice people I knew I had to try it. It did feel a little strange at first. I think the thought of it was worse than actually doing it and a few weeks later I was sat naked alongside others, chatting away as if it were perfectly normal, because, by then, it was! As he told me, it’s all about Body Confidence rather than Body Beautiful so don’t make excuses as to why you can’t do it. I’m so glad I cared enough about my husband to try out his world!

    Many years ago on holiday in France we wandered down a path to the beach, and a notice informed us that "textiles" went to the right and "Naturists" to the left Strange, we thought and headed to the right. Later, on the inflatable bobbing around on the waves being pushed along by my husband, we realised we had strayed into the "naturist" section, shock horror! What to do? People were looking at us! So, off came the swimwear, well, we didn't want people staring at us! We came to this beach for the rest of the holiday - changing was so easy, no wriggling around under towels, it all made incredible sense. Back home, we discovered Studland beach and later Tewkesbury swim and Suntreckers and have really enjoyed our new lifestyle.

    I have always been a big girl with rock bottom body image. A shy kid and a bit of a geek who had few friends and never really fitted in, I reinvented myself at university. The first person I met on my first day at work was the man who would become my husband. We spent a day at Studland beach and I mentioned I had been there as a teenager and stumbled by accident onto the naturist section - it was clear my husband wanted to try it! He stripped off and ran down to the sea. Later, he persuaded me to visit Abbey House Gardens with him, assuring me that I would not need to be naked. He got his kit off and we toured the gardens. I was surrounded by naked people, they walked round the gardens, laughing and talking, just enjoying ‘being’. I actually felt uncomfortable being clothed! Feeling very self conscious, I removed my clothes and stood for the first time, outside and completely naked! At first I felt embarrassed but in a surprisingly short time I felt comfortable. No one was staring or making fun of me, they just allowed me to enjoy a beautiful spot alongside them. We’ve made wonderful friends and I never feel less judged as when I am with fellow naturists. I wish I had tried it years ago. To any women out there who baulk at the idea of trying naturism because of body image, I would say throw off your fears and join a group of the most supportive people it has ever been my pleasure to meet.

    I am Aussie woman who loves the outdoors - beaches and the Australian bush. I often found a secluded spot and was naked but never considered naturism as a lifestyle. Close to 2 years ago I started playing words with friends on line with an English guy. He was friendly and we chatted and some months later he shared that he was a naturist and some of the type of events he enjoyed and was helping to organise. I probably initially just thought it was nice but never explored it any more. I recall telling him I didn't think there was much here in Aus. Of course I was wrong and about 12 months ago I started going to a nude beach and amazed myself at how liberating it felt and how comfortable I was and then about 8 months ago I went to first naturist retreat with a friend camping. I had such a good time, I felt so comfortable and started to make new friends. I have been back to other naturist retreats and events and am now hooked on the lifestyle and made some wonderful friends and it amazes me still how much how much our clothes influence our conversation and without them we can communicate with everyone at the same level. People are amazed that I have only so recently been a naturist as I am so totally comfortable in the environment. I am so pleased I chatted with my English naturist friend and if we ever meet then we will definitely share a bottle of the best Aussie red stuff naturally of course.

    I believe that many people are private naturists. They happily bare all in the privacy of their homes but it doesn't occur to them that there is a wonderful world of social naturism waiting for them to join in. This was certainly the case for me. Richard and I were fortunate to have a 30 foot sailing boat. When we were out at sea in the sunshine the person in the shelter of the spray hood would be naked, but unless it was exceptionally warm, the helmsperson would have to be clothed to keep warm! One Saturday evening we returned to the Devon coast from a passage to France and anchored in a sheltered cove called Scabbacome bay.. We had supper and put our heads down for a well deserved sleep. Next morning we looked around and there on the lovely sunny beach were naked people! We soon pumped up our dingy and rowed ashore to join them. We had arrived in the world of social naturism! It transpired that these new friends were from something called Torbay Sun Club. It was over 35 years ago and we've been members ever since.

    Barbara Wheeler February 2016

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