When He’s A Single Male Naturist Struggling To Integrate With The Community
I’ve grown up with nudity all of my life and have considered myself to be a naturist for the best part of my cognitive years. Spending a large part of my youth in mainland Europe, I was exposed to a more liberal and less prudish approach to nudity than I have experienced in the UK. When I was old enough to do so, I joined the Central Council for British Naturism (CCBN) and its affiliated group Young British Naturists or YBN. I had always been told how welcoming and kind the naturist community was, so was excited to start attending the local monthly swim.
Unfortunately, no other members of the YBN came to my local swim, and as a single male, the more elderly couples viewed me with scepticism and cynicism; however, after we had conversed over a quick steam many had began to accept me. I went as often as I could so that I would become a familiar face, and while more and more people started to recognise and engage with me, due to the significant age difference, there was very little that I had in common with them other than naturism and never felt truly welcome there.
I enjoyed the freedom that being naked afforded me. It felt natural. I never once saw nudity in this context as sexual. It was liberating and comfortable for me. However, as I got older, insecurities struck and I had zero body confidence. Women consistently judged me, men routinely mocked me, ironically the only place that I never felt judged was in the naked community of British Naturism. I never questioned their motivations, never thought for one second that I was being judged for the number of moles I had on my body, my lack of muscularity, the size of my penis, or sexual prowess; as far as I’m aware everyone that I’ve met since joining British Naturism has lived up to this expectation, whereas a significant number of people I’ve met and grew close to outside of the community, have let me down over and over again.
None of my friends understood naturism. I kept being asked about whether I would get erections, whether it would turn into some kind of swinging event, or whether I was repulsed at some of the bodies I would see; it made me realise how superficial and ignorant many of the people I thought were friends actually were. It was at this point that I decided to separate my personal life from my work life. The Army were not, and despite some progress, still aren’t a tolerant bunch. Even now I get childish comments from people that I would expect to demonstrate more maturity. I loved attending naturist events, but as a single male in his early twenties, I never really felt like I belonged. I couldn’t drive and had limited finances, so had no real opportunity to get to national YBN events, I was limited to the activities local to where I was in Lincolnshire.
It was at this point that I met my wife who never understood the naturist way of life either. As a result, I stopped going to events and agreed to close the door on this part of my character. Early in 2018 me and my wife separated and I was keen to reinvigorate the naturist part of who I was. However, at 37 years I was too old to be part of YBN yet, having attended a couple of British Naturism events, apparently too young to have much in common with the regular attendees. Yet again I was a single male trying to gain access to a world dominated by couples cynical of single men with poor intentions.
I see images on the British Naturism website of people having fun, communities coming together and sharing a good time, promises of support and a warm welcome. I’m just caught in the juxtaposition of having no friends who are naturists to attend events, and not being able to make friends who are naturists because I don’t attend events. I can’t work out how to find “belonging”.
Is it time for me to close the door on naturism for good? Maybe the culture and diversity of British Naturism, and the community I have chosen to be part of, just aren’t conducive for me to be a practising naturist.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Mark Bass – Taken from the BN Magazine Summer 2018 Edition.