I've been extremely lucky to have many travel adventures, but few have impacted my life more than my trips being naked in front of total strangers (yes, I'm aware of how strange that sounds). I've vacationed at nude resorts three times now, which means there's very little I feel self-conscious about these days.
Of course, all nude resorts are different, just like any culture or person's experience of said culture is different. My experiences have been at the lifestyle-leaning, clothing-optional resorts Hedonism II in Jamaica, Desire Resort in Mexico, and Temptation Resort in Mexico. Unlike nude resorts with no "lifestyle" component, guests at these resorts are a mix of swingers, nudists who don't "play," and those who simply like to be around open people but are neither nude nor swingers themselves. The result is, in my opinion, a unique experience that respects boundaries with a consistency the rest of the world could learn a lot from.
It's a mini utopia where everyone is vulnerable, enclosed, and accepted and has an interest in maintaining the safety of that space.
It might seem ironic that a nude resort could feel like the safest holiday ever, but it also makes sense — when there aren't so many rules around "decency," people aren't as tempted to break them. It's a mini utopia where everyone is vulnerable, enclosed, and accepted and has an interest in maintaining the safety of that space. People who stare too lecherously or otherwise impose their will on others are (in my experience) either nonexistent, quickly reprimanded, or even expelled. The only real rules I recall at Hedonism and Desire were to clothe your genitals at the gym and dining areas and to always respect other people's bodies, boundaries, and consent. If only everyday life were like that! Seeing respect and freedom held as equal, symbiotic values is worth the price of admission alone.
This is especially true for me as a woman. Not only are we socialised to be at war with our own bodies, but we're also sold a barrel of problematic mixed messages. We're encouraged to wear clothes that make us look "sexy" while being told that if we get harassed (or worse), our lack of clothing or overt sexual energy may be to blame. As I experienced feelings of safety and liberation at nude resorts, it became clear to me more than ever that there's nothing inherently dangerous about wearing sexy clothes — or even about being totally naked in public. It's people feeling entitled to our bodies because of those expressions of freedom that are the only danger.
At nude resorts, I get to experience a total rest from worries about my safety while also feeling more sexually liberated than ever before. Doing things like walking around, swimming, and sunbathing naked without the fear of being harassed (or worse) let me tap into my body's potential influence in a truly profound way. In general, people err on the side of not staring at you more than they would at nonnude resorts or beaches. Sure, some people may look at your body briefly, but like staring at the sun, they know better than to linger too long or without the proper deference. I realised that my body's sexual power should always be like this: mine to wield with total control, a force to be reckoned with only by invitation.
Since I'm open about my holidays at nude resorts, many people have asked me about self-consciousness, or a variation of "I'd love to do this, but I hate my body and I'm scared." And I tell them that after having talked to many people of all sizes, ages, and bodies over the years at these resorts, everyone seems to share my sentiment that getting naked in front of strangers is probably one of the most powerful ways to decondition negative body image.
Being around all kinds of naked people — old, young, large, small, implanted, scarred, you name it — is beautiful, humbling, and empowering. When you're witnessing so many types of naked bodies, you see how all of them are exquisite, "imperfections" included. Stripped down, everyone is purely themselves and all the more beautiful for it. You feel accepted and welcomed to relax in whatever way is best for you.
At nude resorts, I get to experience a total rest from worries about my safety while also feeling more sexually liberated than ever before.
Sure, the first time you disrobe is a little scary, but it soon feels like the most natural thing there is, which, when you think about it, it is. As you become less and less self-conscious and afraid, you open up to the world, your own body, and the people and nature around you. For me, it was even easier to sense what food I was hungry for, when I needed rest, when I was horny — pretty much every natural function. Perhaps that's why nudists often call themselves "naturalists." By the end of each holiday, I felt that what is actually "weird" is that we deem certain sections of our bodies forbidden and then cover them with flimsy, often cumbersome pieces of fabric. On a naked holiday, you take off the proverbial leaf and return to a sort of temporary Eden. Your body breathes a sigh of relief.
The effect, at least for me, has been lasting. Back in the newly strange "real world," I started sleeping naked and otherwise reprioritising the importance of hanging out with myself nude in nonsexual contexts. I realised how uncomfortable many of my clothes were and made some changes; I switched from underwire bras to bralettes and stopped wearing just about anything that doesn't feel as comfy as a second skin. Being comfortable in your body, I realised, is what's attractive anyway. I saw it in the people who owned themselves as they rocked their perfect, supposedly flawed figures.
Only you know what's within your range of comfortable discomfort. But if you're on the fence and asking my opinion, I clearly have one: if even one small part of you is curious about what it's like to holiday at a nude resort (or even just to visit a nude beach), I really hope you go for it. If you're lucky enough to have the freedom (and the means) to continue liberating your body and mind, that is truly something worth not taking for granted. In fact, it's great reason to bravely celebrate.