Safer in the Nude than in a Swimsuit

by STEPHANIE K MURO about a month ago in humanity

Clothing Does Not Matter

Safer in the Nude than in a Swimsuit
At a Lake in Austin

Last year my husband and I were discussing nudist beaches in Europe, and although I had never been to one, I felt that nudist beaches harbored a different perspective on bodies. My husband insisted that he wouldn't feel comfortable at a nudist beach because he thought people would stare at his parts and coming from a Christian background, also insisted that private matters were only to be seen by his spouse. I insisted that when people are voluntarily nude, they are not there to leer as they too are naked and exposed, and am sure would resort to another avenue if they were looking for an orgy.

Fast forward to 2020, amidst Covid we desperately looked for a place to go that would be outdoors to escape our tiny apartment. I suggested we go to a nudist lake and to my surprise he said yes. The lake area is rocky with many levels, so people can be one big rock below or above you. The rocky area where we were at turned into a U-like shape so that there was lake in between one rocky area and the other, allowing us to see people sunbathing across a strip of lake. Despite being so exposed on our rock to the people across the lake, my husband was the first to go fully nude, and I opted for only taking my top off.

And not that I would join a nudist community, but I have felt more uncomfortable being seen in a bikini at the beach than I did without a top at this lake. There is an understanding of mutual respect and a maturity level that is just not present at the beach (or anywhere else for that matter). At the beach, I am leered at, and at the nudist lake nobody took a second glance or even looked our way. Everyone there was simply enjoying sunbathing, swimming in the lake, listening to music, or reading.

I cannot help but emphasize that more clothing does not warrant more respect. In our patriarchal culture, we are told to cover up so that we can be treated with respect, so that we don't send the wrong signals, or to prevent being harassed. This is simply not the case. I felt so much safer being in only a bikini bottom than I have wearing any other garments in public from short skirts to jeans and long sleeves.

Overall, I would highly recommend nude beaches or lakes. There is more privacy and respect given to bodies than anywhere else I have been to. There is no need to feel like one must cover up when someone passes by because they really do not care. You may get a greeting in the form of a nod as they pass by and that is it. If so much respect can be given to us in the nude, why can't the same hold when we are fully clothed?

Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'

-M.A. English student with focus in Critical Race, Feminist, and Queer Theory

See all posts by STEPHANIE K MURO