Last weekend while on holiday, my partner and I went on a little bushwalk in NSW. It was an area we weren’t familiar with. But we saw a lovely looking beach near our campsite on the map, and decided we’d throw our swimmers in a bag, and make the short trek in. We’re marvellously intrepid like that.
Little did we know those swimmers would be completely redundant.
When we finally ventured onto the pristine white sand, we were struck by the fact that everyone was nude. Wall to wall wangs. Not a scrap of clothing in sight.
Nudity isn’t something we’re uptight about, but when you’re not prepared for it, it turns out it provokes an utterly juvenile giggle from both of us.
After a brief consultation that consisted of us attempting to appear unflustered and communicating purely through the movement of our eyebrows, we decided to lean in. When in Rome, (or a nude beach), etc.
So we found our little patch of sand, and tentatively stripped off. It felt wild to be completely naked in public. It was initially a bit confronting, but when you realise nobody around you is at all fussed by you, you begin to relax. And you enjoy the sun on your skin. And it feels a bit naughty and fun and liberating. You’re reminded of how much you hated wearing clothes as a kid, and that feeling of freedom comes back to you.
Here is what we learned from our first nude beach experience:
1. Use sunscreen. My goodness, use sunscreen. Everywhere.
There are parts of your body that haven’t seen sun for a very long time. If ever. They are absolutely itching to soak up every harmful ray, and you will end up with a butt that is radiating heat for the next week.
2. Chatting with strangers can be awkward
It’s especially awkward when naked.
Seriously, if you’re a newbie to this scene, you won’t know where to look.
3. Sand is an insidious b*stard that gets absolutely everywhere
And we’re not talking about your ears.
4. Don’t be too snap happy
In 2021, if you didn’t take a photo of your experience and post it on social media, did it actually happen? That’s all well and good in most situations, but on a nude beach, it’s super uncool. Nobody wants to worry that they will inadvertently appear in the buff in the background of somebody’s Facebook photo.
5. Admire the confidence of people who have been living the #nudelyfe for ages
I am not sure if this is the case on most nude beaches, but we marvelled at the bronzed older gents who spent the entire time strutting up and down the beach, completely in the buff. If you could bottle that confidence and sell it, you’d make a fortune.
6. Swimming without togs is the best
The feeling of getting around in wet swimmers after a trip to the beach is unpleasant. If you’re a female, you often end up with two damp boob-rings on your T-shirt. It’s a pain when you are wearing a one piece and you have to go to the bathroom afterwards. None of this is an issue at a nude beach. You just chuck your dry clothes back on after your swim, and off you go.
7. There’s nothing sexual about it
I think I had always thought of nude beaches as being a bit seedy. But it was completely the opposite in our experience. Nobody was perving. It was just a bunch of people, comfortable with their bodies, doing their own thing. Elderly couples strolled down the beach together holding hands. A family up the end of the beach ran around in the shallows. A couple of young female friends read books. It was all very peaceful and chilled.
8. You get a lesson in body positivity
This is perhaps the greatest takeaway. There are bodies of all shapes and sizes. Nobody is trying to cover up who they are. It’s out there, it’s embraced … and there is amazing liberation in that.