The dos and don'ts of nudist beaches
This blog could also be called “a guide to getting your kit off in public spaces when it’s legally okay to do so.” There are invisible boundaries in cities around the world, where walking around sans-pants goes from public indecency to a socially acceptable (and even encouraged) weekend activity. If you haven’t experienced this kind of skin-to-the-wind freedom before, it can be hard to navigate these very, very, VERY open areas of society.
Not until you venture abroad do you realise Australians are kind of prudes – I’m inclined to blame our British forebears. Clothing-optional beaches and dedicated skinny-dipping spots are few and far between in Oz, which is ironic given the crazy amount of sun-kissed coastline that gently traces our sultry curves. The naturalist society should strip us of our right to be called the land “down under”. Regardless, when you venture to the likes of France, Germany, Brazil and so on, there are some general ground rules to bear in mind if you choose to liberate your bodacious bod from its cotton-polyester prison.
DON’T stare, even if they’re smokin’ hot... or repulsive
Staring is creepy even on beaches where patrons are fully clad, so leering of any kind is not appreciated in nudie zones. It’s only natural for your glance to be a little scattered at first with all the abounding eye-candy, but once you’ve gotten past that initial excitement do try to avert your gaze. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before (hopefully) but if your self-control is a little lacking, sunglasses help.
DO leave the lens cap on, or the camera gear at home
Honestly, do you really want photos of leathery strangers and pale-cheeked compadres in your holiday album? No. Friends don’t let friends take nekkid Instagram selfies. You’re getting into some pretty tricky legal territory here as well and your gear could end up in the deep blue if you tick off the wrong exhibitionist, so keep it tucked away. The camera, that is.
DON’T confuse the different genres of nude beaching
Knowing the difference between a nudist beach, a topless beach and a clothing-optional beach will help ease you into unfamiliar territory. Some beaches strictly enforce their anti-pants policies and you could be asked to strip off or ship out – it’s nothing personal, just a one-for-all kind of deal. In a lot of European destinations, take Scandinavia for example, most beaches are simply clothing-optional, so you can splash about semi-bare if your comfort levels are constrained.
DO take care out there. Seriously.
A lot of nude beaches are unmanned by lifeguards and can be found along more inhospitable patches of coast compared to more popular sunning spots. When swimming between the flags is not a viable option, keep your wits about you. Your parents don’t need you to be “that guy” in the papers who gets plucked from the surf buck naked. Also, how do I put this... “sex on the beach” should remain solely on the cocktail menu. As weird as it may seem, a lot of nude beaches are actually family-friendly places.
DON’T forget the sunscreen – about 20 litres of it
Obviously opting to wear your birthday suit means you’ll need to be extra sun-smart – you really don’t want to get sunburn in your sensitives, you feel me? After you’ve thrown your caution and clothing to the wind ready to get your swim or sunbathe on, make sure you have slipped, slopped and (gently) slapped.
DO make sure it’s actually a nude beach
That’s a mistake you really don’t want to make, as one Idiot Abroad discovered through no fault of his own. Put the girls away unless you want to face death-stares from nearby parents, not to mention ogles from boyfriends who will later face said death-stares themselves. It goes without saying that when you leave a nudist beach, you have to put your attire back on. Maybe unless you’re in Germany – those guys seem pretty liberal.