Whilst it involved nudity, I classify it distinctly from naturism, purely on the basis that there’s a different set of circumstances that surround it.
Generally, skinny-dipping involved non-naturists, maybe people who’ve never experienced the simply pleasure of swimming without a costume before, and might often involve young people doing things for a (drunken) dare, or such like.
It holds its own special magic. Because it has been estimated that somewhere between 54-71% of the adult population have skinny-dipped, and a huge percentage of people have it as part of their ‘bucket list’ (things to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).
It’s easy to understand why: it’s relatively easily done, has a frisson of naked body excitement about it, and can be achieved at any age. Apart from the drunken teens who might do it as a dare, or rite of passage, I often see/hear people remark that it’s something undertaken to mark a significant birthday, at any age from 18-50 and beyond!
Few would consider themselves naturist. It’s something that gets done, maybe only once, but for others the pleasure of swimming without clothing is, perhaps, the first step to discovering the naturist lifestyle in greater depth.
In lockdown, with swimming pools and local naturist swim nights closed, many people have sought out alternative (textile) swimming arrangements, and open or wild water swimming has exploded in popularity. It barely matters what happens to society in the future: many, many people have made a discovery that will live with them the rest of their days and the idea of a municipal pool will have paled in attraction to those for whom a couple of hours swimming each week has lost its appeal. Of course, there are others who will go straight back to the pool when it re-opens.
Thus it has been for me: the regular naturist holidays and swim nights local to me have been lost for over a year, and thus it has become important to seek out alternative swimming opportunities. I’m lucky enough to live beside the sea, the garden backing onto it, so ‘skinny dipping’ is achievable at any time of day or night. However, this secure, naked bathing is undertaken within the family, the ‘social bubble’, at all times and I can’t really recall a time when I invited friends over to share what I have on my doorstep. Largely because most, almost all, have no interest in naturism.
As a long-time naturist I’d never thought of skinny-dipping as something of particular uniqueness or risqué, but as lockdown progressed last year, and I joined up with different open water, wild swimming groups for regular (textile) swims, it occurred to me that there were many, within that broad sorority/fraternity, for whom skinny-dipping held some kind of draw and appeal.
And as lockdown progressed, rules eased (or strengthened) and I found myself away from home one day a week or more, and by now utterly drawn to a parallel wild/open water swimming culture, I’d find myself in relatively sparsely peopled locations where I could indulge, whilst driving home from a work location, my new wild/open water passion.
To this end, I kept a bag in the car containing my swimming gear, and I could, at a moment’s notice, pull into a car park, change, swim and dress again. This went on for quite a bit of a very mild UK spring last year, with many wetsuit-clad swims undertaken.
Silly me! It was only by the time I got to around May/June last year that there was the gradual realisation that not only could I wild/open water bathe, but do it in a skinny-dipped manner!
And that is what I did for much of the summer and autumn.
The small gallery below shows, in the first photo, my garden fence and the beach beyond, the other two the sort of sparsely populated countryside I inhabit, and which allows for me (or anyone) to pull a car onto the grass verge, and swim in the adjacent sea.
Whilst the beach adjacent to my home is ‘secure’ in terms of being overseen or offending anyone (and if they are, they’re trespassing!) I have to confess that I did find it rather exciting to be stripping off by the car and going into the water in locations where it isn’t strictly allowed (legally, it is, but it might still attract the attentions of the local police were someone to report me, or anyone, skinny-dipping. And that sense of ‘on the line legality’ did add to the enjoyment!
A word about SL itself. The naturist landscape within the game has altered since the end of 2019, and jewels in its naturist crown, such as Eden Naturopolis, appear to be no longer with us in their previous incarnations. I’d say that the genuine naturist landscape, within the game, is much reduced in the past 15 months. However, we’ll continue to try to bring naturist news, from within and without SL, and to this end I’ve got expressions of interest, to contribute to SLN, by James and Maggie, both photographed below.