Each Monday, we bring you special, maintainer-curated content intended to enrich your VP experience. Please note that you can find past MMMMonday posts using the mmmmonday tag.
Also, a quick reminder about the other places you can find VP: vp_bulletins for local announcements; contact_vp for questions and feedback on the way VP is run; the Vulvapedia for basic questions; and don't forget about our sibling community over on Dreamwidth! We're also on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.
This week, we have a guest post for you from a VP member, somniumdraconae. It's about their experience visiting a nudist resort. Enjoy!
Uncovered and Unashamed: Learning Body Positivity From Nudists
Nudity is something that is uncomfortable for many of us. From a young age we are inundated with imagery of what ideal bodies are supposed to look like, what defines “sexy”, and even worse, this is usually accompanied with a subtext of what is ugly, undesirable, or simply should not be seen. Many of us go to great lengths to select clothing that hides perceived flaws such as love handles, muffin tops, or other lumps, bumps, and bulges found on our bodies. Undergarments advertising a “smoothing” effect, some made of spandex or similar fabrics to actively squash our bodies into a particular shape, are popular at almost every department and lingerie store, particularly for the female-identifying. But what are we achieving with all of this effort? Are we really “okay” with how we look if we spend an hour squishing ourselves into a different shape every morning before we permit others to see us?
These are things I have been contemplating the last few weeks since being introduced to a “clothing optional” resort in northern California by a couple friends. Laguna Del Sol is a membership-based club in the Sacramento area. New and returning visitors can pay a day rate, or purchase an annual membership for additional privileges, and all visitors on their first time must provide identification and background information. This provides a secure and safe environment for all members, who can be assured that (unlike public nude beaches) people with certain criminal backgrounds such as sex offenses will not be allowed on the premises. During daytime hours, they are family friendly, but late night special events may be adult only. There are also rules of conduct – cameras are not permitted, and commenting on another person’s body (i.e. “You have a nice ___”) is discouraged.
When you arrive and have registered, clothed staff will offer to take you on a tour. Since I was with members, I skipped this and walked the grounds with my friends instead. In most areas you can remain as clothed as you feel comfortable, so if you don’t wish to undress right away you don’t have to. And in fact, in addition to the wide variety of bodies of every age, gender, and size, you will also see a variety of clothing options. Plenty of people go completely nude, and may be wearing just a hat and some sunscreen. Don’t forget sunscreen everywhere! You will feel a bit odd the first time applying sun lotion to your butt, breasts, or penis (depending on what you’ve got), but according to my friends, getting burned in those places is very unpleasant. I also saw people wearing a variety of sheer wraps, and a popular choice among older men seemed to be just a t-shirt, with their bare everything sticking out underneath.
The friendliness and openness of the environment really stuck with me. It wasn’t just the fact that everyone was naked. That certainly was a factor that amazed me. People of every body type – of all the body types I mentioned above that we are frequently told are “not sexy” – were moving around unashamedly, completely at ease with the way they looked. Nobody had clothing they needed to tug into place constantly to make sure it looked just right. Nobody worried about sitting a certain way so their tummy fat didn’t bulge. Because there is no hiding it – you are naked, that guy over there is naked, that woman in the pool is naked. Tummies bulge, arms jiggle, thighs wobble, and everybody is just okay with it, because that’s just what bodies look like, it’s what they do. It gave me an opportunity to marvel at the way that my own body worked for a while. And it gave me some time to really think about the parts of myself that I love, and why I don’t feel that way about all of myself.
The truth is, it’s not just the distorted image of photoshopped models in the media that make me feel bad about my body. It’s the clothes that are available to me. I won’t laundry list my woes, as I’m sure everyone here can make complaints about finding clothing that fit properly. But when we are free of those woes, it is suddenly so easy to think more positively about a body that is no longer being pinched, squished, and squeezed. Because I found this experience so liberating, maybe you would too! If you'd like to try it (even if you're not quite ready to visit a nudist resort), you could do something as simple as stripping naked at home and dancing in front of a mirror. Just make sure you know how your body feels the way it naturally exists, and whenever you are feeling bad, return to those feelings. Cherish them, for we are all beautiful.
Superstars, what do you think? Would you like to try visiting a "clothing-optional" resort? If you've already done something like that, what was it like for you? Let's talk in comments!