Would you get your kit off in front of a bunch of strangers?
I always said no. Not a chance. It’s not that I’m a prude but public displays of nudity scare the bejesus out of me. These jiggly bits are for certain eyes only.
A recent encounter with 80-year-old artist Evelyn Roth that made me re-think my attitude.
“Going to the nudie beach is wonderful,” Evelyn said as we sat on her Maslin Beach patio, overlooking the unclad beach. “Don’t be nervous. You’ll love it.”
Unfortunately, we don’t all find joy in dropping our dacks but the old darling’s zest for life (in all shapes and sizes) gave me the confidence to give it a shot.
Luckily I didn’t have to go far.
Nudist beaches are a place where pants are dropped, knickers removed and bare bodies glisten beneath the sun. South Australia has one of the best: Maslin Beach. A 45-minute drive. In the name of body confidence, I decided to try it out. As a first timer, the idea was petrifying.
“What if I get burnt? What if I freak out? What if it’s full of perves? Or worse… this is Adelaide, what if I see someone I know?’
None of the above happened. But it was a learning experience.
And in the name of spreading the nudie love, here’s a few things I learnt about what to do (and what not to do) when you’re getting your kit off.
1. Choose Your Approach Wisely
You can get to Maslin’s two ways. The walk from the car park on the north side of the beach is through a stretch of sand frequented by families and swimmers of the bathing suit-clad kind. Keep your kit on until you pass a big white sign telling you it’s okay to get starkers. Alternatively, approach the beach from above the cliffs at the south end of the beach. It’s quite a climb. What goes down, must come up.
2. Take a Partner in Crime
It’s amazing how many mates offered to accompany me on my first nudist jaunt. Especially blokes. “Need a photographer? Want me to hold your hand? You’ll need someone to rub in all that sunscreen.” All offers were accompanied by a wink and a laugh. Take someone you trust. I chose a trusted pal to come along as a wind block, protector, and helping hand when the fear got too much.
3. Don’t Expect to Be There Alone
It was 1pm on a 30+ degree day but the number of naked bodies was surprising (should have thought it better and gone at 4am). Maslin Beach has a dedicated following. They walk, swim, sunbake, and stand around in circles chatting – all starkers. If you’re hoping to fly under the radar and score a secret spot all to yourself you’re dreaming, darlings. The south end of the beach (right around near the cliffs) is said to be the ‘seedier’ end. You have been warned. It’s a total wang fest.
4. Pack the Essentials
My beach savvy mate had it sorted. Towels: check. Shade tent: check. Snacks and plenty of water (there’s no kiosk here folks): check. Sunglasses (your eyes are one thing you’re permitted to cover): check. A portable sound system: check. Dutch courage: check. And don’t forget the bloody sunscreen. Your sensitive spots don’t see the sun. Nobody needs burnt nipples or an angry red willy thank you very much.
5. Be Brave
I’m not going to lie – joining the great unclad was difficult. It took half an hour to shed my dress, bra and knickers. Even then I lay on my towel like a shy lizard – tits toward the sand and bum on show but not much else. I didn’t think I was going to be able to walk from our shady little haven to the water’s edge and sent my pal off to swim by himself. An hour (and a beer) later he gently pushed me. “Come for a swim? C’mon darling, you can do this.” At that moment a man with a beer belly nearly as big as my car ambled past. “If he can do it, I can,” I thought and dragged my trembling white torso towards the sea. Once in the water, the elation is indescribable. It’s kind of like being born again: a sense of childlike freedom and wonder rare in this day and age.
6. Get Nude
This sounds like a no-brainer but you’re at a nudist beach. It’s just plain weird to stroll around clothed when a beach-full of peers are in their birthday suits. There is an exception. As you make your way from your car to your chosen patch of sand, clothing is fine. After all, no one wants to catch their wobbly bits between their tent poles.
7. Be Kind to Yourself
It’s okay to be nervous. Nudity is a weird one. We’re all born starkers and spent most our childhood years unperturbed about our pink bits. Somewhere along the line, society told us to cover up, no exceptions. Naked means sex. Sex means dirty.
Public nudity is labelled as ‘indecent exposure’, streakers are slapped on the wrist by police officers, breastfeeding mums are tutted at in shopping centres, and the sight of nipples on Instagram sends the complainers of the world into a tizz. But at the end of the day, we’re all naked below these rags of ours. You’ve got this.
8. Don’t Stare
It’s hard not to. Really, it is. Especially when you’re surrounded by tits and balls. It’s important to exercise respect when it comes to inspecting the torsos around you. Smiling at passers by is okay. Ogling what Mama gave them is not. Keep your eyes to yourself. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. When an old guy bends over to adjust his towel and you get an eyeful of bollocks you’ll certainly wish you had.
9. Don’t Get Snap Happy
Keep that iPhone/camera in your bag. 1) It’ll get sandy. 2) People want to be able to relax in their nudity without worrying about a paparazzi-like-attack on their nether regions. Keep the dick pics away from social media, too.
10. Save the Hanky Panky for Home
Getting our kit off is generally reserved for sexy time with that special someone, however, a public beach is not the place for a sex fest. Watching your partner frolic naked in the ocean has the potential to unleash certain (ahem) urges, but save the love juice for home, people.
11. Revel in the Aftermath
“I’ll be back.” I was surprised when the words popped out of my mouth. It’s difficult to explain just how good it feels to face a fear, shed inhibitions and throw vanity and doubt to the wind. There’s a serious lesson to be learnt at Maslin Beach and on unclad stretches of sand across the globe. Every body is different. Every body is beautiful. Under the cover of clothing and darkness this is sometimes easy to forget.
Ever get your kit off at Maslins? Would you dare? Let us know in the comments, below.