The Naked Truth About Nude Beaches

The official line is that naturism and nudism have nothing to do with sex or exhibitionism. A nude beach regular begs to differ.

This is a mad world. It always has been. But these days the madness is mainlined into your brain by the internet, by social media, by 24-hour news channels and more. For evolutionary reasons, negative emotion has more of an impact on you than positive emotion does. In our times, children and teenagers and adults stare at their mobile devices for many hours a day. It’s difficult to assess the extent of the damage, but it does seem that depression and anxiety are on the rise. We hear of self-harm and eating disorders, we see angry exchanges on the web between those of different political persuasions, and there are all sorts of fissures in society.

The antidote to some of these maladies has long been: go outside. Which is good advice. A walk in the woods, getting among nature, has long been understood to be mentally beneficial, with good reason. But I’d suggest going a step or two further – go to a nude beach. I appreciate that in a country like Britain this option is limited by a) the weather, for most of the year b) the fact that there aren’t all that many nude beaches c) it’s not quite a ‘mainstream’ activity, like going down the pub.

But this should be no barrier. There are a few nude beaches in Britain, and a plane can take you to all manner of superb nude beaches all around the world. Me, I’ve been naked outside in Dorset, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Bulgaria, Latvia and Benidorm (yes, there’s a small one there).

There are definite mental benefits. When I visit a nude beach, I believe I become more liberal, more accepting. I loathe our identity politics ridden era, but my mind feels much lighter when I’m on sand with unclothed people.

Admittedly, while on holiday one’s worries about the state of the world do diminish somewhat anyway but on the nude beach, it’s that, plus more. Nude beaches bring people of all kinds together. Gran Canaria is known for being gay-friendly and on Maspalomas beach, there’s a rainbow flag in one section. And that doesn’t bother me one jot. Because you’re all now in a group – the nude group – so you happily co-exist with others you might not normally. It fosters a sense of togetherness. The young, old, fat, thin, gay, straight, white, brown, all mix happily.

Everyone is equal on the nude beach. There’s no prejudice, there’s no bullying, no othering. It’s a sunny utopia. It’s like a big friendly pub, only everyone is naked. Well, almost everyone. There are always a few who don’t strip off completely and some women who only go topless. You might get a couple consisting of a covered-up lady and a nude bloke, you might get a nude lady and a covered-up fella. On Studland Bay in Dorset, I’ve seen a fully dressed family sit there eating a picnic while cocks and pussies and tits bypassed their sandwiches.

When you’re naked in a public place you are literally bare before the world – you have nowhere to hide, this is YOU. And whoever you meet is also exposing themselves to you; they are baring their soul to you.

And some of them have cracking knockers.

Because to deny one of the main attractions of nude beaches would be as dishonest as your average politician’s spiel on a Sunday morning TV show. My conversion to nude beaches happened in an instant in Gran Canaria, when on a beach walk a slim, beautiful blonde scarped out of the sea naked, right in front of me. I immediately put my towel on the lounger, stripped off, and felt deliriously happy for hours; that was nine years ago.

I’ve seen much since then. Most nude beaches tend to be around 65% men, 35% women. The reasons for this should be obvious to anyone who knows even a little about the difference between men’s and women’s brains. In general, men like looking at naked women more than women do looking at naked men; men are more sexually stimulated by visuals than women are. So if they can go to a nude beach and see a real, live naked woman, particularly if they rarely do in everyday life, then, well, there’s the attraction.


Perhaps I like nude beaches because I’m both a bit of a voyeur and an exhibitionist. I’m no Adonis but I don’t look too bad naked and I quite like being seen naked – but only on a beach, I’d never do it anywhere else in public, I’m no fan of things like city nude bike rides. And there’s a real art on the nude beach to keeping your penis just the right size when, say, you’re emerging from the sea. It mustn’t be too big, lest you look sleazy, but nor do you want to look small for fear of, well, people thinking you have a small penis (no man wants that label). So before emerging from the water I tend to think a few naughty thoughts or take visual inspiration from what’s around, and give the member just the right amount of small tugs to ensure it’s Goldilocks size; then the walk back to your towel is fine. Swimming naked in the sea, by the way, is one of the best feelings in the world.

Shaving your pubic hair can make your cock look bigger. But since almost everybody does it nowadays – as can be verified by a day at the nude beach – it’s a moot point whether it’s worth it. Some men might bemoan the fact that when women shave all their pubes off it means that there’s nothing to indicate that this is a ‘naughty bit’ of the body, that it’s a signifier of the adult forbidden zone.

I’ve seen some saucy goings on. On a quiet nude beach in Bulgaria, a couple strode naked along the shoreline, her an attractive, trim blonde in perhaps her late thirties, him with a big dick, while a chap laid on the sand nearby masturbating as she passed (I’m not sure they noticed). The first time I went to Studland’s nudist area I had a quick peek in the dunes behind and saw a fella lying on his back, alone, pleasuring himself. On a crowded nude beach in Gran Canaria, a man lay on the sand in front of a row of sunbeds, possibly asleep but definitely fully erect. Back in Bulgaria, I saw a gent stood there eating an apple sporting an erection. At Studland last year I’m fairly sure there was a couple shagging in the dunes, and a crowd of (naked) people watching. I didn’t go and watch, but I was tempted.

Most of the above happens without much of a stir. Like anything but more so on the beach, things feel very different when you’re actually there. The hot sun, the sound of the sea, and perhaps the wind (particularly if you’re somewhere windy like Gran Canaria or Fuerteventura), all serve to make the atmosphere totally different to anywhere else on land.

There are certainly proper voyeurs. I’ve seen a bloke walk along the beach with a cameraphone in his hand, clearly filming – another man hauled him up on this, but he angrily denied it. One time on Maspalomas beach there was a man who looked like a leery tramp, albeit one wearing only a short blue T-shirt and nothing else, and I think he was taking photos, too.

Here’s a dark confession, though: I’ve done a little bit of filming myself. I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop myself. Once, near the end of the day, I was about to head off when suddenly this awesome, big-breasted, naked blonde strode past me to the refreshment stall to get a beer (for her ripped boyfriend); I couldn’t help myself as I slyly filmed her on her way back. Another time a striking German brunette, who – praise the Lord! – had her towel on the lounger in front of me, did a long, slow, naked walk out of the sea directly towards me and my just-happened-to-be-filming mobile.

Males looking for cheap thrills be warned, though: I’d estimate that only about one in ten women on a nude beach are ones you might fancy. Mind you, if you’re on a beach of 100 women (with maybe 150 men there) you’ll probably see about 10 fanciable ones, which should be enough for most admirers of the female form.

Lest it be thought that I’m always Single Sammy Saddo, I did go to nude beaches with an ex-girlfriend. She’d never done it before but she soon loved it. On one occasion we played bat and ball naked in the sea; whether it was the excitement of the game or the excitement of the exhibitionism I found myself getting hard. Quick, duck down under the water! (I should have just carried on, I could have pretended I hadn’t noticed, it would have been kind of kinky.) On shore, sat eating her baguette, I gently cajoled her to open her legs just a little bit wider, just a little bit wider still, a bit more, so passing gents could get an appreciative eyeful… Ah, happy days. On another holiday we were staying at a hotel that had a ’normal’ swimming pool bit and a nude bit behind a key pass door. We enjoyed that, especially when the older couple who had been there, left… (Yes, we made lurve.)

And there’s the lie at the heart of nudism, or at least the self-deceit: that nudism is completely divorced from sex. H&E magazine and the general nudist line they now push is that nudism is nothing to do with nooky. This can be easily disproved. Check out the classified section of H&E or similar websites, which feature messages from people who are generally quite explicit about their desire for sexual stuff. If in any further doubt, reply to one of those messages! I guarantee that when you’re no more than three or four exchanges in, the conversation will turn to sex. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but it does highlight H&E’s ‘protesteth too much’ attitude that is surely based on a vaguely politically correct desire to be ‘inclusive’ and pure. When the magazine does its retrospective write-ups of old issues from the 1970s it is always keen to criticise the perceived salaciousness; I’d argue that the 1970s version of H&E was the honest publication, and the current one is dishonest (but that’s not to say it isn’t dedicated to nudism and that it doesn’t print many good articles on the subject).

Perhaps another way we can see how interest in nude beaches isn’t always just an honourable desire to live your life free and unclothed is by looking at porn tube channels that have reams of voyeuristic nude beach footage (although XHamster and PornHub were forced to remove most of theirs following a puritanical investigation by the New York Times). I admit that I’ve watched more of these videos than is good for me, but I’m not alone, millions of others have too.

I’d guess that most people, especially men, get some sort of sexual thrill through nudism. Many times I’ve seen blokes taking photos of their naked girlfriends or wives, the pair of them clearly happy and excited. This is something they can’t do elsewhere in public – it’s a pleasant frisson for them that folk are passing by as they snap away, most not batting an eyelid. I’ve seen a family of four, a dad, a mum and two teenage daughters, with only the trim young mum prancing around naked – was mum turned on, or was she just a person who sees clothes as an imposition and wishes to cast them aside because they interfere with nature? Who can say?

Actually, the casualness is the main turn on, like pretending nothing’s really going on when a stunning naked redhead plays frisbee in front of you. The paradox is that if everyone was hugely turned on and showed it, it wouldn’t be nearly as much of a turn on as it is.

I think it speaks of a highly civilised society that a woman can take all her clothes off and lie in a public space without getting hassled by men, by and large. It demolishes some feminists’ arguments about rapey men and at the same time, it promotes the notion that women are strong and free enough to be able to do this.

So there really are no downsides to the nude beach. It is egalitarian, it doesn’t cost, it is progressive, it is sexy, it is fun, it’s good for your physical and mental health, and it is a break from the norm. You will not be judged, you will not be shamed, and you will not regret it. See you there.


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