I grew up in a quiet and unassuming family. To some people perhaps my parents seemed quite uptight, but on the whole we were no different to anyone else. I'd go to school five days of the week and come home just like any other student, but on Sundays, we didn't go to church. On Sundays, we attended a naturist swim instead.
It wasn't the first naturist event that I'd ever attended, but it was the only one that I really want to remember after being bitten all over by red ants while I played in the sandpit. That and the smell of the calamine lotion that inevitably followed aren't among my favourite memories.
The first time I attended the swim, I was incredibly anxious. I envisioned teams of slender, perfect, muscular bodies and scores of young people. I imagined that I would be the fattest one there and I couldn't be more uncomfortable.
I also couldn't be more wrong.
Most of the people there were my parents' age, and they were just as kind. As I hesitated to take my clothes off, they offered nothing but reassurance to calm my nerves.
"It's always a bit scary the first time, isn't it?" one of the men said. I nodded. He pulled his trousers and briefs down as though he was getting ready for a bath, his flaccid penis at my eye level. I looked, it was hard not to, but then something in me changed.
If he could do it, why couldn't I?
So I did.
Very quickly, my anxiety evaporated. Nobody judged anybody and most people chatted to me. You forget that you aren't wearing a swimsuit anymore, you kind of develop a new swimsuit - a nude swimsuit.
Over time, I became more bold and confident, even a little bit flirtatious. There were a few young men at the pool that I'd taken a shine to, and I was determined to catch their attention. Of course, at a naturist event, you can't be about sex - it's not about sex and so you need to be careful. Instead, I opted for sharing a rubber diving brick and making playful conversation. We were some of the youngest there, so it made sense that we all got along.
Before long, one of the middle-aged men approached me regularly. He'd talk about football and joke about how badly my favourite team were doing, We'd joke back and forth and then, I found out, David had a crush on me. It was go time.
Every time I saw David in the mixed sex showers, I'd tease him. Often, I'd change in the men's changing rooms (they were both mixed sex during swim) so that I could strip in front of him and tease him more. I'd take my time washing all of the chlorine out of my hair, sometimes even washing it twice so that David had to spend even longer in my company. If he was close, I'd let out small groans of pleasure as the jets massaged my aching post-swim body. Sometimes I'd hold David's gaze, and other times I would ignore him completely. When we left the changing rooms to head home, I'd say my farewells and then make brief eye contact with David one last time before I left.
Maybe next week..
David and I never did work out, and much of that was down to our diffences in interests. I had no interest in his obsession with football, and he had no interest in my love for things a little bit rougher around the edges. We texted for a while. but I'd drop hints and he just wasn't getting it. Eventually, I grew bored of him.
Whilst the naturist swim didn't lead to romance, it did lead to more confidence in my skin. I grew to love my body and I grew to accept that maybe I was a little bit chubby. Even if I wasn't idyllic, I came to realise that I was probably healthier mentally, and even with some extra cuddle, some men still wanted me.
Realising that was incredibly empowering.
Ever since swim, I've had no shame about my body. I had no shame in walking from the bathroom to the bedroom completely naked or leaving my t-shirt off to do some housework when it's hot. It's my body, and in my home, I'm free to do whatever the hell I feel like doing, however I want to do it.
When I moved into my new home in 2016, I became aware of only two things: First of all, my ground-floor bedroom window overlooks the main road and so anyone can see in. Secondly, there is a communal footpath right outside of my bathroom window, and if someone was outside and the blind was up, then absolutely anyone could see in.
Both ideas excited and scared me, in the same way that I had been before swimming.
The first time I left the blind up, it was more of a matter of circumstance than desire. I'd had one of those busy mornings and needed to dive into the shower ahead of the meeting. Half washed, I noticed that the blind was still firmly wrapped around it's roller fitting.
"Fuck it", I decided.
I left that shower more confident, more liberated and incredibly turned on.
I've known for a long time that my neighbour has something of a crush on me. He denies it, but men don't make an effort to talk to a woman about anything and everything unless there is something in it. He wants me to know all of the details in his life, and I'm the one he turns to in an emergency.
For a long time, not caring too much about having noisy sex was sort of a game my husband and I liked to play. We knew he'd be in his bedroom above ours, and we knew he'd be listening. He claimed his girlfriends were always amazed by his capabilities, but truthfully, we never heard them. However, me made damn sure that he heard us.
Knowing that he could see me became part of my fun. It would shock him, it would confuse him, and he'd never have the guts to bother me again. It would haunt him, it would taunt him, and that was part of the fun for me. One little peep could ruin him, and the power that that one potential little peep gave me was oh so deliciously sexy.
One summer's evening , things got a little bit heated in our bedroom. It was the creation of "not having sex" sex, the kind of sex where you have no intentions to, but then the planets align and it happens anyway. Yep, that sort of sex.
"Wolf," I whispered, "the curtains are open!"
There was no way I could reach them, not with him on top of me, and not with him overwhelming my body with sensation like he had been.
When it happened, it was more of a tsunami than a tidal wave. I lie there, shaken, sensitive and completely speechless.
"Good God.." I eventually managed so say. With my thoughts now collected, my witty self had come back together.
"We should leave the curtains open more often" I said with a giggle.
Because of naturism, and because of the confidence and the love for my body that it gave me, I have no shame about having sex. I have no shame about liking sex or knowing that other people have sex, and nor should anyone else. Sex and nudity is beautiful, and we need to remove the shame that goes with it.
I don't say that I'll be genuinely having sex with the curtains open if I can avoid it, and that's mostly because there are a few young families on my street and I don't fancy myself the custodial sentence. Body confidence and sex positivity are great things, jail cells and prison food? Not so much.
How did you find your body confidence? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun,