About eight years ago, when my husband first decided to try nude recreation, I had no idea that it would be something that he would develop a passion for–one that would change our whole family. During those years, whenever he would ask me if I would go to a nudist resort with him I would get an uneasy feeling. He would tell me how freeing and fun it was to walk around outside and recreate in the nude, but I just could not understand what the big deal was and why being nude made such a difference. He would tell me of the great health benefits of being nude in the sun and the respect that nudists had for their own and other people’s bodies. Being someone who believes in keeping myself healthy, I really appreciated the idea of the health benefits, but, on the other hand, I just wasn’t ready for something like that. In my mind, there were just too many reasons to decline.
When our older son turned sixteen, my husband took him to a nudist resort for a long weekend. They had a great “father and son” time kayaking, swimming, and hiking together. I was a bit skeptical and nervous, wondering how our son would react to that type of atmosphere. Well, when they came home, my son was so excited that he couldn’t wait to go back. Now, I had both my husband and my son telling me that I needed to try nude recreation.
During those eight years, my husband had become an advocate for nude recreation and naturism, so, you are probably wondering, where did that leave me. I had always been up for challenging myself. After graduating high school, I decided that I wanted to become a musician, so I bought an electric guitar, took lessons, wrote my first song within six months of learning how to play, and was fronting a band within a year. I earned a bachelor’s degree while I home schooled my two sons. I wrote a book that is designed to help people to home school a child who has high-functioning autism. However, nudism was a challenge that was even bigger for me. This challenge didn’t require developing a new skill, or studying and learning a new subject. It required something else: developing the right mental attitude about being naked.
The idea of being nude around strangers made me feel very uncomfortable and a lot of it had to do with our over-sexualized culture in America. I wondered if it was really possible for people to be able to recreate in the nude without “desires” being the focus. My husband would tell me that it is possible and would remind me of how many medical doctors and nurses see people nude on a daily basis and are able to keep sexual desires in check. That reality really helped me to get my thinking on the right track.
As I was warming up to the idea of trying nudism for the first time, my husband applied for and was hired as the executive director for the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). So, while I would have liked to have eased into nudism at a bit of a slower pace, the challenge side of me said, “I can do this,” and the first time I participated in nude recreation was during AANR’s mid-winter board meeting where they voted my husband, Dan Whicker, into his current position.
At the onset, trying nudism for the first time was very scary and different for me, but after I did it, I found out that it really was not as big of a deal as I was making it out to be. Once I saw that I was around people who have a healthy mental attitude about the human body and nudism, it made me feel at ease. I felt a huge sense of freedom being able to walk around in the sunshine with no clothes on, feeling the air hit all parts of my body. It was also very encouraging to see people not concerned over body shapes or imperfections, but who instead were interested in meeting new people and having fun together.
I am grateful for the support that I received from both my family and the AANR family, as I jumped into the nudist lifestyle. I felt so much comfort and encouragement, especially from those who have been involved in nudism for many years. It was an amazing first experience that changed our family, especially me, forever.