"It wasn't until I found a group of fellow queer, black men who were active nudists that I started to understand that my skin, my body, my blackness is beautiful, not despite the blackness and flaws but because of them."
Name: Anonymous - sorry, i'm not ready to be that out, yet!
Gender Identity: Cis Male
What word do you use to describe yourself as a purveyor of nakedness? (nudist, naturist, nudie, are just a few examples): Naked Human
Tell us about the first time you were curious about nudity.
I wasn't really ever curious about being naked. I grew up in an average religious home. My mom was baptist, ish. Being naked wasn't something you did except in the shower all alone. I don't think I even saw my siblings naked and definitely not my folks.
Tell us about your first experiments with nudity.
I really didn't experiment with nudity. I showered, got dressed and lived dressed. I changed with the door closed. I got dressed for the gym and went there, then came home to shower. I wasn't athletic so I never had a locker room experience. It was all pretty vanilla even through college.
Tell us about your first experience with social group nudity.
I met a group of guys when I first moved to the city about 6 years ago. I started to connect with other black men. Living in New York was the first time I really had a group of black friends. Other than my family, aunties, uncles and cousins, most of my circles were white and latino. These boys were confident and strong, gay as fuck, proud of who they were, and a lot of fun, like crazy fun. Being around them just drew me in. We would meet up together for drinks, for brunch, for parties, there was always something happening.
One day we all decided to meet up at X's [name redacted for privacy] apartment to pre-game and get ready for a crazy weekend. They all were heading over right after work. I worked a little bit later, I was the last to arrive. I was so excited to spend time with these guys. I got out of worked texted them all and headed over. They replied back with a couple goofy pics and one with all of their bare asses with the message "get your ass over here!" I chuckled but didn't think anything of it. When I got to X's apartment and knocked on the door it creaked open and the voice behind the door said, " Get in here, it's cold bitch." I walk in the door and all these boys are butt ass naked, drinking and hanging out and actin a fool. I'd never seen anything like it is my entire life and I had no idea what to think.
Reading the confusion on my face my boy Z[name redacted for privacy] said, "Child, don't act like you've never seen a naked man." To which I replied, "Not this naked I haven't." Everyone laughed and they poured me a drink. I put my stuff in X's room and turned to him, "Is this gonna be an orgy because I'm not ready for that, y'all are my friends and I don't wanna ruin that." X laughed and assured me that it was nothing more than boys hanging out with the boys. I wasn't ready for that. I said hey to the boys and excused myself to get ready.
I shut the bathroom door, stripped off my work clothes and jumped in the shower. My mind was racing I didn't know what to think. What was this all about? Why are they all naked? If it's not an orgy why are they naked? I had so many questions, but mostly I was really uncomfortable with myself. What if they made me get naked too?!
I got out of the shower, dried off and put my underwear and shirt on. I wasn't going to get naked. We had a couple hours before we'd leave so I wasn't going to get all the way ready. I walked out to the kitchen where everyone was hanging out, naked. I tried not to look shocked, or uncomfortable, or stare at all their dicks. I failed.
One friend looked at me and said, "get naked gurl, it's the best thing in the world." I chuckled and said, no. Then came all the questions. Right off the bat this group wasn't afraid to go deep or get personal, they asked the tough questions no matter what the situation was and it was always from a place of love, even when it was a shady read.
"You trying to hide something?"
"You too good to get naked?"
"What's the matter?"
"Have you never been naked before?"
"Aren't you proud of the skin you're in?"
That was the T, truth - No I wasn't. I wasn't proud about my skin. I didn't understand my blackness, my fatness, my body. It was all a mystery and a source of shame. As a kid I was ashamed of my skin, being black, being dark. I felt pressure to act white, to be acceptable to white culture, to lighten and hide my blackness.
Little by little they got me naked, the drinks helped. But so did their frank honesty. They shared their insecurities, their scars, and their weaknesses, and they also shared their fierce support and love for each other and for their beautiful black skin, every inch of it. That night was a bonding experience like no other. I found my naked tribe and found a group that loved me for who I am - all of me, and that helped me love myself even more.
How does naked make you feel?
Naked made me embrace my uniqueness, it made me strong, naked helped me rise up and walk with pride. It wasn't until I found a group of fellow queer, black men who were active nudists that I started to understand that my skin, my body, my blackness is beautiful, not despite the blackness and flaws but because of them. I started to accept my body, to rise out of my shame, to stand tall because I learned to love everything about by black skin, my imperfect body. It wasn't until I got naked with these men that I understood that. I feel fuckin' fabulous when I'm naked.
What anxieties do you have when you're naked? How has being naked more helped you face those? I don't have a perfect body. I don't have a six pack. I wasn't always proud of being as dark as I am. Being naked puts all of that on display. The more I'm naked though the more normal my ass, my round belly, and my black skin becomes. I'm naked at home. I'm naked with my boys. I go to the beach. I go to the GO NAKED parties and everyone's flaws are on display and it forces you to be genuine and real and honest and being honest with myself has been the best thing about being naked and facing my body-phobias.
What great discoveries have you made while naked?
I didn't ever really love myself. I didn't know what that meant. Until I got naked with my boys and started to accept and love what was there. I learned to love me as I am. That has been a huge confidence booster and made me a stronger person!
If someone were to ask you why you go naked and you only had a 4 word response what would that be?
I love myself naked.
What would you say to a curious or first-time nudie?
Do it for yourself. Don't do it for anyone else but you. Don't do it to look sexy. Don't do it to get some ass. Don't do it for anyone else but you. Because at the end of the night all those other things will fade away and be forgotten. But you can't forget the confidence and authenticity that you give yourself that stays with you forever.
How is social nudity different from sexual nudity in your mind?
Social nudity is just normal humans hanging out in their most normal human way possible. Everything in today's society is so sexually charged it's like America is a 14 year old boy who can't control his hormones. So the way we've sexualized nudity goes even beyond I think what religion says about nudity. It's a kind of body-supremacy. There's a history when it comes to black nudity that is very sexual and fetishized. Getting naked in a social setting is a rejection of that narrative.
What impact do you think a more open view of nudity would have on society?
It might actually make America great again. This country, the world needs to relax and there's something real-real that happens when you're naked in a group. If nudity were more acceptable I think the whole world would relax and be able to be more open about so much that is hidden. It would lead to a lot more open and honest conversations about sex, assault, religion, body-image, and even racism.
Over the next year we're going to be looking at the POWER OF NAKED and are seeking your stories. If you're interested in joining a potential podcast or guest writing for our blog HOW TO GO NAKED please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about our themes for the next year please check out THE POWER OF NAKED.
Building Community through Social Nudity.