In a whirlwind weekend in San Diego, I had the great privilege and unique joy of popping my “nude beach” cherry at the oft-instagrammed Blacks Beach.
Nude beaches have long been associated with gay culture, dating back to the early 20th century. If you live in or have friends who live in California, you’ve seen a line of butts or nude silhouettes facing the ocean somewhere on social media.
I’ll tell you now, I never thought I would be game for this experience. It’s never something I was even remotely interested in. My boyfriend planned a trip to San Diego basically just for this experience, and I couldn’t exactly say no. So I took a ball-swinging leap of faith, and if I did it, you can too. But there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re going to spend a day au naturale.
Explore naked. Unlike my free-spirited boyfriend Phil, I rarely spend much time naked, even in my own home. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable and unnatural at first, but walking around, playing in the sand, embracing the relaxed nature of nudist lifestyle certainly helped me get past the initial spooks.
Get in the water. Now that you have your nudity sea legs, pun intended, it’s time for the next step. You may be fearing that your package would look less impressive after some cold water shrinkage. To this fear, Phil responded with what would become anti-anxiety mantra for the rest of the afternoon: “Nobody gives any fucks what you’re doing or what you look like.”
Talk to people. No, seriously! The shedding of clothes brings with it a shedding of the usual walls of formality. You are at your most physically vulnerable and so is everyone else, and it brings out a level of camaraderie you don’t find at most beaches, or really, public places of any kind. Just, you know, don’t be creepy, and read people’s body language. Everyone is at their own comfort level.
Cover yourself up. You may be prompted to hold your goods with your hands or lay out your towel blanket strategically. I tried that for the first hour. That’s all well and good, but it will drag you down, mentally. The whole spirit of a nude beach is, you know, nudity. The sooner you embrace it and throw caution (and your package) to the wind, the sooner you will enjoy it.
Be careless with your camera. I’m not naive enough to tell you not to take any photos. We all want our cheeky butts-on-the-beach instagram story. But not everyone is cool with having their nudes on your phone forever. I made the mistake of taking some scenery shots without thinking and spooked a woman right in front of me. She blocked her face with her parasol as she walked away. Always be careful who you’re pointing your phone at!
In general, don’t be creepy or rude. This is good advice for all situations, but especially situations where nudity is involved. There may be some attractive bodies that will excite you, and there may some different types of bodies that you haven’t seen before. But they all deserve just as much respect and freedom to roam the beach in peace as you do. Lewd or mocking behavior also gets nude beaches shut down, which is obviously the biggest “don’t” of them all.
The most important piece of advice I have is to embrace the experience as fully as possible. Naked is how you came into this world, and you get so few chances to return to this state in public in a socially acceptable way. Don’t miss out on this one.