Professor’s note: I wrote this piece about fifteen years ago after I spent two consecutive weekends at the nude pool at the local swing club for the first time. In doing so, I had ample opportunity to closely observe hundreds of naked bodies and the time to think on what I was seeing. Reading it over all these years later it is interesting what I commented upon. I decided to post it to see what my readers think.
I have said any number of times that after my first visit to a nude beach, a decade ago, how surprised at how similar everyone looked once they were naked. The nudist have said from the beginning that the only way to be truly egalitarian is to be naked. Clothing, by nature is designed to separate classes, the way of separating the rich from the poor, the powerful from the powerless. And to a great extent, they are right in this assertion.
However; spending four full days relaxing watching naked people of all ages and body shapes I came to appreciate that they are not as homogenous as at first it would seem. Further, without the trappings of class and social status, it was amazing how attractive most naked people are. Clothes not only emphasize social status; they also emphasize and deemphasize body parts in a way that actually detracts from the natural beauty of most people.
Now, before I begin, let me note that photographs of naked people are simply not the same as “real” naked people. As a photographer, I can assure you that the photos you see of nude women reflect more about the photographer than the person photographed. I'm not even touching the idea of photoshopping, but only the fact that photos are highly impacted by light, framing, composition etc. Real people, acting naturally are much more complex.
So, today I'll write a few reflections on the people.
First, I'll talk about females and their breasts. And why not? At a place like the swing club, there are a number of women with augmented breasts, but the vast majority are natural. I noted how on all but the youngest women, there is a natural line that runs from the shoulder to the nipple. I say a line but in fact, it is usually a shallow arc. In augmented breasts the arc curves up but in the natural breast it curves down slightly. Even in modest-sized breasts, the arc is there.
To me, the cup size does not make a great deal of difference for breast’s attractiveness one way or another. On the other hand, very large breasts are difficult to put forth in an attractive manner when naked. One interesting thing though, in the pool, very large breasts float, so in chest-deep water, I found it was very nice to watch several women with big soft breasts in the water.
But, in watching the many many breasts on display, I was amazed how nearly all of them were highly attractive. I decided that those women with “A” or “B” cups are not well served by wearing clothes. They are very nice to see nude, but when they got dressed to go, those nice breasts seemed to disappear.
On the other hand, those with very large natural breasts often look more attractive when given the support of some sort of clothing.
Let me make a comment about augmented breasts. I could pretend to be a purist and say I don’t think they look nice, but I would be dishonest. I found that nearly all the women with breast implants looked good. Only when they are “over the top” and make the woman look like a blow-up doll do I think it is too much. But, both natural and augmented breast have their own charms.
After I focused on boobs for quite a while, I began to consider body shape. It should be no surprise that “dress size” was not nearly as important for attractiveness as the silhouette. Whether a size 3 or a size 20 what was constantly most attractive were the women with a visible waist. I noticed that the highly fit women often had as little waistline curves as the big apple-shaped ones. In this, I must admit, my vision of beauty is somewhat less egalitarian than I like to convince myself that I am. To me, the most attractive women were those whose bust and hips were the same size. Both top and bottom heavy are, in my opinion, less attractive than the balanced appearance.
One body part not often on display is the crotch itself. Most of the women at the club are clean-shaven. In that fact alone, those who do not remove their pubic hair become the exception and thus stand out. Though I don’t deny I prefer going down on a clean-shaven vulva, there is something to say for the aesthetics of the pubic hair triangle. The majority of women at the club go bare though, thus presenting me, the viewer, with the ability to consider the visual differences in women's vulvas from a distance. It was surprising how when uncovered, the apparent variety of shapes and sizes of mons and labia became apparent: long and skinny, full-bodied, and some were almost invisible from a distance. Of aesthetics I saw not one shape better than another, all as different as the women who wore them.
I also noted the different shapes of men. At the club, men were indeed more likely than women to have protruding stomachs, but among this group a good half of the guys were visibly buff in the waist. Those with the best physics were more likely also to have their other body hair removed and perhaps 1/2 of all the men had very short or shaved pubic hair. The reason for this is simple, removing or significantly shortening the pubic hair, makes the penis appear bigger.
Regarding penis size, we know from research that the flaccid penis is a poor predictor of the size of a man’s erection; however, it was hard not to notice those whose penis was not long enough to begin to cover their scrotum and those who draped over it. Those with the more to show in the flaccid state were more attractive and got more attention than those who did not. I can only wonder if this is why men (who make the morality rules) ban public display of the penis.
All this to say, it is quite interesting to spend enough time in a nude environment to begin to appreciate the subtle differences in human bodies. I conclude, as do the nudist that nudity is a great equalizer; however, it does not erase all bias. As a man I know my tummy bulge and penis that does not drape fully over my balls while soft, I am less attractive and desirable than those men with a washboard stomach and a penis that swings loose when they walk. I could work on my stomach, but there is nothing I can do to make my penis look bigger. Life isn’t fair but a nudist approach does, on balance, improve the fairness.