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First Time Report at La Pines.

June 2001.

This is actually two "First Time Reports." One from me, Spiderwoman, and one from Mushroom (see report above).

Spiderwoman's account of her first experience with social nudity:

I had never really thought about nudity very much on a conscious level at first. When I was a child about three or four years old I use to run around in my underwear all the time, because it was the closest I could get to being naked without my parents having a heart attack about it. But I remember I liked it, and I did not connect that nakedness in any way with sex. Of course after a while, social taboos instilled in me by my parents caused me to start wearing clothes more often and to be less naked most of the time. When I grew up and got my first apartment, I was often naked at home.

This was somewhat short lived as well, because I had my children and those social taboos returned. I had no exposure whatsoever to people who lived as nudist with their children, so there were no role models or support for me to continue to be nude at home in front of my children on an ongoing basis, though I did not always hide my body from my children, like when changing my clothes or getting out of the tub. So it is not that they were not exposed to nudity, just not in an ongoing manner. Up to a certain age, my children were not uncomfortable doing the same thing in front of me, or each other.

But right around puberty they became more self-conscious and started locking doors and avoiding being naked in front of me. This was fine with me. I did not really think about it one way or the other, other than that I saw this as a natural way of dealing with their nudity as they got older, and this was okay with me. I continued to do what I had always done, and this was okay with them.

Now I am with Mushroom. When we first got together we had talked off and on about going to a nude beach, if we ever went to Europe, because in Europe it is open and accepted and we would not know anyone there. Of course, this was always a safe way to think about it, because we probably would not go to Europe for many, many years to come.

Then one day, Mushroom asked me if I wanted to see a nudist website. I told him, "Sure. Why not." When I saw the pictures and read some of the accounts, I liked the natural way in which everyone seemed to be experiencing nudity with each other. I especially liked the way that everyone looked, that is, no model or movie star bodies that were anorexic looking. They were just everyday, average, normal people, the kind of people that most of us are. It made me start to feel better about my own body.

Mushroom and I talked a lot about how we thought being nude with other people would be like. He did most of the reading about people who were naturist, but he passed all that he learned on to me. We convinced ourselves that to be nude in front of other people would not be a sexual experience for us, but one that would be spiritually freeing. I had written a paper for my sexuality class once when I was an undergraduate in college about running naked through a forest. I often fantasized how it would feel to do this. Now I was thinking, maybe this could become a reality.

So, Mushroom and I planned our first trip to La Pines.

I will not go into the details of that first trip, because Mushroom has pretty much covered that. I do remember, though, that even as we got there and started setting up our camp, I had doubts that I would go all the way. As we set up the tent, getting closer and closer to the time when we would be finished setting up camp, I started to realize that it was going to be a 'now or never' situation for me. Somehow, I do not know how, I made myself not think about all of the things I had been told as a child about my body and about being naked in front of other people. Inside the tent, I pulled off my T-shirt and shorts. I looked at Mushroom who was nearly nude. "Are you ready?" he asked.

I was already pulling back the tent flap and stepping out into the broad daylight of La Pines where other people were nude. I stood up and Mushroom stood up next to me. We looked at each other, took a deep breath and headed for the showers and then the pool. It was the best swim I had ever had in my whole life. There were no woods to run through, but I did not need to have that experience to rid myself of all the sexual taboos I had been given as a child about my body. A body is just a body. The sexual part of it is what we are taught by our society. But La Pines was a place where I could go and not have to worry about whether or not someone would be 'turned on' by my body and make a 'pass' at me. No one cared.

For me, it is not so much that I can be nude socially, but that I can be nude in an environment that is quiet, peaceful and safe. When I am at La Pines, I can relax. I work all week with chronically mentally ill people. Listening to the trauma and chaos in other people's lives tends to build up inside of me after a while and I need an outlet to rid myself of the intense emotions that occur when working with this population. At La Pines, taking off my clothes is like taking off the trauma I have carried with me from work. To be nude for a day or two in nature is like cleansing myself, physically, mentally and spiritually. This is also true of my own everyday problems. It is like getting down to basics and starting over.

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