Naked beaches. The thought used to make me shudder. I mean, being naked on a beach in front of hundreds of perfect strangers? No thank you.
That was, until I decided to grow a vagina (because they are stronger than testicles, am I right?) and strip down naked on Gunnison Naked Beach in New Jersey.
The beauty of naked beaches is that they teach you to love your body for what it is. You are immersed in a sea of naked toddlers to 60-year-old naked men and women. And the best part that is nobody cares that you are naked. For the period of time you are there laying on your beach towel, clothing doesn't exist, the sexualization of the human body doesn't exist, and you just... are. For that period of time, you are one beautiful body out of the hundreds surrounding you and you can't help but appreciate yourself for what you are.
For me, stripping down to my birthday suit made me feel wholesome. I felt a part of a large commune of body-positive individuals. For those short three hours I became confident in my naked body for the first time.
One of the biggest issues in modern society is the sexualization of the naked body. From the banning of women's nipples in public places to the depreciation of certain body types, there clearly is a very big problem. In countries such as Spain and Italy, the naked body is widely appreciated on public beaches. In our society, men and women are made to feel extremely conscious of their own bodies, often not in a positive way, by the prude aura of everyday life.
On social media, we are surrounded by images of what the perfect body is supposed to look like—to the point that we forget to appreciate all types of bodies.
That is the beauty of naked beaches: that you are surrounded by bodies of all shapes and sizes, perfectly naked, and not ashamed of it.
Ask yourself, when is the last time you have felt completely confident in your own skin? For most people they cannot remember a moment like that in their lives.
To those people, I was the same until I mustered the courage to shed my outer layers and dive into the world of au naturel for the day.
I think it's time everybody does the same.