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Posted on Feb 12, 2006 at 01:34 PM

The year was 1971. My mom enrolled me in swimming lessons at the downtown YMCA. Back then, the YMCA and the YWCA were segregated. The YMCA was men only and the YWCA was women only. I'd taken swim lessons before, at summer day camp and at the community pool. But these lessons were different. We stilled learned the back stroke and front crawl and treading water. It wasn't what we were taught , but how we were taught. Everyone in the class was nude. Being that young and by myself (no parent around) I was a bit shy at first but got into the swim of things within minutes. Besides, like I said, everyone else was au natural. At the time, I thought nude swimming lessons was a little strange. It seemed like an extension of the shower room spilling into the pool area. Everyone's naked in the shower, so they might as well be nude in the pool too. The only item we brought from the locker room to the pool was our towel. It reminds me of the scene in the movie Starship Troopers. After a day of training, the new recruits take a co-ed shower. Men and women sharing the same locker room like it's the most natural thing in the world. Further on down the road, whenever I went swimming in a lake or ocean, I'd skinny-dip if I could get away with it. Most of the time you can by swimming far enough out and remove your suit in the water and stand or tread water, so the rest of the public doesn't catch on. The feeling of your naked body being caressed by the water is like a protective layer between yourself and the rest of the world has been stripped away. Its a feeling of heightened freedom. We're so used to wearing a bathing suit in public that when its removed, an emotional weight is also removed. If anyone got close I'd put my suit back on and just enjoy swimming. Since I was swimming at public beaches, I'd respect the other sun bathers and be careful not to expose them to my nudity. The first time I went to a nude beach I was wary of going alone. I would have loved to have taken a lady with me, but there were none available. I didn't feel taking another guy with me on my first visit was an option either. So there I was, planning a day trip to Port Burwell, the closest nude beach in my area.

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