How I got started

Recent news events of the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation prompted a memory… of the first time I went skinny dipping.

It was August 1974 and I was 19, with Michael, my fiance, visiting friends of his on Long Island in New York. We were staying at their home, and I don’t remember the circumstances now, but they had either gone out or gone to bed when Michael suggested we use their pool for a moonlit swim without clothes.

It was glorious. I loved the feel of the water gliding around my body. Still do. But it was a one-time thing back then.

It wasn’t until 1990 when I was up on Orcas for a singles weekend held at Camp Moran, that someone suggested at dinner that we go over to Doe Bay and use the hot tubs there. This was my first experience with co-ed social nudity – where I was getting naked with people whom I’d just met earlier that day. A little awkward, but still worth being naked in water…

Between 1991 and 2006, I was immersed in women’s groups and it became common to go to the spa together, or drum naked together, or participate in sweat lodges naked. So I was becoming more comfortable being naked around other women. What was amazing about this time was noticing all the different shapes and sizes women’s bodies come in.

In 2006, I began dating again and that August he invited me to a clothing-optional swim held out at the Redmond LongHouse. By this time I was ready and eager for any opportunity to swim naked. I met a SLUGS member there and we exchanged email addresses etc.

In February 2007, he and I were chatting on Yahoo Messenger when he asked me how the weather was up in my neighborhood (at the time he lived in Issaquah and I lived in North Seattle). It had been storming earlier, but I told him the weather had now cleared and then asked why.

His response changed my life: “Because there’s a nude swim I could go to up near you in Shoreline.”

My immediate response: “Really? Can you guest me in?” He did and that was my first (of many) swims at Larry’s. I was so comfortable by all the friendly SLUGS members that I sought out the president and asked how I could become a member. I really had no idea before this that there were places and people with whom I could be nude on a social basis.

Since between 1991 and 2006, I had gained quite a bit of weight, I had been having a hard time reconciling my current body image with the one I had carried all my life as tall and skinny.

The biggest benefit I have gotten from being a social nudist is the acceptance of my body just as it is. I mean, if I can let a bunch of relative strangers see me naked, and see their acceptance, then I achieve a deeper acceptance of myself.

In January 2013, I took on the responsibilities for Treasurer and Membership Officer of Sun Lovers Under Gray Skies (SLUGS) as a way to pay back all that I’ve gotten from them.

My tantalizing desire is to swim nude in the ocean someday. I loved to body surf as a child/teenager in the ocean near my home in Boston. The ocean here is just too cold!

Naturally yours,
Jane Smallman