Naturist resorts aren’t what I thought they were – Jim Duffy

Jim Duffy is taken aback when his partner suggests a visit to a naturist resort as a bucket-list entry, but then discovers nudism isn’t quite what he thought it was.

Naturist resorts are not necessarily about organised games and events, Jim Duffy discovered (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(
Naturist resorts are not necessarily about organised games and events, Jim Duffy discovered (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(

Many of us have bucket lists. Essentially, these are activities or experiences that we would like to have completed prior to leaving this Earth. A bucket list is really all you want it to be. It can be hugely expansive with wild, crazy, awe-inspiring stuff on it. Or, it can include simple things that will bring you joy.

Some bucket lists will need a lottery win to fund them, while others just a few months of saving or a swipe with a credit card. I got to talking about bucket lists with my partner recently and we threw open a few suggestions.

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I fancied becoming a micro-light pilot. You know the parachute thingy with the engine on the back. Looks incredibly fun, but also incredibly dangerous as there is really just a Lawnmower engine powering the thing.

But, as I imagined a few experiences that were adrenaline fuelled, my partner blindsided me. “I’d like to stay a weekend at a nudist resort.”

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I nearly fell off the sofa as her utterance hit me like a brick. But, as I studied her stare, she was serious and I had broken the code. That code is that there are no limits or boundaries to imaging a bucket list and one should not dis or rebuke the other’s suggestions.

Nevertheless, this one became out the blue and I guess I was not prepared for it. I quickly apologised and we stopped ‘ideating’ about bucket lists and focussed on this particular experience.

It is important to watch my language here as it is an experience that is sought and not a fantasy. This was not, my partner explained, some sexual fantasy that we could act out elsewhere. No, this was a genuine bucket-list activity that she wished to undertake, she thought, at some time in her life. Ideally, with me there. Well, I should hope so, I thought!

Not about swinging

It was explained to me that spending the weekend at a naturist resort or spa was all about being at one with nature, being free from socially constructed ideas of clothing and being open-minded and non-judgemental.

It was not about swinging, where couples swap partners, having an orgy, where it seems there is free-for-all sex or gawping at nude people.

Right away, I could see the fun was going out of this one for me. But, she was serious and it was up to me find out more. So serious in fact, that it was pointed out that there was a nudist spa only 30 miles away from where we live.

Later that day, now I knew that my wife had a rather creative side to her bucket list, I did some research. After all, this gig included me and I would have to be comfortable cognitively and physically with the experience. As a fifty-something, a wee bit saggy around the edges – not quite the eye-candy I was at 30 – I would have to get my gear off with a totally random group of people.

What would I do as I sat in a seat at the spa with my tummy hanging over, quite literally, my tummy? Would I want to eat breakfast in the nude with others? And as for playing rounders in the sun with people’s bits and bobs jiggling as they ran for base... it was all a bit much to think about.

Organised fun?

But, as I began to think a bit more rationally about what a weekend at such a spa would look like, I began to understand and appreciate how relaxing and enjoyable it could be. The first thing that dawned on me was that nude did not mean lewd. This was a big reservation for me, when my wife had put the whole idea to me.

I had to remind myself that I was a not a teenager anymore getting hot under the collar at the sight of females. Nor was I a pervert, who wanted to stare at random naked women. And that is exactly what naturism is not about. It appears naturists simply focus on themselves and not the other guests at the resort. In short, being nude is just like being clothed to them. Quite literally ‘nothing to see here’.

The next thing that had worried me was the pre-conceived notion that I or we would have to engage in organised fun. I thought that naturist resorts were all “Hi De Hi” with the entertainment coordinator marching us around with footballs, shuttlecocks and crazy golf. I’m sure I must have seen this on an old TV reel in a past life. But, I was wrong.

Naturism is a bit like going to any spa or holiday. It is all about relaxation, chilling out and being as sociable as one wants to be. This was key for me. I had equated naturism with extroverts. It is far from it. Some people will go alone and simply spend the weekend there alone and not be bothered or pestered in any way to join in anything. Now that I liked.

As I read on through the blogs on nudism and naturists spas, I began to realise just what a great revitalising and grounding experience it could be. I suppose, as a bucket list choice, it was actually a perfectly reasonable suggestion and one that I might now like and enjoy. Heck, why not eh?

It’s only 30 miles away. Who knows – maybe one day.