I’ve been asked to write about how to find a romantic partner who would be interested in sharing the naturist lifestyle. To do so I’ve interviewed a variety of people (which was a lot of fun!), listened to a podcast on the topic, and have my own experience of course. After careful consideration of all I’ve taken in, I’ll organize my thoughts in three parts: dating within a naturist community, dating online and inviting someone in, and whether having a naturist partner is all that important in the end.
The podcast Dating Advice for Naturists by The Naturist Living Show suggests that dating within the naturist community may not be the best bet. What’s largely alluded to in the show is how uncomfortable it is to receive flirtation from an unwanted admirer and that it might be best if everyone were to err on the side of caution in order to keep everyone feeling safe within the naturist community.
A friend of mine who’s really taken to naturism wishes to feel safe in that way. She often struggled with body image since gaining weight, but at the naturist park she lets that go and she embodies her awesome vivacious self. Sadly, a few people have been really drawn to her and won’t leave her alone if they spot her there. She’s become extremely apprehensive about attending, knowing that within every visit she’ll likely have to muster the energy to say No a few times which isn’t something that comes easily to her. She feels like prey to a few people who’ve been overbearing with their attention.
I also appreciate the sentiment from the podcast. I like the idea of putting aside pressures of the textile world as I remove my clothing. It can feel like a utopia to simply “be”. Entering the safe naturist space, we’ve collectively taken a deep breath and put our body thoughts aside. When someone compliments the body, it rudely pops the euphoric bubble, drawing attention back to what you tried to forget. This is why I’d even caution saying, “you’re beautiful”, which seems like words a woman would be happy to receive. I’ve never gone for someone who’s tried to be slick. I have dated men within the naturist community, but I’ve always been the one to initiate.
A group of us, aged early twenties to late sixties, were chatting about dating preferences and many had their own reasons for thinking that dating within a naturist community made sense. It was pointed out that at least you’d know you have at least that one thing in common. Popular dating advice nudges hanging out in places where people are doing things that you enjoy. Also, a naturist community is a collection of mostly really cool people in one place. I can’t argue with that, I love the openness in conversation that’s often reserved for fringe communities like this. A few said they finds women more attractive when they’re au naturel; they’re presenting a more genuine self, no frills or fanfare. The big caution that everyone understood was flirtation. How to do it without being off putting?
An important factor is timing. First, let’s imagine that you’re trying to date at a gym. If you meet someone one time and have a fun interaction on that day, it’s too soon to make a move. It indicates that 1) you find them attractive, 2) they seem alright. It’s a shallow interaction and if you’re interested in something more than a hook up, it’s too soon. Now, if you find that you see each other at the gym frequently, you talk and laugh a lot together, you’ve opened up about yourselves, you’re thinking about them outside of the gym, it seems that they might feel that way too, then you’re ready! It’s the same in naturism. If you meet someone one day and have fun banter, that’s too soon to be flirtatious. It’s an even bigger deal in the naturist setting because of what it means: I find you attractive and I don’t know much else yet. And remember, we all like the idea of forgetting about what we look like when we become nude together. You gotta give it time.
Perhaps online dating is the way to go? The podcast suggests dating outside the realm of naturism and inviting them in. It may sound like a long shot, but I’ve met literally hundreds of couples who try naturism together and love it. You may be thinking: some people aren’t going to want to come with me and/or they might think I’m a weirdo. It’s true, likely some people will think that. It often takes talking to numerous people and going on several dates before finding a good match. Be patient and honest.
Hmmm how honest? Do you include the word naturist in your dating profile? That’s up to you. If you’re a die-hard about it, why not? I also don’t think that there’s anything wrong with waiting to bring it up in conversation either. Tip: remember that there’s nothing shameful about naturism. If you bring it up like it’s a drawback to dating you, you may just find that they feel that way too. It’s not an affliction, you’re part of a cool community. If it were me, I’d ask a question that pertains to naturism to test the waters. ie. How do you feel about nude beaches? How often do you like to explore outside your comfort zone? You’re looking for someone who is open-minded, and respects who you are and what you’re interested in.
On that note, maybe that’s really at the heart of our search, finding someone who loves and honours who you are. When you have that you can freely do the things that you enjoy, and your partner may be moved to join you. I interviewed a couple of women who’ve joined their partners on a one-time naturist visit. They were uncomfortable with the thought of trying it, but knew that it was important to their partner, so they gave it a shot. Both ladies are now avid naturists themselves and wonder why they didn’t do it sooner. It doesn’t always work that way though. Sometimes it’s just not their cuppa tea, but they encourage you to go. This is my case and I know a few others in that boat as well. There are moments that I’d like my husband to be there with me, but for the most part it’s not a big deal, it’s my thing, my place, my people. We share plenty of other things that tie us together.
The most important thing in dating, besides being yourself, is not to chase people. Online or in person. I had the words Don’t Chase People written on my fridge when I was single. I don’t know how many times I got dressed up and placed myself somewhere I knew my crush would be (once bringing all the fixings to make a romantic meal together) only to laugh and shake my head and drag myself back to those words on the fridge. Stop chasing people Nikki. It took a while to sink in. Movies show us that you should keep showing up, being persistent. But in reality, you’re not looking for someone you wore down. You want someone who likes you for you. It’s ok to mention getting coffee sometime, but if they have an excuse, let it go. If it’s a legitimate excuse and they’re interested, they’ll ask you next. (And anyone who’s playing hard-to-get, who wants you to keep asking, is playing mind games and you’re better off without them. They’ve got some growing up to do.)
Be yourself, be patient, be respectful, and don’t forget to have fun!