real life

'I was a nudist for a day. Here's what I discovered.'

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a nudist? Like, outside your house, with strangers at a nudist camp. Wearing your birthday suit. Showing all your cards. Hanging in the breeze.

It kind of comes with a bad reputation, doesn’t it? You expect a nudist camp is a hangout for swingers or creeps. Or both.

Nudism is something I admire but fear. I was afraid to be naked in front of strangers. Worried about what they’d think of my body, the assumptions they’d come to about how fit, toned, happy or body proud I am. Or wasn’t.

It seemed confronting. Not for me. A girlfriend of mine has been a member of a nudist club for three years now and told me it’s changed her life. She “never felt so alive and confident”. Get me some of that.

So, the fascination got the better of me and I booked an interview with the President of the Canberra nudist club. For “research”. To chat. At his camp. Nude.

I freaked out when the chat arrived. What’s the etiquette when interviewing a nudist? Do I turn up to the ACT Nudist Club naked? Do I get undressed there or in fact, in front of my interviewee? It was tough to know what to do. John met me at the gates of the property with a shirt and no pants so I knew I was in the right spot.

"He explained that the body wasn’t sexual for a nudist, they’re completely at ease with the human form." (Image: Supplied)

His eyes never left my eye-line. He was kind, generous and had made me afternoon tea. I asked him where I should disrobe and he chirped “does it really make a difference?” We sat, nude, on the lounges and solved the world’s problems. I told him I was nervous about who I might see me here.

He reassured me that anyone on the property had gone through a rigorous process to make sure they ‘fit’ with the club’s values. No swingers, no fly-by-nighters just there for a perve. They hold the same social standards a golf club would, clothes are just optional.


I asked the erection question. I wondered what happened when members got ‘excited’ by what they saw. What happened? There’s nothing to hide behind, is it embarrassing? Or is it just an excepted, natural reaction? He explained that the body wasn’t sexual for a nudist, they’re completely at ease with the human form and that reaction rarely happens.

Listen: A Mamamia Out Loud listener shares a dilemma of the nude variety (post continues after audio...)

I was surprised by how many members they have. John regaled in stories of new members walking onto the grounds and finding their neighbours, work colleagues, in-laws or even boss lying by the pool. They have many members, ranging in ages, families too.

So, what did my “research” uncover?

Being beautiful is not necessarily in the way you rock your new Manning Cartell dress. Being beautiful is being simple. This, if we’re truthful, is harder than it sounds. This nudism thing is not something I’ll partake in full-time but I can tell you from first-hand experience the air is so much cleaner out there.

It was very easy to breathe.

Kristen Henry is one half of Kristen and Rod for Breakfast on MIX 106.3 in Canberra. Follow her adventures at