Nudist club gets down to the essentials

First published in the Daily Texan, April 2, 2009.
Syndicated in The Emerging Nudist
By: Roxanna Asgarian

As I head down the winding, tree-lined Highway 71 on Saturday evening, I can’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach. I am going to the home of John and Connie, who withhold their last names, to have my first social nude experience.

Pulling up to the driveway, I am floored by the beautiful, secluded home.

I shyly ring the bell and look through the glass front door into the house, and see an awesome view of Lake Travis, which lines the backyard. A naked man appears in my line of vision. I blush as he beckons me in.

“Here goes,” I think, as I strategically avoid his lower region with my eyes as he directs me to a room to change. On the way, I glance at 10 or so middle-aged people, mostly couples, hanging out by the bar. Most of them are naked, although some have on a shirt or a sash covering select parts of their bodies.

We talked at length about nudism before the event, and they set my mind at ease. I was curious to know what goes down at a nudist event and how I would handle being naked in public.

“Women have an additional barrier to nudism,” one man said. “Many women don’t know whether nudism in a group setting will be safe, when actually it’s incredibly safe. It’s safer than going out to a bar, because you know and trust these people.”

I thought it was funny that, before I went to the Hill Country Nudists’ gathering, all my friends asked, “What are you going to wear there?” as if my outfit would be even more important since it would only be on for five minutes. I have on yoga pants and a T-shirt, and when John drops me off in the guest room with two other changing women, I peel them off.

The youngest woman there, besides me, is 24 and also a UT student. Other than that, the crowd is primarily middle-aged and most of them have their partners with them, which helps me loosen up and let my arms hang by my sides, rather than gripping tightly around my body.

They all introduce themselves as I crack open a Red Stripe and someone blends Pisco sours, a traditional Peruvian drink that tastes like a margarita topped off with bitters.

The theme of the evening is “Peruvian night,” and Virginia and Carlos, a married couple from Peru, fix empanadas and ceviche in the kitchen.

Then I meet Paul, who takes me out to the backyard to look at the view. In the back of my mind I wonder if “look at the view” means different things to each of us, but I figure I’m here to participate. Once I am naked, I feel like the hardest part is behind me. He is surprised when I tell him this is my first social nude experience.

“You seem so at ease,” he said.

I take that as a compliment. I had been worried leading up to the event that I’d arrive to find some massive middle-aged orgy, or that I wouldn’t be able to stop looking at all the penises on display. But no orgies (at least in front of me) and I only sometimes glance at the penises, a little. The ceviche and empanadas are divine, and the atmosphere is relaxed, friendly and respectful.

After dinner, the group takes turns in the hot tub, which is housed in a room with hanging plants and a wall of windows overlooking Lake Travis. Saturday evening also happens to be Earth Hour, a time when people around the country are urged to turn off the lights and conserve energy for one hour.

So off go the lights, and I sit in the hot tub, in the dark, with a couple of middle-aged men. I marvel at the fact that there isn’t even a hint of sexual overtone.

I’m serious. They’re asking me about my career goals and I am responding openly. I definitely feel naked, but I don’t feel exposed or sexually objectified.

I realize that these people are onto something, and that it takes maturity to be able to hold it down like this when you’re all nude.

At the end of the evening, after retreating to the guest bedroom to put my clothes back on, I say my goodbyes. I am invited back and told to bring friends. I take their invitation seriously, but am not sure if I want to become a lifetime member just yet. I hug the women and men and promise to come back. And on the way out, I don’t even glance at the penises.

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