People have been asking me what it was like to stay at a clothing optional resort. So I’m now answering that question!
Before I begin, I think it’s important for me to establish a little bit about the perspective I’m coming from. I don’t think I can identify as a nudist. In fact, when I first read about the clothing optional resort during my Bali travel research, the idea of being completely naked before other men was positively terrifying. Mostly because I’ve always been anxious about how I look.
The only people who have ever see me naked are men I’ve had sex with. And the only reason I’m comfortable around them is because I’ve never really held on to a guy for any more than two sex sessions.
I’ve tried hitting the gym on and off several times, but like most people I can never make it stick. I chant mantras of self-acceptance, but my instincts don’t internalize it the way my rational mind can. Of course, this isn’t something unique to me. I can’t claim monopoly over being insecure about the way I look. I’d like to imagine that the people I see in enviable Instagram posts are a lot more comfortable in their own skin, but I can’t know that for sure, no one can.
Anyway, I most certainly am not a zen nudist totally at peace with my identity and my body.
I think that was important to establish.
That’s it. I’ve always been thirsty for new experiences, of any kind, even if my tireless hankering can often veer on a little masochistic.
The first clothing optional resort I stayed in was called Bali au Naturel. It was a nudist community in North Bali run by a lovely Australian couple.
The second clothing optional resort was called Spartacvs, and it was a famous nudist hotel in Seminyak that catered only to gay men.
This article is mostly about my personal assumptions and experience of the clothing optional resorts.
You see, in my head, when I thought of these gay nudist resorts, I imagined I would be the only troll stomping my way through a valley full of beautiful boys with washboard abs, blue eyes, and wavy golden locks. I imagined I’d be the only sore sight in a paradise of Matthew Mcconaughey-esque surfer dudes riding the waves of the adjoining clothing optional beach. I was annoyed at myself for internalizing such Eurocentric ideals of beauty. Because even before I’d laid eyes on a single soul in any one of the nudist resorts, I’d already decided that I didn’t belong.
I also imagined the clothing optional resorts would basically be a sex hub, an arena of sexual liberty and free love that only extended to people who looked a certain way. If I’m being perfectly honest, I imagined it would be all Bukkake up in there, all day and all night! In short, deluded horny faggot that I am, I conjured a script in my mind that wasn’t all that different from the generic recycled scripts used by the porn industry when they’re being particularly lazy.
I realized that these assumptions were silly. But that’s the thing, even as I knew it, I still couldn’t stop myself from simultaneously hoping it were true, and dreading it at the same time.
In my mind, I imagined that only traditionally beautiful men of a certain age bracket would populate the clothing optional resorts. However, I was glad to see that the resorts were populated by all kinds of people.
I suppose the only reason I thought the resorts would be populated by people who look “perfect” was because I thought they were the only ones who could be comfortable enough in their body to let it hang in all its naked glory!
Bali au Naturel mostly consisted of people well past their middle-age, both male and female. But that’s mostly because, as I realized upon reaching, it was completely isolated from the popular cities in Bali. As such, only people looking for a relaxing escape from society frequented that nudist resort. There was also no scope for socializing in there because the few people I met were either several generations older than me, were there precisely to avoid company, or were couples looking for self-sequestered isolation.
Spartacvs was located smack right in the middle of Seminyak, the most tourist-friendly location in Bali. It also happens to be the most gay-friendly spot in Bali full of lively gay and drag bars. As such, the exclusively gay hotel had a considerably more entertaining crowd.
That wasn’t surprising. However, what did surprise me is that I didn’t feel self-conscious out there surrounded by other naked gay men. In fact, I think I felt more comfortable there than I’ve ever felt anywhere else.
I had been so nervous because I couldn’t think of the naked skin as something that could exist in itself outside of the purely sexual. So when I imagined visiting a clothing optional resort, I looked at myself externally from an anonymous omnipresent male gaze. In my mind, I reduced myself to my physical desirability. That’s something we do so very often regardless of whether we’re at a nudist resort, or a club, or a… hell even at a bible study group! (P.S. I’ve only been to a bible study group twice, at the behest of a friend. In my personal experience, it seemed an awful lot like a singles mixer. Just saying.)
Surprisingly, for a reason I can’t yet comprehend, I felt liberated from the gaze in the nudist resorts. However, I’m not saying the clothing optional resorts were a shrine of virtue. There was most certainly a lot of sex happening.
I myself had the pleasure of inviting a charming Balinese guy into the hotel. We could swim naked in the pool under the stars late at night, even as the other guests hung around the bar. Based on my conversation with a psychiatrist from Sydney, I also gathered that the previous night had seen a pretty crazy orgy in the jacuzzi.
To some, this might sound confusing. On one hand, I claim that the nudist resort helped me see the human skin as something beyond purely sexual. On the other hand, I claim there was clearly a lot of sex happening. Which is it?
The truth is, the two statements aren’t really mutually exclusive. It’s possible to not see the human skin as something necessarily sexual, but still be open to all forms of kinks, fetishes, and sexual depravities imaginable.
In the end, I think shedding all those layers and clothes helped me see myself in a more favorable light. I had to make myself vulnerable to external gaze to really be freed from it, however temporarily.
But this wasn’t really the eureka moment I’d hoped it would be. I’m not going to claim that my perception of myself has improved as a result of it. I most certainly won’t claim that I’ve come out of the experience transformed.
I’m still a bundle of insecurities. I still care too much about how I appear to the world. I still chant my mantras of self-acceptance (in my mind, of course.) But now, for the first time, “self-acceptance” isn’t an abstract term any more. It’s real, because for the briefest moment I’ve known what it’s like to see your insecurities slip away.
So… go to a clothing optional resort, if you so choose. Shed your skin. Shed your inhibitions…
…and Share this article while you’re at it!
If you’ve ever been to a clothing optional resort… if you’re simply battling with body insecurities yourself, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment down below and I’ll be sure to get in touch immediately. You can also send me a private message through the Contact form.