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An Interview with ANW Member Brian from Berkshire, England, UK


As part of ANW's want to enhance understanding and appreciation of naturism we are sharing a selection of interviews with ANW members to show that naturism is for everyone, and to explore the all important human element of the naturist and ANW community. ANW believes in safeguarding naturism with a genuine, healthy and respectful approach to social nudity and in doing so has an ever growing membership of friendly and appropriate users.

We also believe that naturism unites us and connects us. Beyond national boundaries, age, gender, religion sexual orientation and culture. These interviews aim to show that ANW members, like naturism itself, come from all over the world with many different backgrounds primarily connected by our mutual respect and understanding of social nudity. Again ANW are thrilled to welcome Brian Berkshire, England for this project


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your part of the world. 

I’m Brian, and I’m 68 years old. I’ve been married since 1985 – my wife is not a naturist herself, but is accepting, in fact supportive, of my interest in naturism. I retired at the end of 2019 after a career in IT. I live in Reading (the one in the UK), and we have a garden that has several areas that are secluded enough to enjoy naked.


2. What was the attitude towards nudity and naturism in your home and upbringing as a child and teen?

It just didn’t happen. I never saw my parents naked, and although I shared a bedroom with my brother (nearly 8 years older than me) I don’t remember ever seeing him naked either. I grew up near Sheffield, and holidays were usually either Blackpool or Bridlington, so beach experiences were limited to sandcastles and donkey rides – however, it was on these holidays where, at the age of six or seven, I discovered that naturism existed – through the saucy seaside postcards depicting “nudist colonies”. That made me wonder what it would be like to be naked outdoors, and I used to go into the woods behind our house, undress and just be naked in nature, and I think that is where the seeds of naturism were sown in me, although they laid dormant for several years after that. At secondary school there were the inevitable communal showers after games lessons and, like most adolescents, I was shy and embarrassed at being naked in front of the other boys, even though they were in the same position as me.


3. If not covered in two - how did you first get involved in naturism and what were your initial thoughts.

It was a gradual process. When I left home to go to university I started to sleep naked, and found it far more comfortable than wearing pyjamas, although I had to wear them when I returned home. When I graduated and moved to Reading I initially lived in a shared house, so nakedness was not really possible, but once I bought my own flat I started to spend more and more time naked. Before we were married my wife and I would often be naked in either my flat or hers, so it was no surprise to her that I preferred not to wear clothes.


I sometimes thought about the idea of naturism (ie. being naked with other people) but didn’t know what to do about it – the internet didn’t exist in those days – so my interest took a back seat to the other things going on in life, such as working, getting married, selling our two flats and buying a house. Then there were a couple of catalysts that got me thinking about naturism again. In 1988 we decided to have a holiday in Russia. In those days it was not possible to travel directly to the USSR, you had to travel via one of the other Warsaw Pact countries. We decided on a tour that would take us via Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia (as it was then), and on our return from Russia we would spend a few days in Dubrovnik before returning home. We got the details of the tour from a printed brochure from a company called Yugotours, and at the back of the brochure there were a few pages advertising naturist holidays in Yugoslavia – it was a revelation to me that things like naturist package holidays actually existed, and that they were quite openly advertised in holiday brochures!


The second catalyst was in 1992, and a television programme in the BBC’s Open Space series called Full Frontal that was effectively a documentary about naturism, presented by Suzanne Piper who was at the time the Public Relations Officer for the Central Council for British Naturism (now just called British Naturism or BN). It featured a number of naturists (tastefully concealed, of course) and showed the Spielplatz naturist club. At around the same time, and probably prompted by the feedback from the TV programme, I saw an advertisement in a newspaper (The Guardian, I think) for CCBN, with an address to write to for details. This was exactly the information I needed – I wrote off to them, and received an information pack and application form in return. A few months later I became an “official” card-carrying naturist! In the meantime, I had plucked up the courage to reach up to the top shelf of the local newsagent and buy a copy of Health & Efficiency (now called H&E Naturist), a magazine that I knew was centred on naturism. That was also something of a revelation, and I have been a subscriber ever since (and of course I greatly enjoy Anna’s articles in there).


Although I was now a member of a naturist organisation, I was still a solitary house-and-garden naturist until 1999 when I visited my first naturist swims, in Reading and Alton. This step was, in part, prompted by the death of my father that year, and a sudden realisation of my own mortality, and that I had to do things before it was too late. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel nervous or embarrassed about stripping off and wandering along the side of the pool with other naked people; it just felt natural, comfortable. I felt at home – I think the modern parlance is that I had “found my tribe”.


4. Do you think that your initial reasons and attitudes towards naturism have changed since then and how?

I’m sure they have. At first, it was about curiosity, adventure, new experiences, stepping outside my comfort zone – even, dare I say, a hint of the eccentric, forbidden and exotic. Now it is about comfort (both being comfortable with my own and other people’s bodies and being more physically comfortable without clothes), community, confidence, relaxation. I’m sure that there are more naturist adventures and experiences to come, but I’ll take them as they come rather than actively seeking them out.


5.Tell us about your naturist adventures so far.

After I had been going to the naturist swim in Reading for a couple of years, the chap who ran it had to give it up, and there was a danger that it would fold, until I and two other regular attendees stepped in to take over the running of the club, which I continued to do for about 17 years. Unfortunately, in 2016 the local council closed the pool and sold the land to developers – they offered us a slot at a different pool, but it was away from the centre of town, and late on a Friday evening, and the attendance dwindled such that after a couple of years we had to admit defeat and close the club.


I was also a regular attendee at Alton naturist swim on Sunday evenings, and also the Saturday evening events where the whole of the sports centre was naturist; these evenings were initially organised by BN, then by Suzanne Piper through the Shabden Leisure Circle club. The sports centre has now closed, so the swims and sports evenings are no more. I also used to go to the swim in Marlborough, but sadly that also closed due to lack of attendees.


My first visit to a naturist beach was in 2003 in Menorca, and I have visited several other beaches in Spain, Menorca, the Canary Islands and Croatia, but to be honest I’m not really a beach person, I much prefer lounging by a pool, or in a hotel’s naturist sunbathing area – or even just on a hotel balcony.


I went a few times to Abbey House Gardens in Malmsbury when they had their clothing-optional days. My non-naturist wife was happy to come along but remain dressed. Now that has been sold to an American hotel company, so those C-O days don’t happen any more.


These days I am back to being mainly a home-and-garden naturist. I would like to go to swims or other events, but there isn’t anything nearby, and I don’t like to drive too far nowadays, especially in the dark. The good thing is that now I am retired I can spend much more time naked in the garden when the weather allows.


6. You are a member of your naturist national body how important do you see these bodies to be for individuals and for naturism within your country?

I’ve been an individual member of British Naturism since 1994, and Reading Naturist Group was affiliated to BN. I handled the BN liaison for the club, and that gave me the opportunity to attend the regional meetings as our club’s representative, which enabled me to meet members of other clubs, and also to visit a number of landed clubs where the meetings were held. In the early years of my membership, BN was primarily focussed on the clubs – mainly the landed clubs, but also swim clubs. These days BN is far more focussed on individual members, which is a good thing, as many people either don’t want to join a club or are unable to because of location or the clubs’ membership criteria.


I think that BN fulfils a very important role in providing information about events, providing legal support for anyone whose naturism causes police issues, and also running their own events. When the Covid lockdowns began, BN organised numerous online events via Zoom, which has been really helpful, and many of these events are continuing beyond the lockdowns.


7. How would you best explain naturism to someone new to it and what advice would you offer to them?

It’s about being comfortable and non-judgemental about your own and other people’s bodies. This will give you more confidence and positivity about yourself. My advice would be to take any opportunities to be naked with other people, whether that is at a swim or other event, at a club, or by joining an online event. Eventually being naked with others will not feel like anything out of the ordinary.


8. If ANW wasn't about naturism but something else, what other life choice/hobby/interest/passion...would have made you consider joining it?

I have a lot of interests, but nothing I would class as a passion. My main interests apart from naturism are gardening, books, wildlife, football (soccer) and photography.


9. What do you think naturism has taught you about yourself and do you think it has changed you in any way?

Being naked among other naked people has certainly made me less self-conscious about my physical appearance. It has also taught me that you can have something in common with people from different backgrounds, age groups, ethnic groups, income bands, occupations, etc. and that naturists, for the most part, tend to leave their prejudices and preconceptions behind along with their clothes.


10. Do you think that there are certain people better suited to naturism and others that are not suited to it and if so why do you think that?

I don’t think there is a “naturist gene”, but I think that some people have a negative view of naturism, possibly because of what they were told when they were growing up, or because they believe some of the misinformation that is spread about naturism. People come to naturism in many different ways. Some are brought up in a naturist family; some are adventurous or curious and decide to try it; some do it for a dare or a charity fund-raiser. Once someone has tried it once, there is a good chance that they will get the bug!


11. How does  your country consider naturism? How do the laws stand supporting naturism? What are the national and local opportunities like? 

In the UK it is not illegal to be naked in public unless there is an intent to cause offence. However, the interpretation of this varies, and many police officers and very many members of the public believe that simply being naked is an offence of “indecent exposure”. British Naturism is working hard to ensure that police guidelines in this area are widely understood, and provides legal support to anyone who is wrongly prosecuted. Public attitudes to nudity vary, and there have been issues with protests at naturist swims where children are included. Although attitudes are starting to change in our favour, there is still a lot of opposition from some quarters.


There are several naturist clubs in the UK – landed clubs and swims – and a few naturist beaches (some official, but most unofficial). There are also some organised events such as garden visits, WNBRs, etc.


12. How would you like to see the future of naturism developing over the next 30 years and do you feel these ideas are achievable. Give reasons.

I’d like to think that innocent nudity would become less controversial and more accepted, especially as an antidote to the pressure to have a “perfect body”. I think we might see areas of parks and more beaches where nudity is accepted. However, I don’t think I’ll be doing the weekly shop in Sainsburys in the nude. I think that the landed clubs will need to reinvent themselves, as the age profile of the members will mean that their membership will reduce to an unsustainable level. Maybe the British Naturism Sunfolk model is the way forward.


13 What are the biggest problems that naturism is currently facing? Do you think these are worldwide concerns? Are these problems any different from when you first became a naturist?

I think that public opinion, in the UK at least, is still generally negative towards naturism, and this is largely fuelled by negative reporting in the media – although there are occasionally positive articles in some enlightened media sources. As I suggested above, the fact that membership of naturist clubs and organisations is ageing is an issue, and unless younger people are encouraged into naturism it will suffer. I’m not sure what the solution is, but then again I am an old fogey and not qualified to offer advice in this area. I don’t know whether these are worldwide issues, but I suppose we should be glad that the UK is more liberal than some other countries where nakedness is an offence.


14. If the world was accepting of naturism - happy to take on a clothing optional policy in most situations - how do you think it would change the way society works - what positives could you imagine and do you think there would be any negatives?

I think that would improve body positivity and hopefully reduce the body shaming that appears to be prevalent especially on social media. It would possibly impact on the fashion and slimming product industries – I’m not sure whether that would be positive or not.


15. Are there any aspect of naturism that frustrates you or annoys you or you feel let down by? Are there any answers that you can think of to put these things right?

Since my wife is not a naturist I am, effectively, a single male in the eyes of naturist clubs and events. Attitudes towards single males vary, but some clubs have “quotas” for singles in order to maintain some form of gender balance. I can understand this to an extent, but I do sometimes feel that I am being tolerated rather than welcomed.


16. Has there ever been a specific day, location, venue, activity that at the end of it has made you think - this is naturism at its best - and why?

That would probably be one of the clothing-optional days at Abbey House Gardens. They were always well attended, with a mix of clothed and naked people – probably more naked than clothed. Quite often visitors would arrive unaware that it was a C-O day, but soon got used to being around naked people in such a lovely garden setting. I’m sure that some of these people also took the opportunity to get naked themselves.


17. Do you speak to friends and family about your naturism? How has that been? Do you have any tips? Has it ever had a bad effect on a relationship?

I don’t hide the fact that I’m a naturist, but I don’t broadcast it either. Some friends know that I visit naturist beaches when we are on holiday and that I go to naturist swims, but it isn’t a regular topic of conversation. We have a cleaner for a couple of hours a week, and she was a little bit shocked when she came across a naturist magazine I had left lying around – she asked about it, but then just carried on with no adverse comment.


18. What five words would you use to describe naturism that people who haven't tried naturism may not have considered and what five words would you say doesn't describe naturism that those same people may wrongly consider to be true.

Freedom, comfort, acceptance, community, positivity.

Illegal, perverted, sexual, embarrassing, exhibitionist.


19. If you were to close your eyes and consider naturism as an animal, a colour and a food item what three answers would come to mind? 

Cat – they love to lie in the sun.

Blue – for the sky and the sea (but not movies!)

Marmite – for obvious reasons (apologies to non-UK readers)


20. Do you have any naturist regrets?

Only that I didn’t have the opportunity to get into it earlier.


21. Why do you think people should join ANW? What can existing naturists get from it and how about "newbies"?

It’s a community, and the verification process makes it a place to feel comfortable about sharing details and photographs of your naturism. Newbies should be aware that they only need to share what they are comfortable with, but will discover a lot.


22. Independent globetrotting to beautiful beaches and exotic locations is an exciting part of naturism - but there is a long history of local clubs and social meet-ups- how important do you consider these aspects of naturism/nudism to be for today's naturist and the future growth of naturism?

I’ve said above that I think that naturist clubs need to reinvent themselves if they are to survive, as they don’t seem to appeal to younger people. Naturist swims do attract all age groups but, as evidenced by my own experience, many suitable venues are being replaced by modern swimming pools with large expanses of plate glass that make them unsuitable for naked swimming – actually the naturists probably wouldn’t care, but the general public has to be protected from accidentally seeing a naked person. The online events that were instigated as a result of the Covid lockdowns have shown what a valuable resource they are, particularly to people who can’t get to clubs, swims or other events.


23. Have you found that attitudes towards naturism have varied much in the countries that you have visited and experienced naturism?

Spain (including Balearic and Canary Islands) has a fairly relaxed attitude to beach naturism, and a few hotels have nude sunbathing areas (usually on the roof). Croatia also has lots of naturist opportunities, from beaches to entire islands where you can be naked. I have visited some places, such as Malta, where being naked would get you locked up.


24. If you could go anywhere  in the world as a naturist where would it be?



25. Many naturists incorporate naturism into the daily home life - how important do you think that is to naturists?   

When temperatures permit, I enjoy being naked around the house and garden. However, I don’t consider myself a “lifestyle naturist”. Naturism – or at least being naked – is, for me, a pastime rather than a way of life. So, it’s not a case of incorporating naturism into my daily life, it is more a case of me doing all the usual things but without clothes when I can.


26. Any other thoughts and considerations to add?

It would be nice if the words “naturist” and “naturism” were unnecessary, and nudity was just another dress option. I particularly don’t like the way that British Naturism always insists on writing Naturism with a capital “N”, as I think that just emphasises the “us and them” attitude. Similarly, I think that using the word “textile” to describe someone who prefers to wear clothes reinforces that attitude. Words can be very powerful, and we need to use them carefully.

ANW thank Brian from Berkshire, England for taking the time to write this article and sharing his thoughts . 

ANW welcomes all who are respectful and interested in naturism and invite all genuine naturist organisations, clubs, events, venues and other opportunities to be part of the ANW community and work with us to encourage the growth and acceptance of naturism around the world. If you have any questions email Anna and Steve at [email protected]

© 2023  Brian from Berkshire and All Rights Reserved.