DO you shudder at the thought of stripping off – and then demand to have the lights turned off before sex? If so, you are not alone.

Half of women dread getting naked in their own home, a new survey has discovered. But what if it was MORE comfortable than wearing clothes? Here, BELLA BATTLE meets four women who claim their birthday suit is the only outfit they need.

‘I always walk around at home with nothing on’

8 Janice always walks around the house with nothing onCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

MODEL and presenter Janice Bryant says she loves her body more now than ever. Posing nude to put a tick on her bucket list, widow Janice, 59, from St Ives, Cambs, admits being naked is much easier than trying to find cool clothes for women her age. She says:

‘I have always felt comfortable without clothes on – and that comes from my mum. She had a very repressed family and her cousin sadly died having a backstreet abortion.

From then on, she swore she wouldn’t sweep sex or nudity under the carpet. So she was often naked around me and my brother – and told me the facts of life at five. As a result, I love being naked and always walk around at home with nothing on.

I used to sunbathe topless in the garden but I’m not sure my neighbour’s children would appreciate that now.

8 The model and presenter admits being naked is much easier than trying to find cool clothes for women her ageCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

My body’s not perfect – I’ve got arthritis in my knees and my thighs are a bit wobbly – but the rest isn’t bad. Sure, when I was younger everything was firmer. But I love the curves I have now.

I was so skinny in my twenties and I’ve finally got the great boobs I longed for as a kid.

It’s so easy to commit a style crime, especially for celebrities in the public eye. Mostly I don’t care what people think about my clothes. If I get it wrong, then I get it wrong. But I do feel judged sometimes.

I’ve found it easier to dress for my shape as I’ve got older but there really aren’t that many shops catering for women my age. As soon as I put something on I’m thinking, “Damn, that doesn’t look right with those shoes”. Or there is some other problem. But everything goes with naked.’

‘I don’t have to hide away behind dresses or skirts’

8 Emily loves to see how her curves look from various anglesCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

PLUS-SIZE mentor, positivity coach and pageant queen Emily Blake loves celebrating her body and wants to show her former school bullies she is confident and proud. Emily, 29, of Norwich, has gone from being terrified of seeing herself naked to loving each curve. She says:

‘IT’S taken me 29 years but I now can’t get enough of being naked. I love to wander around the house nude and see how my curves look from various angles.

Loving nudity is for me a huge celebration of how I have beaten the bullies. As a teen I was one of the biggest girls in my class. I hated my naked body then. I couldn’t change in front of my classmates and I used to cling on to my swimming towel for as long as possible before getting in the pool.

I was bullied mercilessly for my weight, my clothes, for being mixed race and having curly, wild hair. My first boyfriend even dumped me because I was “too big” and my self-confidence was crushed.

8 The plus-size pageant queen teaches other women how to love their bodiesCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

But then I took up plus-size pageants in 2013 and things started changing. Being surrounded by friendly curvy women boosted my self-esteem. I was crowned Miss British Beauty Curve in 2014 and then Miss International Curve 2017/18.

These experiences, plus body-positivity classes and even appearing on the catwalk in just a swimsuit have made me love my body again. Now being naked is the biggest reward I can give myself because it shows how far I have come and how much confidence I have won back.

‘I don’t have to hide away behind dresses or skirts – my body is enough to fight the battles I have to fight.

I run body-confidence classes teaching women to look at their bodies in a mirror and love their scars, breasts, bottoms and every aspect of who they are. My curves are what make me a winner.’

‘ My bumpy bits and curves are a designer one-off ’

SUPPORT worker Charlie Stevenson prefers being naked because people judge her by clothes. Charlie, 27, of Stoke-on-Trent, engaged to health and safety manager Mark Whitfield, 46, cannot afford designer clothes – and being nude helped her beat depression. She says:

8 Charlie says being nude helped her beat depressionCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

‘TO me, being naked is the great equaliser. Rich and poor people are all the same when they are without their clothes. How much better that would be than trying to compete with women who flaunt designer shoes and handbags that I cannot afford

I’m engaged to Mark, my partner of five years. He’s a dad of two and every penny we have goes to pay the bills and save for our wedding in August next year.

I make do with the clothes I have and rarely treat myself to a new outfit. I could never keep up with the latest trends and I was a million miles from looking like a supermodel.

Anxiety crippled me – I worried people would judge me on what I wore. But meeting Mark made me realise you should never be judged, or judge other people, by their clothes.

8 The support worker loves taking off her clothes at the end of the dayCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

Mark’s acceptance, my family’s support and my job working with disabled people showed me I should be proud of myself and my body because it’s the most honest version of me I have.

Now, taking off my clothes at the end of the day is like freeing myself. I feel a surge of pride when I see myself in the mirror – naked me is the best me I can be.

Forget about expensive labels, the real me comes with lumps, bumps and scars. And the confidence I feel from accepting that shines through.

I would rather be naked than wear the most expensive outfit in the world. To me, my bumpy bits and curves are a designer one-off.’

‘We don’t need material stuff that weighs us down’

8 Maria feels in her element when she’s nakedCredit: Olivia West – The Sun

CIRCUS performer Maria Antonia Stavrou, from Cricklewood, North West London, loves stripping off. The 30-year-old, who is married to personal trainer Ash Edelman, 29, believes there is too much pressure on young people to always be wearing the right thing. She says:

‘I’M in my element when I am naked. I have been to naked restaurants in London and I love visiting nudist beaches. There’s a little cove near Penzance in Cornwall that I climb down to before stripping off.

Of course, I have my body insecurities – and those days when I don’t think I look quite my best. But on a good day, I feel 100 per cent confident in my own skin.

And I am a full-time circus performer, so have to get changed in front of colleagues all the time. There is no room for modesty. I love the openness of being naked. It is like admitting that we are all animals and don’t need all the material stuff that weighs us down.

8 The circus performer says there is too much pressure on young people to wear the right thing these daysCredit: Olivia West – The Sun


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I believe people shouldn’t be judged on how they dress. Take all that away and just talk to people without any assumptions. I wear yoga pants most of the time because I spend a lot of time in the gym. So the idea of dressing up, or trying to keep on trend, is irrelevant to me. So what?

And there is way too much pressure on young people now to always wear the right thing.

They compare themselves with other people on Instagram and they are going through terrible anxiety thanks to the clothes, bags and shoes they see there.

You have now got teenagers who are spending hundreds of pounds trying to dress just like their favourite stars. It’s complete nonsense. So I say, be naked instead.’

Protesters strip naked in front of Facebook HQ in New York in protest at censorship

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1. Age 1 – 4

What are toes?

2. Age 5 – 9

I love not having any clothes on! Why can’t I walk around naked outside? Why do I have to wear this dress? Yes, take a ton of embarrassing pictures of me prancing around the house butt-ass-naked! I’m the queeeeeEEEEEN.

3. Age 10 – 13

Every time I take my clothes off I see some new weird thing that has only vaguely been explained to me. I guess this is why my mom left that Your Body Is Changing, Girlfriend! Now Go Be A Woman! book on my bed and we never spoke of it again. Why do things have to change? Also STOP CALLING THEM BREAST BUDS. I’m confused.

4. Age 13 – 16

How can Jaime Goldberg just like, pirouette around the locker room naked when the rest of us are doing the patented teenage girl change-without-showing-any-private-body-parts shuffle? Is it because her name has an “I” in the wrong place? Her body isn’t weird and lumpy like mine. I think I’ve seen her boobs more than I’ve seen my own boobs.

5. Age 17 – 18

Mike has never seen me totally naked but he has been pawing at my bra for the last 40 minutes so I think it’s time to go for it. I am freeeeeaking outtttt. Here is my vagina! Being seen by a person who is not my mom. He is kind of looking at it the way you’d look at an alien, but an awesome alien that gives you free pizza. I can’t believe the effect my total nakedness has on him! I feel like Cleopatra or Courtney Stodden or something. I could get used to this.

6. Age 18 – 21

Wow, everyone at college is basically Jaime Goldberg. I guess boobs in the girls’ shower/bathroom area is no big thing. So I’ll just go do it and then walk back to my dorm room with my little waterproof basket of loofahs and stuff like a PIIIIIIMP. Also, about 17 guys have seen me naked since Welcome Week, and none of them have complained.

7. Age 22 – 23

He’s gonna see the food baby. Why did I eat that burrito? Why couldn’t I have gotten a salad made of air and tears?

8. Age 24

Oh, right, because burritos are delicious and I would like to enjoy my life.

9. Age 25 – 26

Dude. This is the best I’m probably ever going to look. Those communal dressing rooms at Loehmann’s don’t even bother me. **Flawless.

10. Age 27 – 30

Am I drooping? Oh, screw it, who cares.

Follow Anna on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Anna Breslaw Writer.

Why Being Naked Around Complete Strangers Helped This Woman Love Her Body

Humans Of New York, a blog by photographer Brandon Stanton, has been capturing our hearts with intimate daily scenarios for quite some time now. A recent post features a woman who found self-acceptance after participating in nude figure modeling. The unnamed woman is shown seated on a bench with a soft smile on her face.

Accompanying her beautiful image is a close-up of her cell phone gallery, showing several nude, artistic sketches of her body.

“Last year I started figure modeling for art classes,” she tells HONY. “I’m plus-sized, so I was a little worried about being nude. I was nervous about everyone seeing my stomach, and my thighs, and all my fat. But apparently, my curves are fun to draw.”

She continued by sharing how her perceptive of her body changed after receiving an outpouring of positive and encouraging comments from the students she was posing for.

“In the classroom, all the features I saw as negative were viewed as assets,” she explained. “One student told me that it’s no fun to draw straight lines. It’s been liberating for me. I’ve always been insecure about my belly. But now my belly has been part of so many beautiful pieces of art.”

The post has struck a chord with thousands of readers and has already garnered over 10,000 shares. Not only that, but over 3,000 people have commented with their support. “You are indeed a work of art just the way you are,” one commenter wrote. Another said, “Plus-sized is a human construct. You are beautiful, and right-sized.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

After writing last week on Getting Comfortable Being Naked with Your Husband and Tips for Confidently Baring It All for the Hubby, I decided talk directly to the hubbies…those ones who want to see more of their wives.

See, I get it, husbands. You men are in a precarious position. Here’s the set-up:

  • You want to see your wife naked.
  • She’s not that comfortable with her body.

So you start thinking, “What can I do to help her feel okay about her body?” And the problem-solving begins . . .

Maybe you can tell her to just get over it. Maybe you can tell her she’s pretty…once (that should do it, right?). Maybe you can sign her up at your gym. Maybe you can remind her that many women who’ve given birth have extra fat. Maybe you can suggest she skip dessert. Maybe you can even suggest a weight loss program.

Don’t do it! I’m warning you like the movie audience viewer who sees the girl armed with a hairpin entering the serial killer’s lair. Don’t. Go. There.

In fact, here’s a peek into the female brain: Oftentimes when we complain or vent about something, we don’t want a quick fix. We’re not looking for a resolution. We’re looking for your reassurance.

So what can a husband do to help his wife get naked?

Tell her she’s beautiful. Often, sincerely, deeply. Be consistent and specific, even stating which specific parts of her body you find particularly appealing and why. She may have a hard time accepting the broad statement that she’s “hot,” but tell her you adore the way her hips curve and fit perfectly into your hands? That’s specific enough to mean something.

Want an example? Check out Song of Songs 4 and 7, where the husband wonderfully describes the beauty of his wife.

Tell her what seeing her naked body does to you. And no, I’m not talking about the erection, men. You don’t have to say that. We see it.

Express the arousal, emotion, and satisfaction you experience when you get to see and touch the one woman in the world you’re allowed to, and deeply want to, see and touch. Tell her why it means so much to share your body with her and have her share her body with you. Say why you love having that view, that access, that just-you-and-me feeling. I don’t need to give you the words. You men express yourselves pretty well when you need to. Just make it a priority.

Allow her time to prepare. She may not want to just yank it all off and jump into bed buck naked. It’s a vulnerable thing for women to remove their clothing, and your wife may need time and practice to feel comfortable baring it all — even for you. Suggest she take her time, maybe starting with a bubble bath, putting on lingerie she likes (you can like it too, but make sure she’s good with it), and turning on relaxing music.

Give her a chance to run through whatever routine works to diffuse the pressures of her day and help her get into a let’s-get-naked mood. The more you can help her through the initial jitters, the more likely she’ll grow used to this nude thing and get undressed more readily and easily.

Focus on more than the super-sexy parts. Yes, we wives know you like breasts and lady bits. It’s actually pretty awesome how awesome you men think your women are. However, your wary wife may assume you don’t like the rest of her body so much if you’re always racing to the erogenous zones. I mean, who claims a film is their favorite movie when all they ever watch is the climax scene?

So hang out at other parts of her body. Spend time touching, caressing, complimenting, kissing, fondling…her face, her arms, her legs, her torso, her neck, her whatever. Let her know through your full attention that so much of her body is beautiful to you, that every part of her matters. You can still get to the climax scene, but pay attention to the rest of the show.

Watch your words. Your opinion really matters, and she’s especially sensitive to how you view her body. She figures that out by what you say, how you say it, and even sometimes what you don’t say.

Consider this scripture: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). Your words have to build her up according to her needs. What does she need you to say? And what does she need you to refrain from saying? I’m not trying to put you guys in a eggshell mine field, but simply watch your words and your tone and make sure you’re building her up with what you say.

Don’t talk about other women. While you shouldn’t lie to your spouse, you needn’t share every single thought that crosses your brain. If my husband notices a beautiful woman during the day (I’m not talking about lusting here), how does that help our marriage and my confidence for him to share how she looked when he gets home?

Wives who recognize how visual their husbands are are all too aware of how many beautiful women are out there for your viewing. We know some ladies surpass our beauty and could capture your attention. Then we look at ourselves and wonder what you could possibly see in this body that would excite you so much. So avoid lusting after other women (Matthew 5:27-28) and don’t always point out who else you find physically attractive.

Encourage her toward health. If your wife is extremely overweight, frumpy in appearance, or let herself go in some other way, don’t point at her flaws from the other side of the room. Get on her side and become a supporter of her health. And don’t just talk weight loss. If you simply focus on weight, she might go on yo-yo diets and screw up her metabolism and health and appearance even more. Talk health. If she’s healthy, she’ll look and feel better.

Suggest walking together. Suggest taking cooking classes together. Keep the kids while she exercises with friends or goes to the gym. Encourage her to update her wardrobe. Schedule a spa and makeover day for her. Make her health and her feeling good about her body the priority, and you’ll both appreciate the results.

Helping your wife feel better about her body will encourage her to feel comfortable and confident enough to share it with you!

And now let’s ask some wives and husbands, how can a husband help his wife feel more comfortable and confident getting naked in the marital bedroom? What’s worked or would work for you?

Why we NEVER let our husbands see us naked: Four wives tell how crippling body shyness affects their love life – while their men reveal how they feel about it


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  • Meghan King Edmonds doesn’t want the ‘baggage’ of dating a man with kids… amid ongoing divorce drama with estranged husband Jim
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When I was a little girl, I was one of the nakedest little girls you’d ever meet. Kids have no sense of shame about their bodies, and why should they? Being naked, as long as you’re not shivering out in the cold, is one of the most natural things a human body can be. From communal bath time with the cousins, where I was only distinguishable by the length of my hair (come on, every family has one of those dorky photos), to walking around diaper-less and fancy-free, to hauling up my polyester Barbie nightie and boogying bottomless in the living room, naked was the way I wanted to be.

Something changed when I was about 6 or 7. I was at a pool club in Brooklyn, wearing an itty-bitty white bikini with rainbow rhinestones on it, and my friend’s older brother said something. Maybe about the bikini being see-through, oooooh. It was my favorite bikini, but suddenly I was mortified. I hurried out of the pool. I remember, every time I saw it, my stomach would clench with nerves and nausea. To be seen naked, suddenly, was an embarrassing thing. Good-bye bikinis, hello plain black one-pieces.

Girls are taught to be ashamed of their bodies in a lot of different ways. From diet commercials and the implausibly thin models in magazines to the sounds of boys and men cooing and sneering and commenting on our bodies as if they have a right to them, naked, exposed skin becomes a hell of a lot more than just natural. It’s simultaneously an invitation and explanation (“She must have been asking for it!”) and one of the main preoccupations of many girls’ lives. Skinny girls long to be a little more about that bass since Real Women Have Curves; fat girls are told their curves are in all the wrong places. It’s toxic.

I spent all of high school and college fretting about my weight and my shape, to the point of it becoming unhealthy. I’d wake up in bed with someone and do that thing they do in the movies or on TV: traipse around with a sheet covering me, hopping from one foot to the other while I tug on my underwear, careful not to let anything show in the light of day.

And then suddenly I was sick of it.

I started to look in the mirror, every single day, with deliberate and positive thoughts. I banished the scale to collect dust under my bed; I banished the thoughts of models and actresses with waists tinier than mine, with more severe and refined bone structure showing off the hollows of their cheeks. These are my thighs, I thought, strong and brown, firmer in the summer months when I spend hours walking and running and dancing. These are my hips, wide like my grandmother gave me. “Childbearin’ hips,” as if that were not a choice but a given. This is the little pouch of my belly where my love of cupcakes and French fries resides; my skin is softest here. Here are my breasts, with stretch marks creeping across the tops of them like ivy; I’m told I have a lovely décolletage.

And my ass, well. I could probably butt-bump J.Lo to Saturn, but it’s not like it’s a competition.

I once had a writing professor who stressed the importance of extending positivity and kindness to each other in a class where we bared our souls. We were naked in that class in a different way, but there’s still something revolutionary in looking at yourself with compassion, with love. Taking the time to see and appreciate yourself exactly as you are — I do it every day. I stand naked in the mirror and let warm shower water dry cool on my skin. I dance. I stage a revolution of one.

Follow Christina on Twitter.

I Was Naked In Front Of Strangers For 4 Days & Here’s What Happened

When I was invited to attend a “Naughty Girls Getaway” at a clothing optional resort called Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica, I considered admitting that there is, indeed, a God. My answer was obviously, “Um, yes!” — but as I counted down the days until my trip, I was surprised that my colleagues thought that what I was about to embark on was an impressive feat rather than, say, a vacation.

More than one woman said to me, “You’re so brave. I could never do that. I’m too self-conscious about my to be naked in front of other people.” Their response baffled me; here I thought I was pulling off the coup of a lifetime by getting to have a free vacation actually count as “work” — and the women around me were treating me like a loose Joan of Arc. Apparently, being naked is still a radical act.

Though I considered myself pretty damn comfortable with being naked (you’ll find me naked at home on my couch as I write this, laptop balanced atop my bush), what I found out at Hedonism is that I had an entire other layer of shame around my nakedness and body, just waiting to be shed. To my own surprise, my four days at a nudist resort profoundly changed my life. I left feeling, with a nearly evangelical surety, that being naked in “public” is something every woman should get to experience at least once in her life.

I was naked for the better part of four days, and here’s what happened.

I Learned That Nakedness Makes Me Feel Less Competitive With Other Women

My first moment of public nakedness came on Day 1 aboard a sailboat, when I was going snorkeling with the other journalists invited on the trip. In an attempt to be naked as much as possible, I hadn’t even packed a swimsuit, so I knew I was going in topless. I was on the last day of my period, so I stripped down to my THINX underwear, and was the first to stand up on the boat, tits out. Like that scene in Spartacus, slowly, one by one, other women started taking off their tops too. I saw all their breasts; brown, pale, saggy, impossibly perky. Mine were definitely the smallest. In that moment, though, it didn’t matter. We jumped into the ocean, and swam. By the time we climbed out, it felt like we’d all become close friends. Nakedness, I found, forges female friendship quickly.

As the day progressed, I went with one of the other writers to sunbathe naked. We talked and bonded easily, nude. It was awesome, like this whole level of competition or reserve had been stripped away, right along with our clothes. Everyone was flawed and lovely, and everyone had something to offer.

I Realized That Walking Naked Is Harder Than Laying Down Naked

When I was laying there sunbathing with my new friend, I realized I had to pee. My impulse was to pull on my dress along with my sandals, but seeing all the nudists clustered over by the bar, I realized putting clothing on was actually totally unnecessary.

“I think I’m going to get up, but I’m kind of scared!” I told my new friend. “Walking and standing up feels different than laying down.”

“Oh my God, it’s totally different than laying down!” she exclaimed.

“I’m doing it.”

I walked to the bathroom, and, lo and behold, nobody catcalled me, or made me feel weird in the slightest. I was just a person, going to the bathroom naked. When I did it again an hour later, I was so confident I even swiveled my hips a little. Still, walking remained more challenging than swimming or sunbathing naked, in many ways because it reminded me more of my experiences as a woman feeling vulnerable on the street; I realized I’d internalized the male gaze to the extent that I had come to view walking as a vulnerable act. As scary as it was at first, walking naked at Hedonism still felt safer than walking home in a bad neighborhood alone at night, fully clothed. It was nice to feel myself unlearn certain fears, when each time, my boundaries were completely respected.

I Was LITERALLY The Only One With Pubic Hair

Seriously, the. Only. One. Apparently, I missed the memo that nudists go bare. And I mean totally bare. Even all the men had nothing below their paunches besides, well, you know. I’ve written before about why I choose to rock a full bush, but at Hedonism, I was really tested to embrace my decision fully. Literally being the only person in sight with a bush, I realized, made me different. But it also made me remember what my other recent experiences dating have taught me: being different also makes me sexier.

The differences I saw on all the people’s bodies made them unique, yes; but it was really the degree to which they owned those differences that made them sexy. It’s a cliche you hear all the time, but when you’re naked around a bunch of other naked people, you really realize it’s true: sexiness is about embracing what makes you different, with pride.

I Started Really Feelin’ Myself

Once I was naked all the time, I started feeling sexier and prettier, almost immediately. I was taking tons of naked selfies, which I almost never do, and I was even feeling body parts I’d normally been self-conscious about. My little boobs, which I’d carefully accentuated for years with lightly-lined bras, were now out and bare. And I began to realize, in a new, profound way, that they are beautiful. Before, I thought they were nice, but in need of public normalizing. Naked, I refused to confine or alter them again. When I was wearing a shirt or dress to dinner (a rule for the cafeteria, for hygienic reasons), I let them be pressed flat, and even found it kind of sexy. They were mine, and there was no need to conform them to other people’s ideals. I was comfortable with my body, because I’d been looking at it all day.

Without clothes on, it’s like I began to see my body for what it was: a beautiful, functioning mechanism that allowed me to swim, pump blood to my heart, eat delicious fruit, and flirt with good-looking people. There was no reason to get down on it for anything, certainly not when it was serving me so well and fabulously.

I Began To Understand What Hedonism Actually Means

In our puritanical society, the word “hedonism” has gotten a bad rap. Its connotations are of being selfish, amoral, or crazy. But here’s the actual definition of the word: “the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.”

In that spirit, I decided to follow all my hedonistic desires while at Hedonism. Interestingly, I found that didn’t always mean taking things to a gluttonous place, at all. I had thought that as a chronic pleasure-seeker, only following my desires might lead to pure mayhem. In reality, it actually made it much easier to exercise moderation — because there was no premise of depriving myself in the first place.

Because I was in the sun, swimming, and doing just about everything but eating in the cafeteria naked, I found it became much, much easier to feel connected to my body. I could hear exactly when it was hungry, and feed it just what it wanted, whether that was a giant salad, or Oreos slathered in peanut butter. I could feel when it wanted to move; rather than telling myself I “should” work out, I simply wanted to feel my naked form stretch and swim in the sun. I could even feel with more accuracy when I wanted to make out with the cute guy I was hanging out with, and when I didn’t want to go any further. With my judgement and self-restraint stripped down and the only rule to follow my desires, my body and I were able to communicate in a whole new way. It was like it finally said, Thanks for the freedom! Now here’s what I’d like to do next. True hedonism simply meant following my desires, without judgement. Hedonism, in other words, was empowerment.

I Learned To Wield My Body’s Power In A New Way

A funny thing happened when I was naked in front of so many people: I got better at asserting my right not be harassed. It only happened a couple times that I was hit on past the point of normal friendliness — for the most part, my fellow nudists were extremely respectful of my space, and it seemed like there were almost more boundaries than there would be otherwise, perhaps out of respect for the fact that you’re in a more “vulnerable” position. The couple times I was hit on, at first, I was friendly. It was a habit; entertain the conversation, and try to make it clear you’re not interested. But when that welcome was overstayed, or eyes lingered to long, I found it was much easier for me to assert my space, saying “OK, I don’t want to talk anymore. Bye.” Once, I even said, “I don’t want you looking at me like that.” I’ve never been so direct.

On the flip-side, I found I was also more comfortable than usual having my body looked at. I could feel how powerful my form was, and how looking at it could be something I dished out or retracted consent for. By the second day, I enjoyed stripping down by the pool and allowing certain people to look; I also enjoyed the power of being left alone, and asserting that desire.

As women, we’re raised to believe that we’ll be more “vulnerable” if we’re naked, or even dress provocatively. I found it was quite the opposite; in an atmosphere that emphasizes bodily autonomy, safety, and respect, being naked can only empower women further. It’s rape culture that’s attempted to constrain that very potential. If women realized it fully, we’d be unstoppable — and those who fear the feminine know it. It’s why we’re told to cover up; it’s why we’re told our bodies as they are aren’t “beach ready.” When you’re naked, you feel on a whole new level what profound bullshit that is, what an attempt it is to control the most beautiful and unstoppable force there is: female sexuality.

I Came To Believe Every Woman Should Experience This

Before I went to Hedonism, I thought I was relatively body positive, confident, and open-minded. It wasn’t until I literally shed all my layers that I realized just how far I still have to go. I have never, ever felt healthier, more beautiful, or powerful than I did in these four days. By the end of the trip, to my own surprise, I was profoundly changed. I had a hard time returning to civilization, and find I still think about when I can go back to what was, to me, a Garden of Eden. Here was a magical, safe space. A space where I was encouraged, as a woman, to be naked, indulge every sensory pleasure, embrace my sexuality, and not fear for my safety.

As women, we never get to experience this so dramatically and fully. We worry walking home late to our apartment, we’re told that if we wear too short a skirt we might get raped. We also almost never get to be in the presence of other real, naked female bodies. I saw women of all shapes, ages, and sizes. I saw an old woman with a sagging, pierced clit. I saw a woman with so much cellulite that it seemed to form deep ridges on her thighs. I saw women with big breasts, small breasts, fat tummies, and flat bellies. Everyone, including me, was owning it. Everyone was given the space to simply exist, naked, as they are.

Images: JulieShakeYaBooty, HedonismJamaica, Rachel Krantz/Instagram

Throughout history, artists have seen the nude figure as a beautiful expression of womanhood, in all its glorious shapes and sizes. But ask the average female how she views her own bod in the buff and it gets a lot more complicated. Nakedness reveals everything we usually get to hide: vulnerabilities that date back to high school, parts you struggle to love (or just outright hate), scars, stretch marks, etc., etc., etc. Women’s Health conducted a reader survey in 2013 to chart that complex relationship we have with our stripped-down selves. Now, though it’s just four years later, a lifetime of change has occurred on the body front. The body-positivity movement exploded, strong replaced skinny as social media’s favorite adjective, and #loveyourcurves campaigns abound—making us wonder, is there more love? More peace? How do women really feel about their bodies in 2017?

RELATED: Sofia Vergara Shares What It Was Like To Pose Naked At Age 45

To find out, we polled over 2,700 women in the U.S., plus thousands more around the globe.* Some of the results are inspiring; others, confounding. Check out this snapshot of the results:

Emily Tiberio

Read on to discover what’s changed—and what, rather defiantly, has not.

*Women’s Health’s international editions conducted the survey in their respective countries: Australia, Brazil, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, plus a combined eight countries in Latin America.

Christine Frapech

The message that women should love and celebrate their bodies 24/7 is pervasive. Maybe too pervasive.

Picture a skin-care ad with a diverse group of nonmodels—with curves, cellulite, and real-life butts—laughing and hugging in their white undies. Been there, seen that? Well, not in 2005, when Dove debuted its “Real Beauty” campaign. Then, it was revolutionary. “Dove’s campaign really helped the body-positivity conversation get going and felt like this very big, very visible moment,” says Jeffrey Hunger, Ph.D., a health social psychologist studying weight stigma and body image at the University of California at Los Angeles. Other public voices joined the chorus—Lena Dunham proudly went nude in Girls to show an underrepresented body type—and on social, #thighgap has taken a virtual backseat to the more accepting (and, yeah, funny) #mermaidthigh.

And although most women dig this movement as a concept, just a small fraction say they actually feel “positive” about their own bodies. Why such a startling disconnect? “The body-positive army is still really small compared to all the influencers and brands making money off of women not feeling good about their bodies,” says Renee Engeln, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and author of Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women.

Another theory? Backlash to the idea of being expected to love your bod nonstop. Who loves every single element about anything all day, every day? (Okay, except maybe videos of Jiff the Pomeranian.) Far more women in our survey said the best way to describe their feelings about their body is “accepting or neutral.” The results were the same in every country we surveyed (minus the Netherlands). “We spend so much time being told life is easier when you’re pretty and thin—if you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t actually feel bad about your body, that’s an amazing thing,” says 31-year-old Jyssica, a writer in Brooklyn who wears size 12. Engeln says aiming for body acceptance might be a healthier approach. “If you have some good days and some bad days, that’s realistic,” says Engeln. “An overall attitude of appreciation and gratitude is the goal.”

RELATED: This Woman Took A Picture Wearing Just Tights To Make A Powerful Statement About Body Image

Christine Frapech

For two little pieces of fabric, this bathing suit causes some pretty big feelings—still.

“Every body is a bikini body.” It’s a major mantra now—but just two years ago, insulting phrases like “bikini worthy” dominated the social and media landscapes. Today, two-piece moments celebrating women of all types roll out as often as software security updates—and yay for that! Yet. The percentage of American women who won’t be caught dead in a bikini actually increased since 2013. And that was true in almost every country we surveyed. What is going on?

As with the general body-positivity movement, seeing more body diversity in bikinis “is just a drop in the bucket compared to the decades of the notion that only a specific body type can wear a bikini,” says Elizabeth Daniels, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. And while a mantra is one thing, it doesn’t always translate to real-life moments. “Everyone says they’re supportive of body positivity, but inside they could be thinking, That girl shouldn’t be wearing a bikini,” says Olivia, 23, a PR coordinator in NYC who wears size 12.

The better news: Women’s two-piece attitudes don’t signal an epidemic of overall body hatred. “You can have great body image without feeling good in a bikini,” says body-image expert Kjerstin Gruys, Ph.D., an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada in Reno. “Healthy body image is more about viewing your appearance as only one small part of your overall sense of self.” And among the women we surveyed, there was an overwhelmingly happy response to a less body-centric question. When asked, “Do you think you’re beautiful?” more than two-thirds said yes. Jennifer, 46, an entrepreneur in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who wears size 6, explains: “After having my kids and surviving cervical cancer, my standards have changed. I don’t want to wear a bikini. When I look in the mirror, I focus on my beautiful hair, toned muscles, and happy smile.”

RELATED: Here’s Why This Blogger Put On A Bikini For The First Time In 25 Years

Christine Frapech

There’s one surprising body type we all want to see more of in media.

Cell phones on a Buddhist retreat. Nice guys on dating apps. Women who are a size 10. Turns out, all are equally rare. While body-positive buzz focuses a lot on plus-size women, “in-between-size bodies”—say, sizes 8 to 12—took the top spot in the U.S. and most countries around the world as the group women want to see more prominently in media and social media. “We have thinner bodies being represented in the mainstream media, and there’s the plus-size movement, but we’re still lacking diversification of shapes and sizes overall,” says psychology professor Daniels. Real women explain their feelings: “I wear a size 12, and while it’s great to see plus-size women, I feel like I never see anyone who resembles me,” says Theresa, 43, a writer in Cranford, New Jersey. Twenty-five-year-old Brianna, an account executive in New York who wears size 10, asks: “Where are the real women who are flat-chested but have big thighs? Or the women with thicker arms but not a large waist? There’s a good chunk of them—and we don’t see them in ads and rarely on social media.” Ladies, WH is listening.

Here’s how Sofia Vergara really felt about posing naked for our annual Naked Issue:

​ Christine Frapech

Across the board, around the world, if there’s one body part women struggle to love, it’s their stomach.

Put less euphemistically: When asked which body part they most want to show off, women put abs dead last. The only time they ranked their midsection first? As their “biggest insecurity when naked in front of a guy,” and the body part that needs more exercise attention.

Behind the global battle? The unwavering appeal of a flat belly. Big and small boobs and booties have gone in and out of vogue, yet a softer midsection hasn’t trended since, oh, approximately the Rubenesque 1600s. “If you look at parts of the body that distinguish a male body from a female body and trigger attraction, there is some evidence we’ve evolved over time to appreciate a low waist-to-hip ratio in women,” says Engeln. “Gaining weight in the stomach changes that, which is possibly part of why we tend to hold flat stomachs in high regard.”

We’re not here to say flat abs should be held in high regard (abs of all kinds rock). But if you want ’em, frustration can ensue because, for some women, not even exercise does the trick. Some of us are predisposed to store fat in our middles. Then there’s the fact that we’re the ones who birth humans—your body is primed for the possibility whether you want to be a mom or not. “Estrogen drives fat to the pelvis, plus the butt and thighs, which seems to be physiologically advantageous for pregnancy,” says Keri Peterson, M.D., an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC. Chronic stress is yet another hurdle; it can increase cortisol levels, which boosts appetite and triggers weight gain in the abdominal area.

But wait! There is one thing you can control: how you’re challenging your tum at the gym. “Lots of women think endless crunches and planks are ideal, but abs are more fully worked with resistance,” says Cassandra Forsythe, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor of physical education and human performance at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. Try cable twists, kettlebell halos (rotating a kettlebell around your head), or medicine-ball slams.

Christine Frapech

Women want to lose weight. Less expected? They’d much rather be toned.

The more things change… You know how that goes, and it holds true for weight loss. In both our surveys, the exact same percentage of women said they’d like to lose weight: 83. And though TV shows and online transformations featuring dramatic-weight-loss stories—like, 50 to 100 pounds—are now super popular, the number of desired-pounds-lost also remained the same from 2013 to 2017: six to 10. That relatively insignificant amount may reflect a knee-jerk reaction. “We’re culturally conditioned to never admit to being happy with our body weight,” explains sociologist Gruys. “So even women who are where they want to be may still say they’d like to lose a few more pounds.”

Where the tides are happily turning: When you juxtapose the desire to be thin with the desire to be defined, the latter wins—by a lot. Allowed to check all answers that applied, 73 percent of women said they’d feel more confident naked if they were more toned, compared with 48 percent of women who said they’d feel better if they lost weight. This was true across nearly every country. And it echoes what we heard from a 2015 survey of WH readers, where you told us you wanted to see the words toned and strong on the cover. We couldn’t agree more.

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Women’s Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!

Kristen Dold Kristen Dold is a freelance writer based in Chicago.

Clothing Optional: What It’s Like To Be A Nudist

By Julia Ingle Updated September 30, 2019 By Julia Ingle Updated September 30, 2019

I love being naked around other people. I don’t mean in the flashing-innocent-bystanders sex offender way, but in the naked-hippie-retreat kinda way. I’ve recently discovered the quiet power of exposing my bare body around others, sporting my birthday suit at clothing-optional baths, retreats, and hot springs galore. If you, like many of my friends, are someone who thinks they would never be able to do such a thing, read on. It’s truly not as scary as you think, and you may be surprised at what you discover about yourself when you’re immersed in a body of water with a dozen other naked strangers.

1. It’s Beyond Freeing

There is something to be said about spending some time in the form that we’re in when we enter the world. If you think about it, most of us wear clothing 23.5 hours a day, removing our clothes only to bathe or have sex. It can be nerve-wracking to be naked in a sea of naked strangers but, let me tell you, removing your clothes around others is a seriously liberating thing. Why? Because, in a clothing-optional space, literally nobody cares that you are not wearing clothes. Nobody looks at you weird, nobody judges you, and nobody stares at the flaws you think you have. In a world where we are constantly worrying about how we look and what we do, this ambivalence provides a level of freedom that is indescribable.

2. It Boosts Your Self-Esteem

Being in a clothing-optional place exposes you (literally) to a myriad of different body types – hairy, smooth, large, small, tall, short – you name it, you’ll see it. When I went on my first retreat, I realized that was the first time I had seen naked and near-naked bodies outside of advertising, entertainment, and pornography. These bodies had not been selected and airbrushed for their perfection, they were normal people with normal bodies – just like me. It made me realize that 1) I had been holding myself to an impossible standard of beauty and flawlessness that did not exist outside of a photo studio and 2) the body I was working with was pretty bangin’ in and of itself.

3. It’s Physically Comfortable

Many types of clothing and bathing suits, especially those designed for women, are inherently uncomfortable to wear. We’ve grown so accustomed to bunching underwear and scratchy fabric that you don’t really notice how uncomfortable it is – that is until you shed this outer layer. The first time I went for a swim in a pool without a bathing suit was nothing short of magical. I had never noticed how uncomfortable and restrictive it was to do the breaststroke in a suit of nylon, spandex, and elastic – aka the most uncomfortable materials known to (wo)man – until I tried swimming au natural.

4. It Restores Your Faith in Humanity

One of my fears going into a co-ed clothing-optional space was whether, as a woman, I would be the target of unwanted stares or advances from male retreat-goers. My experience, however, was so far the opposite it seriously restored my faith in the human species. I never got so much as a lingering glance or even an undesired conversation for the entire week I was there. I realized that rarely happens in a given clothed week of my life! People who flock to these types of retreats are normally there for spiritual and relaxation reasons, not to scam on unsuspecting women. I felt 100% safe and comfortable the entire time and realized that it was a nice break from the normal street harassment many of us, unfortunately, experience in day-to-day life.

Of course, it’s important to find a place that you feel comfortable and safe. Luckily, there are tons of clothing-optional places for you to choose from and the internet age has made it easy to find reviews from other newbies like you! Co-ed, single-sex, day-use, retreats, nude everywhere, nude only in designated areas – the options are endless and ready for you to discover your naked self!

The Frisky

Recently, I ended up naked in front of a full-length mirror. It was an accident. Seriously, it was. I don’t walk around naked that much. Anyway, there I was, naked, in front of this mirror. And for some reason, I took a long moment, just to look. And it was weird. Because it occurred to me that I never do that. Which I guess is actually pretty normal. But the weird part was that I didn’t really know my own naked body. It was vaguely familiar, of course. I mean, I do take showers and stuff. But I almost never pay attention to it, except to give it some unhelpful critique or be surprised by how chubby it’s gotten in certain places. Actually, ever since I gained some weight, I’ve wanted to be naked even less. Especially when there’s no immediate sex involved. Standing in front of the mirror, I had a small epiphany. I should get to know my naked body. I should get good at being naked. Actually, everyone should. If I was a dictator, I’d mandate daily naked time. And free healthcare for all! And cake! But mostly naked time. Why? Here are some reasons…

1. This is you. Under all those clothes, this the way you actually look. The rest is a disguise. Isn’t it weird not to know your own naked body? It’s kind of weird. Sometimes I feel like I’m mostly a brain, and then there’s this body attached. This body that inevitably looks disproportionate in photos. This body that decided to get abruptly curvy recently, but which had before been kind of bony. My body seems less a wonderland, as John Mayer might sing, and more a mysterious wilderness that occasionally sprouts a strangely placed hair like a flag, thus declaring its eternal independence. But no matter how separate from your body you feel, you are your body. And it is you. You’re this weird body/brain combination—like some hybrid alien creature– no, like a person. So you should get to know yourself. Naked.

2. It’s more fun. I have been known to feel a little awkward about being naked. Like, sometimes if someone else is around but for some reason I have to change, I do that squirmy-inside-the-clothes dance that usually results in either a new outfit or me falling on my face in the locker room at the gym. But how much more fun is life when you feel good about being naked? A lot, I’m willing to bet. Not that you have to whip everything off in front of some strangers, but it’s better not to have to worry about them seeing something unflattering. How much more fun is it to feel like your naked body is flattering? SO MUCH MORE FUN.

3. Sex. This is a big one. And it’s better when you like the way you look naked, when you know what you look like naked, and so it’s not shocking, and when you are comfortable being naked. Otherwise, it can be really, really awkward. It can be “please just turn off the light before I take this robe off” awkward. It can be “wait, do you have a flashlight so I can find my way back to my robe” afterwards awkward. I hope it’s never that awkward.. But sex can definitely get pretty un-amazing when you’re worried about your body. And your body definitely has to be (at least relatively) naked for sex. For amazing sex, body confidence is an absolute necessity. And I’m assuming we all want to have amazing sex? Right? OK, good.

4. Clothes. The better you feel naked, the better you’ll feel in clothes. Because clothes won’t just be about hiding things, they’ll be about celebrating things. I want my clothes to be a celebration. Is that asking too much of them? I think not!

5. Because it’s there. Like Everest. But a lot less dangerous and snowy. I mean, mine isn’t snowy. If yours is, that’s totally fine. Our bodies are challenging, though. They’re complicated and disobedient and sometimes they feel like they need to be tamed. Sometimes they are an obstacle that needs to be overcome. Climbed, if you will. Like Mount Everest. Or maybe they just need to be appreciated more. That’s what I really think. So a little less like Mount Everest and a little more like a puppy. It just needs attention! Give it love and attention and it will reward you with feelings of happiness and comfort. And sex appeal.

6. Your body “flaws” won’t be as shocking. I was shocked to notice that I have back fat. It must have crept up on me. The other day I was typing on my laptop in a towel, right after showering, and I leaned back in my chair and caught a glimpse of my back in the upright mirror by the table. Oh, the horror that awaited me there! Was that a ROLL? As in, a cinnamon roll or some other doughy pastry? On my back? Why, God, why? Because that’s what happens when you’re not really skinny and you have skin on your back, apparently. It would not have been so shocking if I typed in the (partial) nude more often. Or just knew my naked body better. Then I would’ve been like, “Yep. Back fat. It’s a fact.” That reminds me—I’m totally craving a cinnamon roll. Those things are good.

7. You’ll know your real sizes. My boobs are generally a lie. I’m wearing a padded bra all the time. When I’d just started dating my husband, I had this horrible realization that the first time he saw me without a bra, he might be … underwhelmed. Or downright offended. “False advertising!” He was fine, but it made me think about the dramatic difference between my clothed and naked boobs, and I wondered why I was afraid of having breasts that were, um, the actual size of my breasts. Why am I afraid of that? Maybe in part it’s because I’m so unused to it. The unknown is scary. But my boobs don’t have to be unknown. I just have to take off my bra, and there they are. Like magic.

8. You’ll feel more comfortable in general. If you can walk around your apartment naked and happy, walking across a room in clothes is probably a piece of cake. If you can eat a piece of cake naked and happy (this might be my ultimate goal, in life), then you can definitely do anything. Liking yourself naked is liking yourself exposed, flawed, complicated, and undone. If you can like yourself like that, you can face the world proud and naked! Or just proud. With the confidence of a confident naked person.

So … do it! Stand naked in front of a mirror for a while. Do this more than once. Try walking around naked. Possibly eating cake. Have sex with the lights on, and take time to admire your own body in action. This is not totally self-absorbed, it’s healthy and good for everyone. You could even try naked yoga. I have not gone that far, but it doesn’t mean you can’t surpass me. Go ahead, I dare you, surpass me!

Original by Kate Fridkis

The Man Who Finds Pure Joy in Being Constantly Naked

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

I’m on a sofa in a bungalow at the end of a sleepy cul-de-sac, in Andover. Like many places between London and the coast, the Hampshire town can often feel like a lived in pit-stop, just far enough away from the M3 motorway for people to live with some peace.

Despite the cold temperature outside, the man who’s invited me into his home sits across from me in just a t-shirt and a pair of high street shorts (think: a swimming trunk-like, relaxed fit that wouldn’t be out of place on a budget airline flight out to Europe). In a way, it’s a surprise he’s wearing anything at all. He goes by the name Naked Martin online (though Martin when you meet him in person). So, the shorts and tee are mostly a formality – something to wear as we sip tea and say hello. Later he’ll pose in front of me wearing nothing.

You see, Naked Martin, lifelong nudist, is happier when clothes-free. As he calmly sits on an armchair in his living room, he says we’re the only living creatures who struggle with nudity. We like sex; yes. But are we comfortable with our bodies? Not 100 percent of the time, for cultural reasons that vary from place to place (plenty of them rooted in conservatism). Martin wants to change this. That’s why he’s happy to take his clothes off – in front of me in his bungalow, but also online, in front of the world.

And that’s because nudity is not just a lifestyle for Martin, but a business. If you don’t already know of him – and fair enough, he’s a man who likes being naked, not a worldwide celebrity – he’s an almost-viral star who found small-time fame (32.1K followers, on Twitter) through social media. His breakthrough stunt arrived in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when he shoved an England flag up his bottom and danced around his living room, in the nude, singing the “Three Lions” hook, “it’s coming home.”

An appearance on BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills’ radio show followed soon after. Then came the requests, from followers on Twitter. They wanted their own personalised videos; some fun, some dark (more on that later) – and so Martin started charging. Now, you can book him for a personal appearance at your stag do, where he’ll gladly get chained to the groom (£200). His rate for videos vary: £22 for a one-day turn around, £12 for one week. You can also buy merch from his website – cups and t-shirts with his face on, and a hi-vis waistcoat. Like I said: nudity is his business.

He’s a warm, welcome presence – which I guess you have to be, when your vocation is being naked in a completely non-sexual way around strangers. It hasn’t always been like this, though. Martin’s story is one of happiness blooming late in life, long after the so-called glory years.

Martin missed out on the spoils of young adulthood. He was diagnosed with a lifelong spinal condition in his late teens that caused agonising, debilitating pain (“it was like walking on glass”). There were no pool parties in Spain. No UV raves in sticky-floored nightclubs with ✧✧✧ 1000 Litres of Foam! ✧✧✧ CO2 Confetti Cannons! ✧✧✧ and Cheap Drinks! ✧✧✧. “When most people were out enjoying their life, out partying, going on lads’ holidays – that passed me by,” he explains.

Instead, he spent a lot of time indoors. You can see scores of evidence of that in his interests. A small library’s worth of books and DVDs line the living room of his bungalow. He’s a self-confessed sci-fi geek, as proven not only by the novels he owns but the solar system tattoo on his upper left arm. The Sunday evening before we meet, he’d been enjoying Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, on ITV. There’s a book about the films on his shelf, too.

A hip replacement in his thirties changed things somewhat. He went to his first nudist beach, in Spain. But as the years passed (he’s 51 now), Martin was plagued with anxiety and depression. He’s a natural talker, which helped in his job as a call centre operator for a health insurance company. Then the work started to change; online chat systems were implemented and he was expected to work three roles at a time.

Around this time, Naked Martin started. He’d been a nudist all his life, preferring to hang out, as it were, with his wang out, when his parents were out of the house. As he moved through the decades nothing changed; he was simply more free to be nude, after moving into his own home. The first foray into the Naked Martin concept started when he made a birthday card for a friend. For its artwork, he stood naked with a whiteboard that read “Happy Birthday”.

Word spread among colleagues and friends, who also wanted cards of their own. Martin obliged – for free, too. But then he uploaded the infamous “it’s coming home” video to Twitter, and higher-ups at his company found out about it. Since Martin had started running the company’s social media accounts, they believed there was a link between his nude post and the business. He was let go.

So, he thought, why not make it a business? That’s where the full range of videos requested by fans come in. Some are tame – Martin simply jumping up and down with his cock out. Others veer into fetish territory, like the time he was asked to wear an adult nappy, then shit himself, then wipe that shit on his hair. Today he has a business partner who vets requests. Some are disturbing. “One guy wanted me to lightly cut my throat, then write Martin on my chest in blood. Another wanted me to simulate hanging myself,” he says, explaining why he brought someone else in.

As birthday cards turned into social videos turned into personal requests, he was then asked to make his first personal appearance at a stag do. The job took him to Stansted airport, early this year. By publishing that one on his Twitter, he’s since been booked for over 20, and not just in the UK. Alongside such glorious places as Leigh-on-Sea, Ipswich, Swansea, Leeds and several spots in London, he’s been flown out to Ibiza, Benidorm and Berlin. Stags can also pay him to get a tattoo with their name or chosen image; recently he headed to a parlour in Southwark, pre-stag-do, to get a cartoon cat on his upper left leg.

His hip replacement, he says, has a shelf life of around 15 to 20 years. He underwent that first hip surgery 19 years ago now, so he’s due another soon. “That’s why I’m going mad, enjoying life, taking in all the things I never had a chance to do before,” he laughs. “I didn’t have the crazy stuff in my twenties; but I’m doing it in my fifties.” At one stag do, in Marbella, he sniffed a few lines of coke and sipped champagne in a jacuzzi, in a four storey serviced villa. Everything was paid for; and so was he, for his appearance.

But it’s not all lines and good times. At one appearance in Ibiza, the stag wasn’t pleased to see him. Martin was punched in the face. Shortly after, ketamine was shoved up his nose without his consent. He doesn’t like to talk about that one. It’s indicative of a stag-do culture that still needs to change, especially when geared and boozed-up men continue to act without conscience or reprieve.

That was one bad time among many good ones though. Really, as it looks, Martin is having a great run at his fifties. He’s a relatively normal man, on the surface. He has tickets for Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall and the opera Madame Butterfly, framed on his wall, which he attended with his husband a decade or so ago. A cat called Chrissy pads on the carpet between us, eagerly miaowing for her milk. But he’s also out here getting chained to stags, putting his “willy” all over Twitter, and sending the odd “extreme” video.

This, he says, makes him feel good. “The Naked Martin thing has allowed me to combat my mental health and to feel good about myself. It’s increased my self esteem and hopefully I’m helping other people to have less hang-ups about their body and nudity. Because life is shit, isn’t it.”

He continues: “I’m not amazing; I don’t have a six pack; I don’t look wonderful – but I think: ‘sod it.’ I get loads of messages on Twitter and Instagram of people saying I’ve inspired them to feel more confident about their body. Out of everything I do that’s the one thing that makes me choke up. If I can inspire one person to look in the mirror and think ‘y’know what, I look marvellous, I look amazing, then job done.’”

@ryanbassil / @christopherbethell

Girls love being naked

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