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Looking for a Place That Actually Embraces Body Positivity? Try a Nude Beach.

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I feel as if you were to ask any person who has lived with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia what places they dreaded going to the most, what may be top on that list is the beach.

The beach is a very public space where everyone’s bodies are being shown off. How many ads do we see for the “perfect summer bod,” that makes us look at our own bodies, immediately making us realize what’s “right” and “wrong” about them. On top of that, shopping in general can be hard if you struggle with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Let’s not even get started on how triggering bathing suits can be.

All that being said, I love the beach. I used to hate it, but now I think it’s literally one of the best places to go. When my best friend proposed going to a nude beach instead of a typical clothed one, I didn’t know how I felt. After all, I’ll be naked in front of strangers and at that point I struggled with being naked alone. The sheer idea filled me with anxiety, and that’s why I immediately said “Let’s do it.”

Within days, we were on the road to a nude beach in Florida. I wore the old bathing suit I had from years prior just in case, but that didn’t stop my stomach from flipping and turning the whole time. What if everyone stares at me when I get there? What if they see all the self-perceived flaws I had? I had worked so hard to be “weight restored” and yet is it really going to amount to anything?

An hour later we parked, and walked onto the beach. I kept my eyes on the ground as we set up camp for the day, and then the time had come. 

I threw my clothes off with reckless abandon just so I could get it over with, and then there I was – butt ass naked on a huge beach around strangers. Slowly I tore my eyes away from the ground and that’s when I realized no one gave a shit. Everyone is naked. No one is looking. Except me, that is, but not in a creepy way. I was looking at all the different bodies.

Big ones, small ones, cellulite, bone, integrated and segregated in the most beautiful and affirming way. There weren’t any push up bras or FaceTune to obscure reality. 

It was weird. I expected the whole experience to be polarizing and crude in it’s own unique way, and yet it wasn’t. I didn’t feel beautiful, sexy, or any of the adjectives you try to feel on the beach. I felt the absolute best I’ve ever felt – normal. 

I laid out, cheeks towards the sun and soaked up the rays happily and for once not thinking about my body. I ate without a thought, pranced in the ocean, and just vibed out without any personal awareness of my physicality. 

Going to a nude beach affirmed me in ways affirmations, podcasts, and Tik Toks could never. There’s something so special about being surrounded by all different body types, with no one trying to suck in for photos or pose to accentuate some features over others. 

If you’re up for it, and I understand if you aren’t, I’d highly suggest giving it a try when you get a chance. You expect all the attention to be on you, but it’s not. A key part of living with body dysmorphia is looking at everyone else constantly. Here, not only do people not do that, but you won’t want to do that unless you want to see something the FCC would censor out on TV. 

I thought a nude beach would be a nightmare for someone who lives with body dysmorphia, when in reality it was genuinely a dream come true and I can’t wait to go back.

Getty image by troutfisherman

Originally published: July 9, 2022
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