Robert Shawes, “It’s relaxing, comfortable, and occasionally a little drafty, but naturism gives me the chance to express who I am. And it saves on the washing machine!”

Posted on May 10, 2012


Robert on Bamburgh Beach, his first nudist spot.

Written by Verity MacGregor

You’re on a busy bus, pushing a trolley down a supermarket aisle, or walking through a crowded street when you realise. You have no clothes on. We’ve all had the dream, that panicked moment when you’re stark naked and have shown the world your most private parts. The reality is that you’re about to wake up, dignity intact and firmly tucked under the duvet.

For Robert this dream is often his reality, however it doesn’t bring with it shame and embarrassment, rather the opposite as he chooses to bare all as a nudist.

Robert Shawes, 20, is part of the Young British Naturists (YBN), an 18-30 group which allows people who enjoy the freedom from clothes an opportunity to enjoy the fun it brings with like-minded people.

Robert, from Belford, Northumberland first became aware of naturism from an early age when his parents took him to a nudist area on Bamburgh beach.

“My parents would often go naked on the beaches we lived near and I never saw it as unconventional, it was just something they did.”

However Robert never joined in when he was younger and it was later on in his teens that naturism was something he became more interested in.

“Once I turned 18 I went walking along Bamburgh beach again on a warm, sunny day and it was particularly busy. I sat down amongst the nudists and became aware of how warm I was, so without a moment’s thought I took my clothes off. That was my first public encounter with naturism. “

After many more trips down to the nudist beach after that, Robert was keen to meet others his age that were on his wavelength about his love for lack of clothes. However with public nudity comes stigma and judgement, something which he was not sure his quiet local beach could prepare him for.

“At first I was very reluctant to just let everything hang loose because I was aware of the stereo types juxtaposed with nudity and elderly people.

But we are born naked, we shower naked, and some sleep naked. I wanted to blur these margins and step out with others because that’s how I feel comfortable.

If people of all shapes and sizes could quite happily wander round baring all, I could be confident enough to carry on my hobby in different surroundings.”


Robert on a secluded Bamburgh Beach

Robert has been on lots of outings with the YBN including camping trips, weekend breaks and naked bikerides.

“The bike ride was my first nude public outing with the group. I soon forgot I was the one with no clothes on and didn’t feel any pressure from anyone looking at my body. It was nice not to be defined by what I was wearing and show body acceptance by not being ashamed and being natural in its truest sense.”

Robert’s friends and family are open to his naturist hobby with his parents still taking part occasionally. His mother, Jacqueline, says, “We would never have forced Robert in to something he wasn’t comfortable in doing, however growing up around nudity probably made him more open minded to it.

We are pleased he is embracing his natural self and has found people in the YBN to do it with.”

One of the questions he is asked most, Robert says, is what the group does when the weather is being typically British.

“It’s almost always too cold in winter to go out completely naked!”

“We try to go to indoor events like naturist swims around the country and pub and nightclub outings.

And is there ever any chance of becoming aroused? “It’s usually too cold to be worrying about that! It soon becomes a natural thing being surrounded by other naked people and just like when you are clothed, it is something you don’t have to think about.

There are some very beautiful women out there who should be proud to show off their bodies without being eyed constantly be men.”


YBN before their naked bike ride

His friends are also relaxed about Robert’s unusual hobby.

“A few of my mates have come to the odd event to see what the fuss is about. I did my first naked bike ride with a close friend and it made it much more relaxed, we were concentrating on joking with each other rather than the fact we were naked.

Although I enjoy doing it with my friends I understand it’s not something they’re all interested in, which is why the YBN is great for meeting new people who I can share the humour with and help break the stigma. Take a good look at me, I’m far from old! ”

So, could the next time you wake from that inevitable naked dream where your modesty’s showing be the next time you embrace your nakedness and get out there as a naturist for yourself?!

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