Nudism or ‘naturism’ isn’t a new trend. In fact, millions of years ago it was a way of life. However, since then, we’ve covered up. So much so, that the fashion industry now rakes in billions every year. But just like every ’80s sitcom, we’ve got ourselves a comeback, and leading the way is Australian influencer Jessa O’Brien aka @thenudeblogge
The Nude blogger
With more than 86K followers, Jessa’s Instagram is filled with strong body positivity, mindfulness, and well-being messages. But her nude images don’t always get a double tap. Instagram deactivated her account last year on the grounds of ‘violating’ their terms, and the story went viral, prompting her account to be restored three weeks later. “This is a huge win for body positivity, and most definitely a step in the right direction for Instagram, social media, and society,” she wrote on her blog, thenudeblogger.com. “I started topless sunbaking over 10 years ago, but only started going completely nude six years ago. I’d always been hesitant, but it was absolutely liberating when I did it,” she says. After an unexpected relationship breakdown and losing her job overnight, Jessa packed up and booked a one-way ticket across the world, backpacking for seven months. “I didn’t intend on travelling with that whole ‘I’m going to go and find myself and do some soul-searching’ mentality,” she writes on her blog. “I was going purely for the adventure! But as cliché as it sounds, I rediscovered my soul and my passions on that trip. On my travels, I became free. I freed my mind from the constraints of the ego.”
While Jessa admits the ‘blogosphere’ is the last place she thought she’d find her platform, she’s now shouting nudism from the rooftops, and there’s a reason people are listening—it turns out we’re all in need of some serious body positivity.
Positive Vibes Only
Why? Because it’s time to start loving ourselves. “We are taught from a young age (about) what ‘fat’ looks like and what ‘skinny’ looks like, but what is often forgotten is what ‘healthy’ looks like and that is often very different from ‘fat’ and ‘skinny’,” says Australia-based psychologist Breanna Jayne Sada.
Jessa also points out the difference between sexual and non-sexual nudity. She notes that most nudists view the human body as a natural concept rather than objectifying it or sexualising it. “I have a lot of people reach out and express the difficulty in learning to differentiate between sexual and non-sexual nudity...but it is possible,” she explains.
It might seem a little bizarre at first, but incorporating nudism into your life can come with some positive effects. “It is suggested by researchers that after being exposed to unrealistic ideas of what is beautiful for so long, it could be counteracted by exposing yourself to real bodies that differ from those idealised images and promote a realistic standard of attractiveness,” says Breanna. While it’s complicated to define ‘real’, coming to terms with what we see in the mirror and being surrounded by others’ nude bodies is a great way to detox your mind from the ‘perfect’ bodies we are so readily exposed to online and in the media. “I feel so comfortable in my skin, and I think that is something a lot of us struggle with. I’ve learnt to not become attached to negative thoughts that often, a lot of people allow themselves to become identified with,” says Jessa. “I have also developed a healthy sense of body image, which means being at one with my body without being defined by it,” adds Jessa.
Stripping off for work isn’t ideal; in fact, it’s illegal, but there’s plenty of ways to incorporate nudism into your life without landing yourself in hot water. “So long as you’re in the right environment, like a well-trusted nude beach with supportive friends/partners, then go for it,” says Jessa. If nude beaches are an overwhelming first step, Breanna suggests we start our nudist ventures by doing the laundry or brushing our teeth in the nude. Slowly introducing these small steps can lead you to a life of not only a practising nudist but someone who is content with their body, and can start healthy conversations about the way you look and feel. “Practise self-acceptance and positive body talk while familiarising yourself with what a real body looks like,” she adds.
I totally get it—nudism is a little left of field, and to someone unfamiliar with its benefits it can be daunting at first. But take it from me (yep, I’m brushing my teeth in the nude, watching TV in the nude)—becoming familiar with my body is genuinely making me feel better about myself! Jump on board the nudist train with Jessa O’Brien—an empowering celebration of naked bodies.
GET AWAY AND GET IT OFF
Your nudist travel guide...
Village Naturiste is a small seaside town in France, where nudity is compulsory. It is so popular with ‘nakationers’ (who pay a small ‘naked tax’), that it has earned itself the name, Naked City.
THE SEXY CRUISE
Fancy a cruise? How about a naked cruise?! Nude cruises let you do everything a regular cruise would—dining experiences, music performances, hot tubs, et al—but with the option of doing them sans clothes.
Elia Beach in Mykonos, Greece, is a favourite with the LGBTQIA+ community for its beaut scenery, and a casual division of men and women on different sides of the beach.