Ask Me Anything: Man Unravels the Mysteries of Nudist Cruises

by SharonKurheg

For people who aren’t nudists, the whole nudist lifestyle is a big mystery full of a lot of misconceptions. They think that clothing-optional places and activities are full of young hotties (or old people; one or the other) who are always naked and in the midst of sexual activity as much as possible. They think nudists and swingers are the same thing. Or they think it’s adult-only and the people who participate are perverts.

None of that is true.

Full disclosure: I’m personally not a nudist. But in another career, I was a healthcare worker who had the occasional opportunity to have patients who lived in Cypress Cove, which was (still is) a local clothing-optional resort in town. So before I had my first patient there, I read up on the lifestyle to ensure I didn’t make any faux pas while I was there.

Nudists have been around since, well, forever. However there are laws about nudity within the general public in a lot (although not all) of places around the world. So to avoid the finger-pointing and staring, nudists will often have private places where their lifestyle is allowed. Certain resorts. Buyouts of theme parks. Specific beaches (and then they have to fight when a gondola is planned to go right over it). And sellouts of cruises.

a sign on a beach

PC: Lyndi & Jason / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Reddit has a forum called Ask Me Anything (r/AMA), where people who have anything interesting or unique to share allow other Redditors to ask them anything. Of course, Reddit allows members to be anonymous so you can never 100% tell if someone is being truthful. But some of the AMA topics have been from people who claim they’re a personal escort, a former prisoner, were homeless for a year, work for a funeral home, or have been an alcoholic since age 14.

A few days ago, a Redditor known as u/wisecommenter2 started a thread in r/AMA that said:

I just disembarked from a 2,000 person nude cruise. AMA.

Y’all, with over a thousand responses in the first couple of days, I don’t recall r/AMA ever having this much conversation. 😉

u/wisecommenter2 explained a bit about the background of their nude cruise – he is a male in a male/female relationship, and they’re both in their 60s. The cruise was on Carnival; it started in Tampa, then went on to Costa Maya to Roatan to Cozumel and then back to Tampa. He said the weather was great and although one must get dressed to exit the ship, there were ample opportunities to do both clothed and unclothed excursions.

He and his partner focused more on the nude excursions: “The excursions were great. Nude days at Playa Sonrisa (including naked snorkeling), Mahogany Bay in Roatan, and Isla Pasion in Cozumel. My partner enjoyed it very much. While many folks go every year, we won’t. There are a lot of great places in the world.” He also mentioned it was mainly Americans on the ship, but also some Europeans and Australians.

Quickly, of course, the non-nudists had more questions:

Q: How quickly did you become desensitized to all the naked? — VirtualFrosting269
A: I’m an experienced nudist, so I was very comfortable from the beginning. I couldn’t honestly say I became completely desensitized because it’s fun people watching.
Q: I feel like “people watching” on a nude cruise is something different then the typical meaning 😂 — KyleMcMahon
A: Not really tbh. Just less clothes. Which barely makes a difference.

a woman sitting on a beach chair under an umbrella

PC: Cruisebare / Instagram

Q: Maybe not specific to the cruise, but nudism in general… I’m assuming boners just happen, since it happens in everyday clothed life, too. Are they frowned upon or just accepted in this environment? — LostnHidden
A: In my experience, they almost never happen. This cruise is very non-sexual, so a man would want to hide it somehow. Non-nudists think about this a lot more than nudists do. This cruise was not a swingers cruise or a sex positive environment. I’m sure they are more common and accepted in that setting.

a man and woman standing on a beach

PC: Cruisebare / Instagram

Q: Does it smell funky with everyone nude or are people usually really clean — No-Cod-7586
A: No smells. People are clean. One can’t put one’s bare butt on any surface; a towel is required.

Q: was the staff naked too? — Deltagirl730478
A: The staff was clothed The musical acts and other performers were clothed, with the exception of one male/female duo.
Q: Do the staff with the shortest straw have to work the nude cruise, because I wouldn’t want to. — let-it-rain-sunshine
A: My understanding is that no employee is obligated to work the nude cruise.

Q: Do people get sunburn on their genitalia? — earthwarrior
A: I’m sure it’s happened. I apply sunscreen to my genitals like any other body part, so it didn’t happen to me.

a group of people standing on a railing overlooking the ocean

PC: Cruisebare / Instagram

Q: Do spontaneous orgy’s happen? — AloofConscientious
A: This cruise is very much nonsexual, so not in public. I don’t know what people do behind closed doors, just like I don’t know what people do behind closed doors at home.
Q: That’s fascinating. For some reason I just assume that kinky people walking around each other all while nude on a vacation cruise would be up for some fun every direction you look. — AloofConscientious
A: I think there are lifestyle cruises where that isn’t uncommon, but that wasn’t this cruise.
Q: Are you sure you didn’t see any pineapples on anyone’s doors? — PacificCastaway (Note from Sharon: Background on pineapples)
A: I heard a story that someone had a pineapple decal on her door and was told to remove it. She complained that it wasn’t upside down and was just a symbol of hospitality. Nonetheless, she was told it had to go.

Q: Percentage of attractive bodies vs. please-put-some-clothes-on bodies? Be honest. — Designer-String3569
A: I’m a straight guy, so I don’t have a sense about the men. Cruises seem to be for people who like to eat and lie around, so there were a lot of large people. Also, most people don’t seem to be comfortable being nude in public until later in life so the crowd was older. I’d say 20% attractive, 20% average, 60% unattractive. However, if you’re there for the views, you’re probably going for the wrong reasons. And I would never suggest or think people need to put their clothes on. That’s antithetical to the whole point.

a woman holding a yellow scarf in the water

PC: Cruisebare / Instagram

Q: If the nudist thing is not sexual in nature at all, what is it for? Is it for looking? Do you WANT to see other naked bodies? I’m of the thought that my boxers are vital and an extension of my soul because they somehow “protect my nuts”. And that butt-towel? I have like a daily butt-towel that just stays with me all day. Im trying to grasp the motivation here. Please help me understand the “why” behind your nudist adventures. — YoungandPregnant
A: Have you ever gone skinny dipping? It’s great to be nude to go swimming, dancing, walking along the beach, etc. For me, that’s the main thing. If I’m candid, I don’t mind seeing naked women, so that’s nice too. It’s the same reason men don’t wear shirts to go swimming or on the beach. It’s great feeling. I’m sure some people have an exhibitionist thrill, but I don’t. Also, I’m not sure that a naked person among 2,000 naked people could be considered an exhibitionist.
Q: So freedom of movement is the main thing here. Beyond sexuality and exhibition/voyeurism — its just to feel good. Not be constricted by clothes. Am I correctly understanding? The main thrill is simply freedom of movement and a sensory experience undampened by clothing? Thank you for sharing with me. EDIT: and I also understand the idea of naked women being a “nice” rather than “stimulating”. Its an interesting take/perspective. — YoungandPregnant
A: It is also philosophical and activist: Some of us want to desexualize the naked body. People find offense in nudity. People get ashamed for simply being. Others justify rape or sexual misconduct for garments or skin exposure. Many attribute value and morality to clothing. The human body is not offensive. All bodies are beautiful. Everyone should be proud of who and what they are. Clothing does not determine your value or place in society, you simply are valuable.

a man and woman on a floating raft in the water

PC: Cruisebare / Instagram

The questions went on and on. Just as the examples above, some people (non-nudists) are positive it’s a sexual experience and their questions reflect that. Others had more appropriate questions that reflected genuine curiosity, such as what do nudist women do if they’re menstruating, whether cell phone use is allowed on a nude cruise, how to carry cash/credit cards if you don’t have pockets, etc.

Anyway, it was a very interesting conversation; you can read the whole thread here. Heads up that there’s a bit of adult language here and there. The cruise was put on by Bare Necessities Tour & Travel, who have been doing nude cruises for YEARS and years and years.

It was a very educating discussion.

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