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When I first heard the term “skinny dipping” I had no clue what it was. In fact, I hadn’t known that this was a term at all – I thought “skinny” meant “thin” and I couldn’t make any sense of what was being said.

When I saw that it was consistently being used together, I looked it up and I was quite surprised. There is no equivalent term in my language – we simply call it “swimming naked”. Yes, “swimming”. And it makes more sense because when we go in the water naked, we usually go for a swim and not just to “dip”.

I’m still, in fact, surprised that there is a special term for it at all. In fact, I would sooner have swimming in swimsuits labeled as “textile dipping” if for no other reason then to stress the fact that you’re really just wetting your trunks and not enjoying a swim.

Jokes aside, swimming naked was the norm until very recently, at least in YMCA’s indoor pools – in fact, swimming trunks were not allowed. The most curious thing is, however, that bathing suits were declared a requirement only after YMCA began admitting females to these pools in the early 1960s.

I don’t understand what it is about men and women coexisting within each other’s eyesight that makes people want to put their clothes on? I have been to nudist beaches and once to a nudist camp. I was naked and I saw many beautiful women naked too. I don’t see and I never saw where the Big Deal is.

Likewise, I never understood the reason for separating men’s and ladies’ rooms, or male and female changing rooms. One of the things I was completely dumbstruck about when I was in New York with my wife was when I accompanied my wife to the fitting rooms and was asked to leave by an employee because these were “ladies'” fitting rooms. I’ve never even heard of “ladies'” or “men’s” fitting rooms in department stores and being a nudist I immediately hated the concept.

Such separation of the sexes only fuels the estrangement between the sexes. Men have no idea what women need or like until we live with them. Women have no idea what we men need or like until they live with us. Marriage, which is often the time when a man begins to live with a woman for the first time, so becomes like agreeing to spend your life with a member of an alien species.

And it all ties right back into shame of one’s own body – shame which prompted the hiding of that body, first from the opposite sex, then same sex, then from oneself.

So, the next time you decide to “dip”, make sure you do away with all the shame you were told to feel and “dip” the only way we humans were supposed to “dip” – naked.

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