I have realized after moving from New York to Scadinavia that there is a very different attitude towards nutdity in the Scandinavian countries. When I lived in NY I had never gone skinny dipping in my life, but here it is no big deal. I think that is the difference. In the US it was treated as very risqué and naughty. Here they have a different attitude. Where it isn’t taboo it is less sex focused and more about the natural elements.
I would not consider myself a nudist, I am not an activist about it. I have been to the nude beach and enjoy the sun and the sea but I do not do this regularly. Its more that in the Norwegian nature there is a lot of private coves, and they use less open beaches. They have less life guards and regulations…you just hop into the sea wherever it suits you. Preferrably in a place where you can have a bit of privacy for yourself. It is normal to hop into the water naked with your family, with your friends. Not flaunting it, not sexual, just for the fun of having a little dip. Here it is also normal that one is in the hot tub, sauna or steam bath together with others.
I remember about 3 years after I came to Norway I began a new job as a preschool teaching assistant. The week I started we had one of these team building weekends which involved staying at a mountain hotel. It is more or less standard equipment in a hotel to have a sauna, and I went along with all my other new coworkers to the sauna where everyone looked forward to having a good steam, and then a cool shower. They all sit in the sauna and have lots of girl talk and fun. Imagine my surprise when I realized that I was seeing all my NEW coworkers in the buff, and that I would be considered odd if I didn’t participate in the same way!! It was really a bit of a shock for a New Yorker, but I survived the episode just fine hehehe….
Finnish footrace, in the Natural elements 🙂
But just so you know that Norwegians aren’t the only ones running around naked all the time, here is a recent news clip from Finland. It is pretty much G rated and brings up one more point that I would like to make about social nudity. One thing I have realized that I like is that it brings a realistic perspective to my image of the human body. When we are bombarded with supermodels and tv ads all the time it is quite easy to feel like your body is ugly or something to be ashamed of. I think seeing others in the buff, real people, not playboy pinups gives us a sense of that we are only human…and in the “end” we look pretty much the same as everyone else.
Visit my husband’s blog, RennyBA’s Terella, for some more natural experiences in Scandinavia, and you might even get a glimpse of his little white end hopping into the sea!!!