The Real Nude Beach Body Positive Photography Project: Interview with Michael and Laurie
Introducing Michael and Laurie (and family) — We have interviewed them for our “Real Nude Beach” photography project that took place at Gunnison Beach in New Jersey. Michael and Laurie are frequent visitors of the beach, which they enjoy with their kids and other families. Check out the interview / photos below to learn more about them and how the beach benefits them and their children!
Name: Michael and Laurie
Age: 49 and 43
From Townsend, DE
Sexual orientation: straight
What do you do for a living?
M: I work for the government
L: Own a doggie daycare, boarding, training, and grooming center
How often do you visit Gunnison Beach?
M & L: Most weekends in the summer, 8-10 times a year.
Why do you visit the nude beach?
M: The freedom from clothing just feels good. Sun and temperature changes on my entire body feels good.
L: Feels good and to promote positive body image to our little girls who go with us.
What made you decide to visit the beach for the first time? How would you describe your first experience?
M: Nothing made me decide, when I found out about Gunnison I knew I had to go. That’s the beach for me. I was happy to find so many like-minded people.
L: Closest nude beach for us. We enjoy being nude and we love the beach!
What do you like about Gunnison?
M: The friendliness of the people. On a textile beach you will never have so many people talk to you as you will on a nude beach. I have made literally 100’s of friendships each season I come here.
L: They have other families that we meet up with. The rangers are pretty good at responding to anyone causing a disturbance and we have met a lot of great people.
Do you identify as a nudist or naturist? Why or why not?
M: Depending on your definition I believe they go hand in hand. It’s a way of life in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.
L: Yes, because I have an overall respect for others, myself and nature when it comes to nudism.
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you feel about yourself?
M: I think it gives us all a better self-esteem and self-confidence.
L: Yes, it has made me more comfortable with my body and more accepting of my flaws.
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you perceive and interact with others?
M: I don’t think it’s changed as much as it has reinforced the way I feel about others and the respect I have for others and our differences.
L: I don’t think it’s just the nude beach [that has affected my interactions] but yes.
Has visiting the nude beach had an impact on your life in any significant way?
M & L: Absolutely, it has given us a place to take our children to experience the same things. It’s helped us raise our children in a body positive environment.
Does the nude beach ever feel like a sexual environment to you at all?
M & L: No, it’s a public place which means there’s no place for that sort of activity.
What would you say to people who claim that the only people who visit the nude beach are the ones you “don’t want to see naked”?
M: 1 – They haven’t been to a nude beach. 2 – They have poor self-esteem or don’t have much experience seeing what real people look like without clothes.
L: I would say that’s a pretty shallow answer. I think it’s typical though. I would ask them why, what’s so offensive?
How do you feel about your body? Has visiting the beach had an impact on your body image?
M: I love my body. It’s boosted my self-confidence. It’s helped me love myself and appreciate who I am.
L: I struggle with self-esteem, but yes it has had a positive impact.
Do your friends / family know you go to Gunnison? Who do you visit the beach with, if anyone?
M: Yes, friends and family, everyone knows. We visit the beach with other friends.
L: Some do and we have made many friends that we meet up with at the beach.
Why do you think nudity is so controversial in America?
M: I think religion and old puritan views have a strong effect on our culture.
L: Religion and that nudity is related to sex or so many Americans think.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about visiting Gunnison but is afraid to take the plunge?
M: I would tell them to just take it slow, go at your own pace.
L: Go with someone you know. You can wear a bathing suit but in time you’ll see how it is probably way different than what you may be imagining.
This interview for the Real Nude Beach Body-Positive Photography Project was published by Felicity’s Blog.