• Iris Adams

The Pros and Cons of Vacationing at a Nudist Hot Springs Every Year as a Kid

Updated: Jul 16, 2019

From the Personal Stories and Lifestyle Choices of a Free-Range Child


There is a little place called “Valley View” in the corner of Colorado, it’s green, and mountainous, and the only place around with fireflies and really clear stars at night. Most the time people then proceed to snicker when I tell them that it is also a nudist hot springs, a valley view if you will.


It is somewhere I spent my childhood for many summers.


A lot of people don’t know what motivates someone to be nude with a group of strangers and with no "Swingers Agreement" laid out beforehand. They get very confused at the very concept of it, which makes sense, the average person doesn't usually enjoy exposing themselves publicly for relaxation and pleasure.


The water was only mildly warm, the people were generally a bunch of scruffy hippies, and it was located in the middle of nowhere. So… as someone’s mom once asked me in a small, helpless voice: why?


Being undressed with onlookers there is, after all, a pretty common nightmare among the masses.


I didn't really have an answer for her, why do birds fly? Why does grass grow? Why did my parents smoke weed and choose my future college through tarot readings? That's just how it be.


I was raised as a free range child encouraged to destroy social norms and forsake underwear. I can’t tell you exactly why, some people just want to show other people their cooch, that’s life for ya'.


But I can tell you the pros and cons of vacationing at a nudist hot springs growing up.


Just the facts:

  • It’s pretty beautiful and there's a lot of camping ground, forest, cooking fires, wildlife, and log cabins there.

  • People ate in the nude, played sports in the nude, walked around, cooked, hiked (with shoes), and did everything pretty much naked, so there was no avoiding it.

  • Most of the people who were actually nude (you can wear a bathing suit, which I did) were usually older, this means I saw enough saggy groins, age-spotted skin, and breasts hanging low *insert song here* than not.

Pros:

  1. I saw a lot of naked old people. I no longer fear death.

  2. It makes my puritan ancestors weep tears of sorrow, that’s right Fear Brewster, an entire naked titty was in front of my face, and I only felt 67% protestant guilt about it.

  3. When Europeans say “Americans are so repressed!” I can be like “nah-uh, I also casually saw the human form, incredibly wrinkled and shriveled and falling apart and oh God, I wish I was repressed.”

  4. On a serious note, it probably did affect the way I thought of bodies and physical beauty. Meaning:

  • I didn't develop self-image problems surrounding my body, while all many of my female friends in middle and high school started to become self-conscious and hyper-aware of being “ugly” or “not pretty enough” I luckily escaped from this very common trauma that comes along with being socialized female.

  • There probably was a real psychological effect, bodies were never taboo to me, I saw A LOT of older and non-traditionally attractive people who were comfortable being naked and proud of the way they looked. There was no wrong way to exist in the world and I think that changed me.

  • So yes, it was probably pretty healthy for me growing up and probably contributed to my general affection for my own body and utilitarian belief that bodies are meant to be tools above anything else.

5. It also de-sexualized nudity for me. Society usually states that the body shouldn’t be naked because nudity is for sex and sex is shameful. This wasn’t a sexy place, it was, in fact, a pretty unsexy place. The naked body was just for banal enjoyment, ie feeling a weird breeze and being in a mossy green pool.

  • A body was just a body.

Cons:

  1. I saw a lot of naked old people. I no longer fear death.

  2. I have seen my entire gotdang family naked, and while it probably did the Good Thing I mentioned above of de-stigmatizing the body, I also had to see my whole family naked. That changes you as a person.

  3. It made me very aware that I was raised differently than my peers, and probably not terribly well.

  • It was alienating in ways, I had a much different perspective than my peers on nudity and even what constitutes proprietary and manners. As in, I offended a couple people by changing in front of them instead of asking permission. My bad.

4. I had a friendship with this older girl (who was like 16) when I was around 12 there, and let’s just say she took her clothes off and puberty hit me a lot faster and harder than it needed to. You thought anime made me gay mom?? Wrong.

  • Yes, Valley View wasn’t an inherently sexual place. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t also very confusing and not terribly helpful when my hormones went hyper drive.

5. And here’s the whopper… I don’t actually like being naked? I find it cold and uncomfortable. So I went to this place where the whole point was to be naked and didn’t even enjoy it because I found the wind hitting me anywhere close to my basement terribly rude.

  • So yes, I learned a lot about bodies, but I was more of a clothed grumbling tourist in the midst of wild free tree spirits. Sure, I probably benefited from their fairy-magic, but I was definitely not jumping over any toadstools in bursts of love and joy and whatever.

  • I was just there.

So there’s the pros and cons of going to a nudist hot springs growing up! Subscribe for more stories from my odd childhood and tell me whether you think the cons outweigh the pros or vice versa in the comments section below!