The Real Nude Beach Body Positive Photography Project: Interview with Maryann
Meet Maryann, the 4th participant introduced here for the Real Nude Beach Photography Project that took place at Gunnison Beach in 2017. Maryann is a seasoned veteran of Gunnison, having been frequenting the beach for many years. She still goes almost every weekend in the summer and in this interview she tells us what she loves so much about the nude beach!
Age: 56 years old
Lives in Howell, NJ
What do you do for a living? And / or what are your favorite hobbies?
I work as an accountant. For fun I love to see live music and dance.
How often do you visit Gunnison Beach?
Every weekend, weather permitting.
Why do you visit the nude beach?
Freedom from the restrictions and judgment that clothing brings. More importantly, we’re a family. I’ve been going to Gunnison for many years and have met wonderful people, and we’ve stayed friends on and off the beach for a long time.
What made you decide to visit the beach for the first time? How would you describe your first experience?
I was introduced to Gunnison by the guy I was dating at the time. I was a bit apprehensive at first but after seeing how comfortable everyone else was, it wasn’t long before I shed my clothes.
What do you like about Gunnison?
The friendly atmosphere…you can start a conversation with almost anyone. And there is such a variety of cultures. So many interesting people on Gunnison that I would not have a chance to meet otherwise.
Do you identify as a nudist or naturist? Why or why not?
Probably as a naturist. Nudists tend to live a nude lifestyle 24/7/365 or whenever possible.
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you feel about yourself and your body?
Yes. I’m more accepting of my physical flaws, and I have more confidence. I feel good about my body even though my body isn’t perfect.
Has visiting the nude beach had an impact on your life in any significant way?
Yes and in a very positive way. Spending time in the sunshine improves my attitude (large doses of Vitamin D). And I have met so many wonderful people that I have a full and fun social life.
Does the nude beach ever feel like a sexual environment to you at all? If so, why?
Generally, it’s not a sexual environment at all. Since men and women are sexual beings, the subject of sex comes up often but never where I’ve been made to feel uncomfortable.
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”?
This isn’t a true statement at all. There are all types of bodies on the beach.
How do you feel about others seeing you naked?
I don’t mind. And it’s all about being appropriate. There’s a time and place for everything.
Do you ever feel unsafe or intimidated at the nude beach? Do you ever worry about gawkers or people being there for the wrong reasons?
Never. We “police” ourselves for the most part. If someone is gawking or displaying inappropriate behavior, a “regular” beach goer will try to educate the person about correct behavior. If the behavior is really bad we can seek the help of the lifeguards or rangers.
Do your friends / family know you go to Gunnison? Who do you visit the beach with, if anyone?
Yes, most of my friends and family know that I go to Gunnison. I usually go to the beach alone and meet up with a group of friends. A few times I have introduced friends to the beach.
Why do you think nudity is so controversial in America?
Our culture isn’t accepting of nudity. From the time we’re children we are told by our parents the importance of wearing clothes. Sometimes as young children we like to take our clothes off innocently but are scolded for doing so. Nudity is often associated with sexual activity.
Why do you think nude beaches are frequently being taken away?
First because those that take away nude beaches don’t understand the concept of clothing optional or nude beaches. They don’t take the time to understand that those that partake in the nude lifestyle are harmless and generally peace loving individuals.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about visiting Gunnison but is afraid to take the plunge?
Go. It’s so worth taking the chance. I found that those that think about visiting Gunnison end up coming back at least for a second time.