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  • Nude Swim Classes

    During my junior and senior high years, from the middle 1960s through the early 1970s, in a Detroit suburb, it was mandatory the boys be nude during swim class. The one exception was during Red Cross safety instruction, when we had to wear Speedos. Once that instruction was over the boys were allowed the option of wearing their suits or not for the subsequent swim classes. A few boys opted to wear their suits. In a matter of days that was no longer the case and we were all nude again.

    The reason often heard for that policy was wearing swim suits was not good for the pool filters. That does not make sense since the girls wore what were called tank suits during their swim classes and school swim meets were not nude.

    From what I have read about that area of the country the history of nude swimming was common when most people lived on farms, families bathed together, and modesty was less important or hard to maintain. Also, swim suits did not come into fashion until the late 1800ís. My guess is those farm folks brought the practice of male nude swimming to the city when they migrated.

  • #2
    Re: Nude Swim Classes

    Originally posted by flsmoothie View Post
    The reason often heard for that policy was wearing swim suits was not good for the pool filters. That does not make sense since the girls wore what were called tank suits during their swim classes and school swim meets were not nude.
    Yeah but the less "stress" you put on the pool filters and clarification, the better off you are.

    It's even worse in hot tubs. Many people who own private hot tubs prohibit the use of bathing suits in them for three reasons -

    1) they really screw up the water badly -- detergents, dyes, etc., and if you live in New England, you can't change the water easily in some winter months.

    2) aesthetically, going in a hot tub in a bathing suit -- yecccch

    3) When the neighbors see a sign "no swimsuits" it tends to keep them from crashing your hot tub sessions.

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    • #3
      Re: Nude Swim Classes

      I understand about stressing the filters, as I wash out mine in South Florida for over 10 years. Still, why weren't the girls swim classes nude like the boys?

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      • #4
        Re: Nude Swim Classes

        Probably because boys don't have the monthly cycle. A girl having her period may want and/or need more modesty. Only having girls having their periods wear swimsuits, could be embarrassing also.

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        • #5
          Re: Nude Swim Classes

          There have been other threads on this topic. Boys nude while swimming, girls wearing school-issued tank suits, that's exactly the way it was at my four year high school. During the summer the same pool was used for all age recreational swimming, with most sessions segregated by gender. Except for the few family swim times, it was always nude for boys.

          Several factors were in play. One was cultural: up into the '70s hardly anyone thought that boys needed to wear anything in an all-male environment. Another was technological: pool filters then weren't what they are now, and neither were swimming suits. I grew up in the '40s and early '50s. My first swimming suit was made of wool, and the others were all cotton. Those are fabrics that do shed a lot of lint.

          A related factor was that nude showers were required after every PE session or athletic activity. Boys used open gang showers and changed in front of our lockers. Everyone was used to seeing each other nude anyway, so no one cared about being nude in the pool.

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          • #6
            Re: Nude Swim Classes

            luvnaturism, what part of the country did you attend high school?

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            • #7
              Re: Nude Swim Classes

              luvnaturism - I had the same sort of experience growing up in Ontario Canada. Phys. Ed class were divided by gender and while the girls were in the gym the boys were naked in the pool and the on alternate days we switched but the girls wore suits in pool and we had shorts on in gym.

              Took courses all through high school taking up to Senior Swimmer and Senior Life Saving in senior years. The only time we had clothes on in pool is when we had to practice life saving to get the feel of how much clothing weighted you down.

              The same was true in university - the guys all swam naked even for free swims.

              This was true in Toronto in all schools that had swimming pools as well as the Y's. I think the nude swimming ended in the mid 70's.

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              • #8
                Re: Nude Swim Classes

                I think reading this post was the one and only time in my life I wished I grew up in Detroit!

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                • #9
                  Re: Nude Swim Classes

                  I have heard many times how the YMCA used to always enforce nude swimming, up until sometime in the 70's. I took my swimming lessons sometime around 1976, so I may have just missed it. By that time there seemed to be a large nuimber of female instructors and a fair number of girls at the pool. I guess that might have been a factor.

                  Althoug I am sure I would have hated it at the time, I wish we'd been forced to swim naked. It might have helped me to overcome my self-consciousness at an earlier age. As it was, we wore swimsuits and while some of my friends were more than happy to run around naked in the locker room, I would get changed under my towel.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Nude Swim Classes

                    Originally posted by flsmoothie View Post
                    luvnaturism, what part of the country did you attend high school?
                    Northern Illinois.

                    After high school I attended college in Central Illinois. The college didn't have a swimming pool, so several of us guys used to swim at the YMCA. Always nude there except when having family swim times. I was past 30 before I ever thought that I had been swimming with trunks as often as without.

                    It's fair to point out that none of us thought all this nude swimming had anything to do with naturism. We were all shy around girls, and most wouldn't have tried mixed gender nude swimming if offered the chance. But to this day nude swimming with the guys is one of my best memories and feelings from growing up, and I have always believed that it contributed to my positive attitude about my body and about my sexuality.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Nude Swim Classes

                      Originally posted by Arnabas View Post
                      I have heard many times how the YMCA used to always enforce nude swimming, up until sometime in the 70's.
                      I have no idea whether it was enforced or not. It simply didn't occur to boys of my generation that there was any reason to wear a swimsuit when there were no girls around. The college friend who told me about the Y told me that swimsuits weren't used, and that was all I needed to know. That was my normal.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Nude Swim Classes

                        Originally posted by Fuzzy Nuts View Post
                        I think the nude swimming ended in the mid 70's.
                        That's my understanding also. I attribute it to at least three societal trends that happened during that era.

                        1. The YMCAs and YWCAs came under intense financial pressure. In many cases their survival required them to merge facilities and activities. When girls and women are admitted to YMCAs on equal footing with boys and men, nude swimming is no longer practical.

                        2. The emergence of gay activism caused a lot of fear that someone in the locker room might be looking for sexual thrills. I suspect that this was at least as much i the minds of parents as of the boys.

                        3. Homes got larger throughout the 60s and 70s, even as families grew smaller. Whereas many entire families once shared one bathroom, making privacy while bathing impractical in many cases, now many kids grew up without sharing a bathroom with anyone. Once they got out of early childhood they were never seen nude by anyone, so they were conditioned against it when they got to high school.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Nude Swim Classes

                          luvnaturism, some good possibilities you listed there.

                          As far as the one family, single bathroom point, I can relate to that! During the 1960s and early 1970s my father and I shared our one full bathroom almost every weekday morning. We were always naked there, including showering together. I recently asked my sister about the this topic regarding her and our mother, and she replied they were often nude together in the bathroom.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Nude Swim Classes

                            I also grew up in Detroit and attended high school there in the late 60's. Although I didn't attend swim classes I remember hearing the other boys talk about having to swim nude. The only thing the guys seemed concerned about was getting an erection. I remember one guy saying that when that happened the teacher just had the student get out of the pool and wait it out until he "calmed down" It was handled as a natural thing that happened when boys swam naked. Having the "excited" boy temporarily remove himself from the group seemed like a good solution to prevent "embarrassment." Just swimming nude didn't seem to be a big deal.
                            Last edited by sdson; 07-10-2010, 10:38 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Nude Swim Classes

                              Where can I sign up for the nude swim classes? I'd like to improve my breathing and learn better technique on a few strokes.

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