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YMCA in the old days

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  • YMCA in the old days

    I was just curious about this, and probably only those of the VietNam era generation or older know the answer for certain. On a posting in Naturist Christians dot org, I read that "the normal mode of dress for boys at the YMCA was the birthday suit. Boys were often within sight of girls since the clubs were not strictly closed to the public." Anyone out there know of any examples of this? For instance, I'm sure some men's only YMCA's had a female employee--would she have seen into the pool area without there being a scandal? Did children's mothers or other females really happen to get a look at completely nude men and boys at a YMCA without it being a situation of voyeurism on the female side nor exhibitionism on the male side? The notion just surprises me a little.

  • #2
    I was just curious about this, and probably only those of the VietNam era generation or older know the answer for certain. On a posting in Naturist Christians dot org, I read that "the normal mode of dress for boys at the YMCA was the birthday suit. Boys were often within sight of girls since the clubs were not strictly closed to the public." Anyone out there know of any examples of this? For instance, I'm sure some men's only YMCA's had a female employee--would she have seen into the pool area without there being a scandal? Did children's mothers or other females really happen to get a look at completely nude men and boys at a YMCA without it being a situation of voyeurism on the female side nor exhibitionism on the male side? The notion just surprises me a little.

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    • #3
      I was eight years old back in the earily 50es when my parents bought me my first years membership to our local YMCA. Yes, men and boys did swim individually and as a group in the nude. As I remember, the administration in the front office were all males. When a swim meet took place and the general public would be in attendance, all the contestants wore swim suits. I was just a kid then so words like voyeurism or exhibitionism were unknown to me and my friends of the time.

      I attended summer BSA camp where again lots of times guys were nude in their swimming and water activities time. Camps to the best of my knowledge were not "within sight" of each other as you have suggested. There was lots of distance between the camps and lots of supervision to keep it that way.

      Besides which, we were just young kids and girls were well... Yuckie! We really did not want any thing to do with them anyway. It was a far more innocent time amoung our youth.

      All this came to an end with the advent of "Women's Lib." Many of the YWCA's did not have swimming pools and wanted to make use of the YMCA's facilities at the same time the males did. For every attempted adjustment the YMCA made to keep it old ways of nude swims and still allow females in, the more demands were made on them to allow women in at all times. Ultimately it became a big problem to the YMCA to administer these adjustment and male nude swiming came to its end in the earily 60es. I am not sure of this, but I doubt that the members of the YWCA ever participated in nude swimming.

      Historically is was also the end of the YMCA as the prominent male organization that it once was. I am only glad that I had the chance to personally experiance a bit of the "old" YMCA's history. Sawdust

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      • #4
        I too swam nude many times at the YMCA when I was college. It just seemed the normal, natural way to swim, as boys were required to swim nude during gym classes at my high school. It was no big deal; it was just understood that boys didn't need swimsuits when there were no girls around.

        As far as the question about girls or women being able to observe, I doubt that very much. I can't remember ever seeing a female employee at the Y. If there were such, they didn't come around the areas where nudity occurred.

        Sawdust has pointed to "Women's Lib" as bringing that to an end. A whole host of social changes were let loose in the '60s and '70s. If Women's Lib had an effect on the Y—-which it might have--it was just one of many factors.

        My view is more in the direction that by the mid 1960s segregated YMCAs and YWCAs no longer met the expectations of the recreational market. Both organizations were stuck with business models that no longer worked. Therefore they had to reinvent themselves.

        It's probably true that the YMCAs had more recreational facilities to offer, including more swimming pools. In order to stay economically viable they began to serve the whole family, and that brought an end to nude swimming.

        Just as a historical note that wasn't the only time those two organizations reinvented themselves. Both started out as evangelistic Christian organizations. That emphasis was dropped in order to be able to do more effective fundraising in the community, including being able to qualify to receive United Way funding.

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        • #5
          Some of the Y's, High Schools and College groups did have mixed male and females on the team who participated with the nude boys and attendees and families for meets and competition. Most Elks clubs swiming pools were nude only, the gym's were nude optional.

          .

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          • #6
            Wow! NakedGary sure has a very different picture of how it was in the "old days"! In my high school, the boy's swim classes were definitely not coed and the guys were not allowed to wear a swim suit. The only clothed persons present were the teachers-all male. Showers were also mandatory daily after the gym class-period! At the University of Maryland, swim classes were also required nude. The pool area was closed off to females. The logic they used for this was that wet suits left in the lockers would begin to mold and smell! It seemed weird in high school but the classes were small and you knew most of the guys. At the Uof M, there would be over one hundred guys in various classes present at one time which I guess was my first experience at "mass nudity".

            I would sure like to know where and when Nakedgary's pioctures were taken.

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            • #7
              Sawdust you are right on. I was a member of a YMCA in upstate New York and that is exactly how we conducted ourseves. In the early 60's they ended boys swimming in the nude at our high school as well. However, there still continued the experience of nude swimming at our Boy Scout Camp during the summer months while I was on the Camp Staff. For 30 years I have enjoyed the freedoms of Naturist activities and when I go back home I see some of those that I was at camp with. And we go trail hikeing in the nude with each other.
              All the best
              FCMII

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              • #8
                I have never heard of girls being around nude men at YMCAs; that is, girls over age 3 (sometimes 5) years old.

                Yesterday in the mens locker room at the Y, a young father brought his 3 year old daughter into the mens locker room and they changed together and showered together with nude men being present in the locker room. This father and daughter swam together in one portion of the pool (with swim suits on) while some of us used the three lanes provided in the pool for lap swimming. It was very heart-warming to see the happy father-daughter relationship. I felt like complimenting the father, but I didn't, but I did (when I was clothed) compliment the little girl as she was standing a few feet behind her father as he was using the urinal.

                I applaud the decision years ago to change the Ys to "Family Ys". This instance of father-daughter relationship at the swimming pool attests, to me at least, the wisdom of having "Family Ys"



                This may sound like "a broken record" as I have posted it before. That is, I swam many times in the nude at the Y when I was young. I was a lifeguard in the nude at the Y. Also my lifeguard training at the Y was in the nude, including our being nude while practicing "rescuing" each other in class.

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                • #9
                  Not sure if at a high school, college, or YMCA; the image below is nude male competition, with a women coach or instructor, and a gal sitting in the chair behind the team or nude participants, and what looks like woman in the audience seating area.

                  .

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                  • #10
                    I've seen similar pictures from European events, but never from within the US. I'm not questioning those who posted them; just assuming that the pics in this thread are either their personal pictures or at least that each is certain of the origin.

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                    • #11
                      My male friend swam nude at the Y as a kid, taking lessons.
                      He indicated that there were never any women on staff or even allowed in the building.
                      His father took him there and watched proceedings from behind a glass partition.
                      (as an aside, my friend indicated that he had no problem with being nude with his father watching; but the lessons did not go well and his father was upset that his son was not learning to swim fast enough.)

                      Subsequently, the YMCA and the YWCA amalgamated.
                      The YMCA building was chosen and renovated. The YWCA building was demolished and the land sold.
                      Swimming in the nude ended with the YM/YWCA amalgmation.

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                      • #12
                        [Quote by luvnaturism]
                        quote:
                        I've seen similar pictures from European events, but never from within the US. I'm not questioning those who posted them; just assuming that the pics in this thread are either their personal pictures or at least that each is certain of the origin.


                        The images were from a U.S. based YMCA users group so the origin is not assured just like any images posted in the forums or used as avatars.

                        Included in the YMCA group was images of which seemed to be at other than at YMCA Facilities. I wasn't aware that YMCA was international organization, if some of those images are from Europe or international locations.

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                        • #13
                          Gary - I am baffled here... the clothing and the hairstyles in the lower two pictures (in your first post) look pretty current - does this still take place?

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                          • #14
                            I have never been a member of the YMCA but have one friend who is about 10 years older than me and mentioned once that as a child he took nude swimming lessons at the Y. This was of course when the YMCA was men only and he said that most men swam nude during public swims. Funny how things can change in a relatively short time.

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                            • #15
                              i guess there was no erection rules,look at the one on the left,and the one on the right.see any difference....

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