Their relationship is all about the bare necessities.
A British man said he persuaded his body-conscious wife to join his nudist lifestyle, and now neither of them wears clothes unless they have to, South West News Service reported.
Simon and Helen Berriman, both 48, from London, England, are naturists, meaning they love being in the nude. However, it took Helen some getting used to before claiming the lifestyle as her own.
When Helen met Simon in 2015, she was opposed to his nudism.
“At first I was so against it. I had a real issue with it. He told me early on that he was a naturist and lived a clothing-optional lifestyle, but I had no idea what that was,” Helen said.
“One day I came home early from work and he was naked at his desk, and we had a massive argument and we agreed he would cover up while I was around,” she said.
She later warmed up to the idea of clothing-optional living after attending a drawing class in which naked people were sketching someone who was clothed — her “eureka moment,” she said.
“I realized my preconceptions of naturism were wrong,” she admitted.
“It wasn’t a bunch of weirdos, people weren’t objectifying people, it wasn’t a place to perv on people,” she explained.
She went to the class because Simon was involved in a normalizing nudity project, and the class was a part of it. She discovered that in the naturist community, people are naked while “doing normal things” — not just while having sex.
“I took my dress off and everyone carried on doing what they were going — it was quite unremarkable,” she explained.
She decided to return to the class and now considers herself a naturist.
“That was when I realized I was comfortable and relaxed and this is for me.”
The couple said before Helen went fully nude in front of others, she tinkered with wearing a bikini in their garden on a particularly hot day. It was during the COVID lockdown, and she said she also felt comfortable with her husband shedding his clothes.
“It was really unseasonably warm and because it was lockdown, I didn’t force him to be dressed,” she said.
“We were in a situation where it was very hot, and the other aspect of lockdown was you change your thought process a little bit. Life is a bit too short, nobody else had a problem with this,” she added.
Helen said that she’s always had body image issues but finally feels comfortable in her skin.
Simon, on the other hand, has always preferred being in the nude.
“As a teen, I would come home from school, go to my room and take off my school uniform,” he said.
“I wouldn’t bother putting anything else on; I would stay in my room and play on my computer. I have never had a problem with being naked,” he added.
When he got older, he said he discovered something called the World Naked Bike Ride and “came across people who called themselves naturists — that was the first time I had come up against the term,” he explained.
“I came away thinking, ‘That is me, that is what I want to do,’” he said.
Now Simon said he battles against people’s misconceptions about naturists.
One big one is that they don’t own clothes. He and Helen wear clothes in the chillier months or whenever they leave the house to go to non-clothing-optional spaces.
“The whole point is it is freedom — the freedom of deciding if you want to wear clothing or not because you don’t care about being seen naked,” he said.
“There is a difference between wanting to be seen naked and not caring. It is an irrelevance whether I am nude or not,” he added.
He called naturism a “way of living” — one that some people shun. He said society is very gynophobic, meaning they have a fear of nudity.
“There are a lot of naturists in this country, but they will lie about where they are going because of the judgment they will face,” he said.
He compared his choice to go nude to veganism, another lifestyle that has attracted critics.
“I liken it back to veganism — not that long ago, people were really ridiculed if they said they were vegan. But now vegan has become an ethical choice,” he explained.
Helen said people consider anything outside the norm to be “weird.”
“We’re banging on about it because it isn’t weird; we are a minority group that needs to be understood more,” she said.
“To us being naked is perfectly normal — this is who we are.”