Writing for the Mail earlier this month, TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson revealed that going naked gave her the ultimate feelgood factor.
Whether at home or on holiday, she described being without clothes as an expression of her ‘Swedish soul’. However, Ulrika, 53, believes that British women are too uptight and prudish to be at one with their nakedness.
A growing number beg to differ, though. Many, like Ulrika, are finding that when it comes to de-stressing, nothing beats the stripped-back approach, and say being as naked as the day they were born is not only relaxing — it can also be a healing experience.
Model Cara Delevingne admitted that she turns to nakedness whenever she is feeling upset or overwhelmed. Describing one episode in a forest, she said: ‘I took off all my clothes and just sat there. I was so comfortable. I cried and cried. You feel so unjudged.’
Research conducted in 2017 by psychologists at Goldsmiths, University of London, found that those who spent time naked liked their bodies more, thought better of themselves and were more satisfied with their lives.
Relationship and sexuality coach Emma Spiegler says: ‘For many women, just taking off their bra is enough. But for those who want to remove their clothes at home, in their garden or in nature, it is incredibly empowering. To be totally naked takes a lot of courage.’
Here, we speak to four intrepid women who believe that shedding clothes holds the key to happiness . . .
Wobbly bits don’t worry me at all
Clare Clark, a 34-year-old administrative assistant, lives with her partner Micky, 33, a carpenter, and her three children in Peterborough.
She says: I’m lucky — I was brought up to be comfortable in my skin. My parents’ liberal attitude meant I was very at ease with my body growing into adulthood. I knew images of famous women online were manipulated and weren’t real. No one has ‘perfect’ breasts or zero cellulite and comparing myself with them isn’t worth it.
During my 20s, I travelled in Europe and Australia with my girlfriends and we’d always seek out the nude sunbathing beaches. I felt vulnerable at first but soon found it’s a safer environment for women. No one ogles you and no one cares about wobbly bits. Naturists are very accepting.
Clare Clark (pictured), a 34-year-old administrative assistant, lives with her partner Micky, 33, a carpenter, and her three children in Peterborough
Once a guy from my hometown was on the same beach. When he came over to say hello I feared it would be awkward, but it was fine. I felt more comfortable than if I had been wearing a low-cut top.
I do look after my body and as we can’t go to the beach now I have spent much time gardening naked. I’m proud of how I look; this body has grown and birthed three children. I am happier with it today than I was in my 20s.
Before I discovered the freedom and bliss that nudity brings I took antidepressants for stress and anxiety but no longer need them. It’s rare I get any physical illness either. That’s why I believe removing your clothes is the ultimate stress reliever and the best form of mindfulness.
When we can safely book a beach holiday again, the first thing I will do is strip off and be the real Clare again.
That’s when I’ll feel my shoulders fall, my stress melt away and find ‘me’ again.
It’s not sexual…it’s all about freedom
Musician Jess Maison, 35, is single and lives in London.
She says: I have grown up with parents who are very liberated about nakedness. I used to call them ‘crazy old hippies’, but today I can see that they are far from crazy. They have given me an incredible gift — and that’s to be proud of my body and not be prudish when it comes to my naked form.
My body is far from supermodel perfect — but I am happy with what I see in the mirror. Yes, of course I’d like to lose some weight, but that doesn’t stop me from being able to relax and enjoy living in the moment when I take my clothes off. When I look at my naked reflection, I don’t see any flaws; I see a woman who is happiest in her skin when she is nude.
Musician Jess Maison, 35, is single and lives in London. She says: I have grown up with parents who are very liberated about nakedness
That’s not to say I have always felt this way. I went through a stage in my 20s of not liking my body. What changed everything was taking part in a photoshoot at a festival in 2008. There were 500 people — including me — standing naked on a hill. It was so freeing being unclothed in nature.
By coincidence, not long afterwards I started seeing a guy who was a nudist. We regularly attended naked swims and gatherings. I felt so alive and free.
Today, I’m extremely comfortable with my body and like to be naked at outdoor settings as much as possible. There are numerous festivals where you can be naked. There is no sexual element. It’s purely about enjoying the freedom.
In lockdown, I moved back home with my parents and would potter around the garden totally naked.
I love my bike rides wearing nothing
Sports facility manager Rosi Lee, 43, is in a relationship, has two children aged 13 and 11, and lives in South London.
She says: As a child and teenager, I did lots of sports including running and athletics, so there has never been an issue with how I felt about my body in front of my peers.
Being naked in the company of other people is a great leveller and allows people to be open and themselves as they have nothing to hide.
As I’ve got older, I’ve found it even more empowering stepping out of my clothes and being truly ‘me’. Of course, my kids laugh about it, joking: ‘Oh, Mum is going off to be naked again!’
Sports facility manager Rosi Lee (pictured), 43, is in a relationship, has two children aged 13 and 11, and lives in South London
On a day-to-day basis I enjoy being naked just at home in the evening or out in the garden. There is nothing more relaxing than feeling the warm sun on your naked skin.
Weather permitting, I enjoy going to naturist beaches or more organised events. The World Naked Bike Ride is one of my favourites. Nobody is judging you for what you look like.
You are celebrated for being there and taking part, which really helps to lift my self-esteem and confidence in life generally. If I can cycle around London naked, then there’s nothing I can’t do.
The first naturist event I went to was five years ago. Now, I go to them when my schedule allows. Some are club nights where women can dance together.
A couple of years ago at the Burning Man festival in Nevada, in the U.S., I attended a women’s topless bike ride. I was in the desert in the company of a whole spectrum of women, including older ladies and mums with their daughters. Many had not done this before. It was an empowering and very special thing to do.
Being naked with other people on the same wavelength is reassuring and comforting. No one is laughing or judging you for what you’re wearing.
Naked yoga makes me feel alive
Mum-of-one and executive assistant Maria Morris, 40, lives in London.
She says: I am at my calmest in the woods sitting cross-legged, breathing deeply, eyes shut — and naked.
I began doing kundalini yoga two years ago. I had given birth to my son, now four, and wanted to feel good about myself again. Going to the gym was not enough as it had no spiritual element.
This type of yoga is about waking up your feminine energy. I have found that certain poses are easier when naked.
Mum-of-one and executive assistant Maria Morris, 40, lives in London. She says: I’ve been following a yoga practitioner on Instagram who does yoga outside and in the nude
I’ve been following a yoga practitioner on Instagram who does yoga outside and in the nude. You never see her face, it’s more about her message and being accepting of who she is.
She travels the world with her partner who is her photographer, and poses on mountains, in the woods, outside in the snow. The images are very powerful.
I’ve started to do it myself. Whenever I can get outside unclothed on a beach — or more usually in a private space — I practise, often at sunrise, my favourite yoga poses.
It’s so grounding for me to dig my toes into the earth, feel the sun all over my body and breathe — it releases so much stress.
Even when the wind or rain is on your naked body, there is no greater sensation in the world. It makes me feel empowered and in control. Afterwards, I feel alive, alert and feminine, too.
Naked yoga outside lets me recharge. It’s so liberating to be able to do yoga without anything on. I love it as it’s a brief moment in life where I feel truly free.