By Lisa Gulya
Have you ever been to a Bring Your Own Towel Party (BYOT)? If youre going to get naked and dont plan on standing all night, the host requests you bring your own towel to sit on.
If we acknowledge the full spectrum of sexual attraction, then we have to admit that there is little possibility for an asexual naked party, even if its single gender. But naked parties dont have to be about sex.
"The point of a naked party, in my mind, is that the participants throw away the superficial boundaries of clothing and attempt to see people as they really are," a recent male graduate wrote.
One junior man was nonchalant about the possibility of sexual tension. "I see nudity as a pretty wholesome thing, since I'm in the figure drawing class and I don't see much wrong with it," he wrote. "I guess I see the idea much like skinny-dipping, where it would be fun with close friends."
Nudity doesnt always lead to the explicit labeling of a gathering as a "naked party." It can simply be doing what you do with friends anyway, just without clothes. Maybe you want to sit around and talk or watch a movie, or maybe you prefer being crammed in a sweaty dorm room with a few friends (although we can all probably imagine how that would smell).
The most important factor in any successful naked party is making sure everyone feels safe and knows what to expect.
"I think that naked parties are what you make of them. Within naked parties there should be very clear outlines as to what you should do and that should be clearly defined and understood by everyone involved," the recent male graduate wrote.
If you thought youd be watching a movie with a few close friends and you discover that the intent was really to play naked Twister, feel free to leave if youre uncomfortable.
"There is always that potential for someone to go too far and grab and grope where they are not welcome ... which is something to be wary of," a senior man wrote.
Single-sex nudity can feel safer than diving right into co-ed nudity. Although I wouldnt call it a party per se, my experience with group nudity is limited to an impromptu frolic in a rainstorm in a fairly rural location with a few close female friends.
That experience was decidedly more comical than erotic, as we attempted lopsided cartwheels and played in the puddles on the asphalt. Yet, we were all invigorated and giddy by returning to the freedom that we enjoyed as toddlers, where we could get away with dropping trow and running sans clothing.
A naked party I was invited to last month, but was unable to attend, was nothing more than a small gathering of feminist women discussing body image. What better way to set the mood than to strip down and literally face the issue?
"The strangest thing was how not strange it was," the host, a junior woman, wrote. "It was the exact same kind of conversation we would have if we were clothed, but there was something freeing about being naked ... about knowing that it was comfortable and OK."
As far as the awkwardness of disrobing in front of others, the host wrote, "When we stripped down at the beginning it was quick and did not really disrupt conversation. When two people came after the initial strip, it was not odd for them to strip down and join us."
While these women attended a naked party just to talk, some Oles unabashedly favor of the naked party that might lead to group sex. "It would be an experience, a rush, a thrill and educational! I think everyone there really knows that it is all about group sex," a sophomore man wrote.
Others disagree that an orgy would be readily undertaken at St. Olaf. "I think a lot of people would be down with going to a naked party, but not an orgy, if not just for the difference in the word," a senior male wrote. "Theres a good chance that at a naked party at a school like St. Olaf, things are not going to turn into an orgy."
So, if you want to try a naked party, know your expectations and your limits.
Some people, even those who are sexually adventurous with their partners, have no interest in group nudity. But if you do join in, dont forget your towel.
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