Naked Swimming

As part of my extensive research for my series, “Cockaigne Chronicles”, I came across several interesting articles/blog posts/newspaper cuttings about boys being made to swim naked, either at the YMCA or gym class. To be fair, my interest was piqued in the late 80s when I watched the film ‘Heaven Help Us‘ (1985) about a Catholic school run by monks and the line up of naked young men on the side of the pool as a monk paces up and down in front of them.

In all the cases I’ve read, the nudity is entirely non-sexual, and that has always intrigued me. Too many people equate nudity with sex, which is a common critisism of naturism. Children aren’t afraid of their bodies, and as a child, I never was. But as grew older the shame came. I just wish I didn’t suffer from body image issues as it has prevented me from doing so many things in the past.

If only we could have our time again.

Until Fairly Recently, The YMCA Actually Required Swimmers To Be Nude from

When Boys Swam Nude in Gym Class from

Naked in High School: Bad Dreams Do Come True from

The Origins of Nude Swimming in Illinois Public Schools and Community Pools from

Nude Male Swimming in High Schools? from

Nude swimming at the ‘Y’ from

Frank Answers About Swimming Naked from

Frank Answers About Swimming Naked at the YMCA from

Frank Answers About Swimming Naked – Commentary Part I: Discerning the Truth from

Frank Answers About Swimming Naked – Commentary Part II: Experiencing Nudity from

Why Nude Bathing Is Better Than Bathing Suits from


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2 Replies to “”

  1. You have made the work of historians more than a little easier by researching the topic of boys and men being coerced to swim naked at YMCA pools and for gym class. Those of us boys who were fortunate to attend private schools between the ages of six and eighteen experienced the same situation. We too were ordered to remove all our clothes and line up at the pool’s edge as the swimming instructor lectured us on what to do and not do. It was a decidedly precarious five to ten minutes of verbal instruction, particularly for the preteens and early teens who now and then were unable to contain their excitement over swimming clad in suits or not. Their temporary condition was neither an issue nor a cause for ridicule or concern of any kind. Your insights and thought-provoking comments about this subject are of serious historic value. Thank you for applying your gifted, sharply accurate lens to an earlier time when male nude swimming was demanded.

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  2. I was required to attend swim class during hs. So in summer I went to the YMCA for my certification. The instruction was ten, one hour classes, formal, and nude. About 15 boys per class and ages 11-14.
    A few times, some moms waited on the benches. We were told that boys/men were tough and did not require privacy or modesty.
    Most boys enjoyed the experience as it was our only opportunity to be in a pool in summer. We all survived.

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