I will not reveal why I know this. Once you’ve been hanging out with everything flying free for awhile, and with others who are also wearing not a stitch of new clothing, well – you kinda stop thinking about it. We’re conditioned from birth to keep our bodies covered, and we’re also conditioned to think that our bodies don’t measure up to other people’s and that we need to pursue a mostly unattainable standard of beauty. That’s what stands between us and getting full-on naked with each other more often. Once you get past that hurdle, it’s pretty easy.
I interviewed Mark B., the president of By the way, what used to be called “nudism” is now referred to as “naturism.” GNI’s self-proclaimed mission is “to serve as a resource to male naturists by hosting and sponsoring men’s naturist events and providing information and resources to individuals and local clubs. In addition, GNI is a voice for gay naturists in wider naturist efforts to educate society about naturism and to advance the interests of naturists worldwide.” So basically, helping nude guys hang out with nude guys in safe and fun environments.
I had a ton of questions, mostly about what happens when people get boners. Mark was kind enough to entertain my ridiculousness. GNI holds a huge event every summer in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania called The Gathering. This year’s begins this week.
– J. Harvey
To read my interview with the ruler of gay nudity, Follow the BREAK:
Hey Mark. Thanks for letting me ask my silly questions. To start off – “naturist” is the same thing as “nudist?”
Pretty much. They are the same, though some would claim subtle differences. Naturists like to think they are above the whole sexual connotations inferred with the “Nudism” term which in reality is not there to begin with. Sexual situations arise with both terms and how you deal with it is pretty much the same.
What was your own first time at a naturist event like? And your first time at a GAY naturist event? Was there a big difference beyond the obvious?
My first experience was actually on a Windjammer cruise back in the ’90’s. It was put on by Naked Magazine which has since gone bankrupt. I found it amazing being in a social atmosphere with all these handsome, naked guys. It was amazing how much we all had in common and I’ve been friends with many of the people I met on that boat ever since! And the sex that went on was pretty hot as well! “Lights out, Dicks up!” was a familiar refrain at night when the staff went to bed.
Which leads me to my next question. It’s a bunch of gay guys. How much of being a gay naturist is sexual? I will be honest – I’d try to be very subtle, but I would definitely be checking out people’s bods. Does The Gathering get very sexual? Are there orgies? It’s Manhunt, I have to ask.
I would be lying if I said no. There is very much a sexual aspect to it. We’re all men, it happens! But there’s also a very strong social connection that develops that some people are not expecting and it may surprise them a bit.
I liked your assurance [Ed. note – ] that lots of guys tend to get erections at these gatherings, and it’s just a physical response to stimuli. I myself would probably freak and go stand behind a railing or the grill. When this does happen and a guy gets embarrassed, how do you talk him down?
It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just have fun with it. Hang your hat there til’ it goes down or hook up with the object of your interest and go somewhere to relieve the issue!
Has it happened to you and what did you do?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll wag it proudly till it goes down. Other times I’ve been known to drag a crowd “Across the Lake” and take care of matters.
Now you’re probably going to ask about “Across the Lake”. This is the term we use for the area we’ve set up as sort of an unrestricted zone. There can be complaints about consensual sexual activities and anyone venturing there accepts the possibility that activity will be occurring in plain sight. I had one hell of a hot leather scene over there in the woods one year that drew a crowd of 15 or so.
I knew this was just an excuse for a giant outdoor orgy! Kidding (sorta). Are there ever any accidents grilling with tender parts getting burnt?
Grilling? If anyone is grilling, I imagine for safety’s sake they’ll be wearing an apron. (And nothing else!)
When someone has a GINORMOUS penis, are you allowed to remark upon it?
You’re allowed. But after the 3rd or 4th one, you’ll find yourself focusing a little more on the person. Besides, if it was just about the big dick, they have those for sale in the Leatherwerkes shop!
It’s definitely a gay naturist gathering if there’s easy access shopping for dildos involved. Speaking of that, what goes into a good naturist gathering?
People make or break the event. As organizers, we schedule events and entertainment. But the members put together their own events which always seem to eclipse our efforts. From cocktail parties to impromptu shows, there’s always something fun going on.
I read in the description of what can go on at gay naturist events that oil wrestling is an activity. Come on, that HAS to be sexual. Does that go on at The Gathering?
As far as the oil wrestling, I must say I did it in my younger days. If you’re really trying, sex is the LAST thing on your mind. It’s exhausting! Doesn’t mean you can’t make a side bet for afterwards though. Loser gives????? LOL [Ed. note – Mark obviously needs to be in charge of the men’s Olympic wrestling the next go-round.]
What would your advice be for a guy who was attending The Gathering for the first time?
Pack a towel, a pair of sweats to keep you warm in case it gets too cold for you one night, and your essentials to get you through the week. Everything else is going to be there. (EVERYTHING!) Just come and enjoy meeting people and seeing all the craziness for your first time.
Who applies the sunscreen?
Remember that big-dicked guy you were asking about earlier? ASK HIM!
Will do! Thanks for speaking with us, Mark. If you’re a naturist, want to see big dick, like hanging out with guys bareass, or just want to shop for dildos without the encumberance of clothing –