First Visit to Clothing Optional Resort

Dr. Olson,

I’m very new to all of this.  In fact, I’ve never been with a man sexually, although I’ve thought about it for a long time.  I find myself vacillating between excitement and nervousness over the anticipation.  I made eye contact with someone at the gym today but wasn’t sure what to do next.  I’m considering a weekend at a clothing optional resort, hoping to explore the gay community a bit more. I’m looking for one that isn’t too seedy but one where I can have some good conversations with other like-minded men.

Of course, you’re nervous as well as excited. All very normal.  Cruising goes on everywhere.  Eyes meet, when a glance is held for a bit longer than the look between heterosexual men.  It’s the initial communication of some interest. Once you’re aware of it, you become a participant without even intending to.  It’s a learned response, and once learned, it never goes away. All it means is that you’ve developed some comfort in looking at another man.  Heterosexual men are usually uncomfortable with it and will look away quickly.

If there is mutual interest, you can initiate a brief conversation, but if you want to know the person, say something unexpected, e.g. “I really like those shoes.”  Whoever begins a conversation that way?  Talking about your work and where you live are often dead ends because they reveal so little about us. If the conversation progresses, then invite him to coffee.

I would suggest that in conversations you develop a persona based on truths about you, but leave out some of the details.  I’m not in favor of bull shit, but I am in favor of caution.  When I travel, I would tell people I was a pig farmer – actually, I was a cattle farmer — but a pig farmer from Iowa seemed more believable. I wanted to shed the psychiatrist stereotypes in conversation. “Oh, you’re a psychiatrist. I really must schedule an appointment with you. Ha Ha.”  No one ever wanted to schedule an appointment with a pig farmer.

I prefer small, mid-range, well-managed, clothing optional resorts. The clientele is often 35-years-old and up, and established in their careers.  Many resorts have a cocktail hour in the evening where you can meet others and perhaps find someone with whom you can go to dinner and then to one of the gay bars.  Don’t be afraid to say, “May I go with you?”

Most are nervous during their first visit to a clothing optional place.  First, you don’t have to be naked.  You can wear a suit to the pool and only take it off if you wish.  But one of the best things about a clothing optional place is that it brings things down to the basics.  You just ARE who you are; you shed all the external manifestations of your identity.  You are a blank slate with no pretenses.  There is something very refreshing about being just the way you were born, and being accepted for that.

The owners of these resorts often act as the concierges, and will point you to things you might want to see or do, if you ask.  Don’t be afraid to be open to them about your situation or your concerns.  They’ve certainly heard it before.  They will want you to have a fun time but also a safe one. Same is true for bartenders in gay bars.  Give them a nice tip and they can act as your safe person.  You can ask them about people in the bar, if they know them, if there are people (like rent boys) that you might want to avoid.

You may want to try a day pass to one of the “sleazy” resorts.  You might not want to stay there but you might want to explore it whether you participate or not.  Sleaze is a part of the LGBTQ culture (as well as the heterosexual culture) and it’s good to expose yourself to the full spectrum of gay life. You don’t have to participate, although you may if you like.  If someone comes on to you that you don’t like, just shake your head, or say “no thanks,” and walk away. Most don’t take it personally but just, “You’re not my type.”

Another thing I would recommend is a massage.  Tell the manager of the hotel exactly what you’re looking for and they may recommend someone.  The idea is for you to passively experience the touch of another man.  Don’t be concerned if you get an erection.  It just means you’re responding in a positive way to the experience.  Whether or not it ends with “a happy ending” will be up to you and the masseuses.

Remember:  “We maximize the negative and minimize the positive.”  At this point, you can’t even imagine the freedom you may feel being naked amid other men who accept you.  It isn’t Nirvana — there will be some bumps — but I think you will find a peace inside yourself that you haven’t experienced.

Dress is usually casual, shorts or Levis and t shirts and sometimes swim suits. Nothing fancy.  These work in the bars and restaurants as well.  This is about YOU, how YOU want to present yourself.

One frequently asked question: “What if I get an erection?” You will be heightened sexually in a somewhat sexually charged environment. Try not to be embarrassed by it.  Erections are normal. You might find it embarrassing at first to be erect and naked because men have been taught that they must be private about that.  Again, it’s part of being free to be who you are without judgment.

Remember that others there will also wish a degree of anonymity as well. Some if not most may have their own secrets about being there, and exposing you will also expose them. If someone should have a camera, feel free to tell them, “No pictures.”  A ball cap and sun glasses are always appropriate, even if not trying to be incognito. Don’t forget the sun screen; some of your body may not have seen much sun.


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