Skinny dipping
Nude swimming, colloquially called skinny dipping, is a term used to describe swimming naked
Nudity is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations and social considerations...



The term skinny dip, first recorded in English in the 1950s, includes the somewhat archaic word skinny, known since 1573, meaning "having to do with skin", as it exposed the naked body.


The term is commonly used with a neutral tone to describe swimming in unheated water, but is also used when referring to going naked
Nudity is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations and social considerations...

 in hot tub
Hot tub
A hot tub is a large tub or small pool full of heated water and used for soaking, relaxation, massage, or hydrotherapy. In most cases, they have jets for massage purposes. Hot tubs are usually located outdoors, and are often sheltered for protection from the elements, as well as for privacy....

s and hot spring
Hot spring
A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. There are geothermal hot springs in many locations all over the crust of the earth.-Definitions:...


It has a more mischievous connotation when describing swimming excursions (often under cover of darkness) in swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

s or at beach
A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of an ocean, sea, lake or river. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles or cobblestones...

es where one would be expected to wear swimsuit
A swimsuit, bathing suit, or swimming costume is an item of clothing designed to be worn by men, women or children while they are engaging in a water-based activity or water sports, such as swimming, water polo, diving, surfing, water skiing, or during activities in the sun, such as sun bathing.A...

s. Some people claim that skinny dipping in mixed company (i.e., both males and females) has an element of sexual
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

 rebelliousness to it, though sexual activity
Human sexual behavior
Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons...

 does not necessarily take place. However, skinny dipping does not necessarily have any sexual component, it may just be an enjoyable activity between platonic friends.

In the United Kingdom, skinny dipping is sometimes known as "naked swimming". This term can also be applied to swimming in nature.


Prior to the mid-19th century, swimming nude was unexceptional. Francis Kilvert
Francis Kilvert
Robert Francis Kilvert , always known as Francis, or Frank, was born at The Rectory, Hardenhuish Lane, near Chippenham, Wiltshire, to the Rev. Robert Kilvert, Rector of Langley Burrell, Wiltshire, and Thermuthis, daughter of Walter Coleman and Thermuthis Ashe...

, a skinny-dipper (1873), describes men's bathing suits then coming into use as "a pair of very short red and white striped drawers". Period illustrations of women's suits show they were far more cumbersome.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, an avid swimmer, possessed a copy of the Art of Swimming by Melchisédech Thévenot
Melchisédech Thévenot
Melchisédech Thévenot was a French author, scientist, traveler, cartographer, orientalist, inventor, and diplomat...

, which featured illustrations of nude swimmers. Among other notable Americans, Presidents John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

 and Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 are perhaps the best-known skinny-dippers. Roosevelt describes nude swims in the Potomac with his "tennis cabinet" in his Autobiography: "If we swam the Potomac, we usually took off our clothes." Quotations from the diary of Rev. Francis Kilvert, an English nude swimmer, in Cec Cinder's The Nudist Idea, show the transition in the England of the 1870s from an acceptance of nude bathing to the mandatory use of bathing suits. Kilvert describes "a delicious feeling of freedom in stripping in the open air and running down naked to the sea".

Although modern swimwear is more practical, nude swimming remains a fairly common activity in rural areas, where an unwanted audience of outsiders is rather unlikely; yet it may be forbidden even there by law. Today, many swimmers in the U.S. limit nude swimming to private locations due to concerns about public nudity
Public nudity
Public nudity or nude in public refers to nudity not in an entirely private context. It refers to a person appearing nude in a public place or to be seen from a public place. It also includes nudity in a semi-public place, where the general public is free to enter, such as a shopping mall...


Ernest Thompson Seton
Ernest Thompson Seton
Ernest Thompson Seton was a Scots-Canadian who became a noted author, wildlife artist, founder of the Woodcraft Indians, and one of the founding pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America . Seton also influenced Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting...

 describes skinny dipping as one of the first activities of his Woodcraft Indians
Woodcraft Indians
The League of Woodcraft Indians was an American youth program, established by Ernest Thompson Seton. Despite the name, it was developed for non-Indian boys. It was later renamed the "Woodcraft League of America", and would also allow girls to join...

, a forerunner of the Scout movement
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

, in 1902.

Before the YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

 began to admit females in the early 1960s, swimming trunks were not even allowed in the pools, and high school swimming classes for boys sometimes had similar policies, citing the impracticality of providing and maintaining sanitary swimming gear and clogging swimming pools' filtration systems with lint fibers from the swimsuits. These practices were common because of the perception that there was nothing wrong or sexual about seeing members of the same gender in the nude, especially in these indoor contexts among equals in 'birthday suit uniform'. In some areas, this extended well into the early 1970s.

In some English schools, Manchester Grammar School
Manchester Grammar School
The Manchester Grammar School is the largest independent day school for boys in the UK . It is based in Manchester, England...

 for example, nude swimming was compulsory until the 1970s. This was also the case for some US high and junior high schools. A 2006 Roper poll showed that 25% of all American adults had been skinny dipping at least once, and that 74% believed nude swimming should be tolerated at accepted locations.

In the United States, various counties and municipalities may enact their own dress codes, and many have. There is no federal law against nudity. Nude beaches, such as Baker Beach
Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a public beach on the peninsula of San Francisco, California, U.S.. The beach lies on the shore of the Pacific Ocean to the northwest of the city...

 in San Francisco, operate within federal park lands in California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. However, under a provision called concurrent jurisdiction
Concurrent jurisdiction
Concurrent jurisdiction exists where two or more courts from different systems simultaneously have jurisdiction over a specific case. This situation leads to forum shopping, as parties will try to have their civil or criminal case heard in the court that they perceive will be most favorable to...

, federal park rangers may enforce state and local laws, or invite local authorities to do so.

While exceptional in the U.S., some nude or more accurately clothing-optional beach areas have been designated or marked by signs by government entities. Among the most widely used are Gunnison Beach in New Jersey (National Park Service) and Haulover Beach
Haulover Park
Haulover Park is a urban park in metropolitan Miami, just north of Bal Harbour, Florida. The park is located on a shoal between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, just north of the Broad Causeway and Collins Avenue.-History:...

 in Florida (Miami-Dade County).

In popular culture


  • Nude swimming was a common subject of Old Masters and Romantic
    Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

     oil paintings, usually bucolic or in a mythological or historical setting. In later days it became rarer, but more likely to depict straight-forward contemporary scenes.
  • Norman Rockwell
    Norman Rockwell
    Norman Percevel Rockwell was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening...

    's painting No Swimming that adorned the cover of the June 4, 1921 edition of the Saturday Evening Post with boys in various states of undress escaping from the local authorities.

Several films have become notable in whole or in part due to their nude swimming scenes.

  • Ecstasy
    Ecstasy (film)
    Ecstasy – Extase in Czech, Ekstase in German – is a Czech film made in 1933 by the Czech director Gustav Machatý. It stars Hedy Lamarr, credited under her original surname Kiesler, and Zvonimir Rogoz....

    (1933) The film was censored or banned in many places largely because of Hedy Lamarr
    Hedy Lamarr
    Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress celebrated for her great beauty who was a major contract star of MGM's "Golden Age".Lamarr also co-invented – with composer George Antheil – an early technique for spread spectrum communications and frequency hopping, necessary to wireless...

    's nude swimming scene.
  • Tarzan and His Mate
    Tarzan and His Mate
    Tarzan and His Mate is a Tarzan film based on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was the second in the Tarzan film series to star Johnny Weissmuller....

    (1934) featured the female lead (played by a double) swimming nude, however religious groups lobbied to have the scene removed. Three versions of this movie now exist.
  • In Age of Consent, a 1969 Australian film by British director Michael Powell
    Michael Powell (director)
    Michael Latham Powell was a renowned English film director, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger...

    , Helen Mirren
    Helen Mirren
    Dame Helen Mirren, DBE is an English actor. She has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.-Early life and family:...

     swims naked in several scenes.
  • Jaws
    Jaws (film)
    Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach,...

    (1975), the character Chrissie Watkins, played by Susan Backlinie
    Susan Backlinie
    Susan Backlinie is a former actress and stuntwoman. She is known for her role as Chrissie Watkins, the first victim in Steven Spielberg's 1975 blockbuster Jaws.-Personal life:...

    , goes skinny dipping in the ocean, and then gets eaten by the shark. Susan Backlinie later reprised the scene in a self-parody in the comedy 1941
    1941 (film)
    1941 is a 1979 period comedy film directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, and featuring an ensemble cast including John Belushi, Ned Beatty, John Candy, Toshiro Mifune, Christopher Lee and Dan Aykroyd...

    (1979), where she is snagged up by the periscope of a surfacing Japanese submarine.

  • Recent bestselling books on "wild swimming" by authors such as Kate Rew
    Kate Rew
    Kate Rew is a journalist and author who founded the Outdoor Swimming Society. Her bestselling book, "Wild Swim", helped further the recent growth in popularity of wild swimming.-Early life:...

    and Daniel Start have promoted skinnydipping, recommending suitably secluded beaches, rivers and lakes.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.