Interview with a Naturist Club Owner
Pat Badham, 50, is the proprietor of the longest established naturist club in the UK, Fiveacres country club in Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire. She lives on site and originally comes from Hatfield
What s the appeal of naturism for you?
Lots of benefits..almost too many to mention, but here’s a few:- No strap marks or tan lines,the wonderful freedom of swimming in the sea naked, feeling free, not having to squelch around in wet costumes. I also just love the outdoor life.
When and where was your first naturist experience and what was it like?
The very first time was on an 18 to 30 holidays when I was young. It was at a nudist beach in Ibiza. Goaded by the trip organisers we all just stripped off and went in the sea.
The second main occasion was years later at Westgate on Sea with my then husband and young family…it was a very hot day and I found to my horror that I had forgotton my costume, so I just did without!
After that,I had the bug and had many naturist holidays in places such as Cap d’agde.
What was your upbringing like? Were your parents quite open about nudity?
No. We had a Catholic upbringing.
Where is your favourite UK naturist retreat?
Well I started here as a customer, so here obviously. other favourites would be the club at Silverleigh, Studland beach near Bournemouth, cap d agde in France and Fuete ventura in the Canary Islands.
What is the retreat like and what facilities does it have?
Fiveacres and most other decent naturist clubs, have hot showers, heated swimming pool, badminton, darts, pool, bar,miniten and a variety of social events, theme nights etc. Despite the name “fiveacres” there are actually 7 acres of land and the grounds are a mixture of lawns and a bit of woodland.
What made you decide to open a naturist retreat and when did it open?
It open originally in 1927. I took over in 2003 having been a member since 1995. Then after a lot of financial investment I became the Proprietor.
Do you live the naturist lifestyle there full time?
No. Only weather and time permitting!
Is it just a holiday retreat or do other people live the naturist lifestyle there all year round?
Mostly weekend and holidays.
How many members are there?
What activities, if any, require you to put on clothing?
Well, I don t live in the nude, it’s far too cold in the winter, and apart from anything else health and hygiene regulations would prevent nudity in in the kitchen.
In which case how do you feel when you are having to wear clothes when others are not?
When its hot and sunny – extremely frustrating!!!
What do your family think of your lifestyle?
Some members of family don t really understand, but visit the club anyway, but keep their clothes on. Everyone else is fine.
Do you have friends who aren’t naturists? If so, what do they think of it?
Yes, I have lots of friends who non-naturists. Again they visit occasionally, but some have actually tried naturism for the first time here.
Are you currently in a relationship? If so, does you partner also live the naturist lifestyle?
Yes and yes.
How do people react when you tell them you re a naturist? Do you meet with any stigma?
It varies…I get from “Oh no, you re not!” To “Can I come along and try it”?
For a lot of women, getting ready for a night out, picking the outfit etc is a hugely enjoyable experience, do you still enjoy dressing up?
Yes definitely. We have themed evenings at the club where everyone dresses up.
Do you have any hang ups with your body? How has naturism affected your body confidence?
No..I’m getting older things start getting saggy! But it really doesn’t matter. Naturists talk to the person not the body. I am actually more confident with other naturists. I stripped off for the program Naked Britain on Sky one , I would never have done that before becoming a naturist.
Naked Britain was a documentary which featured the Fiveacres Country Club
If Britain was largely a naturist environment what do you think would change?
Nothing really, naturists are not from another planet like anyone else we have opinions that differ to other people.
How do attitudes towards naturism in the UK differ from those abroad in your experience?
Generally people in Britain are more uptight with regard to nudism. Although to be fair the weather in Britain doesn t help the cause!
Have you ever been tempted to go nude outside the Club?
No, I don t fancy walking up the shops nude where others are clothed. I am not an exhibitionist!
What are the downsides to being naturism?
Other peoples perception of us. That’s about it.
Have all your relationships been with naturists?
How does naturist dating differ from clothed dating?
You can see the goods before you buy!!! Seriously, apart from that, I haven’t found much difference..
Has being a naturist affected the way that you view sex?
No. Anyone will still get hot under the collar if they see someone they fancy, and wonder how they would look naked, whether they be a naturist or not.
So are you still turned on by the naked body or have you become immune to it?
Oh yes, I still enjoy the Chippendales and the dreamboys!
What misconceptions about naturism would you like to correct?
Where do you begin, there are loads naturists are not all sex maniacs and perverts, nakedness does not equal sex when it comes to naturism. It’s a completely different sensation. The trouble is that people will judge naturists and naturism without trying it out for themselves.
The time of the month might be a worry for some women wanting to try naturism, what s the best way around it?
Its never been a problem.
What would be your main piece of advice to anyone who d like to try naturism for the first time?
Try a naturist beach first, preferably abroad where you may feel more comfortable, then take it from there. There is no need to put yourself under pressure, quite the opposite. One of the main objectives is to experience the wonderful sense of relaxation that being a naturist brings.
Cheers Pat, it’s been an absolute pleasure!