The Naked Swim


Here I am at 14, in the worst suit of all time. Orrin’s on the left in the fashionable sports jacket ensemble.

It was 1974 . President Nixon was still in the White House. Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. All in the Family was the #1 TV show.

I was in Middle School. It was The Awkward Years.

The part we all dreaded was swim class. Incredibly, all boys took swimming classes naked, an enforced rule due to the different standards of the time. This naked swimming practice wasn’t just in public schools, it was widespread: in Boy Scouts, Summer Camps and YMCAs. It was even going on in Europe and I’m sure all over the world.

The people in charge gave us the reasons to swim naked, but there was one lingering question. Why were girls allowed to wear bathing suits and not us?

Naked swimming did teach us about hygiene, something that seems to be sorely lacking in today’s schools, and being comfortable in our own skin. But did this institutionalized practice of parading adolescent boys around naked do more harm than good?

I got invaluable help in creating this episode by several of my old classmates who emailed me their Eyewitness Accounts.

If you went through something similar like gym horror stories or bad coaches, please post your stories and comments. Please, no names!

You can now donate to the Red Cross / Japan Relief AND get a brand new Its Jerry Time comedy background music soundtrack CD at the same time for only $6.95! This album includes the themes from all of our episodes, including “The Naked Swim.” Please support Japan through Its Jerry Time. Just order right here.

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156 Responses to “The Naked Swim”

  1. It’s JerryTime! » Blog Archive » NEW: THE NAKED SWIM Says:

    […] on The Blogincluding eyewitness […]

  2. Shraga Says:

    Well, I’m glad that someone finally raised this issue in a serious way. I too was subjected to the naked-swim tortures. When I was 13, I had a hernia operation which left a bright red scar near my private parts. It was simply something I didn’t want to be sharing with 30 other boys. So I went to Mr. D…, our swimming instructor, explained the situation and asked to be excused from swimming for a few months until things healed. He said, “Aw c’mon, it can’t be that bad. Drop your pants and let’s take a look!” So I naively did. And he said, “Aw, it’s nothing. You are NOT excused!” So I spent the next few months in swim class, trying to hold up various objects in front of my private parts to protect the view. Naked swimming — it was institutional psychosis. Thanks, Jerry, for providing this therapy forum.

  3. Norm Says:

    When I was in high school we had a gym teacher- He was supposed to have been a former Mr. Universe or something, with huge arms and a pickled face. He always carried this clipboard around, and was pretty sadistic. He ran us miles and miles, until we dropped. As in Jerry’s class, we too had to stand out in the cold, no matter what the season. I remember many times having to run in the freezing, early morning rain — all of us shivering and soaked to he bone — wearing only our T-shirts, shorts, socks & shoes.

  4. Savage Says:

    You know the first Olympics was all naked. I guess they were extra careful when running the relay race when handing off the baton.

    It was this sort of thing we’d always joke about as kids while at track & fields meets.

  5. Harold Says:

    I am 69 years old. I graduated from Eugene High School in 1955, and that Fall I began attending the University of Oregon in Eugene. At that time, one could NOT graduate with a degree (4 years) WITHOUT PROOF that he or she could swim! One either took a swimming test to prove that they could swim, or took swimming for PE one term. Now I grew up using the neighborhood skinny dipping hole in a “backwater” of the Willamette River, but I had never really become a good swimmer. So the very first term in college I took swimming for PE, to get that requirement for graduation “out of the way.” And it was required that we swim nude. No reason was ever given. Since I had grown up skinny dipping with the neighborhood boys and girls, I was “OK” with the nude swimming PE class UNTIL it was time to learn to dive from the diving board. Somehow, being up there on the diving board nude, for all to see, made me VERY uncomfortable. Looking back, I can’t help but “wonder” about the teacher’s hands-on
    showing me how to move my legs for swimming. At any rate,
    I learned how to dive from the diving board nude, and passed
    the PE swimming class to prove that I could swim, and did graduate from the University of Oregon after completing all other requirements

  6. Carl Isaacson Says:

    It was the early to mid 1960’s at Chicago’s Albert G. Lane Technical High School. The embarassments included bare assed swims in a very cold pool (which proved to me that all boys are created equal, if the temperature is cold enough.

    It was an all boys high school, so we didn’t have to suffer the fear of being surprised by teenaged girls. But it was the end of the Brylcreme era, so we had to shower all the grease out of the hair before we got into the pool. The gym teacher had upper class lifeguard (who got to wear trunks) and members of the swim team at the entrance to the pool making sure we didn’t make an oil slick in the deep end.

    In addition to being obsessed with making us swim nude (Johnny Weismueller had swum in this pool in this state some thirty years before us and who did we think we were to object), at least one of the gym teachers was obsessed by jock straps. He did regular checks, pulling the waistband up from behind. It wasn’t a wedgie, it was much more painful, as your testicles attempted to ascend back into a place of safety and warmth.

  7. Jimmy CraicHead Says:

    Damn, we must be about the same age…1974 was also the year the Ramones started, told to me by Johnny Ramone himself may he RIP!

  8. Cosmos Says:

    Back when I was in HS we also had horrible times with swimming.

    We weren’t swimming nude at all because it was co-ed gym class, but the suits that we were forced to wear were either way too tight, or way too loose. And appeared to be from the 40’s and a faded brown color.

    I remember we would all wind up fighting over the baggy trunks and I actually came out in a victory getting a pair. After class when I went to my locker to get dressed I noticed that the pull string somehow got in a knot … and it was a seriously tough knot at that. I spent several moments trying to get it untied in a panic not even having enough time to towel myself off.

    I was already late for my next class, and I had enough, so I managed to grab an old key from my bag and tried to saw through the thick rope like drawstring. Finally getting it off I threw it to the side, got dressed, and began running to my next class that just happened to be across the street in another building…. during winter… and I was hardly dry.

    Needless to say I was frozen stiff.

  9. torkeyes 24 Says:


  10. ray Says:

    Parkland HS, 1976 Orefield,PA checking in

  11. IT’S JERRY TIME!: THE NAKED SWIM at United Vloggers Says:

    […] revlogging their latest opus (read what Jerry writes about his naked swim trauma by CLICKING HERE) we present you a RED CARPET INTERVIEW with Jerry just before the award ceremonies. And of course […]

  12. Jerry Villella Says:

    We did the naked swim at Cathedral Prep High School in Erie, PA back in the early 70’s. The pool and the air temperature were always very cold, as I recall. It’s an all-boys Catholic school, and they told us we couldn’t wear trunks because we would probably leave them in the lockers and contaminate the pool water with cumulative mold. Funny, they didn’t have any problem doing a mass search of our regular lockers whenever they felt like it, but making the janitor sweep through the gym lockers after swim class was too much! They eventually allowed trunks, some time after I graduated.

  13. old monkey Says:

    I actually prefer to swim naked.

  14. Rob Says:

    I live in Australia, and although I don’t remember their ever being a culture of nudie gym class swims, as a kid I think although I would’ve preferred not to go nude I wouldn’t have a huge problem with it. Makes you think though, as their is probably no nationwide US gym class instructors nude-boy watching conspiracy, they really have no reason to enforce boys to go nude swimming.

  15. Mike Says:

    Jerry, you brough back some painful memories. We also got ‘invaded” by the girls swim class, in their swimsuits, us bareass (and barefront) It was humiliating to ask any of the girls on a date, since they all had already ‘seen all of our goods” LOL…

  16. Mike Says:

    Jerry, and lets not forget the decision of school authorities to have doorless and or stall-less toilets in the boys bathrooms. Girls always had locking doors, and seemed fascinated to walk into the boys bathrooms after lunch, knowing they would catch us sitting on the toilets relieving ourselves. Female teachers also felt they had a free pass to walk in and ‘check for smokers” whenever they wanted. Talk about embarrasing ……………

  17. Jerry Says:

    Gambatte, Mike! Which is Japanese for “persevere, never give up.” Jerry

  18. Mike Says:

    Jerry….how does that pertain to anything?

  19. Mike Says:


  20. Rick S. Says:

    The Jr. High School I attended in Massachusetts (1968-1969) was so old (1880’s) that it didn’t have a functional gymnasium. So the 8th grade boys would take their weekly 2 hour PE class at the YMCA gymnasium down the street.(This was pre-Title IX, so the girls could still take their class on the playground during spring and fall and take an indoor “health” class during the winter, as did all 7th graders.

    Every third week, after changing from our school clothes to regulation gym shorts, T-Shirts and sneakers, and having 30 min. of exercise in the gym, we would have an hour of swimming in the Y’s pool. Although we had heard from older students that we would all have to be nude for this part of our class, I can still remember being quite surprised the first day when the teacher announced at the end of exercise: “Go downstairs to your lockers, take off all of your clothes, and line up at the entrance to the shower room.”

    So along with 25 classmates, I stripped naked, lined up and waited until we were told to walk beneath a running shower to rinse off before walking down a corridor to the pool deck. We did as we were told, and no one questioned why. To me, it kind of made sense: why go to the trouble of bringing a bathing suit, and then have to carry it around while wet all day, when all that inconvenience could be avoided by going into the pool without any clothing.

    It was all completely innocent. As far as I know, no one felt uncomfortable. For a few weeks prior, we had been required to take a group shower in an open communal shower room after gym class, so we were already accustomed to being nude in each other’s presence. It actually felt liberating to be able to engage in an activity without clothing. The only uneasiness I recall had nothing to do with being nude per se, but rather related to the fact that I had reached puberty much earlier than almost all of my classmates, so I stood out as different having fully grown pubic hair.

  21. Callista Says:

    Wow. I’m suddenly glad to have been growing up in the nearer present time. O.o When I was in school, by law the coaches couldn’t even force us to shower since it was a communal shower – they can’t force us to strip for any reason, unless official police strip searchers are present. No coach would even dare to say we had to – doing so would risk a sexual harrassment lawsuit.

  22. Jim Says:

    We had naked swimming in our Junior Highchool in Edina, Minnesota. This was F**** UP, our gym teacher in this day and age would have been put in prison for a very very long sentence. He was truly an old pervert, who should have never been teaching gym classes to young boys. Today, the High School pool in Edina Minnesota is named in honor of this f***. If I saw him today, he’s already dead, I’d punch square in the jaw and know his lights out. That F***@^&%!!!

  23. Anne Says:

    These nude swimming classes for boys was the dirty little secret of American educational system. I can’t believe none of the parents ever complained about this barbaric practice imposed on their sons. My 2 brothers went through this ordeal and even as a kid I thought this practice was an outrage. When they told me they had to take swim class in the nude, I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked. When I asked why, everyone just said that’s what was done…oh well. This must have mentally scarred lots of young boys.

  24. Kevin Says:

    Yes, it did.
    It was 42 years ago, and I still remember it as humiliating and degrading and I still burn with anger over those memories.

  25. sportsbug Says:

    swimming nude healthy and refreshing!!! Just gotta get used to being nude. Will help bring your school grades up.

  26. FRE Says:

    When I was in middle school and high school in the 1950s, we were required to swim nude and take communal showers. The same was true at YMCAs. At the University of MN in 1957, all new students were required to submit to physical examinations and had to wait around nude. At that time, a boy who was uncomfortable with being nude with other boys was assumed to have serious mental problems. I hid the fact that I was uncomfortable for that reason.

    Nudity should be optional and there should be provision for those who are uncomfortable with it.

  27. freeberg Says:

    I also attended Lane H.S. in Chicago, graduating in 1971. There was plenty of nervous tension about attending Lane knowing we were required to swim naked. Fortunately I had pubic hair and had developed some as many other 14 years olds do. Once we finally took the plunge, so to speak, we had to undress in a locker room, then take a communal shower and finally be inspected by the lifeguards who, by the way, were allowed to wear swim suits.
    Once together however the naked part was soon overlooked and in fact I would actually feel sorry for the few 14 year olds that hadn’t started puberty, at all…….with their baby soft smooth bodies and little equipment, lol.

  28. Wiley Says:

    i was in the 8th grade. i had changed schools. in the 7th grade i didn’t play n e football or n e thing. my new class mates talked me into playing football with them, so on the first day of my football practice, after practice i kept my tidy whities on and the coach made me take them off so i could take a shower with the other boys. it was the next to last class and he didn’t want me to go to my last class stkinkin’. after the first day, i was used to it an’ it didn’t bother me n e.

  29. Donny Says:

    I was in 7th grade in the 70s and I swam nude for 12 weeks with 50 class mates. After the first few days it was not a big deal except at least once a week one of the female gym teachers would come into the pool area to get a look.

  30. Steve Says:

    Heritage High School, Littleton, CO. 10th grade, 1972. New high school, new swimming pool. I hated PE anyway. And I didn’t know how to swim. There was some new requirement with the new school that everyone had to take a swimming class. All PE-classes were single-sex, except that the swim classes were co-ed, I guess to make better use of the facilities. Anyway, I took a beginning-swimming class. The class was full(crowded) of students that already knew how to swim and was taking a beginning-level because it was “easier” (The following year, you couldn’t get into the beginning class unless you could prove you couldn’t swim!). I was one of two boys in the class that absolutely couldn’t swim. The woman coach they had teaching the class didn’t have time to teach the two of us to swim becuase the class was too full. So the two of us were put into the charge of the student-assistant. The other guy learned to swim. I showed up in my swimsuit everyday, and stood in a corner of the shallow end of the pool. For that, I got the passing grade of “C”. All the boys wore nearly identical dark blue swim trunks that were about like white briefs(underwear) in cut. To this day, I can’t swim. The showers were communal. I hear that these days, because of some Title IX requirement for equal PE instruction, all PE classes are co-ed, and many of the contact-sports have been eliminated.

  31. pissed off Says:

    I had a ymca membership after getting my first permanent f/t job so I could to weight training. that way I wouldnt get bullied anymore. it worked.

    I could never ever ever ever ever figure out why the fuk swim trunks were banned. so I stopped using the pool time and only went when it was mixed gender and trunks were mandatory.

  32. Allen C Says:

    I also attended Lane Tech in Chicago in the late 60’s. All swim classes were in the nude and I also loved to go to the local “Y” to swim on Saturday. The “Y” was a no suit venue too. I guess that I never thought about why did we need to be nude.d

  33. boe Says:

    i was in the boy scouts in the 70’s and on a field trip to a forest we camped on a river and swam and played naked all day now that im older i think that our scout leader was a pedofile but i wasnt touched or seen anyone molested but he sure liked us naked i didnt mind after all we all have the same parts and its only flesh and i got a great tan

  34. Fernwall Says:

    I had nude swimming in senior high. I took junior high in another district and had gym class where the teacher made syre we had the right color. The summer after I graduated high school I visited Europe and spent time on a nude beach in Denmark. It was just like any beach except most were nude. What is with the big stink in this country over skinny dipping? Sides, if you are going to marry somebody both of you should be nude before so you know what you are getting.

  35. frank benson Says:

    I did the nude swimming in gym class. It was 1970-1973 in a suburban Chicago high school. At first I was very scared
    because I was afraid of getting beaten up, or worse, by the older kids. I started high school early, and I was physically immature at about 4’10’ and 87 pounds. I was also very apprehensive about the prospect of corporal punishment as the swim class would be the worst possible time for it. It turned out okay. The older kids left freshman alone, and the coach was sympathetic to our insecurities and did what he could to smooth things over. It was eventually a liberating feeling to swim nude without any fear or carnal self-consciousness.

  36. john Says:

    Actually, I did not really take pe naked. however, If i had forgotenned to wear my pe attire that day(it happens most of the time), I was made to take pe naked and mine was a mix school! how humuliating. Sometimes , I got caning by my parents the day before usually 5 – 7 srtokes. However, there was once i did somethng real bad , and I was caned countless times until my skin tore. It bled. Afterwhich, I was not allowed to redress.(i was naked) I was made to stand outside the door of my house and do pushups . How my ass really hurt.

  37. ray Says:

    1968-69 …Thacker Junior High School in Des Plaines Illinois was the scene of my naked swimming experience. It was weird at the time, but the creepiness factor has increased substantially as times have changed and I now look back. If our coach “Coach K” observed any horseplay, he would have us come out of the pool, stand on the edge, and plant a “rose” on our ass…basically his handprint. Pretty unbelievable. I now wonder about whether he got any thrills out of this.
    Fortunately, we moved to our newly built school in eighth grade which thankfully did not have an indoor pool.

  38. JJ Says:

    I was at Thacker also – 1958-1960 – The “rose tatoo” was a well established custom. Always wondered why the coach was allowed to wear a suit….

  39. bruce btw Says:

    The nude swimming documentary on yu tube talks about how a coach contrived a scenario for all the boys in a nude swimming class at a Houston middle school to get the paddle on the bare butt.
    Seems to me like some coaches had more on their minds than sports! I cannot say for sure if, after all these years, some of the gym teachers or swim coaches at my school did not have an unhealthy obsession with teen guys and their bodies. I was certainly not paddled, and I would have quit the school and left school grounds if any teacher or admin. thought he was going to paddle me. Not in the pool or anywhere else.

  40. james gavin Says:

    Catholic schools in the 70s were oppressive in many ways.
    Required p.e. showers, required gym “jockey” straps, slaps to the face,
    required swimming in the buff, forced work with no pay to take down chairs after Bingo, etc. Not to mention “the paddle” at about 2.5 feet long and 6″ wide with 30-35 airholes, made of oak. Maybe I was bicurious or just an exhibitionist, but I had no problem at all with swim class, not even when I had paddlewelts on my keyster and got teased about it. I liked girls, but the thought of 30-35 athletic, tanned classmates swimming in the buff together had an attraction all its own. But it was innocent, not sexual. Some of the coaches may have been ephebophiles, but if they were they did not use corporal punishment nearly as often as they could have.

  41. SHAWN Says:

    I am not really sure of this subject matter; but swimming naked, i think was to get the male population to get ready for WAR. The point was to shape the male to feel comfortable in close quarter situations. To rid the male of this discomfort would enable the highest percent of survive due to hygiene.

  42. ITS JERRY TIME!: THE NAKED SWIM at United Vloggers Says:

    […] revlogging their latest opus (read what Jerry writes about his naked swim trauma by CLICKING HERE) we present you a special page where you’ll find a Red Carpet Interview with Jerry just […]

  43. Ferd Harbohl Says:

    I had swimming in gym and the clothing code was we could wear whatever. I did it in jock whereas everybody did it in speedo or girls panties. There was an exception. We had water polo and half the guys were “skins” which meant wear nothing. The last day the coach promised a surprise. First the whole class was told to strip and then some of the girls ran though and screamed while looking at us. Turned out the girls’ class had girls that wanted to look so they had talked the teacher into letting them streak and making us strip for the girls. Several girls went into the cage nude. They handed out the towels while watching the showers. There were a few woodies and the girls let us know that they knew.

  44. amel bliss Says:

    dear Ferd
    Could you expain in a little more detail.Were the girls naked?How many?What was the aftermath of this?Thanks Amel

  45. ghfgh Says:


  46. j9howard Says:

    I swim laps in a pool several times a week and wish I could swim naked. I swim about five hours per week. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s when all the YMCAs required naked swim. I also went to a boy’s camp in New Hampshire that occaisionally woke everybody up and forced everyone to skinnydip in the lake at night which was horrible. Other than that involuntary experience, swimming naked is the way to go. This country is so uptight about the silliest things. If there was legalized, community skinnydipping maybe there would be less mass murdering.

  47. mackenzie Says:

    eww eww ewww ewww eww

  48. Dr Dan Izzo Says:



    It was the Communists , in The Communist Manifesto
    ( a crime manual ) here is a quote from the Communist Manifesto:

    ” The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletarian (working class) revolution to overthrow the bourgeois social order and to eventually bring about a classless and stateless society, and the abolition of private property. ”

    Well it worked, America is NOT going to be a Super Power for much longer, because of this bad policy..countries like Iran will develope WMD at a faster rate, and because America brain froze its thinking class , we’ll be passive and allow these criminals to streal top secret 75 year COPYRIGHT PROTECTED Data..even the A Bomb is United States Priority Date still.

    Somehow the CIA through project Bluelbird ordered Schools to Force Students into Organized Nudity to Brain Freeze them.,

    maybe under the idea that America would soon be leaving the Silver Standard and by Brain Freezing Students through organized nudity , civilization would accept valueless paper money as we have been since 1969-1970.

    somehow the Communists Bribed the CIA through project Bluelbird , to force and degrade the thinking ability of America’s children:

    here’s a quote from Wikipedia on Project Bluelbird

    ” BLUEBIRD was the cryptonym for a CIA program involving special interrogation methods, including the use of drugs, hypnosis,[1] and isolation. It lasted from 1949 to 1950 when it was renamed “ARTICHOKE”, and would eventually become the infamous MKULTRA. Responsibility for the project mainly lay with the Office of Scientific Intelligence. ”

    The FBI’s J Edgar Hoover should have done something more to stop the Abuse of America’s children , even Psychoanalyssi education would ahve helped prevent the moral decay of the United States.


  49. amel bliss Says:

    Dr Dan How can you explain that the Communist
    forbad nudity in their own countries but insisted on it here.And did you know that it is the left wing of this country that has taken away nude swimming both in schools and any other place where they have absolute power.
    I am an avid Anti-Communist

  50. Dr Ozzy Says:

    I hope you can get treatment you need. Flippity floppitty at skinny dip lake and communism are not connected.

  51. Jerry G. Says:

    I swam at 5:30 AM in a private club with an outdoor pool. Often I was the only one there. One morning I thought my swim suit was too tight, so I looked around in the dark, saw no one and, and took it off. There was a running track around the club which ran by the pool. On rainy days I knew there would be no runners, so I looked forward to those days. One morning I was able to swim 10 laps nude before I lost my nerve and put my suit back on. Later, I was swimming without my suit and sensed someone coming to the pool in the dark. It was a young married woman I’d spoken to off and on. She had been a competitive swimmer at UCLA. When I got to the end of the pool I immediately began swimming to the other end, where I’d left my suit. When I returned to the other end (clothed) she said that I had really gained some speed. I told her that there was a reason for it–that I wasn’t wearing a suit. She said only “Whatever works fo you–do it!”
    On another morning I heard a female voice say “OK, put your suit on!” and wondered if I’d been found out. It was just this woman, who knew of my little secret and didn’t mind.
    I took a job in Northern California for a year and was away from my family for 5 months. One Saturday, while looking for Night Clubs in the Yellow Pages, I saw a listing under Nudist Clubs. The one listed was pretty close by, so I drove there on a sunny Sunday afternoon in April, since I had always been curious about nudism, As I drove in, 5 or 6 bare men and women were sitting on folding chairs across the entrance. They welcomed me in, I paid the $10. rate for the day, and had a great time swimming in their pool, talking with them and was invited back for their pot-luck the next Saturday night. I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to be totally free of clothes, and at ease with the people. I went there often after that.
    My wife doesn’t share my attitude on nudism, so I don’t bug her about it. Occasionally when she is away I have visited a few nudist places in Southern CA, and enjoy being in the sun and meeeting new people, playing water volleyball, etc. I’m not a womanizer, so I don’t attempt to make anything more of it. I still swim daily in a local pooll (wearing a bathing suit), and my body is in great shape. But I prefer swimming without the suit. I did so on a recent trip to Cancun, when the hotel pool was open all night–I’d use the pool in the early hours, and no one objected–had it all to myself, though.
    If more pepole were able to see each other without clothes, we wouldn’t be such an uptight population, always making the appearance of sexiness, but not wanting to expose ourselves.

  52. John Says:

    I took a beginning swim class in 1960 at the University of Illinois. We were not allowed to wear suits. I still prefer to swim nude. Thankfully, my backyard pool allows me to do just that without being observed. I do not mind being naked with other nude individuals but I would not like to be watched by clothed neighbors who might raise an objection.

  53. Men's Rights (David) Says:

    Hi, This Trauma represents the singular biggest issue of my entire life. The experiences have left a permanent scar ever since. This sort of thing should’ve NEVER been permitted. It’s totally outlandish and unconstitutional. I especially agree with mike. As for my bad experiences, the worst was receiving a physical from a female nurse. All the boys were forced to line up naked. (all my other physicals were a “One to One” basis). And wait for our physical. This was in an ordinary classroom, I don’t know why. The curtains were shabby, but I don’t think anyone looked in.
    Plus, we were only informed about it, just a few hours earlier. We were told , sometime today, the boys must go to check for infection.
    Finally, 2 additional female teachers were present, and they both watched me get the physical. (they were facing me, while standing next to the nurse. I was the last one to receive the physical.)

    Beforehand, I always asked lots of questions. But, they insisted, “It could save my life”. I also asked why it required 3 teachers, to give a physical. She said, it was important to make sure all of the boys got their physical. This is just one horrid memory… -Dave from N.Y.

  54. Men's Rights (David) Says:

    OH , by the way, I urge everyone to read DR.DAN IZZO’s comment , (4 comments above). Because I have theories similar to his. Ironically, I’m the ONLY person who also includes a hypothesis involving “forced immodesty” on the part of female administrators. In other words, women seek to prefer when a man trusts her. I just witnessed a case in 2008. at a center where young college men work & live, there’s A middle aged cleaning lady who spent alot of time hanging out near their locker. And she always chatted with them. Eventually, she was able to gain their trust, so that , she now walks inside their locker, and hands towels to them. NOW here’s the punchline: she says that they “prefer her being there”. They look up to her, like their own mother. Basically: she doesn’t want them to be “shy” while she’s present. This is one unique (BUT TRUE) example of “Forced immodesty” which I’ve personally witnessed, THIS YEAR.

    by the way, I’m sorry this was too long, BUT, I could give many many more examples. believe me, I could. As for me, I’m afraid to take showers ever since. I usually use Rubbing Alcohol instead of showering..

  55. Matt N. Says:

    In Junior High School our PE class met for 2 hours every Wed. morning alternating each week between sports (soccer in the fall, volleyball and basketball in the winter, and softball and track in the spring) and swimming. At the first class in Sept. we were told that we always had to be “dressed” for class, meaning that when class would be at the field or gym we were to report to class dressed in our “gym suits” (regulation gym shorts and tshirts, and sneakers). The teacher said that on those weeks when we had swimming, we were expected to report to the pool deck “dressed in your birthday suits.” Everyone gave a nervous giggle. So every other week we’d strip naked in the locker room, rinse off in the communal showers, walk down a tiled passage way to the pool deck where attendance would be taken, and then spend 90 min. or so taking class in the nude. It was kind of weird the first time. After that no one cared.

  56. johnk Says:

    I used to live in ausrtalia. In our school all the boys had to do the naked swim. Unfurtunetly I had the smallest penis so after swimming and after I put my underwear the biggest boy in the class would grab me and everybody would hit me in the testicles. I was in agony for hours

  57. Earl Says:

    People, get over yourselves! It’s just your body. We all have pretty much the same thing. We swam naked in gym class in the 60’s and I don’t know of anyone who had a problem with it.

    Then along came the lawyers…

  58. Jim Lanzalotta Says:

    I grew up in Connecticut in the late 60’s. We had nude boys PE swim class at Windham High School, and also at the local YMCA. We had a communal shower room for boys PE class. It didn’t seem that any of this required nakedness was any big deal. The pool water seemed cold at first, but after getting used to it, was fine. I was a thin kid who wore high prescription glasses all the time, so without glasses during swim class, could not see well at all, but visual acuity was not required for swimming, so I did all right. I was already used to nude swimming from the YMCA during grades 1 through 8, so swimming nude at the high school was no big deal, except that the boys were bigger and in puberty. After getting used to the water, i rather liked the feeling of freedom of naked swimming. The only contact I remember was during a PE water polo match that involved some rough playing for the ball.
    College also required a nude boys swim test at the beginning of freshman year, in 1970. But had co-ed recreational swimming that required swim suits.
    After college I tried going to a nudist resort. After getting used to co-ed nudity, I rather enjoyed it.

  59. jerry Says:

    With all due respect “Samuel,” it sounds like a fantasy, not reality.

  60. darren Says:

    i went to highschool in the early-mid 80`s in a country town in Australia. the boys did PE seperate to the girls and there was no nudie swimming.We hated that our PE teacher(pommie bastard)used to stay in the shower room when we showered,while the girls teacher let them shower in peace.We thought he was a “perv” just for this so i dont think we would have handle him being able to watch us “skinny dipping” all class. I think,too, that this practise,of nude PE, could be harmful to slower devolpers.We were pretty cruel at times to them as it was.

  61. darren Says:

    I gotta say i luv the suit man and i would have liked being 15/16 in `74. The music- Deep Purple,Led Zeppelin,Black Sabbath,Grand Funk,Aztecs(oz),Coloured Balls(oz) but judging by your suit your household musicwould have been something more along the lines of “101 polka hitsof the piano accordian. lol

  62. Randy Says:

    Hi Orrin
    I remember having to swim naked in middle school in Buffalo NY. Have you heard the story of the red badge of courage? As I vaguley recall the story, our gym teacher had a bunch of rules that we were all to follow in and around the pool (like no running). failure to follow the rules would result in a hard swat on the ass, resulting in a large red welt. This became known as the red badge of courage. Stories of boys who broke the rules and received the red badge filled the lockerroom. I never had enough courage to break the rules.

  63. Frank Says:

    I went to an all boy private prep school and we had nude swimming twice a week for the six years I attended the school (grades 7 to 12). I really didn’t mind it all that much. To be honest it was no big deal.

    Once in a while some teachers would come in to watch (all men). I did not think anything of it at the time, but looking back I guess that was weird.

    It was a different time (1965 to 1971). Our parents all knew about this and didn’t care. My two older brothers both went to the school and sometimes we were all in swim class at the same time.

    This would never be allowed today. I guess the world has changed.

  64. cenk Says:

    I used to swim nude for my high school boy’s swim classes in Dearborn, Michigan in the mid 1970’s. I think if the not swim suit policy returned it would bring back cleaner pools. We always had a soap shower as a group before entering the pool nude for gym class. WE have so much in the popular media as far as murder and crap like this for entertainment, yet nude recreation, it appears is practically illegal and a taboo subject for the movies. Sexual harassment in the workplace is so common these days (but there is no nudity in the workplace). Teen sex, teen pregnancy is cool also in the movies.? ! Weird, I think I see that in Littleton Colorado, they not only did away with nude male swim classes, but they are now forced to hold co ed swim classes. Maybe this is another reason that could have lead up to school shooting. They learn how to fight each other, insteadhow to relax and have fun.

  65. Tom Says:

    I went to High School at Janesville Craig High School in Janesville Wisconsin. I gradutated in 1981. When I was in High School we swam naked in phy ed class. At the time it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I know it seems so hard to beleive now. But at the time no one thought a second thing about it. I never saw anything pop up that would be embarrassing. It never caused me any mental pain. It didn’t seem to stress out any of my classmates either. We were just boys. Being naked did not have a sexual connection. Letting another boy see what was hanging between your legs was no more embarrassing than allowing them to see our bare feet, or ungloved hands. It’s just a God given body part.

  66. bj Says:

    We swam naked in my school days. It seemed totally normal back in the day. I didn’t mind it that much. I didn’t like it when we had to swim with younger kids. Sometimes when we were in 11th and 12th grade we were swimming with 11 and 12 year old kids. Sometimes they were as young as 8 or 9 years old. Inevitably we would have to teach the younger kids how to swim. That was awkward when we were all naked. We got through it alright. It’s amazing how times have changed. Kids are a lot more conservative today. I think part of the reason kids are more conservative today is because the family sizes are smaller. When I was a kid it was nothing to have 4 school age kids home with mom and dad. Now it is much more common to have 2 school age kids at home with mom and dad. Kids don’t have to share bedrooms and bathroom facilities like we did when I was a kid. I came from a family of seven kids. We had to share bedrooms and the bathroom. I had to share a room with my older brother. It was not uncommon for us to see each other naked in the morning when we were getting ready for school. It was not uncommon for us to see each other naked in the evening when we were getting ready for bed. We shared the bathroom too. We saw each other stepping in and out of the shower. We saw each other doing a number one, or sitting on the toilet. I think it helped take the shyness out of us. It carried over into the schools. A high school kid today would die of embarrassment if his mother saw him walk from the bathroom to his bedroom naked. With seven kids all getting ready for school at the same time stuff like that will happen.

  67. will Says:

    I think I have figured this out why only the boys were required to swim nude. First off, the problem could have been easily solved by using the same material for both the boys’ and the girls’ suits or having the girls swim nude also. But we know only the boys were required to swim nude. I conclude this was done to get boys ready for military service. Forcing the boys to swim nude was deliberate, it was psychological training. The schools wanted the boys nude to totally break down the individual. Get rid of their modesty so they will stop thinking about themselves. Replace it with the concept that you are the same as the guy next to you and are all just part of a team (a unit, platoon, company, etc). The good of the unit comes first, men who can’t put the good of the unit over their own well being put the entire unit in jeopardy. Combat requires men to endure stress and conditions unlike anything in normal life. This conditioning is essential to how the military functions. The sooner the boys got use to it the better (for the US government).

    Conscription was in effect during WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. Conscription was also in effect during the Cold War of the late 50s and early 60s (read Wikipedia-Conscription). Conscription ended in 1973, US involvement in Viet Nam ended in 1975. Guess what, shortly thereabouts so did this nude swim policy.

  68. cenk Says:

    Very interesting idea. Nude swimming was tied into preparing for the military!

  69. Tom Says:

    This is Tom again from Wisconsin. I think the last two blogs hit it right on the head. I remember the older kids in High School were given the designation of “Cadet” if they earned it. There were other military terms used too. The fact that bigger families see more of each other from time to time is very true too. I knew several families that had 7-9 kids. When I would stay overnight at their homes it would be necessary to check your modesty at the door. Conscription is probably the reason boys received physical exam the way we did too.

  70. Jennifer Says:

    I love your website. But put pictures of boys bottoms.(you know the thing under their underwear)

  71. Jennifer Says:

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  72. Jennifer Says:

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  73. Mike Grant Says:

    I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s in Santa Ana CA. Nude swimming was required for all boys in high school. We would line up along the wall for roll call. About 100 in the class. What I liked best about it, is that it eliminated the different types of kids, You know the cool kids, the dorks, the brains, the loners. We were all equal when we were naked.

  74. Will Says:

    I noticed that there were several posters who attended Lane Tech in Chicago, Illinois and reported that they did the nude swimming BS. I was in the last class in Lane Tech’s school history that was required to take nude swimming. It was the 1977-78 school year. Now, I’m going to speak frankly about why nude swimming was BS. So, if you don’t like frank and staightforward language, please don’t read on.

    First, I believe firmly that my PE teacher who taught the swim class was some sort of pervert/pedophile. I won’t use his name, but the following is factual.

    Now, swimming nude in a school environment was uncomfortable for most people in my class. Hell, why would I want to expose my junk to the world. Why would I want to practice racing dives (and we did) that painfully smash my exposed parts into the water? Why would I want to practice lifesaving techniques (and we did) that put my nude body in closer contact with that of another male student than I’d ever been in with a girl?

    But, we did it because we were freshmen in high school and we were told that we had to, unless you had a doctor’s excuse.

    However, the following story takes the prize. One day, the PE teacher (who was also the coach of the swim team and a f’in pervert in my opinion) says that we are not going into the pool that day because we are going to be practicing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation techniques on the pool deck as part of our lifesaving training. Okay, so at this point we are all sitting there naked because that is how we take swim class, that is, naked.

    The PE teacher then points to a bunch of gym mats set up on the side of the pool and says we are going to head over there for the mouth-to-mouth training. So, I’m thinking, you knew we weren’t going into the pool today, so why didn’t you tell us before class to stay in our street clothes. Furthermore, you know we aren’t going into the pool today, so why don’t you at this time let us get dressed.

    No such luck. We are all marched over to the mats, buck naked, to practice mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The PE teacher/swim coach tells us to pick a partner who we will practice our technique with and issues us all a piece of gauze. F me. I slunk to the back of the class and did not pick a partner, hoping to avoid the humiliation. Most did picka partner.

    The first pair of 14 year old boys is called up and takes turns lying completely naked on their back in front of 30+ naked kids watching while the other naked kid simulates mouth-to-mouth with only a gauze pad as a barier between their mouths. How f’ing f’ed up is that Lane Tech.

    The next pair of kids does the same. And the next. And the next. And the next. Until finally, when the uncomfortableness is beyond palpable, one of the lifeguards (who, along with the fat PE teacher, was the only one allowed to wear a swimsuit) says “maybe they could get dressed because they aren’t going into the water today”. Brilliant.

    So, what does the PE teacher say in response. After thinking about it for a good minute, he says, “well, maybe they can get into their unederwear.” So, we were all ordered to put on our tidy whiteys as fast as we could and to get back to the mats, where the humiliation continued.

    That was one of the most f’ed up experiences of my life.

  75. Dave Says:

    I don’t know if the issue was raised in any of the posts (don’t have time to read all of them), but I can see one definite problem with forcing adolescent boys to be naked together for extended periods of time: not all of them are heterosexual. A boy who has just hit puberty and is attracted to other boys is bound to get aroused being naked with them. Erections in situations like that are almost sure to be met with cruel teasing and gay slurs being hurled at the boy in question. How is a boy supposed to hide an erection when he’s forced to be naked for an entire class?

    I never had to swim naked in PE myself. My older brother hit PE a few years before I did, and when my parents heard that the boys were going to be made to swim nude, they raised the roof. Other parents did the same and that was the end of naked swim at my high school.

  76. matt Says:

    when you are swimming naked in a pool there are no erections.And if there are, nobody sees them, for obvous reasons.Under showers trrnagers erections occur every once in a while,ihave seen that happen and most guys dont laugh at the erection, most of them just ignore it,knowing it could happen to anyone..Some time ago for many generations, teens swam and showered naked in YMCA.and in many colleges and universities.Nude swimming unfortunately belongs to bygone times, nude showering for hygiene s sake is under attack.Five years from now guys inthe USA will be showering and using lockers with male burkhas!!!

  77. Geo Says:

    When I was in jr high and high school (graduated in ’77), we never had nude swimming, but we always had to shower nude after PE. The PE teacher was always in the locker room with us, which didn’t seem odd, since teachers are generally in the room with students. Being naked might have been a little ackward at first, but having the teacher there didn’t seem out of place at all.

    But under the heading of embarrassing is having your Mom in the exam room with you when you get a physical. It seemed normal then, but was still embarrassing. I don’t think moms today would go in with their teenage son.

  78. morgan Says:

    I am not a US citizen. I am resident ina foreign country.In the 1970s I attended courses at a US University.<My only an favorite sport was swimming-I prcticed it one hour five days every week.Nude swimming was compulsory,and so was nude showering before and after the swim.A clean towel was given by the University each time.For hygiene.I had no problems whatever. Yesit was rather strange that every once in a while,not so frequently though,SOMe students stared at my penis because it is uncut:inyhose days I think many American students had never seen an uncircumcized penis and did not know what the hell was that abnormality. I didnt care much,as I never noticed any be nude swimming in the pool felt good and natural. I am commenting about a University and not about a high school which is quite a different matter.Why is there no more nudity in campus swimming pools? absurd.

  79. morgan Says:

    In Latin America there has never been nude swimming in pools,but for males it is quite normal to be nude in showers and lockers. I do not understand all the fuss about nudity in lockers in the USA nowadays.from extreme total nudity in swimming, to trunks even in showers and lockers, and lots of towels. You are asurely going to introduce very soon male burkhas and veils in those places. Influence ofAfghanistan, maybe. Why is the US a country of extremes?

  80. morgan Says:

    Reading some posts above I thinke it was all right to have nuede swimming at ehe University in the 1970s.But it was completely wrong to do so in High Schools in the US.Bacause of the danger of pedophilia, which could be discovered in public schools, if it ever was, but would never be discovered in Catholic schools whre a culture of extreme secret prevails over all moral considerations.Lay teachers, priests, biships,all in the cover up. Now secrets are being disclosed and a number of Catholic dioceses have files for bankruptcy.

  81. morgan Says:

    As i said in a pervious post,being nude in showers lockers or wimming pool was not a horror story. Nor was the fact that some guys had sudden erections. Than is unconfortable but happens frequently to teenagers and to guys in theira twenties. It was certainly awkward to be gazed upon because of my uncut penis. Nothing gay about that, simply sheer curiostity at the unknown . IN THE USA YOU SHOULS HAVE MORE DEBATEAS ON CIRCUMCISION. iN ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD MALES ARE UNCIRCUMCISED EXCEPT JEWS MOSLEMS AND PEOPLE MEDICALLY TREATED FOR PHIMOSIS.I wont debate that right now but their is enough medical research on the matter abroad, and clean uncut males dont get rash or infection for having foreskins. You circumcised guys that wont shower after gym, or will shower with spedos or trunkas mking itdifficult or imossible to soap your private you just beware of infections or rashes.They couls multiply with all that prudishness and filth.Please debate.

  82. morgan Says:

    You should open a debate on circumcision in the US, unknown in other countries.It seemed straqnge for me to be gazed upon because being uncut, at a Univeristy lockers years ago, I still practiced my sports,was naked because it was mandatory and because I am not a prude.It is important to debate more about circumcision and hygienics.

  83. mak Says:

    How han aperson shower with spedos or trunkes;how can he wash his genitals. He wont and that is unhygienic. When kaking a shower in a public place (gym, pool, lockers)everyone should wash:1) armpits; 2)genitals; 3) perinaeum (the area beteen testicles and the anus) and $) butt crack icluding anal area and feet. Washihg the perinaeum is imortant; many people neglect washing that area, and it is full of germs coming from genitals and anuis. What a mix. No serious washing of those parts can be done by a persona having that area clothed with spedos or trunks. More putitan you get, more contagion you will have. Have you thought about the moral duty we all have not to spread contagion of various diseases?

  84. mak Says:

    stop this neo puritanism and neo prudishness in the USA, exhibitionism is not goodnor parading nude througjhout the lockers or stting nude without atowel undreneathe. But no towel dancin please.. Nudity is great, especially in showers even if they are gang or communal showers. And to stop avoiding issues, some debate about circumcision should be started in this forum. Nude uncircumcized men are looked as abnormalities when they shower naked.

  85. rick welby Says:

    agree completely. In the US most boys are circumcized right after birth as a matter of course. If I went swimming and in the changing room I saw a “kid with the glove” as we called it, I hardly thought it was something bad. I thought it was kind of cool. But my mother, who was an NA or LPN or some such, insisted the circumcision was required to prevent certain cancers. Pediatricians pushed this idea

  86. matt Says:

    to rick welby: thank you! at last some sensible talk about circumcision.In Europe where medicine is obviously quite advanced, circumcision is carried on only for specifical medical reasons as phimosis,or for religious reasons (Jews and Muslims, with all respect)..Thre are no high statistics for penis cancer in Europe, and most guys are uncut.The same can besaid of all Latin American countries. Obviously if a guy never washes his uncut penis he is prone to infectiond and maybe cancer.That tis why most uncut guys, when we shower we retract foreskin and wash and soap whole penis. Foreskins moreover have more than 5000 nervous terminals which make sexual intercourse specially pleasurable.Thanks for your comment.

  87. rick welby Says:

    I went to catholic schools in the Chicago area.
    My high school had some old-fashioned ideas along the lines of paddling, nude swimming, showering after events or gym, required athletic supporters, hazing of freshman, and other things one would associate with catholic education in the 70s. Interestingly enough, I went to a grade school (1-8) that had no lockers or showers, period. We wore street clothes for PE. When I went swimming at parks or Ys (nonnude by then!) I was very much a stall-changer or suit-wearer. But when the first day of frosh gym got down to business, everyone was nude in the pool. It was nerve-wracking initially, but then it became very normal, so much so that one did not think about it.
    It was good for my self-esteem to lose my modesty. And as a repressed gay youth, it helped me to compare shapes, sizes, and levels of hair growth. Some guys looked like they were 10, some 20, most in between.
    Looking back, it shoould of happened when I was 8.

  88. matt Says:

    to rick elby: Catholic schools were very reppressive.old fashioned, prude: but as happens in such kind of institutions, pedophilia has been discovered now, and was covered by the bishops for more than 40 years in some cases. Incredibly a high ranking Cardinal in the Vatican hasmade public declsrations confusing homosexuality and pedophilis!To be an homosexual is a widespread human condition.You say you are gay:that is very respectable.Pedophilia is a crime and an aberration!

  89. morgan Says:

    when I was a youngster boys in college always showerd naked after sports.Since I am uncut, many looked at my penis withcuriosity, and curiosity turned into amazement when they looked at how I retracted my foreskin to soap ans wash.At first I was embarrased but after several tiems,I saw it as a funny situation,and as a result I got an erection,Astonishment was complete when they saw total retraction of foreskin! They did not know how an intact penis works! this was not a gay situation; they were not gays, nor am I. And most Americans feeluncut penises smell”cheese” and transmit infections: tis is simoly not true in clean persons:just ask European doctors. And now you want no nudity at all: the way of avoiding issues is by turning puritanical. Yes: you should take precautions with adult and child nudity since pedophilia exists everywhere;specially in the Catholic Church because of its secrecy policies.

  90. Lisa West Says:

    Just a note-I graduated from Williamsville HS South in 1973 (suburb of Buffalo) and we girls, under Mrs. Mason’s less than lovely tutelage, did not get to wear our own suits. They made us wear these heavy cotton, shapeless tank suits that, once wet, weighed about a gazillion pounds and made you sink straight to the bottom of the pool. Of course, there were also the girls who were permanent bench warmers due to never ending periods….

  91. jeff m Says:

    Saint Patrick High School in Chicago required
    nude swimming from 1968 thru 1980. I do not know how widepsread the practice was at other Chicago catholic schools, but I know that Lane Tech in Chicago and New Trier in Winnetka required nude swimming up until somtime in the 80s. Males

  92. Chris Says:

    I graduated from Saint Pat’s (still all boys) in Chicago in ’77 and can confirm we were required to swim nude for PE class. Personally, I don’t recall it as being a big deal, everyone pretty much knew nudity was required in the pool, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise to anyone when their when their class rotated into the pool for PE. Besides, showering after PE class was required, too–so it wasn’t much of a shock to see the same guys naked in the pool area. Anyway, once you got in the water, there wasn’t much too see, and cold as the water was in that pool everyone ended up more or less “equal” anyway–especially if you had swimming in the winter!

    I’d always heard the switch to swimsuits was made because a bunch of mothers, not the students, complained and raised hell about the nudity requirement. In fact, my youngest brother was a junior or senior when they made the switch, and I remember him saying most of the upperclassmen preferred swimming in the nude to the swimsuits they had to wear.

    At any rate, I don’t think I was harmed at all by the experience, nor do I recall anyone I knew being traumatized by it. I concede it’s possible that some may have been, but I suspect they’d be a small minority.

  93. doug Says:

    I went to Lane Tech HS in Chicago back in the 70s and as part of freshman PE we had to take swimming, which at that time was in the nude (boys only). I heard this was common practice at other Chicago public high schools as well. The supposed explanation was because swimsuits clog the pool filters, but I don’t remember if this was just an urban legend or something that was actually told to us. Anyway, if you didn’t want to swim in the nude, you had to join ROTC, so most of us knew what we were in for. Next to the pool were rows of benches for watching swim meets and at the top of the stands were lockers where we had to get undressed. We would then walk into the lockerroom naked, get showered, and then get into the pool. It was scary at first, but then no big deal since everyone had to do it and everyone was initially nervous. Eventually, we all relaxed after we realized swimming in the cold water was the worst part of it.

    We also had to take communal showers after gym class, which I can’t imagine not doing if you’ve been around a bunch of sweaty teenage boys. I can see why swimming in the nude made sense because some guys would leave their gym clothes in their lockers unwashed; I’m sure the same would happen with swim trunks.

    I never had any weird incidents occur during HS although you always heard stories about what would happen if you got an erection in swim class, but it never happened. The water was too cold! I am not emotionally scarred by this, so I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. For those who worry about diving into the water naked and how you can get hurt, do you actually think a thin swimsuit it going to protect you if you belly flop?

    I’ve been to the gym where some of the younger guys will not even get undressed in the locker room. Do today’s kids not take showers after gym (yuk!), or do they all have individual showers? I guess this is symptomatic of how overprotective and uptight we’ve gotten. Maybe that’s why you see the old guys walking around naked and the young guys covered up in towels. It’s not always a pleasant sight, but at least they’re comfortable in their own skin.

    I think overcoming your fear of being naked around your peers is a part of growing up; we learn about ourselves and how we fit in. Sure, some of us are taller, shorter, smaller, bigger, hairier, less hairy than others, but we all have the same parts a many of the same hang-ups. I think there are more important things to worry about!

  94. malachi Says:

    I am in my late 50’s. I woke up a few mornings ago wondering why, as grade schoolers and teenagers, we had to swim naked at both the YMCA and in junior high and high school swim classes (Iowa). Glad to hear it wasn’t “just our town”. Looking back, it seems like a pretty weird tradition – I suppose that’s social relativity: what seems strange today was normal yesterday. Context is everything…

  95. jeff m Says:

    I recall at Chicago St. Pat’s that they used wiffle bats instead of standard BOE paddles for physical punishment. It was usually the dean of discipline or the attendance officer, although a teacher would get in on it from time to time.
    The penalty for forgetting about detention or for getting thrown out of a class was two swats. The most I ever heard of anyone getting at once was 8, but it was usually one or two. But, a friend of mine from
    grade school got caught saying the f-word; four licks, one for each letter. During swimming class the next day, his @$$ was gridironed with red welts. He got alot of teasing about it. Sucked to be him.

  96. jeff m Says:

    btw the last time I was at a Y, a whole boys’ swim team from a local high school
    went and changed in john stalls 2×2 rather than
    being au naturel in front of other males. If you thought that any group of young ppl today would be comfortable with locker room nudity it would be a high school swimming team. Not anymore.
    If anything, I favor a return to nude swimming just so kids like that would have to stop being such wusses.

  97. Kevin Says:

    I go to the gym about three mornings a week on my way to work. I notice that the guys 40 and under tend not to shower and are never nude in the locker room. Those of us who are over 40 are more likely to shower and change. Nudity is not an issue.

  98. Joe Says:

    Kind of disturbing to see that only boys were forced to get naked and not girls.It makes me angry.

    Fortunately,I was always fully dressed in schools.I would have never allowed such a thing anyway.At least,not unless the girls and the teachers also did the same.

    I mean where is the “equality” that feminists talk about?It’s quite obvious that they(girls) get more advantage.

  99. martin llorens Says:

    Yes i also went to St pat’s,and yes it was disturbing,especially when the seniors proped opened the swimming pool area door next to the CTA bus stop and everone on the bus was laughing.I am still traumatized from those incidences,as well as the common occurance of the Christian Brothers taking pictures from the Balcony.Those pictures were traded like baseball cards, after church.Brother Richard was in charge of the card trading,bless his soul. [More to come]

  100. ryan klatte Says:

    To the guy above-
    I swam nude from 1973-76 at S. Pats Chicago(5900 belmont.)
    Never heard of a teacher making a gay advance at a student. Never heard of Brother Richard taking pictures of nude boys. Funny how I recall that Brother Richard seemed to be around nude swimming classes and the water polo locker room when he did not need to be. But I never saw him with a camera.
    I was not embarrassed when a female teacher or a Polish cleaning lady accidentally stumbled into nude swimming. If anything, I wanted females to think I had a cute butt. There were brothers who were gay, in my view, but they were never around nude boys, and they were not coaches.

  101. ryan klatte Says:

    btw in reference to corporal punishment-
    there were paddlings at Saint Pat’s and there was nude swimming, but I never heard of anyone actually getting the paddle or the bat while buck-naked, and if any swimming coach or swimming-brother (Bro. Hugh?)
    wanted to paddle a nude boy he could have.

  102. frank Says:

    I am glad to see a thread I contributed to is still alive, with more very interesting views. BTW there is now a history of High School Nude Swimming on you tube. It mentions the classic movie “Heaven Help Us.”
    For me, the au naturel swimming class was a bit “iffy” the first month or so, but after that it became something I looked forward to. When I was very young I had six pack abdominals and I would like to think I had a nice ass. (I normally did not look at my butt.)
    So if some other dude liked to look at me during swim class, God bless him. No ever touched me or made an inappropriate comment or advancement to me.

  103. Kevin Says:

    I agree with the comment Frank posted recently. I did not think nude swimming in gym class was a big deal. I still don’t think there was anything wrong with the practice. I was in good physical condition and if some guy liked what he saw, so what? Nothing strange was ever said to me or to anyone else that I know of. No one ever touched me, and to the best of my knowledge the same can be said for everyone else in my class. I think given the time we live in (and current attitudes) it is good that the nude swimming class has come to an end. Times have changed. ( 40 years ago you went to the doctor for a physical and just took your clothing off and were naked. Today they give you an exam gown, bathrobe and slippers). However, back in the 60’s and 70’s all this was a non-issue. At least it was for me.

  104. jeff healy Says:

    Thanks for the info.!
    I found this great messageboard after a 16 year old nephew of mine heard something about old time suitless swims.
    He did not believe it ever happened, so I googled it to prove it.
    I really don’t consider myself a “shamrock” proper
    although I did go to St. Patrick for Boys in Chicago
    (Belmont Avenue) for my freshman year. It was early or mid 1970s, and I did swim without a suit. We also had a coach for the gym portion who seemed to find excuses to use the paddle. He was a young guy with
    a sort of Mark-spitz-mustache look
    who used bad language (?), so he was prob. fired soon after.
    I had gym M W F and swimming T TH for fall semester.
    Does that sound right?
    We had “world cultures” instead of gym for winter semester.
    I do not remember, after so many years, if any of the coaches were religious brothers. The one who was into the paddle was a lay PE teacher. He seemed to like to see guys say “ouch!” and jump around. But I don’t think he ever hovered around the pool. IIRC the balcony was locked from the outside when swim classes were in session, so I don’t
    really believe that Brothers were there taking pictures. Of course it is possible, but even back then
    there would have been a huge parents’ backlash against
    the school if Brothers were known to be taking “candid shots” of swim class.
    The swim team practiced in little green speedoes, and I think the real swimmers were exempted from nackt swim class.
    I did x-country and we always showered after practice. IMHO if a teacher was into oggling naked guys, it would have been hard to stop him from doing so.
    I moved to Iowa and attended a private, very small Lutheran k-12 school after that- no showers, no pool,
    no paddles, no inter-school sports. We carried our gym shoes with us on gym days and did our PE in street clothes and white t-shirts. We played ball outside when we could. A totally different exp. from Saint Pats. I am not angry at saint Pat’s though- swimming class was no biggie, and when I was 14 I was a smart-aleck who could have used a little discipline once in a while.

  105. jim Says:

    My experiences were somewhat similar to people here and have now become hazy over the years.
    I graduated from HS in 1967 and I went into religion and the ministry so as not to go to ‘Nam.

    My schools were too poor to have pools or even proper locker rooms. Our family was given Y memberships as gifts from a fraternal organization.

    At the Y, there were no woman and girls. You swam in the nude for swim instruction, swim team, and free swim. If you did not like that, you could swim with a suit in the public pool that was open mid-June through Labor day. That was it. Swim indoors at the Y, swim nude. Same if you were 8 or 80.

    I did swim team. Teams practiced in the nude, but wore suits for meets, water shows, or for anything were a mixed crowd was expected. As far as I can remember, there were no female Y employees. Sisters and moms were never allowed anywhere near the pool when swimming was taking place.

    The team aspect was about speed, endurance, stroke techniques, and winning meets, just like any swimming team is today. Once you got passed the fact that every one was naked, it was just swimming.
    I do not recall the meets, but I remember how we sometimes swam widths instead of lengths (to work on turns) until our arms and legs were like limp spaghettis. The pain was unbelievable. At that point, being bare-butt was the last thing in the world
    I was thinkg about.

  106. cenk Says:

    We had all male nude swimming in Dearborn, Michigan from 1920 to about 1980. We develpoed some of the best swimmers in the State. When you are swimming several hundred lenghts per work out you do not have time to think about being nude. Nude swimming is easy to get used to and fun to do. We never had the kind of problems with sexual harassment in the 1970’s that we see today in our all clothed environments at school and at work.
    I saw the movie Heaven Help Us and it had a scene on nude swim class and tried to make it funny. Our nude swim classes had a lot of lap swimming, deck excercises and not much lecture. The real swimmers were never fat and not at all embarassed about showing off a lean fit body.

  107. martin Says:

    Yes i am catholic and my father is a catholic deacon so i not going to lie on the brothers if i didn’t see it for myself. Thay were taking pictures, i was joking about the rest. I told my parents, but like all good parents back then (1977) The response was shut up and learn that is what you are there for.

  108. ryan (KC) Says:

    I grew up in Kansas City. There were rumors about HS nude swimming, but it was before my time and I had no
    older bros. My cousins and aunts & uncles all live in Omaha. From my own view, it may or may be an urban myth. From what is reported here, it must have happened in some places, at schools or at old time Ys before women were allowed. BTW there was a episode on Seinfeld or Raymond that mentioned nude swimming at the Elks Lodge pool. So I guess guys will swim in a natural state if there aren’t women around. And nudist camps aare co-ed.

  109. bruce Says:

    I have been going thru this blog and sometimes I wondered if it were not an extension of class mates dot com!
    I went to a suburban Chicago high school that had a pool a long long time ago. Swimming classes were segregated by gender. Girls wore dark blue one- pieces, or so my girl-friend told me. The guys, of course, swam nude. We were also expected to take gang showers after track practice, football practice, and gym class. I did not mind being nude in and of itself, but I really hated the fact that we were REQUIRED to swim nude.
    You are never forced to go to a nude beach or a naturist camp!
    I guess I resented the fact that it was a rule.
    When parents objected, the answer was, take it or leave it- it is the rule.
    Some time after I left, the pool was closed due to liability concerns and was never re-opened. I don’t
    know if classes for males ever swam in suits.
    The guy swim team swimmers wore black “tank” suits that were less brief than ‘speedo’ bikinis but more brief than the bike shorts kid wear today.
    The water was kept as cold as hell
    because the competition swimmers swam faster in cold water.
    If anyone were gay, they would have been too shrivelled up to care about other guys’ butts.

  110. JohnS Says:

    I went to a public H.S. in Milwaukee, and I graduated in 1978. We did swim nude. I did not mind it at the time. Growing up with four brothers who were fairly close in age, including twins, I did not think of male nudity as a major concern.
    I was neither scared nor embarrased. I was never asked
    about it by any adult, and I would have shrugged if it were discussed- as in, so what? I was more worried about failing “trig” and NOT getting a car for my birthday than I was about swim class- nude or nonnude.
    I was not on the school swimming team, but I could hold my own against most non Mark Spitz types.

    Now however, some 32 years after the fact, I am
    against it and should have been agin’ it then. Why? Adult authority, and the obvious misuse of it. I did not care about it then, and I never even thought of gays or gayness.
    (I knew what gays were, but I thought it was a California thing!)
    Our school did not have spankings, unlike those of some other commenters.
    But it was a wrong use of adult authority.
    By 1975 swim suits were made of fabrics that did not hurt the pool, and the same for dyes. Nude swimming was maintained for tradition, for humiliation, for male initiation purposes, and perhaps because some of the faculty had a prurient interest in ephebes.
    It was wrong then, and it is still wrong.
    If parents want to take their kids to a clothes-opt resort, it’s a different story. A teacher should not make that rule.

  111. frank Says:

    Good thread, but I would not want to have gone to a catholic high school with Brothers taking pictures!

  112. David Says:

    I graduated high school in 1975. We didn’t have a pool so no question of swimming, naked or clothed. Ninth grade gym class was the first time for me to be naked with a large group of other guys. I had taken baths with some of my male friends when I was small and also skinny dipped a time or two, but showering with 30 or so other guys was different. I was nervous about it at first, but soon got used to it. I had developed so I was ahead of some of the other guys, which made a difference. I was the only circumcised guy in that shower which meant I got stared at and commented on a few times, but I got used to that too, in fact I was happy about it because I thought then and still do today that a cut dick looks a lot better than an uncut one, plus its a lot easier to keep clean. I don’t recall there being a school rule requiring us to shower, but there was an unofficial rule among us guys that everyone had to do it: in theory because we didn’t want to smell a lot of sweat, but in reality because we didn’t want someone seeing us naked without us seeing them the same way. It was a male bonding type thing.

    I wish my school had had a pool and that we’d had nude swimming. It sounds like a lot of fun.

  113. Jim Says:

    My school in the 1950s was too poor, and still is, to have a swimming pool. And no YMCA in the town, so the only facility
    for swimming was a community outdoor pool, open only in the summer. We all changed in the boys’ changing room. Today
    it seems like only the older guys change in the changing
    room. Most boys just leave wearing their wet swim suits; those who do change tend to lock themselves into toilet
    stalls while doing it.

    Concerning the idea that nude swimming and showering were
    intended to prepare boys for service in the military:
    perhaps it’s the other way around. The male teachers and
    coaches may have all served in the military and got
    accustomed there to the absence of privacy; so they saw
    nothing strange about having the boys swim nude and
    shower together.

  114. jeff Says:

    Lane Tech High School in Chicago was a public school that required nude swimming for male students. I assume that all CPSs with pools were the same. Foreman and Steinmetz had nude swimming, too.
    In the 1960s boys were expected to take group showers after gym or sports practices, and nude swimming was still the rule at YMCAs. Another thing to remember is that many of us who grew up in large families had to share bedrooms and bathrooms. Privacy was less of an issue. To complain about group nudity would have been “unmanly” so if anyone was uncomfortable with it, no one would have known. My mother did not like the nude swimming practice, but I begged her not to shame me by making a stink over it. There was severe peer pressure to ‘not complain’ about such things. I cannot speak to the corporal punishment issue, because CPS banned spankings of students in the 1800s. Miss Jane Addams had something to do with that. However, the recent you tube history of nude swimming reported an incident of Texas students in the 60s getting the paddle bare-butt. If that sort of thing happened, I am sure it was rather rare and involving isolated incidents. Most parents, even then, would not have tolerated that sort of thing. And people knew what S&M was back then.

  115. AJ Says:

  116. James Says:

    In some other parts of the world nude swimming in gender segregated public pools is still a common practice. It may seem strange to many but actually this type of practice is probably good for society. People being nude in front of the same gender should not be shameful and in fact helps serve as a reminder that we’re all human. Society has become so prudish in so many ways that it’s almost like we’re becoming robotic and walking on eggshells and slowly turning into the Middle East. Generally prisons require people to strip down from the beginning as a primary tool to “break you down.” We really need to reverse the modern trend and go back to being humans and realize that being nude in front of the same gender is really not a bid deal.

  117. vince Says:

    Interesting bit of history. I went to good ol’ Saint Patrick on Belmont Ave in Chicago. I was in the class of 1977. I can’t say that nude swimming was a big deal. First off, everyone in the area knew that if you went to Pat’s you swam nude. If you did not want to swim nude, go somewhere else. Second, there was paddling and other physical punishments at Pat’s. But I think its real-life use was rather limited. I got paddled once for forgetting my Spanish homework, but other than that I don’t recall ever being in trouble with the Dean. My guess is that the threat of it was more of a deterrent than its reality. As far as public nudity goes, what you must understand is that almost all boys were made to take gang showers, whether after gym or after a sport practice or game. Didn’t you ever hear a basketball coach say “hit the showers” ?
    It is a small step from the shower room to the pool.
    In those days wrestlers stood around buck naked in a long line to weigh in for the matches.
    Even if we had no pool, there would have been post-gym and post-football showers. Nudity was expected.
    Funny thing is, I always thought it was a Catholic thing. My cousins went to public schools and they could not even believe that we swam naked. I guess it happened in just about the whole country. The YMCAs and many schools with swimming pools
    required nude swimming. People back then knew about the sexual ramifications of all of this- you just kept your mouth shut and you tried to look down all the time. Thanks for a nice bit of history. But no sense even discussing it, as most now think it is an urban legend.

  118. tim wills Says:

    I did not have a pool in high school, and my gym classes were always last period (dumb luck) so I did not have to shower in front of other guys.
    But before 1970, the YMCA required nude swimming.
    The swim for my age group was 3:30 to 5, so we did not mix with teens or grown men. It was no big deal- it was just the rule. The Y required you to be nude. If you wanted to swim, you got naked. That was it.
    Girls came in in 1970 and it all changed. In fact, some of my buds ran out nude to swim, forgetting girls were there, and got embarrasingly shooed back to the locker room. Nude swimming must not have been traumatic for me, because I cannot remember the name of any single person from that YMCA, not any kid nor any specific adult. I believe a few of my elementary school buds swam nude in our swim time, but I cannot recall who they might be. One of the coaches was an old guy like in the video, but I could tell you no more than Adam who the heck he was. My kid is 16 and a sohpomore wrestler, and he “must” weigh in for wrestling matches in boxers. He cannot weigh in nude not even if he is over….. They are so scared of weird men hiding and taking pictures of the weigh ins
    that nudi while weighing in is strictly verboten.

  119. charles class of 83 Says:

    I had the “naked swim” during my frosh year at saint patrick hs. Chicago, IL. We wore green suits for my soph and junior years PE classes. I had a year of advanced chem. as an elective senior year- no gym.
    During my freshman swimming class, kids got whacked with wiffle bats, paddles, water polo balls, kickboards, snorkles, and flippers, all hard enuff to leave red welts or blue bruises, and all on the bare butt or thighs. Definitely homoerotic. And there were some non-gym-teacher brothers who would hover around the pool area during nude swimming. There was at least one (single) female teacher who found excuses to hover around when the guys were nude. So I disagree with some of the posters above- it was not innocent like Scout Camp or matter of fact like showers after wrestling practice. There were brothers and at least one lady who like to be around naked dudes. Not illegal at the time, but not “innocent.”
    I honestly do not know if there were any Life Magazine sorts of candid photos of swim class.

  120. Steven J Greene Says:

    I would dispute some of what I consider to be inaccuracies in previous posts. It is true that my alma matter Saint Patrick had nude swimming and had physical discipline, but I never heard of the two being mixed. It happened much less than it could have. Nothing at all like an English boarding school.
    As far as brothers taking pictures, some of the Bros. mentioned here were great guys and one was my mentor. I do not believe any of them were taking illegal photos. And for the sake of full disclosure, I did get the paddle once from Brother Richard because of something that happened being blamed on me in his Geography class. I was fully clothed and it barely even stung because of trousers and underwear protecting my hind end. If he wanted to hurt me he could have hit me on the leg.
    He was still a cool guy and we became friends later. You don’t stop liking your Dad or wanting to hang out with him just because you got punished unfairly. I got an A in geography.

    I grew up in the neighborhood near Austin and Lawrence, not too far from Pats. I went to a public elementary school. No lockers or showers at all.
    My family took me to the beautiful St. Pascal’s parish church, the home church of Chicago archbishop Cardinal Francis George. Everyone on the NW side of the City knew of Pats and everyone had heard of the nude swimming requirement.
    By the time I was in 3rd grade, I knew that if you went to Pats you had to get naked for swim class, unless you want to be on the swim team. They wore suits, and did not need to do P.E. swim class.
    So it was no big shock when we were told- “you will swim tomorrow, and don’t bother bringing a suit.”
    The water was always as cold as hell, and frankly I would rather swim nude in 90 degree water than with board shorts on in 70 degree water. The cold, not the nudity, was my only complaint. The swim coach Brother Hugh would let us do a good deal of free swim. We did not have to do as many laps or lifesaving drills as one might think. Plus, he did not insist on flip turns, which I could do anyway.
    Overall, it was no different from any other instructional swimming class. Once you got used to the fact that people were in their birthday suits, it was just a swimming class. I think because it happened long ago and it would be unthinkable today, people want to make a controversy out of the nudity issue. Think of it this way- you brought your English notebook and English text to English class.
    For swim class, all you had to bring was you and what you were born with.

  121. mike Says:

    I am gay. I knew at about 11 that I was into guys, but 35 years ago you kept your mouth shut about such feelings.
    Nude swimming was anything but fun in HS. I weighed 90 pounds soaking wet as a freshman and I started puberty very late. I was called “baldie” and a “fag.” I was shoved around, hit with flippers, mocked, poked, punched, threatened. My idea is that some of the tough guys who made my life hell were also gay or bi, and since they liked my blonde hair and my look,
    they hated my guts because I was like a part of themselves they hated and wished was not there.
    I was gay, but many small and immature kids who were as straight as Brad Pitt were also subject to being
    beaten up, insulted, and theatened. I think many of the harassers had a fear of being gay.
    I did not go to a school that had paddlings, so at least I had no problems with that. Being small with oversensitive skin, gettin whacked would have killed me.
    Everyday I was at school, I was afraid that day would be my last on planet Earth. Swim class did not help any.

  122. Eric Says:

    After giving it some deep thought i have come up with a possible reason for the mandatory nude swimming in schools. Acorrding to testimony this practice was started somewhere around 1940 and ended in the mid 70’s. If you connect it to history the United States had the draft for most of the years this program was in place. Do you think it was possible this was really a program to “toughen up” future draftees? Could the purpose of this program to be to desensatise the youth who would at least partially form the ranks of the future millitary? When you think about it the years just about match up and with the social attitudes back then i could defintly see people thinking this would make students tougher or at least desentatise them to certain areas of millitary life. It would also explain why only the boys had to do it while the girls got to wear suits. So what do you think? Is my argument valid?

  123. ricky Says:

    I think you are correct, but only in part.
    All males, whether you were 6 or 96, swam in the buff
    at the YMCA. Public health manuals up to the late 1950s or early 1960s insisted on nude swimming for males. This had to do with inadequate filter systems and the unsanitary nature of older swim suits. Public health was the issue, not nudity. I think the schools were simply following the Y, but I also do not doubt that what you say is true. Many gym coaches who insisted on nude swimming and post gym gang showers were themselves ex-military.
    Of course, a coach who fought the Second World War wants to toughen up his “soft” charges in gym classes. Forced nudity is part of toughening up as is paddling. What is hard to explain in why there are reports of nude swimming in PE as late as 1983!
    Traditions die hard. Boys from smaller families had more expectations of privacy than boys from older large families. Mothers were tired of the nudity even if the boys did not mind. Finally, I think there was increasing awareness of homosexuality and of sexual abuse. But if the the criterion is nylon suits ot could have ended everywhere a lot earlier than 1983. Nudity has become sexualized today, but I think old-fashioned authoritarianism is part of it.
    I am the teacher, and if I say you must swim nude, then you will. No debate. I think that played a part in it. But we will never know.

  124. Lawrence Worobec Says:

    As a young boy growing up on the east side of Detroit in the 50’s I was fortunate to be able to swim in the public school pools during the summer. Boys nights were always nude, no suits allowed. I never remember any of the boys being shy about the nudity, we were all just happy to be able to swim. They checked the back of your wrists and ankles for dirt and had everyone bend over and spread their cheeks as well. My sister-in-law thinks that it was absurd, but we didn’t think anything of it at the time. Does anyone else remember being checked like that before being allowed to enter the pool?

  125. Robert Says:


  126. Mike M Says:

    OREGON STATE had nude required for male p.e. swim class. My time frame 1964-1968. Had a lot more “visitors ” than at any other p.e. class.

    There is a big difference btwn voluntary nude swimming and institutionally required. One can opt out in the first instance. There is a lot of unreported historical institutional misconduct/abuse of power. Just try to speak truth to power.
    BTW…I’m retired senior naval officer.

  127. John Says:

    I remember swimming nude in suburban Chicago,when I was a Freshman,and Sophomore.When I was a Junior, we started wearing these really heavy wool-like suits, with holes in them,and the drawstring would get stuck and the suits had a hard time staying up.We used to joke that they were leftovers from East Germany. The 2 yrs I did swim nude ,was never a big deal for us guys. I had 3 sisters and 3 brothers, and we shared one bathroom at the house.Growing up from an early age, I was taught that females were to be modest at all times,whereas for males it just didn’t matter.I think this is why the guys swam nude, but girls in their swim class always wore suits.Back then, I think if a guy had a problem swimming nude ,you would be labeled as having a problem(like being a homo),so no guys said anything.Back then, you didn’t question how things were done,you did what you were told.. As a Junior, we still had to take nude showers, and have our arms and legs rubbed for cleanliness before going into the pool.I guess I was a little disappointed, that when I was Junior I had finally “grown” and we had to wear suits. DAMM! lol

  128. mike Says:

    We had to swim “au naturel” in public high school in Chicago.
    I had never swum nude in junior high or at a ymca like some people.
    But we all knew, and we were reminded of it all the time, that when you get to high school boys swim bare and girls swim in ugly black suits.
    It really was okay. After a few days of getting used to it, it was not all that different from any other swimming class. Girls had gym on days when we had swimming, and supposedly they got to peek at us in there like in the movie Porky’s! I do not know if that is true or not. One thing about nude swimming is, though, you have to be very careful of how you jump off of the diving board. I can’t say it was bad, but I could have ‘not done it’ either. It was a cold pool, not a nude beach in the south of Greece or somewhere nice

  129. jeff K Says:

    I am a graduate of Saint Pats in Chicago. Overall, I have a negative view of the school, although there were some great teachers. Now they drug test all students with locks of their hair, and years ago Bush 43’s drug czar was there to celebrate it with them. Sheesh!
    Anyway, I graduated in 1983. My freshman swim was nude. Suits came in for my soph year. I will admit that I was scared of it the month before school started. After the first day, which was strange, it was a swimming class. Just like many I had had b4. being nude was not an issue, it was a class. I have many bad memories of that school, but being nude was not big deal, one way or another.
    If my class got drug tested, they would have had to close the school. Different times.

  130. Charles Says:

    I graduated a few years after the naked swimming was ended.
    All kinds of stories, and very hard to distinguish fiction from fact.
    I was reading a forum on nude swimming that has recently been taken down, and some folks claim that in the old days some public meets were unclothed in front of a crowd of both male and female spectators! I do not see how that could be true.
    From what I understand now, kids don’t even shower after gym class or track practice, they just use alot of Axe or Tag. I hate to sound like an old grump, but maybe kids are too soft and shy today, and we need a return to corporal punishment and gym class skinny dipping.

  131. Will Says:

    I find the rationalizations for forced nude swimming ridiculous (I posted above a couple years ago regarding (forced) participation in a nude swimming class at Lane Tech during 1977-78 school year). By the way, if you prefer swimming nude and that’s your choice, by all means go for it, I have nothing against that. Also, I have no problem with nudity around others. I took showers for four years in a communal shower in college (and in other places). No big deal (although it’s interesting that the girls dorm had separate showers).

    What I had against nude swimming is that it was forced and there was for no good reason being nude that was then (or has since) been provided.

    Preventing suits from becoming mildewy? First, swimming was switched at Lane Tech to co-ed during the 1978-1979 school year (and I also took co-ed swimming). There was never any problem with people’s suits. Never. And, I assume that suits have been in lockers since nude swimming was ended in in 78-79. Nobody has ever posted that suits in lockers is any more a problem than taking your stinky gym clothes home every once in a while to wash them.

    Further, nude swimming makes as much sense as nude basketball or other nude gym classes. Basketball players get extremely sweaty and nobody worries about their clothes getting mildewy in the locker. In fact, there is probably a much better chance of sweaty cloths getting stinky and/or mildewy than a bathing suit that has been soaked in CHLORINATED pool water that kills bacteria.

    The best rationale I ever read for nude swimming was that it prepared young men for the lack of privacy they would experience during war (like WWI, WWII, the Korean war).

    So, I don’t know who perpetrated this fraud that nude swimming is to keep the pool clean, but that’s complete bullshit. It seems to me that the reason nude swimming lasted as long as it did was because those in charge had to do it during their youth, so that’s they way it was going to be done when they were in charge. Like the sheep that human beings are.

    I have related my high school nude swimming experience to many people (males). All think it’s weird. None even remotely expressed a preference that they would like to swim nude (and do other things like lifesaving, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation practice — all nude) with other males rather than with a bathing suit.

    Finally, from reading some of the posts above, it seems that some were perfectly fine with being made to participate in nude swimming It seems that some were even “into” it. I don’t know. All I can say is that I can good and goddam guarantee you that every heterosexual male that I know expresses a strong preference for NOT frolicking nude with other males in the pool or in any other environment.

    Now females doing nude swimming together, that seems perfectly natural….

  132. john Says:

    I went to Gordon Tech HS in Chicago for two years (f&s). I went to St. Patrick Chicago my junior year. Then a quick move due to my new stepdad’s job made me finish in high school in Indiana (we did get along, although I hated moving from the City.)
    Being a high school student in those days meant you were naked every day. After gym, showers. After any sports practice or game, showers. So my one semester of the “naked swim” in Pat’s was not a big deal. Those were the times. Now, it sort of creeps me out. Kids today would not tolerate this stuff, not for a single second! I read somewhere that Pat’s is one of the first schools in the nation to have all students do required drug testing, even for nonathletes. To me, that is way worse than nude swimming.

  133. BJ Says:

    I see nothing wrong with naked swimming. Or many other activities for that matter. Modesty is taught. There are many countries, where nudity is common if not the norm. The reason for clothing originally was for protection from the elements. Not for modesty. I have never seen a young child that wouldn’t ditch their diapers, clothes and run nude, most any chance they got.
    Looking at another nude is just normal courosity. If naked was the norm as in some societies, then people wouldn’t try to sneak a peek,because it would not be new to them. All other creaters on this earth are exposed. Do you get freaked out cause you see the genitals of a dog or horse or monkey in the zoo or on discovery?

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  137. Tony Says:

    I swam nude at the Y in Chicago in the 1950’s and in public high school in the 60’s. At the Y, swim class and swim meets were always nude. At first I did not like it but after a few times, it didn’t matter. In high school, I only attended swim class for one semester because after that I was on the swim team. We practiced nude. There were very few comments about it, it just seemed normal after undressing in the locker room and showering in gang showers.

    I think that the real reason was custom rather than pool filters or wet suits since girls in high school wore suits. There were no women at the Y. The sense I have is that in those days, nudity was normal in all male situations like showering, swimming, weigh-ins etc. We didn’t question it and I don’t remember reasons being given.

    I never experienced girls or women around at swim practices or any body, teachers or coaches being inappropriate. Of course, we may have been naive.

    I don’t advocate going back to the practice of required nude swimming but did not see it as anything remarkable when I did it.

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  139. Tony Says:

    There is a youtube video on swimming naked in school and the Y that confirms the reality of nude swimming and gives reasons most of which come down to custom.

    At the Y the lifeguards and the swim instructor were also nude, if I remember correctly. In high school the swim teacher had shorts and a T-shirt and never went in the pool. He did have a paddle that we would use on us when we were buck naked. The swim team coach was usually nude during practice, at least that is what I remember.

    Guys with longer hair (in those days hair was generally short) had to wear bathing caps. Crew cuts, baldy sours (buzz cuts today) and shaved heads did not have to wear caps. It was the age we lived in those days.

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  141. Jay Bee Says:

    I think there is a problem of perception. Modern people usually make the historical error of back-reading the current situation into the past. Nowadays, showering male athletes are illegally videotaped and then posted on the internet. A sex offender is lurking around any and every corner.
    Trusted coaches and teachers are revealed as perverts and arrested. 35 years ago was a much simpler era. We did not talk about being gay and although kids were violated back then, any boy with some street smarts could keep himself safe.
    A guy like Jerry Sandusky would have been obvious from a mile away.
    People were much more casual about nudity. Nudity was not really required so much as expected. When guys were together they were nude.
    When my high school hosted a grade school basketball tourney, my friend (who I called Mark Spitz) agreed to life-guard a free swim after the event. Some kids went home because of the time, and some kids brought their suits. Some kids, alas, forgot their suits but wanted to swim anyhow, so they got they got naked and jumped in the pool. It was as innocent as brothers taking a bath together.
    Just a different time.

  142. Willard Says:

    High school was full of many challenges: mean teachers who flunk you for not brown-nosing them well enough. parents who demand straight As even though you are a B-C student, bullies and thugs to deal with, coaches who bench you, girls who break your heart. bosses at your after-school job who treat you like you are in 3rd grade, etc. Yes, I did get paddled in both middle school and high school. I did swim nude at the Y when I was
    little and as a teen in high school.
    But I must say that if swimming nude and getting
    paddled were my two worst problems, life would have been a breeze. Fair or unfair, trials build character. I did not get my butt shot off in Viet Nam, nor was I tortured at the Hanoi Hilton.

  143. Tony Says:

    I agree aspects of high school might have seen tough but my experience was not compared to other realities of the day as you mention. Swimming nude at the Y and in school was considered par for the course and an occasional smack with the paddle on the bare but was not unusual. We didn’t think much about it then and now it seems somewhere between quaint and strange for us who experienced it. But guys being naked for swim and showers was the normal in those days. I don’t advocate forced nude swimming today but in those days it might have been one of those challenges, most guys just got past.

  144. James Says:

    I find it funny how so many of these people right “the boys had to swim nude, while the girls got to wear swim suits.” I word it the other way around: “the girls had to wear swim suits, while the boys got to swim nude.” I always thought of us boys as being the lucky ones because we got to be in the pool naked, it was fun, swimming around in the water and not having to worry about wearing an itchy bathing suit, I remember feeling so free and relaxed. It was all boys and everyone else was nude so I didn’t feel embarrassed about anything.

  145. Tony Says:

    Will says he swam meets “in the bare”. Do you mean high school meets or “Y”? Our meets at the Y against other Y’s were always bare
    . At the Y only nude swimming was allowed. In high school, swim meets were with suits since attendance was open to the public but at the Y only males could attend. The only nude HS meet was a pre-season every other year at an all male military school where all were nude since spectators were all male (not many spectators every attended swim meets). The other team was shaved head to toe so we did the same. As James says when we did wear suits at meets it did not feel free.

  146. kevin Says:

    Looking back I don’t see why we didn’t swim nude we may as well have. I graduated from HS in the early 90’s and we were required to wear the lovely fashionable speedo, but then we all saw each other naked anyway because we changed in front of each other and were required to shower before and after. I’m pretty sure our coach enjoyed watchin us too 😛

  147. Frank Says:

    My sons finished high school between 1996 and 2004. They all played sports and never showered at school. They said no one did. They all came home after game or practice to shower. I think at least in some schools open shower rooms are history.

  148. Tony Says:

    Just a reply to the last two posts of Kevin and Frank. When I hear, Frank says, that kids don’t shower at school, I think it represents a shift in culture. In the 1950’s and early 60’s when I was going to the Y and in high school, gang showers and nude swimming for boys were unremarkable. It was not thought to be sexual or immodest or suspect in anyway. Today’s younger people are shocked that male group nudity in those circumstances was normal.I don’t know what caused that shift, maybe somebody on this forum does. I don’t go to health clubs any more but when I did 20 year ago or more, nudity in showers and the whirlpool were normal.

    When I was a kid we kind of saw things the way Kevin mentioned them. It didn’t make sense to wear a swimsuit after showering with a bunch of guys and going into the pool that was all male. The sense in those days would be “why wear a suit?”. We only wore suits for high school meets that were open to the public. It was the pre-spandex days, so our suits were nylon, not leaving much to the imagination when they were wet. I for one found the nude swimming more comfortable.

    There was no questioning by parents of the required nude swimming at the Y, at camp, in high school or even at a friend’s family’s summer cottage. It was just a different age and culture. I don’t think young guys today would be comfortable–a different time.
    I don’t think we should go back to that time, but I never had a problem with it either.

  149. Harry D rabik Says:

    As a kid raised very strictly in a home where I got dressed to take a bath. I attended a staunch Catholic grammar school so I can say my experience facing puberty plus public school at age thirteen was a shock to my system. Changing clothes and having to shower with others was not what I was used to. Atop that swim class was soon added; an hour of nudity with my peers. you know what? i got over it. After a while it was just not much of an issue. I think basic humanity took over. So what if you had less hair, were circumcised, or your balls hung below your dick head? We came in different sizes and shapes and types. Once over the initial discomfort of being looked at i thought “So what?” Overall I’d say it was for the good. You don’t get over shame of your body by hiding it and acting like it’s a thing too foul to be seen.

    On occasion (I know becaause it happened to me now and again) a guy’s boat would do a float. Again, so what? Guys would blush, giggle, and all that but it wasn’t mean. Getting a rod for no reason was a fact of life. We all knew this so what was there to fuss about? For an only-child like me it was helpful to see myself as a boy like any other with a body he didn’t yet understand in full.

    We moved to an area where outdoors and camping were big. I was an avid Boy Scout and I’ll tell you on a camping or canoe trip it was a lot more practical to swim naked and air dry than it was to mess with things that weren’t dry when you packed up and paddled away. We were nature boys or nudists as the situation afforded or called for. It was simpler and easier. A guy didn’t have to scuttle off thirty fet in the woods and hide to take a leak, I think the majority of us slept in our skin, too, as the best slepwear for a sleeping bag.

    Being nude when it was the practical thing to do didn’t make me mean, sexually irresponsible, or insensitive to others, It wasn’t dirty and if anything a lot of us seemed to enjoy the sense of freedom and being open. I remember skinny-dipping and having crazy talks in the sun or padding nude around our camp afterward, It was like having brothers you could trust. It was nice. I’m glad we weren’t too uptight to enjoy so simple a pleasure.

  150. Harry D rabik Says:

    Reviewing the comments here once more I’m struck by the discomfort of so many. I wonder if as infants or toddlers those same people felt shame, disgust, and anxiety being bathed. Where does this discomfort come from and why? Why the disgusted loathing of nudity when people fully dressed have done and continue to do far more damage to their fellow humans than anyone garbed in a birthday suit.

  151. Robert Says:

    I wrote on this site last year. As a retired teacher, and former teenager growing up in the 60’s, my experience with nude swimming was only bad in my freshman year in high school—-because of the embarrassment of being a non swimmer—-not my body. After I learned to swim, my experiences swimming nude in my sophomore and junior years was much more relaxing, and yes, enjoyable. But over the years I taught high school myself, i always veiwed today’s kids through my own eyes—“why are kids today such wimps, they never shower in school, smell bad after PE ” etc.. But then i realized when i thought about it more. Think of today’s changes in technology.With “camera phones” and video recorders (which didn’t exist 20 years ago—any old style camera shots of naked boys back in the 60’s and 70’s would almost surely have been caught and confiscated by any photo takers being subject to humiliation, and disipline, if not criminal charges (taking pics, especially of young boys with thier genitals exposed would have neen a 5 to 10 year prison felony back in those days).
    When I think of today’s camera phones, and how a kid could sneak pics of their “friends” in a school shower today, it may not be the only reason, but iit is definitely a HUGE reason why i believe that kids don’t shower, let alone swim nude (imagine the humiliation and ultra embarrassment of a text photo of a young kid being flashed all over the ‘net”). So i have changed my mind about this situation today. Count me in the column of those guys who don’t believe that nude swimming, and yes, even communal showering is a good idea any more. It is a sad commentary, but it also is a reminder that all new technology today is not always for the good of mankind and for scientific advances. The dark side of humanity, especially from kids, can have devastating results to those who become “victims” of new technology!!!

  152. Tony Says:

    It’s one possible reason why guys today are uncomfortable with group showers. The ever-present cell phone cameras have filmed many locker room scenes. Another reason may be that kids no longer share rooms with siblings and have a heightened sense of privacy.

    Year ago when I was a kid changing in locker rooms, group showers and nude swim were normal at the Y, camp and in high school. Unlike Mike’s email, usually Y teachers and camp counselors would swim nude with us. Only in HS swim class did the teacher wear shorts and a T-shirt. Erections were not common, in fact with cold water, the opposite reaction occurred.

    As for us, as I said before, nudity in these circumstances seemed normal and unremarkable. While nude swims in high school were closed events, swim team practice was nude and once in a while male spectators were in the stands. Sometimes I felt vaguely uncomfortable about it. Not uncomfortable enough to quit the team or say something. It just seemed odd to be nude while clothed people watched. Spectators at practice were not common. I didn’t have the same feelings at the Y, Y camp or skinny dipping at a family friends cottage, so the onset of adolescence may have been the difference.

    I agree with Robert that I wouldn’t encourage it now but in the day it was what we did.

  153. Joseph Says:

    I’m probably one of the youngest people out there that can actually remember nude swimming. I started middle school in 1980 (6th grade) and our school’s policy was that boys were required to swim nude. It was a little nerving at first but after a couple times I think we all just got over it. The next year when I started the 7th grade the school changed it’s policy that we would start wearing swim trunks. At the risk of sounding totally gay I think I preferred the nude swimming; it felt more free. I don’t understand why schools and gyms can’t just have a policy of “swimsuit optional” that way nobody is forced to swim nude but the option is there if they want to, I bet many would just go nude if given the option because it’s really not that big of a deal.

  154. jake Says:

    Its been a few years… Im 56 years old now and to be honest… I enjoyed the PE routine of our school in Texas. I was in middle school and from the time I was in 6th grade until 8th grade we had nude swimming and were allowed to wear only shorts when having class inside the gym. Coach M******* would tell us as we entered the dressing rooms at the start of class if we would be having PE outside which required shorts and tennis shoes but no shirt was required, or, class would be inside the gym which meant we only had to wear shorts. We could be barefoot and shirtless. I liked that because I always enjoyed myself and felt very good about my body. We did our excercises wearing only our gym shorts and played whatever sport was assigned that day. Our swim class required us to strip, shower (then be inspected to insure we had showered) and then head to the pool. The class was just guys and the pool was indoors. I dont remember any bad experiences and for the most part, all of the guys were comfortable with the class and their bodies. Sure, there were some of the guys who were a little more developed than the rest of us but it wasnt a big deal. Showering in one big room full of shower heads was fun. Swimming as a group was also fun. I have never been ashamed of my body or my appearance and I have the most wonderful memories of those years. I think those experiences helped reinforce my acceptance of nudity and others. I looked forward to PE and swim class. Now as an adult I can say that my wife and I raised our three boys to feel good about nude swimming also. We have always had a pool in our backyard and from the time the boys learned to swim they have always swam nude. NO, their public school did not allow nude swimming but they enjoyed swimming nude here at home which also made them very comfortable about being nude around the house. They are grown and gone now and we already have two grandsons and its great to have them here and see that our sons have taught them the same thing…. to enjoy swimming nude. Thanks to the wonderful middle school that I attended.

  155. George Says:

    I agree with what Jake says; swimming nude was fun in my experience. To me when we started middle school I knew we would be required to swim nude, at first I was a little nervous but once we did it I felt like it was my official initiation into manhood, I got naked with the other guys, finally I was a man!

  156. Martin Brilliant Says:

    I went to school in the 1930’s and 40’s and I remember that we boys swam naked but the girls wore suits, separately of course. I don’t remember whether it was in school or day camp. Seeing the same sex naked was unremarkable; seeing the opposite sex naked was out of the question. I grew up in NY: NYC and downstate.

    On the other hand I have read on other websites about swim meets where some or all teams swam naked while there were women and girls among the spectators. My best guess is that this really happened, possibly in the midwest US. It could not have happened in my area of the country.