Archives for category: male

IMG_7435Around the start of the year, a trainer in New York made headlines when he announced that he’d be offering nude workout classes in his fitness studio. Naturally we contacted him and asked if we could try one of his classes — we’re always looking for new and interesting things to do in the nude! But the response we got was noncommittal and he managed to duck actually scheduling a session with us for the longest time. Then when he finally did schedule one — through some British PR firm, oddly — they cancelled on us at the eleventh hour.

IMG_7741Sadly, our guess is that the whole announcement was just a publicity stunt — we can find no evidence that he’s ever actually gone through with these classes (there don’t seem to be any reviews online, for instance, and no articles covering anything but the initial announcement, and no mention of these classes on his website, nor any mention on his Facebook page after the January press blitz).

But even if this particular trainer was just trying to get attention, that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t a good one.

IMG_7416IMG_7423After all, who wouldn’t prefer to work out in the nude if it were an option? No annoying seam pressing into your tailbone during stretches; no sweat collecting in your workout gear; no difficulty seeing the alignment of muscles so you can check your form. Sure, there are some exercises you wouldn’t want to do naked — jumping rope comes to mind — but there are plenty more that you would.

IMG_8199So we decided to take the idea and run with it. One of our members is a personal trainer, and she stepped in to lead the class; and in place of a gym, we booked the terrific little exercise studio we’ve used in the past for naked yoga. That, plus invitations extended to half a dozen of the most open-minded fitness buffs we know, and we were ready for our inaugural workout.

IMG_7223IMG_7324IMG_7343And it was wonderful — everything we could’ve wished. One of our participants (pictured above) had this to say about it: “What made this nude fitness class so refreshing and beautiful was that everyone participating shared the same mindset that nudity doesn’t need to be sexual. I worried much less about what I look like than I do just going to a regular gym. I was able to focus more on my form because I could clearly see what the instructor’s body was doing and see and feel my own body better. Plus, it’s very convenient to not have to bring workout clothes with you!”

IMG_7479We kicked things off with squats and pushups —

IMG_7457— then moved on to lunges and work with resistance bands —

IMG_7526IMG_7586IMG_7653— ab work and balance poses —

IMG_7642IMG_7705— some extra work for thighs and glutes —

IMG_7965IMG_8021— all interspersed with rest breaks in child’s pose, stretches, and the occasional dance interlude.

IMG_8182IMG_7608We all emerged from the session energized, if a tiny bit sore (only in the best way, of course), and determined to do it again soon.

Only next time? We want to do it outdoors on a warm day in the middle of Central Park. (Don’t worry, we’ll bring g-strings to keep it all legal.)

IMG_7685IMG_7549IMG_7513Would you like to join us? Drop us email at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’ll gladly welcome any open-minded, body-positive women in the New York area.

IMG_7718Hell, we’ll even welcome¬†Harry Hanson, if he wants some pointers on what this whole nude workout thing is all about.

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18-02-10-Polar Bear-484A couple of times each year, the non-profit organization Human Connection Arts puts on a big public event that celebrates free expression through nudity. New York’s annual Bodypainting Day in July is the biggest, but there are others peppered throughout the calendar. Last October, for instance, the group fielded a topless float in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which seemed pretty bold at the time since October isn’t the most common month for outdoor toplessness.

But it pales in comparison to February. Which was when the group gathered most recently, on a frosty, somewhat rainy Saturday afternoon, with the temperature hovering not too far above freezing, applying bodypaint indoors at a studio near Times Square–

18-02-10-Polar Bear-12518-02-10-Polar Bear-11818-02-10-Polar Bear-225–girding themselves for the arctic winds they might face–

18-02-10-Polar Bear-14618-02-10-Polar Bear-254–and then bravely heading out into the cold to march to the Crossroads of the World, greet astonished tourists,

18-02-10-Polar Bear-32118-02-10-Polar Bear-35518-02-10-Polar Bear-373hobnob with costumed characters,

18-02-10-Polar Bear-522and take photos at the iconic bleachers near the TKTS booth.

18-02-10-Polar Bear-50918-02-10-Polar Bear-496One of our members gamely took part (see if you can spot her in these terrific photos by Daniel Vialet of Leinadmedia), together with some two dozen other participants of all ages, genders, sizes, and shapes. It was an exciting and liberating event, and we’re delighted to have played a small part in it.

18-02-10-Polar Bear-446If you’re inspired by what you see but need a little more mercury in the thermometer before you’d feel comfortable going outdoors in nothing but paint, remember that July isn’t that far off.

Or just paint yourself in the colors of the sun and think warm thoughts…

18-02-10-Polar Bear-264…or do it with a bunch of friends and huddle close. ūüôā

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IMG_0880“I just want to tell you,” the man in the dress shirt and necktie said, “I love what you’re doing. You’re bringing back the 1980s. Back then, everyone here was completely naked.” The smile on his face was warm and genuine, though it was hard to imagine the fond memory he was describing was accurate. People went completely naked on the piers at the Hudson River? Well, they hadn’t been developed yet; they were just rotting spurs of wood sticking out into the water; so, maybe. And yet…really?

“Yes,” he said. “You’d come here and everyone would be naked. It was free and wonderful.”

Free and wonderful: two words we could relate to, even if we still had our bottoms on. The wonderful part, especially, since it’s a wonder that in the middle of October it was still warm enough to go bare outdoors. Later, when the sun had set, we went online to search, and sure enough found this:

slide_218857_843458_freeThe Hudson Piers were once home to a flourishing gay and lesbian scene, which included nude sunbathing, until gentrification arrived and chased the sunbathers away.¬† Needless to say, we’re proud to be doing our part to bring it back, even if we’re only taking baby steps by comparison.

IMG_0827IMG_0814IMG_0824These days, the piers have been developed, with artful, asymmetrical grass swards and metal sculptures dotting the grounds, and the sun worshipers lounging about look like this–

IMG_0568IMG_0714But the day we came, they also looked like this:

IMG_0618IMG_0677IMG_0664And we saw the gentleman’s handstand and raised it three cartwheels.

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We certainly felt free there — no one bothered us or complained, or even gave us a dirty stare. In fact, when we saw a bare-chested man enjoying a beer at the outdoor bar at the end of the pier, we figured we’d be welcome that way too — and we were.

IMG_1023IMG_1065IMG_1077New York may not be everything it was 30 or 40¬† years ago, but in at least one respect it’s been freer and more wonderful since 1992, the year a state court established that it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere men can. Back in the day, maybe people went naked, but they were all breaking the law by doing so. Today, we can do what we do in total comfort and confidence.

IMG_0951IMG_0857IMG_0763Of course, the balmy temperatures won’t be around for much longer — already it’s turned colder.

But the flame of freedom? That burns all winter long.

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IMG_4928If every fall could be like this one has been so far, we’d have nothing to complain about.

IMG_4962Well, that’s not exactly true: the threat of nuclear war, racism back at home, a real son of a bitch in the White House. We have plenty to complain about. But the weather — the weather has been wonderful, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it.

IMG_5123IMG_4710IMG_4841fThis was us on our favorite rooftop sundeck, soaking up as many rays as our bodies could absorb, knowing full well that, as a certain HBO series puts it, winter is coming. We also met in the park, and we’ll let you see that shortly, but first things first. There’s really nothing like getting naked with a dozen of your friends —

IMG_4643— and for good measure a stranger or two, who quickly became new friends. (There’s nothing quite like nudity to spark fellow-feeling.)

IMG_4581IMG_4758And there’s nothing like being somewhere where it’s okay not just to take your shirt off but to take off every last stitch.

IMG_4865f(Not counting dinosaur jewelry, of course. That always stays on. Always.)

IMG_4552Someone recently commented on one of our old posts that one of our members might be upset because her vulva was showing in one of the photos. So? We have vulvas. (Most of us.) They deserve sun as much as any other part of the body, and too rarely get any. And it’s healthier to enjoy your body than to be ashamed of it.

IMG_4924IMG_4662IMG_4846What else are we not ashamed of? Reading. Reading everything under the sun, quite literally. In this case, Schott’s Original Miscellany. Not pulp fiction, but quite wonderful.

IMG_4690Also: satisfying our non-literary cravings, for instance for libations or ablutions.

IMG_4694IMG_4742IMG_5024We took butt selfies in the sun…

IMG_4810…and had fun in the shade.

IMG_5020fIMG_4941And what’s next on the docket for us? Well, we’re collecting ideas for indoor events to occupy ourselves with then the snow and sleet and wind inevitably come. But in the meantime, we’re gonna keep seizing these 80- and 90-degree days for all they’re worth.

IMG_4900IMG_4731IMG_5072IMG_4992fIf you want to carpe the diem along with us, just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. There’s always room for more curious, brave women on our rooftop, and in our hearts.

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IMG_6346Last summer, we produced an all-female, all-nude staging of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, outdoors in Central Park, and it was a huge success: hundreds of people came to see the play in person, and millions more — literally — read or heard about it in media coverage ranging from NBC News and Salon to every major newspaper in the U.K. (They love it when Americans experiment with Shakespeare, apparently.)

img_3506One recurring theme in the comment section of online coverage, however, went like this: “They could only do this because it was women — try it with naked men and they’d get arrested!” Well, we all know a challenge when we hear one. So our Tempest directors sat down to plan an all-nude, all-male production of¬†Hamlet.¬†

IMG_6354That production was staged this summer, first in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and then, just this past week, in Central Park, at the foot of the beautifully appropriate King Jagiello statue. Again hundreds of people came, and — lo and behold, no arrests. Just a marvelous production of a great play.

IMG_6343Audience members ranged from 6 to 66, roughly speaking, and at neither end was offense taken, though the youngest viewers seem to have found the iambic pentameter somewhat hard to follow.

IMG_6326Will there be another production next summer, and if so, with what genders performing? Still to be decided. We like to come up with different things to do each year. But we’re thrilled to have helped establish a new tradition: nude Shakespeare in the park. Enjoyed by all, of harm to none, bringing a fresh view to 400-year-old plays and a glimpse of freedom to the public spaces of New York City. The sight of a bared breast doesn’t cause society’s foundations to crack, nor does the sight of a vulva, nor of a penis.

IMG_6325The beauty of the world, Shakespeare wrote,¬†the paragon of animals…in form and moving, how express and admirable; in action, how like an angel, in apprehension, how like a god!¬†And:¬†There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

We are animals all — and angels all. Our naked bodies are no more than we were born with, the common currency of all humanity, and to hate another’s is to hate yourself.

Or as a playwright once put it, we hold the mirror up to nature. What you see in it is yours to grapple with.

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IMG_3181Followers of this blog will have noticed that we don’t go to the beach a lot. That’s not because we don’t like beaches — we love them. But New York City makes it easy to go to the park and hard to go to the beach. Few of us have cars, for one thing, and getting to the beach is a lot easier with one.

But at least once each summer, we make a point of going. Last summer we braved the hour-long subway ride and the siren song of funnel cake vendors to go to Coney Island, and this past week we went to Riis Beach.

IMG_3103Now, Riis is famous, but few of us had ever been. It’s a right pain to get to — in the end, we wound up hiring a bus to take us there and back. And once you’re there, there’s not much in the way of amenities. A few food vendors on the boardwalk, some fenced-in fields, an abandoned nursing home building for atmosphere.

IMG_2938But…what an amazing beach it is!

IMG_3145Who knew that one hour out of Manhattan there’s a beach that’s as free and loose and casual as you’d find on the coast of Spain or a Greek island or either Riviera (French or Maya)? The sand was packed the day we went — one of the nicest weekend days all summer — but everywhere people were relaxing and getting along, and at least on the eastern end where we set up our towels, as many women were topless as not.

IMG_3412IMG_3555IMG_3057How wonderful, for once, not to be the only ones! Not that we really mind when we are — it’s ok, as long as no one bothers us. But how wonderful to look around and see all sorts of women confidently baring their breasts, and no one thinking anything of it!

IMG_3294So we staked out a little patch of sand for ourselves and lost no time in stripping down to as little as we could get away with.

IMG_2919IMG_2949IMG_2988Not to be undone, one of the three boys we had with us this time decided to rock a gold-sequined C-string, which was the hit of the beach until he made the mistake of wearing it into the water. Hello, wave; goodbye, C-string.

IMG_9912The water was lovely. Choppy, yes, some giant waves, but cold and refreshing and we took many long swims…

IMG_3576IMG_3006…then walked the length of the beach after to dry off.

IMG_3411The beach does have a more “bohemian” (aka, gay) section and a slightly more conservative (aka, straight) section, and we probably got a few more looks when we strayed from one to the other. But just curiosity, not hostility. No catcalls, nothing to break the lovely mood of the day, even when we moved from the sand to the boardwalk.

IMG_3374Back at our towels, we got some reading done. (No, Invisible Man doesn’t count as pulp fiction — it wasn’t the H.G. Wells version! — and neither does¬†The New Yorker, but cut us some slack. We like to read a variety…)

IMG_3500IMG_3227IMG_3219And for those who didn’t bring reading material? There was sun, sun sun.

IMG_3260IMG_3319IMG_3463IMG_3095Eventually 5pm arrived, and our bus with it. We took one last dip…

IMG_3037IMG_3519…then packed our things, bid a rueful adieu to the sand and sun, and motored back to Manhattan.

Would we do it again? Oh, in a heartbeat. It’s tempting to go every week! Yes, Gunnison lets you go fully nude, which would be an improvement; Riis has a history of being used nude, but that was in the 60s and 70s, and the world is more censorious about such things now. (Unless the ocean eats your swimsuit, people understand that!) But Riis more than makes up for it with the warmth of the crowd, the quality of the scenery, and the relative ease of access (Gunnison is in New Jersey, a 50% longer drive). And you really couldn’t ask for a better place to relax with friends.

IMG_3597Probably this was our only beach trip for this summer, but if you’d be excited about joining us for another, we can consider it — just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know. ¬†August is beach weather too, after all.

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IMG_3732When we sunbathe topless in the park or take our shirts off in some other public place on a 90-degree day, it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with comfort and equality. We like wearing less when it’s hot out than when it’s cold; stripping off a sweaty t-shirt to lie in the grass or play frisbee or enjoy the spray from a fountain isn’t a sexual act when we do it any more than when a man does. We work hard to make this distinction clear: nudity does not equal sex, and the two should not be confused or conflated.

That said, most of us do also like sex.

So we were cautiously receptive when we were contacted recently by several alumnae of Betty Dodson’s famous Bodysex workshop, which has been teaching women to explore their own bodies and their sexuality for something like fifty years. (Betty Dodson herself is close to 90 years old, and still going strong.) There was a Bodysex reunion being held near NYC, and some of the participants were followers of our group, and they asked if they might come to one of our events while they were in town. Of course we said yes, and invited them to join us on our favorite private rooftop sundeck.

Now, normally the privacy we enjoy there only means we get to sunbathe fully nude rather than merely topless. But this time it meant something more, since our visitors promised to share some of their practice with us, and their practice includes group masturbation and shared orgasm.

How many of us had ever masturbated in a group before? Not many. But we’re open-minded and very much pro-orgasm and sex-positive, so we decided we’d give it a try.

IMG_3746In all, between the Bodysex alums and us there were a dozen people on the roof. Some were first-timers, some long-time members; eleven were women, one was a man.

IMG_3759IMG_3712IMG_3660We began by sharing our groups’ respective stories, and some fresh fruit, white wine, and mimosas to go with them. (What story doesn’t go better with a mimosa?)

IMG_3681cAfter that, we shifted from the couches and lounge chairs to the floor of the roof and the dozen comfy soft towels Amazon had thoughtfully shipped us the day before.

IMG_3709We had a selection of toys to choose from — ones that vibrated, ones that pulsed, ones that sucked — and enough bottles of lube to stock a medium-sized pharmacy. (What’s the difference between a lubricant that “Arouses and intensifies” and one that “Arouses and releases”? We figured we’d find out.)

IMG_3655Someone in the group had an iPhone with a relevant Spotify playlist (“30 All-Time Greatest Songs to Masturbate To“)…

IMG_3794…and someone else had a bluetooth speaker. Connections were made. The mood was set. The moment of truth arrived. So we took off any clothes we still had on, laid back, spread our legs and dove in.

IMG_3750A word about masturbation: it’s nothing to be shy about, certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes the best orgasm you can have is one you give yourself. Learning how to pleasure yourself can also help you learn how to have more satisfying sex with a partner — but it doesn’t have to be about that. The self-administered orgasm (like the self-portrait, or self-hypnosis) can be an end in itself. Masturbation isn’t anything to apologize for. We all do it, women and men, and when we do it right it’s wonderful.

Yesterday, it was wonderful.

IMG_3779It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect for it, sunny and clear — we gave ourselves orgasms under the bluest of skies and the whitest of fluffy white clouds. The air was deliciously warm against our skin.

IMG_3742Was it strange doing something so intimate and private in a group, a number of whom were meeting each other for the first time? A little. But remember, a lot of people also say that baring your breasts is something intimate and private that shouldn’t be done in a public place or in front of someone you don’t know well. People who say that are wrong — so why should we take as a given that they’re right about masturbation having to be solitary?

IMG_3738It helped that while the act was sexual, it was not¬†sexualized. We weren’t performing, we weren’t ogling each other or being ogled (or watched at all, really; our eyes mostly slid shut as we went to somewhere special in our own headspace). We were just friends enjoying ourselves together, feeling beautiful sensations, and sharing that experience — as one member put it the next day, it was less like a sex party than like a wine tasting, only with orgasms instead of wine. And what fine vintages we uncorked.

IMG_3763And then, soon enough — too soon — it was over. We came, we relaxed, we caught our breath. We marveled at this thing we’d just done. Did everyone have a blissful smile on her face, or did it just feel that way?

IMG_3671We all felt really nice, that’s for sure. And our ordinary event started up again. We ate grapes, chatted, joked. Shared our addresses with each other so we could stay in touch. IMG_3730

Eventually, the Bodysex folk headed off to catch their planes home, like magical sex fairies who’d done their job.

Will we ever do it again? Who knows? Certainly not in the middle of Central Park, where going topless means nothing more than that it’s hot out, and neither women nor men are free to engage in sexual acts. But on some wintry afternoon perhaps, in a private room at our favorite spa? Or if one of us has a big enough apartment and enough cushy throw rugs? Why not?

Our group is not about sex, and what we do as a matter of course is not sexual.

This was sexual.

Maybe now people will have an easier time seeing the difference.

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