Three years ago I was in Bali traveling with a woman from Spain.
She was beautiful, blonde, voluptuous and completely unapologetic with her body.
She wore Brazilian cut, and all kinds of full cheeky bum, bikinis.
One day while visiting her Brazilian lover’s house, she pulled out a collection of bikinis he makes and sells.
They were all full bum bottoms, leaving little to the imagination.
I made my way, shyly, through the beautiful fabrics and patterns holding them at a distance.
My friend threw a blue and white bikini at me and asked for me to try it on.
I was immediately uncomfortable, saying, “No, No, I can’t. In Canada, no one wears these kinds of bikinis.”
She rolled her eyes, and said, “You Canadians and Americans, with your granny panty bathing suits. You are so afraid of your bodies—for gods sake, just try it on. You have a beautiful body!”
I laughed, wildly and humored her—compliments get you just about anything, that and calling someone a prude.
At first I wanted to hide inside the bathroom.
My body felt private, and I wasn’t comfortable being out in the light—out loud with my body.
Part of me felt like that part of my body should only be for the eyes of my partner—not the entire world.
I eventually did a conservative and shy bum-to-the-wall fashion show to Bea’s loud and encouraging, “Wow! Bonita! Esta Mouy Rico’s!”
I bought the bikini, wore it a few times and it has since laid in my closet.
A few years later I went to my first nude beach. I was surprised that it wasn’t all young and buff people, but more so wrinkled and greyed, letting it all hang out and breathe people.
It wasn’t a gang bang. It wasn’t people having orgies and sex everywhere.
No one, that I saw, was touching themselves.
Everyone was just enjoying letting their bodies breathe and swimming in the ocean sans fabric.
And man, does swimming naked feel good.
Truthfully, I don’t know why we all don’t swim naked, all the time.
I realized from that experience that naked doesn’t always mean sex and that as humans we are completely able to see each other in the nude and not instigate sexual energy.
Sure—if someone’s attractive, you may take a second glance.
But most people are too polite to look for more than a second, anyway.
It’s my fourth time back in Costa Rica.
I usually stay at a surf town called Santa Teresa.
It crawls with Argentineans—which means full, cheeky, bare bum bikinis.
There are more people sporting Brazilian bikinis than not.
And after a while, the bums feel less like headlights blinding you and more just like—well, bums.
And they may come in different shapes, colors and sizes—but we all have them.
Our world has wildly sexualized, objectified and shamed nudity.
For a long time in my life, I was so uncomfortable to be completely naked, I wore underwear to bed.
God forbid, I see my bits.
I have come to be at home in my body, and know that whether I am tanning topless, naked or rocking full cheeky bikinis, that this is all okay.
The secret to rocking a Brazilian bikini is to be at home in your body, and to be doing it for yourself.
That being said, I only tan naked at private beaches or designated nude beaches, and am mindful of what country I am in and the religious and cultural climate of the area.
But this week, I bought a local Tica Surf black and pink Brazilian bikini made here in Costa Rica.
I’ve rocked it shamelessly, and it’s not for anyone—it’s for me.
I like the way Brazilian bottoms look and feel on my body. They make me feel beautiful and sexy.
Whatever makes us feel sexy is for us, and no one else.
I like having as much as my body breathing as I can.
Do people stare?
Yes, sometimes, people stare—but I’m more happy having my body enjoy the ocean and sun then worry about what people are thinking behind their eyes.
“What other people think of us, is none of our business.” ~ Paul Cohelo
And the most incredible thing happened, I eventually just forgot—it doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore.
My bum isn’t the purple elephant in my head anymore.
Side note: If you are uncomfortable with the idea of nude beaches and your birthday suit, next time you are swimming in the ocean—swim way out, somewhere private, and then, get naked.
Take your top and bottom and wrap them around your arm–enjoy your sneaky, closet nude swim.
There’s always a way.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Janne Robinson
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Courtesy of Author