IF YOU’VE ever turned up at the pool without your swimming costume, this could be the answer for you.
A monthly skinny dip taking place at a Southampton swimming pool sees a group of up to 40 naturists attend each time.
Naturism, which is enjoyed by over four million people in the UK, is particularly popular in the south.
And once a month they hire out Oaklands Community Pool in Lordshill for a private session.
British Naturists’ London and south east co-ordinator John Rodgers, said: “It has been growing in popularity – the numbers are steadily creeping up and it’s balancing the cost.
“Swimming is a very popular naturist activity because you don’t have the drag of the swimming costume.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s controversial these days. There is a lot of prudishness, particularly around body image and particularly with women.
“But some women end up more enthusiastic about it than men.
"They start off thinking ‘my body’s not good enough’ but what people look like doesn’t matter to us.
“In our view if there was less prudishness about it there wouldn’t be so many problems around body image.
"A lot of hang-ups start because it’s got that air of mystery to it.
"But it’s a healthy lifestyle from a mental health point of view."
British Naturism’s marketing consultant Andrew Welch, 51, said: “Generally it’s not the eyebrow-raising dinner party subject it used to be.
"What we’re doing is healthy and it’s good for children to know what their bodies are going to turn into.
“The emphasis is on how I feel being naked and having sunshine, air and water on my skin.
"Nobody is judging me and many people who have problems with their body say that naturism is so accepting.”
Unlike many public swimming pools which are unsuitable for naturist groups because they have viewing platforms, Oaklands has become a hub for the south coast’s groups.
The community pool was saved from closure by campaigners in 2014 and refurbished at a cost of £1.7million, re-opening in January 2015.
Facilities manager Dan Lally said: “We have a few users that hire the pool but the support of the local community is what keeps the pool going.
“We welcome all communities to use our facilities. It is great to have the Bristish Naturism group using the pool.
“Having them with us here at Oaklands Community Pool is a partnership that is flourishing.”
Mr Rodgers added: “We think Oaklands is a great venue and the people there are very helpful.”
The Naked Southampton Skinny Dip took place yesterday and monthly at Oaklands Pool, Cromarty Road, Southampton.