The German attitude to nudity is pretty liberal. The British attitude to nudity is not.
Ok, so let’s be fair, it’s not like you are going to turn up in Germany and start seeing boobs and dicks everywhere. It’s not that extreme. But journey to a beach, or to one of the many swimming lakes dotted around the country and you are likely to see a “Freikörperkultur” (FKK) or “free body culture” area. A nude beach essentially.
This relaxed attitude to nudity is developed from a young age, nudity is not something to be ashamed of or hidden. As a result, when German children grow older, they are far more comfortable with nudity than the British, including me.
So, my wife being German wants to take me to an enormous spa/sauna complex, with outdoor swimming pools, jacuzzis and numerous saunas of various temperatures and sizes. It is the middle of winter and is snowing, (which is all part of the experience) so curiosity gets the better of me and I agree to go, despite knowing I will have to be nude at various points.
When I arrived, I was pretty nervous, especially when you have no bathing suit or swimming trunks – they are left in the locker, you only take a towel and a robe and that’s it. We haven’t even left the changing rooms and I must have seen 5 pairs of breasts and at least 24 pairs of balls. Excluding my own.
Walking into a room full of naked people for the first time in your life, in your mid-thirties, is peculiar. Germans will make eye contact with you, they will say hello and like it or not, they will cop an eyeful. It seems to be accepted that everyone will look at everyone else – in fact hiding your modesty can cause grumbles amongst the unclothed, better to just go along with it. Initially, I sat with a towel covering my modesty, but after a few hours of being there, it does feel quite comfortable and natural… kind of.
But! People attend these kinds of places with their friends, colleagues and families! My reluctance to be naked in a room was balanced out by the fact that I would be in a room full of strangers, I couldn’t imagine going to a place like this with friends – and friends wives and partners, that would be too weird for my prudish ways.
Then on an even higher level, the one thing that surprised me the most was when a family walked in with 2 children. A girl aged around 14-15 and a younger boy maybe around 10. I am pretty sure by the age of 10 I was already aware of my nudity and would be horrified if my parents caught me nude, and my parents horrified if I caught them nude. I could not imagine ANY scenario where a self-conscious British 14-year-old, would follow their naked parents, into a room full of other naked people.
German FKK – does take some getting used too.