Zipolite Volume I: Rituals

I lived in Zipolite, a rural nude beach in Oaxaca, Mexico for about 7 months. It was not my first time at a nude beach, but it is the longest I have stayed at one. I’ve been told there are at least three versions of each of us; the one we show the general public, the one we show loved ones, and the one we keep to ourselves. When I think of the truest version of me, that being is, in no way, afraid of nudity. In fact, this version of me embraces nudity, especially with peers. Nudity shared with peers feels like a rain of acceptance washing over you, sprinkled with curiosity, and limitless moments of beauty and expression. It’s exciting, beautiful, and “nothing going on here,” all at the same time.

It was clear to me that each day at the beach would help me expand, to fill the shoes, I am meant to wear in this world. So, like many, I rose with the sun each morning, around 6am. I would walk through the rural beach town, from my place to the beach, in nothing but bikini briefs, no shoes. This daily ritual alone summoned a feeling of being part of nature; your feet constantly touching the earth, the majority of your body fully exposed on the street (nudity is only permitted on the actual beach), and often times, seemingly very modest locals, showering you with glances. You feel the rawness of what you are doing, you feel that the confidence you develop from this isn’t always common. You begin to realize yourself.

Meditation (Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico) Photo: ELIE VILLETTE

Once I arrived at the beach each morning, I would run in my bikini briefs, up and down the beach… over and over, for at least an hour. So, as everyone in the town would rise and make their way to the beach, at some point, I ‘d say about 50-60% of the town would cross my path, coming out to watch the sunrise, doing yoga, going for their morning stroll, laughing with friends. And this community of early risers, served as my witnesses, it is as though, they all silently agreed to help me in this expansion, simply by being observers.

After I finished running, I would go to Playa del Amor, which is a more secluded part of the beach, known for being the place where the gays hang out the most during the day, and not all coincidentally, the place where public sex happens nearly each night, like a ritual. In the mornings, however, there were far fewer people and typically, the vibe was very chill. So, I would go there, and completely disrobe. There would be 3-4 men there, at that time of morning, sitting by the rocks that form a cul de sac, whose mouth is where the sea meets the land. Everything beyond the rocks, where (typically, but not exclusively) men sat, was a stage. You were being observed by all, in all your glory. I would like to note that the vibe of this beach was also very chill and accepting, but of course their was an underlying arousal of excitement at so many beautiful, naked bodies running around together.

When I disrobed, I would first walk out to the water to wash the sweat and sand off, from my run. And there is something to be said about being in what can feel like a vulnerable state; you’ve just run for an hour, you are out of breath, at this point, you are the only one who isn’t just sitting and everybody is watching you. I chose to embrace it. It felt powerful. What did I care? What did they care? I knew I loved seeing people being their beautiful, natural selves and I imagined that others did the same. Then, I would find a nice place in the sand and begin my 20 minute stretch routine, completely naked. Guys would, of course, watch and at other moments, they would completely forget about me and it is the combination of those two things, that felt so beautiful. Of course, you want to see. I want to see. But, also, it’s whatever. It’s not a big deal. I loved that. Many times guys would begin their own, naked morning routine alongside me, which provided a silent feeling of belonging and comradery.

I saw men catch erections at the beach while running, sleeping, and just getting excited from talking to someone. And it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Casual public erections that were treated like the temporary, natural body functions they are. It was as though, I began to see life, beyond society. Life, out in the world. In Nature. Everyone was kind, accepting and curious. This daily ritual served as the foundation for my self acceptance and my choice to bask in the awe of nature. And to allow myself to be seen. Not hiding behind identities and brands and zip codes and degrees, but rather showing up as a being on this planet, just as confused, excited, curious, and aroused as everyone else on the planet. I started getting closer and closer to merging the version of myself I show the public, with the version of myself I had previously, never shown anyone.

This morning routine is just the tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine, living at a nude beach in Mexico that is specifically known for being a haven to those who don’t deny their homo-erotic desires, meeting people from all over the world, beautiful men and their bodies, their personalities, their ways of expressing themselves….. anyway, I will share more about all of that, in this series.

Until next time…

h.o.e.

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