When Boys Were Required To Swim Nude

When Boys Were Required To Swim Nude

Today the idea of swimming nude in a high school gym class seems like something that would absolutely never happen, but in the not to distant past it was the norm for men and boys. The American Public Health Association recommended it in 1926 and schools and YMCA facilities took the recommendation very seriously. Pool chlorination and filtration wasn't as advanced as it is today, and swimwear could cause issues with keeping the water clean.

YMCA's, Schools, and other facilities across the United States adopted the policy of men and boys being required to swim nude- the policies were so prevalent that allowing swimwear was actually the exception to the rule. Boys were required to shower and clean their whole body with soap before entering the pool. The American Public Health Association maintained their recommendation until 1962. Not all schools dropped their nude swimming policies at that time though. Chicago Public Schools, for example kept them for another 20 years.

There's an obvious double standard here. Girls were to wear suits. This was explained away with excuses about girls being more modest.

Can you imagine what would be different if this policy was still in place today? Would more people be comfortable with nudity?

#nudity #history


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What Girls Said 9

  • I never knew this, very interesting :-)

    Also they cared more about the water and the toxic chemicals in swimming suits. That's very interesting to know.

    I prefer if people were more open about being nude and accept their natural bodies.

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    • I think the water quality in pools is actually better now, its just that back then they hadn't quite mastered how to maintain pool chemistry, and the biggest threat to pool chemistry was swimwear and all of the laundry chemicals and dyes that went with that.

    • The swimwear today is still toxic... but just at a slower rate.. so we don't notice it *-*

  • That's pretty surprising, I never knew about that.

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  • At some private schools in UK, girls were naked too. NOT at the same time as boys, though!

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    • The final nail in the coffin of nude swimming in schools was actually Title IX, which mandated co-education phy-ed classes. Most phy-ed classes were segregated by gender before that.

  • i have heard/read some of this before. Awesome find on the pics. :)

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    • Apparently they cared less about having their photos taken nude back then too- It was harder to find photos without exposed genitals than with them covered like these.

  • I had never heard of this 😮 it's a little shocking tbh. The guys with bigger ding a lings would have a disadvantage for once 😂

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  • WOW. I doubt you will get anybody to do that today.

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  • This is TERRIBLE!! I can just imagine that it was probably All the pervy men that applied for the position as swimming coach

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  • 3d

    You forgot the worst part looking back on this from a 2017 perspective... if you were in charge of the pool facilities/swim coach, what have you, their actual JOB was literally to line the boys up and inspect their body and genitals for disease, open sores, wounds, etc. before admittance into the pool.

    I don't think at the beginning there was much issue with all of this, but it was indeed more and more parents and their boys alike who complained about this policy and having to be put up for inspection, especially after pools installed filtration systems and better ways to keep them sanitary.

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    • 3d

      Some of the last holdouts were because schools didn't want the cost of providing bathing suits- it had outlasted the sanitation reasoning well into the "well, we've always done it that way" range.

    • 3d

      When I read that a while ago, I kept thinking... how much were swim trunks exactly. It's not even a full suit like women wear from top to bottom (well at least not in 70s, in the 20s yes). In fact, if you even look up 70's swimwear for men, it's at least 60% less material than board shorts of today and most likely in a swim club anyway, they would have worn speedos like Olympic athletes. Had they not heard of school fundraisers? Creepy Principal gym, I'm looking at you!!!

  • Interesting

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What Guys Said 11

  • Note that in the written instructions, they should be nude in pools exclusively for males. Yet in the photo there are women staff in attendance.

    Also, when I went to Navy boot camp, we had to swim nude, much more recently than the schools in the article.

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  • 1d

    Sorry but I just don't understand all the phobia attached to guys being seen nude. I guess it depends on how you're raised. Our parents taught us to be proud of who and what we are. So i was never a sby boy... where i live, a lotta stores dont even have changing booths to try on clothes... i dont have a problem undressing right there in the store to try on a pair of shorts. We even change our clothes on the beach. Most dudes n girls swim in their underwear... then take em off and change back i to dry clothes right on the beach or by the car... its just a cultural thing here...

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  • Hey wait a second, I can't tell who is being discriminated against. Is it girls must wear suits, but boys are free to swim nude? Or girls may wear suits, but boys are forced to swim naked?

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    • 7d

      Girls must wear swim suits and boys must be nude. But not in the same room

    • 7d

      @BaileyisDarcy the classes were separate. But I'd read about this before. And for instance at public swimming lessons the boys would be on their own - while their sisters and mothers waited for them watching from the viewing gallery. And there were often female coaches lifeguards etc around. You can see one in the top photo.

  • We all swam nude both boys and girls as strange and unreal that it sounds.

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  • History amazes me, I would have never imagined this

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  • Its amazing back in the 20s women were still getting preferential treatment. All the feminists say they've been oppressed right up to the present. Who got the better deal in this though? I'm fuckin sure I wouldn't want to walk around in front of everybody with my cock swinging about. If just say fuck swimming

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  • 4d

    this is funny... nowadays its not allowed in schools.. but i would love to see it come back

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  • They should probably return to this. You see guys these afraid to even shower in the lockeroom without their trunks on.

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  • Wow, that policy is so silly... I highly doubt anyone would take swimming classes if it was still in play.

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  • 7d

    I can't swim

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  • another shocking part of history that isn't talked about is how and why circumcision was made popular in English speaking countries. Now the script has flipped and most people deem it unnecessary BUT not to long ago, they used to say circumcision would lessen the urge towards masturbation and at the time, masturbation was seen as self abuse. So what did they do? remove the foreskin without the consent of the males actually going through the surgery. This practice has still made its way from the 17th century to present day. It was even widely recorded within the British family. In the 19th century, to repeal the sexuality of males, they refereed to masturbation in males as abuse, said it caused madness, blindness etc.. so every time you hear those jokes about male masturbation, they actually have a much darker history to it

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