On thing I've learned as a nudist is that there is no such thing as a "perfect" body. Nudists and naturists consider the human body to be a beautiful creation, and something no one should be ashamed of. Everyone's "flaws" are exposed when they're naked, but then again so are everyone else's. There are nudists of every size, shape, and body condition. No two people look the same nude. Breasts and nipples come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Penises come in both "show-ers" and "grow-ers" and uncut and circumcised. Vulva have an infinite amount of variations. Hair is either removed or not. Most, if not all, people have scars, birthmarks, cellulite, etc. You don't see these differences and "imperfections" when you only see other people in clothing, you only see them in the mirror on yourself.
I was raised as a nudist so I never experienced a "first time" to nudism, so my experience is likely different from those who come to nudism at a later age. I grew up seeing other children and adults nude, along with these differences and "imperfections." I believe I have a more healthy self-image because of this, and that I also have a healthier and more realistic view of women's bodies. I knew what to expect when I went through puberty, because I saw other boys go through it before me. I knew what real women looked like instead of an unrealistic air-brushed version from the internet or a magazine. I was also very confident in my body. Even though I was shy, I was one of the only boys in high school who didn't have any issues showering nude after gym class- it was no big deal.
My Friends' Experience:
Over the years I've made a lot of friends that weren't nudists. Some, but not all, have become nudists with me to varying degrees. Their first time shedding their clothing came with some nervousness to be sure, but after a few minutes, they all say they shed their emotional and physical insecurities with their clothing. Most say that they find it easier to meet and form new friendships while participating in nudism (nudity is a great icebreaker after all). Nudism can also enhance the bond with existing friends, having bridged one boundary, it is easier to open up about other things. I know some of the best conversations I've ever had with friends are while nude in a sauna or hot tub for example.
One thing they all will agree on, they found a greater love and acceptance for their own bodies, feeling even more confident in themselves while nude than in clothing.
I cannot recommend trying nude recreation enough. I encourage you to find an AANR club or beach near you, or use a site like meetup.com to find other nudists near you- you'll find that nudists are generally a pretty welcoming group. If you know any of your friends are nudists, you can always ask them to include you the next time they go somewhere, they'll probably be more than happy to have you join.
There may also be other nudist events in your area. There is a group in my city that rents out a public pool after-hours to host a skinny-dipping night once a month, where you'll find people swimming laps, families playing with pool toys around the shallow end, teens and young adults playing water polo, and people just relaxing in the hot tub.
There are a lot of misconceptions about nudism. People assume its all about sex, or that its just a bunch of creepy old men, but that hasn't been my experience. Yes, not everyone there will be in their 20s or 30s with a gym membership, but you'll find that there are a wide variety of people at these clubs, and there will be people you find yourself fitting in with right away.