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The Gathering (image courtesy of Gay Naturists) The Gathering (image courtesy of Gay Naturists)

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The summer camp for naked gay men

The Gathering (image courtesy of Gay Naturists)

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I caught up with Chris Riss from Fort Lauderdale to talk about why he’s looking forward to taking part in Naked Camp at the GNI Gathering — an annual naked summer camp organised by GNI, Gay Naturists International.

How would you describe the GNI Gathering?

The event takes place in a camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. There’s woods, lake, 80 cabins with 10 beds each, two pools, volleyball courts, tennis courts, weight room, zip line, dining hall, theatre, disco, and many other amenities for fun.

Gay Naked Camp brings in over 500 gay men who are naked from the time they arrive to the time they leave. Each day, there are three buffet style, including vegetarian, meals at the dining hall. You can do whatever you’d like during the day — including participating in many of the activities, such as Naked Yoga, hang out at the pool, tennis, zumba, weight train, play various sports and games, kayak, hike, water-sports party, or take part in activities such as the various fetish classes organised by the men from LeatherWerks and the Pocono Eagle who set up a shop and dungeon at camp. There are too many organized activities for anyone to do even half of them, or you just do your own thing to enjoy the outdoor setting and your fellow naked attendees.

Each late afternoon, just before dinner is served, there’s a themed social hour where most of the guys dress to the theme — generally, their costumes don’t cover their butts or balls. After dinner, there’s shows or contests at the theatre. The shows this year will include professional comedians Adam Sank, and Frank Liotti, and performers Bobby Jo Valentine, and Kinsey Sicks — as well as contests such as Ms. Lace, Mr. GNI, Mr. GNI Bear, and Mr. GNI Leather.

The official entertainment is followed by one or more parties at cabins, which can range from a more traditional disco ball with frozen drinks to a dungeon oriented party. The cabin mates dress their cabins up to a different theme each year, so the otherwise rustic cabins are made almost unrecognizable inside and out once the theme and gay creativity is unleashed.

After the parties comes the disco, transformed from a barn, for naked all-male dancing. It too has a theme each year — this year it’s Tom Of Finland. Then, many wander across the dam to the other side of the lake where three unoccupied cabins are reserved for late night fun, and a bonfire is burning, surrounded by gay naked men who aren’t singing camp songs or roasting marshmallows.

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Is it just for gay guys?

Only men can attend. How they want to describe their sexual orientation is up to them. Everyone I’ve met there seemed to be gay, at least at camp.

How many guys are you expecting to attend the event in August?

Somewhere between 500–800.

What sort of guys go to the event?

Up to 40 countries have been represented at camp. Ages range from 21 to 91, but most guys are in their 40s.

How strict is the event about nudity?

It’s not clothing optional. You must remove all your clothing once you arrive at your cabin. Exceptions being footwear, cock rings, glans rings, ball stretchers and the like, and themed costumed events — which are essentially accessorized nudity.

It can get cold at night, so you may see sweatshirts and flannel shirts. Everyone is expected to have a sarong with them for sitting in public areas such as gym equipment, and dining hall chairs.

What sort of event is it?

It’s whatever you want to make it. There’s lots or organised activities you may partake in or not. With this many naked guys, sex does happen for those that want it — especially at night across the lake, or in discrete locations.

Having sex in open public spaces on the main campus isn’t encouraged, but it’s okay if you find a more discrete spot in the woods, dungeon, or across the lake.

Why do a lot of gay guys like nude events?

I think all gay guys would like nude events if they were at them. The tough part is getting them over their inhibitions to get naked, which keeps them from coming to camp.

Everyone is a little apprehensive at first, since we all think we have physical flaws — too fat, too skinny, small dick, saggy ass, you name it. Once you arrive, get naked and walk outside among the hundreds of other naked guys, you realise that nobody is staring and pointing at your perceived imperfection. Everyone has flaws of some sort, and nobody at camp cares. Then you relax, lose your inhibitions that have been holding you back your whole life, and you just start enjoying the fraternity, fellowship, frolic, and fun, and quickly stop caring about your own and everyone else’s body types, shapes and sizes.

In 2018, The Gathering will be held 17–26 August

Read more from Gareth Johnson

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Spencer Charest: Are you ready to join the Gay Tattoo pack?

This Wolf Daddy has us howling for more

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The Wolf Daddie
Spencer the Wolf Daddie

I caught up with Spencer — who goes by wolf_daddie on Instagram — to talk tattoos.

What was the first tattoo that you got?

It was a little circular tatt, on my right arm. I got it to cover a keloid scar.

Spencer the Wolf Daddie

Spencer the Wolf Daddie (image supplied)

What is it about tattoos that you like?

The ability to choose what I do to my own body. It’s a powerful form of autonomy.

Is there a specific inspiration or story behind each of your tattoos?

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They’re thematic — earth, wind, fire, and water. Plus some recent additions. I’ve had them all done in Vancouver — four different artists.

At the moment there aren’t any plans to get more, but I never say never.

Spencer the Wolf Daddie

Spencer the Wolf Daddie (image supplied)

Did it hurt getting your tattoos done?

I don’t feel it much. I slept through my back tattoo.

What sort of reaction from guys do you get to your tattoos?

I get way more interest from men now — it’s changed the way that they perceive me. The tattoos give me more power.

Spencer the Wolf Daddie

Spencer the Wolf Daddie (image supplied)

Do you regret any of your tattoos?

I regret nothing.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about getting a tattoo?

Start with a big one — most people regret the size of their first.

Follow Spencer Charest on Instagram

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