I turn to see a lovely young British woman smiling warmly at me. I nod and she begins to chat me up about the wait for the restroom, as if this were the most normal thing in the world. On the other side of me, a middle-aged Icelandic woman taps her foot in frustration. Some American is using the one bathroom in this locker room to change clothes. She rolls her eyes. I roll my eyes in return — Americans. For the past six months, I have been preparing my daughters for this very scenario.
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I have noticed that perceptions of sex and nudity in Iceland are a bit odd to some people. So I went out last night with a group of friends and was talking to an English friend of mine that suggested I should write a blog about how open Icelandic people are about sex. This said friend has been to Iceland a couple of times as well as pretty much everywhere else in the world and he was amused when he was there with myself and my Icelandic female friend and we had a conversation, in English so that he could understand, detailing our sex-lives. For me, being Icelandic and female, this is perfectly normal. And because the nation has such an equal approach to men and women this is considered completely normal.
When you think of places to go naked, Iceland is probably the last destination to come to mind. Located between Greenland and Scandinavia, this cold country in the North Atlantic Ocean is known for its Polar Nights in winter when there is barely any sunlight during the day. Nudity is legal in Iceland, so it's not uncommon to see people skinny-dipping or tanning topless here. But you may want to brush up on the country's cultural norms before you strip down. Despite the cooler weather in Iceland , this destination offers many hot springs and rural locations where you can be naked, and there are swimming areas in all regions of the country. However, there are no official nude beaches aka clothes-free beaches or dedicated nudist locations in Iceland, and that's definitely something to keep in mind.
Only a group space which was already quite full of naked, soapy women. I was aware that we had to shower with the complimentary soap without our bathing suits. I saw the signs and read them and felt a bit queasy as I did.