In the Raw with Nudist-Activist Guy Purcella

By Jeanette Messano

WARNING: This article includes NON-sexual nude photos. The content contained in this article is for educational purposes only. All persons featured in these photographs have given consent to be photographed and have their photos displayed within this article. Documents showing this consent are on file if requested by law enforcement.

Guy Purcella is a nudist in who lives in Grand Junction. He is an activist, teaching body positivity and promoting the idea that the human body is not something that should shock us. 

I recently spoke to Guy about his life as a Nudist Activist, and how being open and raw with yourself and the people you are close with can change your life.

Guy: The actual law for public indecency, I have it memorized, it’s that you commit public indecency if you knowingly expose your genitals to the view of another person under circumstances in which such conduct is likely to affront or alarm. If you break that down, it basically says it’s not your butt. Your butt’s okay. It’s when you expose your genitals in a manner that’s likely to cause affront or alarm. 

 Jeanette: So the law, of course you need to know it because of your lifestyle and your life. It seems to me, though, that it’s really up for interpretation. You have to guess whether what you are going to do is going to offend someone.

Guy: There is a lot of room for interpretation and that’s why I don’t push it. I had Carla [his wife] make me some loin cloths. Technically I can walk out there like that because I am not exposing myself. But I know that the neighbors could complain and maybe somebody would see me and call the cops. Would the cop arrest me? Probably. Because, for one, think of all the laws a cop has to know. He isn’t going to know too much about what is legal or illegal in this case. Their job is to interpret the laws as best as they can. But [the cop] is not an attorney.

But yes, it’s very open because of the part “likely to cause affront or alarm”. The problem is that if you are like me you believe the human body should not cause affront or alarm.

I think the public indecency law should be more like: if you knowingly commit an act such as masturbation or sexual arousal or anything like that then it could be called public indecency. It should be more about what you are doing. 

In [England], you can mow your lawn naked and if you aren’t doing anything indecent you don’t have to worry about breaking the law. Now, did a bunch of nudists start mowing their lawn or something like that? No. Because it’s the same problem as with women’s topless rights. Women have the right to be topless in most areas, in this state it should be everywhere because the Ninth District Court said it is legal for women to be topless.

Jeanette: Yeah, I think I knew that, but it’s not like I am walking around topless everywhere.

Guy: Yeah, you can’t because someone would call the law and you would probably still get arrested and then there is the scrutiny from the community. You could lose your job, it could affect your status, you could get kicked out of your neighborhood. It just has so many negative consequences that we just can’t risk it. You may have the legal right,  but can you pull it off without hassle from the public and all?

That’s why I want to move out into the country where I can just be who I am and not have to worry about someone seeing my naked human body which we all have. There’s nothing special about it. 

I’m fine with having a law that says you can’t walk around in the public fondling yourself or doing anything in a sexual manner. But to just simply have a law that says you can’t be seen naked in public. If someone finds that offensive, they can have you arrested and charged. Then you can be put on a sexual offenders list. It’s just crazy.


Jeanette: You are very by far much bolder than I am. I agree with the fact that it’s just a body. But, I have to admit, I live right in Montrose and I have occasionally found myself wishing that I could be without clothes. I mean it gets so hot! And I definitely wouldn’t go for a walk down the street nude for many reasons. I mean, for acceptance and safety purposes. Not that any of that stuff is right. 


Jeanette: So, what led you to become basically an activist for body acceptance?


Guy: I am. I have been a nudist all my life. My mom and my step-dad their big thing was we would go to the lake on the weekend. We had a camper and a boat and we were lake people. Though I would often hike around and find some little hide away where no one was around, shuck my shorts and go swimming. I didn’t do it for sexual arousal. I mean, sure there was a little thrill the first time. But we are so conditioned to think that the only reason we get naked is for sex. And 99% of the time the only reasons you take off your clothes is because your doctor told you to, you are about to take a shower, or it’s for sex. So, our mind is conditioned to think that way.

So back then, when I was swimming, yeah there was a little thrill but it was a thrill of freedom. It’s like when little kids wanna shuck their clothes when they are like two and they run around all excited, it’s like freedom. 

Then around 1995, when I got out of the military, I moved home and started working up in Aspen. And I would be driving home and you know how you get that Spring Fever feeling? You want to get out doors? I would go off into the mountains on my way home, hike around and lay out in the sun. The first couple times, I was wearing shorts and then one time I thought “no one’s around. There isn’t a soul around here! I’m in a desolate area. Why do I have my clothes on?” So I shucked my clothes and laid out and thought “Wow. This is way better.” And again, it wasn’t sexual. It was just a feeling, it’s hard to describe. When you are walking around and the sun is on all parts of your body. The breeze is on all parts of your body. It’s just liberating and feels right.

I got caught right around that time. It turns out I was on someone’s property. So, I was just laying out there and there was a hill off a little ways from me and all of a sudden I just started to see this head of someone climbing to the top of the hill. It was the guy that owned the property. He caught me. He said “Oh, no problem. I don’t care if you lay out naked. I was just making sure you weren’t some kids up here throwing beer bottles and crap. I’m getting tired of that stuff.” And then he just walked down the hill. Since then, I’ve been caught dozens and dozens of times. Sometimes it’s nerve-wracking. Depends on the situation.

Like, it’s perfectly legal to hike naked on the National Monument. Most federally owned land has no problem with it. I confirmed this by writing the park ranger a letter and he wrote me back, I saved the letter, and he said ‘Yep. You’re right. It’s not illegal to hike naked on the Colorado National Monument. What we do ask is that you try to find trails that aren’t as densely populated. And there is a law that if someone asks you to cover up you have to cover up. And here’s some trails I’d recommend…’ He gave me a list of trails I could go down. I haven’t gone on a lot of them because a lot of them are too busy.

Guy out on a hike in the Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction, CO


In our group, we went hiking one time. We went up to some trails that aren’t very used. They’re short and people just don’t like them but they are official trails. We went up hiking a few times. And they were fairly new to this nude hiking and they were pretty nervous. And sure enough, we kind of went down this trail that was kind of parallel to another trail and we saw a couple hiking that trail and there were trees and stuff between us and the others panicked and put their shorts on. I was like “I am not going to panic over this. It is what it is.” And I heard them behind us and as they came up behind me, I covered up with a sarong, and as they passed I took it back off. There was no problem.

See, when you are hiking with a group it isn’t seen as a problem. When you are hiking alone, automatically you’re a pervert. If you are with your partner or wife you look safer.

The teaching is so wrong because if you think about it, the perverts are going to be the least likely to be naked and be in public. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are going to want to blend in. They do not want to draw attention to themselves. So, if we are just walking around and acting normal it should be obvious we mean no harm.

In a way, I wish I was caught more often. Because there is a quote by Mae West that is “Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.” If you think about that reasoning, the reason you get shocked by a naked guy walking down the street is because we seldom see it. So,  most people have the “sheeple” mentality. Meaning, if they see something that is against the law it must be wrong so they call the cops. It isn’t necessarily that they are hurt, it’s just that they see something different so they call the cops.

When you get in the communities, though, it’s just humans being human.

Actually, we think a clothing optional lifestyle is healthy. We have seen so many people get over their body issues by being in socially-nude situations.

People need to see naked bodies in non-sexual situations. In fact, being in clothing can be even sexier. Like in lingerie. It’s the tease that this clothing creates.


Jeanette: So, you said you have a YouTube channel. How do you do that? Is it censored?


Guy: YouTube has a policy that as long as you are presenting nudity in a way that is educational you don’t have to censor. You do have to market your channel as for 18 or older. So we have something in the beginning saying it is to educate. 

Think about why we think about the human body the way we do. Actually think about it. Don’t just react because you have been programmed to react that way. Think about why you feel so uncomfortable with your body, and it’s probably because of social and family conditioning and that doesn’t always mean that it’s right. We have done many things in our past that were wrong, from slavery to [not providing] women’s rights and we need to analyze and see that it’s a human body. We’ve all seen it. So what is the big deal?

I also want to talk about kids. People always ask “what about kids that see you? Or kids at the resort or whatever.” That’s another huge myth because kids get over it really quickly. They are nudists until you teach them not to be. We teach them that for safety, but to teach them that it’s wrong all the time it’s teaching shame for the future. We need to think about how we are teaching them. 

Learn to love your body and you will be a lot more comfortable with yourself.  

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About the Author

Jeanette Messano is a graphic designer, a writer, a business owner, a mother, and an artist. She owns and operates JEM Graphics and founded the Mind Travelers online magazine. She loves life and-of course- an interesting story.