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The Man Who Finds Pure Joy in Being Constantly Naked

Naked Martin would like you to love yourself (by taking your clothes off). He'll explain.

by Ryan Bassil; photos by Christopher Bethell
02 December 2019, 11:02am

All photos by Christopher Bethell

I’m on a sofa in a bungalow at the end of a sleepy cul-de-sac, in Andover. Like many places between London and the coast, the Hampshire town can often feel like a lived in pit-stop, just far enough away from the M3 motorway for people to live with some peace.

Despite the cold temperature outside, the man who's invited me into his home sits across from me in just a t-shirt and a pair of high street shorts (think: a swimming trunk-like, relaxed fit that wouldn't be out of place on a budget airline flight out to Europe). In a way, it's a surprise he's wearing anything at all. He goes by the name Naked Martin online (though Martin when you meet him in person). So, the shorts and tee are mostly a formality – something to wear as we sip tea and say hello. Later he’ll pose in front of me wearing nothing.

You see, Naked Martin, lifelong nudist, is happier when clothes-free. As he calmly sits on an armchair in his living room, he says we're the only living creatures who struggle with nudity. We like sex; yes. But are we comfortable with our bodies? Not 100 percent of the time, for cultural reasons that vary from place to place (plenty of them rooted in conservatism). Martin wants to change this. That’s why he’s happy to take his clothes off – in front of me in his bungalow, but also online, in front of the world.

And that's because nudity is not just a lifestyle for Martin, but a business. If you don’t already know of him – and fair enough, he’s a man who likes being naked, not a worldwide celebrity – he’s an almost-viral star who found small-time fame (32.1K followers, on Twitter) through social media. His breakthrough stunt arrived in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when he shoved an England flag up his bottom and danced around his living room, in the nude, singing the "Three Lions" hook, “it’s coming home.”

An appearance on BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills’ radio show followed soon after. Then came the requests, from followers on Twitter. They wanted their own personalised videos; some fun, some dark (more on that later) – and so Martin started charging. Now, you can book him for a personal appearance at your stag do, where he’ll gladly get chained to the groom (£200). His rate for videos vary: £22 for a one-day turn around, £12 for one week. You can also buy merch from his website – cups and t-shirts with his face on, and a hi-vis waistcoat. Like I said: nudity is his business.

Naked Martin

He’s a warm, welcome presence – which I guess you have to be, when your vocation is being naked in a completely non-sexual way around strangers. It hasn’t always been like this, though. Martin’s story is one of happiness blooming late in life, long after the so-called glory years.

Martin missed out on the spoils of young adulthood. He was diagnosed with a lifelong spinal condition in his late teens that caused agonising, debilitating pain (“it was like walking on glass”). There were no pool parties in Spain. No UV raves in sticky-floored nightclubs with ✧✧✧ 1000 Litres of Foam! ✧✧✧ CO2 Confetti Cannons! ✧✧✧ and Cheap Drinks! ✧✧✧. “When most people were out enjoying their life, out partying, going on lads' holidays – that passed me by,” he explains.

Instead, he spent a lot of time indoors. You can see scores of evidence of that in his interests. A small library's worth of books and DVDs line the living room of his bungalow. He’s a self-confessed sci-fi geek, as proven not only by the novels he owns but the solar system tattoo on his upper left arm. The Sunday evening before we meet, he'd been enjoying Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, on ITV. There's a book about the films on his shelf, too.

A hip replacement in his thirties changed things somewhat. He went to his first nudist beach, in Spain. But as the years passed (he’s 51 now), Martin was plagued with anxiety and depression. He’s a natural talker, which helped in his job as a call centre operator for a health insurance company. Then the work started to change; online chat systems were implemented and he was expected to work three roles at a time.

Naked Martin

Around this time, Naked Martin started. He’d been a nudist all his life, preferring to hang out, as it were, with his wang out, when his parents were out of the house. As he moved through the decades nothing changed; he was simply more free to be nude, after moving into his own home. The first foray into the Naked Martin concept started when he made a birthday card for a friend. For its artwork, he stood naked with a whiteboard that read "Happy Birthday".

Word spread among colleagues and friends, who also wanted cards of their own. Martin obliged – for free, too. But then he uploaded the infamous “it’s coming home” video to Twitter, and higher-ups at his company found out about it. Since Martin had started running the company’s social media accounts, they believed there was a link between his nude post and the business. He was let go.

Naked Martin

So, he thought, why not make it a business? That's where the full range of videos requested by fans come in. Some are tame – Martin simply jumping up and down with his cock out. Others veer into fetish territory, like the time he was asked to wear an adult nappy, then shit himself, then wipe that shit on his hair. Today he has a business partner who vets requests. Some are disturbing. “One guy wanted me to lightly cut my throat, then write Martin on my chest in blood. Another wanted me to simulate hanging myself,” he says, explaining why he brought someone else in.

As birthday cards turned into social videos turned into personal requests, he was then asked to make his first personal appearance at a stag do. The job took him to Stansted airport, early this year. By publishing that one on his Twitter, he’s since been booked for over 20, and not just in the UK. Alongside such glorious places as Leigh-on-Sea, Ipswich, Swansea, Leeds and several spots in London, he’s been flown out to Ibiza, Benidorm and Berlin. Stags can also pay him to get a tattoo with their name or chosen image; recently he headed to a parlour in Southwark, pre-stag-do, to get a cartoon cat on his upper left leg.

Naked Martin

His hip replacement, he says, has a shelf life of around 15 to 20 years. He underwent that first hip surgery 19 years ago now, so he’s due another soon. “That’s why I’m going mad, enjoying life, taking in all the things I never had a chance to do before,” he laughs. “I didn’t have the crazy stuff in my twenties; but I’m doing it in my fifties.” At one stag do, in Marbella, he sniffed a few lines of coke and sipped champagne in a jacuzzi, in a four storey serviced villa. Everything was paid for; and so was he, for his appearance.

But it’s not all lines and good times. At one appearance in Ibiza, the stag wasn’t pleased to see him. Martin was punched in the face. Shortly after, ketamine was shoved up his nose without his consent. He doesn’t like to talk about that one. It’s indicative of a stag-do culture that still needs to change, especially when geared and boozed-up men continue to act without conscience or reprieve.

That was one bad time among many good ones though. Really, as it looks, Martin is having a great run at his fifties. He’s a relatively normal man, on the surface. He has tickets for Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall and the opera Madame Butterfly, framed on his wall, which he attended with his husband a decade or so ago. A cat called Chrissy pads on the carpet between us, eagerly miaowing for her milk. But he’s also out here getting chained to stags, putting his “willy” all over Twitter, and sending the odd “extreme” video.

Naked Martin

This, he says, makes him feel good. “The Naked Martin thing has allowed me to combat my mental health and to feel good about myself. It’s increased my self esteem and hopefully I’m helping other people to have less hang-ups about their body and nudity. Because life is shit, isn’t it.”

He continues: “I’m not amazing; I don’t have a six pack; I don’t look wonderful – but I think: 'sod it.' I get loads of messages on Twitter and Instagram of people saying I’ve inspired them to feel more confident about their body. Out of everything I do that’s the one thing that makes me choke up. If I can inspire one person to look in the mirror and think ‘y’know what, I look marvellous, I look amazing, then job done.’"

@ryanbassil / @christopherbethell

Tagged:
Interview
subcultures
naturism
Naturist