Water Water Everywhere...

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Apart from floods, wet is good! There's a reason why the holiday camp wet-Tshirt competition had such a long innings... men like the look of clingy wet clothes.

The wet look has been a feature of mainstream cinema since film was invented. In the days when nudity 'didn't exist' (if God had meant us to be nude, we would have been born that way - thank you Queen Victoria), wet look was used as an erotic suggestion of what lay beneath.While fully clothed, a woman's shape could still be expressed if her garments were wet and clinging. She could also look dishevelled and somehow more vulnerable. No Bollywood film is complete without bad music and our star-crossed lovers and a plethora of glamorous chorus girls getting caught in a torrential downpour.When wet, a woman's staid and firm expressions are gone.

Sometimes the wetness brings about mock anger with a would-be suitor, and at other times joint hilarity - both reactions being part of the mating ritual.When a man says to a woman, 'I'm going to throw you in the pool', the usual response is 'You wouldn't dare!' - which actually means, 'I want you to, but I'm not going to admit it,' and is a come-on to do precisely that.

A subtle fetish

As with all fetishes, people are often embarrassed about admitting to them. But with wet look, it is easier to achieve what you want - without it seeming to be a fetish.

If a woman really enjoys being spanked, it's not always easy to contrive a situation where that can happen without it being blatantly obvious that being spanked is a turn-on.

However, it is very easy for her to achieve her desire for a good soaking - walking in the rain, making sure that she is the one who ends up in the swimming pool at a party, or even just taking a fully-clothed bath or shower at home on her own. Men, too, do this, but to a much lesser degree.

If you've ever been to parties at wellheeled friends' houses or a club - and there is a pool - undoubtedly, some, or even all, of the girls will end up being thrown in the water. And how many of them have you ever heard seriously complain? I suggest that the answer is next to zero.

What makes the look?

Let's go back to films again. One of the most memorable moments of the old Bond classics is, without doubt, Ursula Andress emerging from the sea at the start of Dr No. It is stunning, beautiful and wet, but, to be honest, it is not truly 'wet look' - there are too few clothes involved - in fact, hardly any.

Most aficionados of the scene will tell you, 'the more clothes, the better'. They will also tell you that there are fundamentally two staple looks. One is very smart - evening wear, business suits, or nice dresses with full underwear. The other look is jeans or smart trousers. In the case of the formal look, stockings are almost a must, although a few people prefer tights.With jeans, they should really be light blue denim to show the colour change better - black jeans work as well, because they shine, but white ones don't. Also, wet look doesn't really work in clothes that are too casual - sportswear, loose tracksuits, trainers etc. Perhaps that's because sports kit gets wet and sweaty - and that's not everyone's cup of tea...

If the wet look doesn't turn that many people on, why are there so many events contrived to feature it - wet T-shirt competitions, foam parties in Germany and many Mediterranean resorts, dunking tanks at fairs and village fetes and even raft races? On a hot summer day (if we ever have one again!) just go to the fountains in Trafalgar Square and see how many people (many of them women) are cavorting in the cooling waters.

Tale of a water nymph

We know why men like looking at wet women - water is sexy, the wet clothes emphasise the body's shape and the slightly 'spoiled' look enhances the fragility of the woman - almost in an S & M way, but without the physical assault. But why do so many women like getting wet? We asked a friend of a friend of the magazine who has been getting wet for more than twentyseven years. This is Linda's story: 'It really started for me when I turned eighteen. I was at a mixed school in the West Country and it was a tradition for the girls to be thrown into the school pond on their eighteenth birthday. Most girls just accepted the inevitable, some took the day off and others would change into shorts and a T-shirt just before the designated time of 1 pm.

I may not have been the only one - I know now that I wasn't - but I was really looking forward to the event. Being that sort of formal grammar school, we still had to wear full school uniform through the sixth form and I made a special effort that morning to look as good as I could. I took more time over my hair and wore much more make-up than normal - more than we were meant to. I wanted to look my best.

All morning I was excited knowing what was coming and couldn't concentrate on the A-level revision lessons.When the time finally arrived, with butterflies in my stomach, I walked to the pond and just said 'Come on then.' I was picked up by my hands and feet and on the count of 'three' was hurled into the deepest part of the pond. I surfaced, pushed my hair back and cleared my eyes before climbing slowly out and posing for a few pictures for the school mag.

This fascination - call it a fetish, if you like - has dominated my sex-life ever since. At university, I was always the one who instigated the regular water-fights in hall and who brought in the idea of birthday dunkings - we had no pond in the grounds, so a cold bath had to suffice.

I have confided my passion to most of my boyfriends - and to my husband the day we met - and we indulge whenever we can. He says that it doesn't do much for him getting wet himself, but finds me being wet SWINGING his biggest turn-on.While most people always find themselves in the kitchen at parties, I always make sure I find myself in the pool. I even managed it at our wedding reception, fifteen years ago, when I jumped off the diving board in my going-away outfit and then threw my bouquet into the pool.

I wasn't surprised when half a dozen other girls leapt in to fight for it, and by the end of the evening almost everyone was in the pool and swimming around.'

Why water works

'Why does it work for me? I don't really know, but I've got theories. Firstly, it feels naughty: doing something that you were always told not to do: "Don't get your shoes wet", "Don't get caught in the rain". "Take an umbrella with you or you'll spoil your suit".

All things that I studiously ignore. Secondly, like a good many people, I'm an exhibitionist. I haven't got the confidence to deliberately flaunt my body but, by getting "accidentally" wet in clothing that I ensure clings and goes virtually transparent, I am in a way exposing myself to anyone who's interested.

But thirdly - and I think that this is the biggest thing for me - I just love the feeling of going from dry to wet. One moment I'm immaculate and dry, and the next my clothes are wet. They suck in and stick to me and just feel amazing. There is a kind of suction effect that wakes up your entire skin. To me, almost half of the excitement and pleasure is the anticipation of the soaking - still being dry but knowing that wetness is coming.

This might not work for everyone, but it does for me, and if you haven't tried it yet, just give it a go. You'll either thank me or think that I'm mad.Whatever, I'm sure it will stimulate your partner.'

Water - the ice-breaker

So what has wet look got to do with swinging? Well, it's another form of fetish. A gentler and more discreet one than BDSM, and it's less demanding than being tied up, strapped into a rubber mask or being soundly spanked. It is also, very often, a group event - think of the parties where everyone ends up in the water. The liquid environment is sexy - it's where we all came from and we all have a yearning to feel it covering us again.

Whatever their body shape, all women look great in wet clothing. They feel great, too, and getting wet in their finest attire is a form of abandonment: 'I've gone this far, I'm relaxed and I feel good - so why not let go a bit more?' On many occasions, getting wet is either a precursor to an outbreak of spontaneous swinging or can be part a planned evening of swinging fun.

So, if you are a well-attired water nymph - or a wetlook watcher - pray for some better summer weather... or save up for that indoor swimming pool or garden spa.