• Nudity

Nudity can be defined as “the state of wearing no clothes,”1 but throughout modern history, nudity has meant more than the absence of clothes on a human body.

A human body without clothes has been used as political speech [to protest TSA rules or make First Amendment statements, even when they haven’t been upheld by the courts], and can be used as a psychological trigger, a tool for empowerment or presented as something indecent and shameful that should be covered up.

From Playboy2 to Facebook3 to sexting, deciding on whether to distribute images and paintings of people without their clothes on has implications for the nature of art, sexuality, emotionality, commerce and digital communications.

Some parts of the world are more comfortable hanging out naked than others,4 and being naked in public may or may not be legal depending on where one takes off their clothes or for what reason.5

Some people seek safe spaces to embrace their nudity,6 and some people don’t like being naked in front of their spouses.7 Sometimes a naked body is sexual and sometimes it’s just someone hanging around the house doing chores in the buff. Some people like to sleep naked,8 and others like to wear a towel to cover up while getting changed in the gym.9

The sourced articles below should provide more information on nudity, from its vulnerabilities to its benefits.

  1. “Nudity Is Considered Quite Normal Nowadays”

    “There are big differences between European countries and America, but also within Europe.”

    Petra Märlender, Goethe-Institut e. V., goethe.de, 8/2018, accessed on 9/7/2018

  2. The Best Places To Vacation Naked In All 50 States

    “If you’re seeking an afternoon or two of idyllic undressed freedom, be it a nude beach, a topless pool or a hike in the buff, it’s a lot easier to find than you may imagine: To varying degrees, there’s a place in every single state in the US where you can satisfy your inner exhibitionist, naturist or occasional desire to hang out in nothing but your birthday suit. Here are the best places to bare all in every state.”

    Aly Walansky, orbitz.com, 8/29/2018

  3. Belgian Museums Are Uniting In Protest Against Facebook Over Artistic Nudity Ban

    “The Flemish Tourist Board is trying to convince Facebook to change its rules over how it treats artistic nudity from Flemish Masters such as Peter Paul Rubens. The tourist board, Visit Flanders, points out that its Facebook postings with images containing artistic nudity are often removed by the company when they try to promote them.”

    Matt Binder, mashable.com, 7/30/2018

  4. We Asked People How They Feel About Casual Nudity With Sexual Partners

    “‘The fear used to be that my partner would see something unattractive or ‘too real’ about my body, which would make them not want to fuck me anymore.'”

    Leila Ettachfini, vice.com, 7/15/2018

  5. The Man Who Believed Nudity Should Be A Civil Right

    “When he was 50 years old, Turner V. Stokes and his wife visited a nudist camp in Pennsylvania. Stokes quickly embraced a life spent in the buff; he became the head of several nudist organizations and advocated for nudists’ ability to go about sans clothing, which he viewed as a civil right. As Kat Chow of NPR reports, Stokes died on Saturday at the age of 90. The cause of death was prostate cancer. … Stokes believed that naturists should be granted spaces where they could frolic freely without clothing while respecting the wishes of those who would prefer not to see a group of strangers letting it all hang loose. ‘We encourage people to be responsible, not to flaunt nudity around those who might be offended,’ he told Guy.”

    Brigit Katz, smithsonianmag.com, 6/29/2018

  6. Understanding Nudity Laws

    “Nudity laws are laws that prohibit public nudity and/or public sex acts. Nudity laws make it illegal to walk around in public without one’s clothes on. … Although nudity laws are generally enforceable, courts are less likely to enforce them in cases where the purpose of the nudity is to make a political statement.”

    Jason Cheung, legalmatch.com, 6/25/2018

  7. What Do People Do With Nudes From Past Relationships?

    “Simply put: Chances are, pixels and parts have been sent and received. But what happens when the relationship fizzles? In most cases, sending nudes is a relatively harmless and consensual sexy exchange of horny content. Even if we don’t really acknowledge it at the time, we’re all aware that once a nude is in the cloud, there’s really no telling where it could end up. Still though, what are the ethics surrounding the nudes that you’ve received in good faith?”

    Chloe Hall, elle.com, 6/8/2018

  8. “Help! How Do I Feel Comfortable With My Body During Sex?”

    “One of the most common reasons women don’t want to have sex is because of their perceived negative body image. The trick is to stop focusing on your body imperfections and start focusing on your pleasure. Remember, the person having sex with you is probably focusing on what they like about your body, not what they don’t. ‘I’m not going to have sex tonight because my stomach looks fat,’ said no man ever.”

    Anka Radakovich, Sexologist, brides.com, 1/19/2018

  9. 13 Surprising Marriage Laws You Might Be Breaking Right Now

    “Who knew: there are towns where marriage laws hold that you can’t sleep naked next to your spouse, where mistreating your mother-in-law means grounds for divorce, and where a wife must ask permission from her husband before wearing false teeth. Congratulations!”

    Caitlin O’Connell, rd.com, 11/17/2017

  10. Benefits And Drawbacks Of Sleeping Naked

    “Research suggests that it leads your body to discharge gigantic measures of a neurotransmitter called oxytocin when your skin comes in contact with your partner’s, which means you will crave more love and affection from each other.”

    Chris Young, getbestmattress.com, 9/13/2017

  11. Baring It All: Why Boys Swam Naked In Chicago High Schools

    “It’s hard to imagine that any high school would require boys to swim naked today. But for more than 50 years (even until 1980, by some accounts), this was standard policy at public high schools in Chicago and across the country.”

    Monica Eng, wbez.org, 9/10/2017

  12. This Is How Women Today Really Feel About Getting Naked

    “Nakedness reveals everything we usually get to hide: vulnerabilities that date back to high school, parts you struggle to love (or just outright hate), scars, stretch marks, etc., etc., etc. Women’s Health conducted a reader survey in 2013 to chart that complex relationship we have with our stripped-down selves. Now, though it’s just four years later, a lifetime of change has occurred on the body front. The body-positivity movement exploded, strong replaced skinny as social media’s favorite adjective, and #loveyourcurves campaigns abound—making us wonder, is there more love? More peace? How do women really feel about their bodies in 2017?”

    Kristen Dold, womenshealthmag.com, 8/2/2017

  13. Sorry, You Can’t Protest Security Screening By Getting Naked For The TSA

    “An Oregon man who stripped naked at an airport security screening checkpoint must pay a $500 fine after a federal appeals court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect this method of protest.”

    David Kravets, arstechnica.com, 5/22/2017

  14. First Amendment Does Not Protect Public Nudity, Says 9th Circuit

    “Two years ago, ‘body freedom activists’ Oxane ‘Gypsy’ Taub and George Davis brought two lawsuits against the city of San Francisco in which they argued that the city’s ban on public nudity violated their First Amendment right to free speech. … The 9th Circuit evaluated Taub’s appeal on these four factors, and found that the ban was not in violation of the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights.”

    Mira Sonim, freedomforuminstitute.org, 5/31/2017

  15. San Francisco Ban On Public Nudity Ruled Constitutional By Ninth Circuit

    “Among San Francisco’s many claims to fame, the casual attitude toward nudity is one that has fallen out of fashion, at least legally.”

    George Khoury, Esq, findlaw.com, 5/26/2017

  16. 6 Reasons To Spend More Time Naked

    “But no matter your age, marital status, or gender, it’s still a good idea to spend more time naked. …
    [1.] To become more comfortable with your body …
    [2.] To encourage breastfeeding …
    [3.] To encourage intimacy …
    [4.] To promote vaginal health …
    [5.] To get a better night’s sleep …
    [6.] To be happier …
    Of course, when it comes to spending time in the buff, you should do what feels comfortable to you. If the thought of spending extra time in your birthday suit makes you squeamish, then by all means, don’t do it. But don’t write off getting nude a little more often. And maybe make some pancakes while you’re at it!”

    Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN, Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, healthline.com, 2/28/2017

  17. Playboy Brings Back Nudity, Saying Its Removal Was A Mistake

    “Playboy magazine has announced it is bringing back nudity, reversing a decision made last year. … Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi, said Playboy’s ban on nudity had probably alienated more readers than it attracted. ‘Playboy and the idea of non-nudity is sort of an oxymoron,’ he told the Associated Press. The magazine still had to find a way to appeal to a younger audience in a digital age where nudity has become commonplace, Mr Husni added.”

    BBC, bbc.com, 2/14/2017

  18. Time To Get Naked And Comfortable With Your Partner

    “Do you find yourself trying to cover up when naked in bed with your partner? Are you racing to put clothes on after the shower? Is being in the nude nearly un-‘bare’-able? You aren’t alone.”

    Kaeleigh Phillips, womenspost.ca, 2/11/2017

  19. Naked And Unashamed: Investigations And Applications Of The Effects Of Naturist Activities On Body Image, Self-Esteem, And Life Satisfaction

    “It was found that more participation in naturist activities predicted greater life satisfaction—a relationship that was mediated by more positive body image, and higher self-esteem … Applying these findings, it was found that participation in actual naturist activities led to an increase in life satisfaction, an effect that was also mediated by improvements in body image and self-esteem …”

    Keon West, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, Journal of Happiness Studies, March 2018, Volume 19, springer.com, 1/21/2017

  20. Friday Essay: The Naked Truth On Nudity

    “Nakedness is also conceptually interesting. Once you think about it, it’s not even clear what counts as nakedness. Can a face be naked? An elbow? A finger? And maybe what counts as clothing isn’t straightforward either.”

    Ruth Barcan, Associate Professor, Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, theconversation.com, 11/3/2016

  21. How To Get Over Your Body Insecurities And Enjoy Sex

    “Here’s the real deal: When we feel sexy and desirable, we are sexy and desirable — whether we’re 20 or 70. Juicy is an attitude.”

    Joan Price, seniorplanet.org, 6/8/2016

  22. As A Stripper I’ve Spent Two Decades Naked, And This Is What I Learnt

    “While I’m not against stripping or other forms of sex work, I don’t think it can ever be unequivocally empowering when it places the pleasure of men above the equality of women.”

    Leigh Hopkinson, theguardian.com, 5/10/2016

  23. Old Nudists Struggling To Recruit Nakedness-Averse Millennials

    “The naturist movement has been dealing with declining membership for some time. In 2007, the American Association for Nude Recreation estimated that 90-percent of its 50,000 members were over the age of 35. Many nudist colonies have tried marketing specifically to 18-35 year olds, but their numbers are still faltering.
    An article in Tan, an Australian naturist magazine, speculates that Gen X and Yers don’t like ‘formal, group activities’ and are afraid of being outed as nudists on social media.”

    Katie Dowd, sfgate.com, 5/9/2016

  24. What Kim Kardashian’s Nude Selfie Reveals About The Way We View Female Sexuality

    “We need to recognize that women are people, which means we’re dynamic and multifaceted. We can be both sexual and talented and brilliant. We can post nude selfies and run a successful empire and raise strong daughters. We can make sex tapes and still be worthy of respect and admiration.”

    Sabrina N, womensmediacenter.com, 4/10/2016

  25. Kim Kardashian Joins Emily Ratajkowski’s Calls For An End To Slut-Shaming Women Who Express Sexuality

    “Emily Ratajkowski’s recent demand for the right to celebrate and express her sexuality without being objectified, slut-shamed or accused of demeaning herself is even more pertinent after the reaction to Kim Kardashian-West’s nude selfie.”

    Heather Saul, independent.co.uk, 3/9/2016

  26. Censored: Why Nudity Isn’t Inherently Sexual

    “If someone is literally having sex, it’s probably safe to assume that nudity, in that case, is intended to be sexual. But if someone’s just sunbathing nude on their lawn, playing Words With Friends and minding their own business, leave them alone. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before.”

    Selena Spier, theodysseyonline.com, 1/11/2016

  27. Hands That Itch To Hold The Spoon

    “After all, it was implied, there was something backward, even distasteful, about the alternative—that is, breast-feeding one’s infant in mid-20th-century America. The sexualization of the breast, already under way by the 19th century, was accelerated by the World War II pinup girl poster, postwar soft porn such as Playboy magazine, and the popularity of such Hollywood icons as Marilyn Monroe.”

    Amy Bentley, slate.com, 5/27/2015

  28. 9 Things Men Think When They See You Naked

    “Here are nine things every man thinks when he sees you naked:
    [1.] ‘ACT COOL.’ …
    [2.] ‘FINALLY, I CAN STARE!’ …
    [3.] *MENTAL NOTE* …
    [4.] ‘UM, I HAD STUFF TO DO, DIDN’T I?’ …
    [5.] ‘WAIT FOR IT…’ …
    [6.] ‘I REALLY WISH I KNEW WHAT SHE WANTED ME TO DO.’ …
    [7.] ‘DAMN, I’M LUCKY.’ …
    [8.] ‘WHAT ON EARTH COULD SHE BE SELF CONSCIOUS ABOUT?’ …
    [9.] *BLISSFUL SILENCE* …”

    Clint Carter, womenshealthmag.com, 6/13/2014

  29. A Surprising Number Of Women Don’t Let Their Husbands See Them Naked

    “The research came out of the UK where 1,902 married women were polled. One in six married ladies don’t let their husbands see them nude; and 16 percent have not undressed in front of their men during the last 12 months or more. Nearly half of these women said the reason for this was because of their insecurity about their bodies. A third said it was because of issues with their sex drive.”

    Michele Zipp, cafemom.com, 10/28/2013

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Footnotes

1. dictionary.cambridge.org, accessed on 9/13/2018

2. bbc.com, 2/14/2017

3. mashable.com, 7/30/2018

4. goethe.de, 8/2018

5. legalmatch.com, 6/25/2018

6. orbitz.com, 8/29/2018

7. womenspost.ca, 2/11/2017

8. usatoday.com, 9/7/2018

9. economist.com, 8/30/2018