How Comfortable are YOU naked?

Reddit has always been an excellent source of information and inspiration. It’s definitely not the first time that we mention this at the start of a blog post and we’re pretty sure that it won’t be the last time either. Once again, we stumbled upon a thread on which we want to elaborate so much that we decided to write a blog post about it.

 

The thread presents the results of a survey conducted on 824 people from around the world, of different genders, and with an average age of 27 years. The purpose is to test how comfortable people are with nudity in various situations. During our years of blogging, vlogging, and visiting countless naturist resorts and nude beaches, we can say that we got quite comfortable with nudity. But we do remember that we’ve touched our boundaries of comfort several times over the years.

 

 

The comfortable naturist

One of the reasons why we found this survey so particularly interesting is because we often think about what needs to happen to make naturism more socially acceptable and more widespread. For example, we talked with people on nude beaches who told us that they would never want to visit a naturist resort. When we ask why, the most common response is that they fear being pressured into being naked when they don’t want to.

 

As regular visitors of naturist resorts, we know that most of the time it’s not that black or white. Yes, you are expected to be naked, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense that you visit this kind of resort. But if you don’t feel comfortable walking around naked, having dinner naked, or doing naked yoga, a sarong or even some clothes are often accepted.

 

But that raises the question of what this does with the comfort of the others. Let’s say that there are 10 participants during the yoga class at the naturist resort and 9 of them decided to cover up. That’s not a great feeling for the unfortunate number 10. Even though this person feels comfortable enough to do yoga naked, the presence of clothed people might totally disturb this comfort.

 

 

Comfort vs body confidence

The person who conducted the survey made the very interesting choice to also test how physically attractive the participants find themselves. We could say that in a naturist environment, physical appearance doesn’t matter, but this link does say a lot about the influence of your body image on your comfort of being naked.

 

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that people who find themselves the least attractive also are the least confident with nudity. If you don’t like what your body looks like, you don’t want others to see it either. And vice versa, those who find themselves the most attractive seem to have the least comfort issues.

 

This brought up some interesting things. On the question “How comfortable are you being naked around your family?”, the difference between the most attractive and least attractive participants is the smallest. On the other hand, on the question “How comfortable are you with being naked around your friends?”, the difference is huge. This means that body image doesn’t matter much when it comes to getting naked among family members, but it matters hugely when it comes to getting naked among friends.

 

We often recommend first-time naturists to take a friend, maybe we should recommend them to take a family member in the future? Not really, because even though body image doesn’t seem to play a particular role, only about 30% of the participants claim to feel comfortable being naked with family members, while about 50% feel comfortable being naked among friends.

 

 

Being clothed among naked people

In our perfect world, nudity is considered nothing but a state of dress. A choice. This doesn’t mean that everyone will be naked all the time, but that naked people and clothed people can live in perfect harmony. The requirement for us, naturists, would be that we are comfortable being naked among the clothed. But we often forget that there are many clothed people who don’t feel comfortable among the nudies. This survey also brings proof of this.

 

About 60% of the participants says that would feel comfortable when clothed among naked people. Interestingly, clothed women claim to be more comfortable among naked women than among naked men, while clothed men also claim to be more comfortable among naked women. The difference for men is negligible, but for women, it’s quite significant. 67% of the women say that they would feel confident being clothed among naked women, while only 50% would feel confident being clothed among naked men. Where does this difference come from? And why is there almost no difference for men? Is it fear of harassment? Fear to be overpowered? Unfortunately, the survey doesn’t answer this.

 

What’s also interesting is that here too, body positivity plays a significant role. The participants who find themselves the most attractive are much more likely to feel comfortable being clothed among naked people than those who find themselves the least attractive. So even when clothed, body image controls the perception of nudity. Is that because we will reflect their appearance on our own? Are we afraid that if we see bodies that look better than ours, we will feel worse? Even when the other person can’t see our body? Oh boy, so many questions.

 

 

Where are you the most comfortable naked?

The survey tested three different scenarios: Being naked on a nude beach, being naked during a professional photo shoot, and being naked in a sauna.

 

What we found very interesting is that the number of people who would feel comfortable naked at a nude beach is almost the same as those who would feel comfortable during a photoshoot. Interesting, because the setting couldn’t be more different. On a nude beach, you are naked among other naked people and everyone is (supposed to) mind their own business. During a photoshoot, on the other hand, you will likely be the only naked person and all eyes will be on you. What does this mean? Our guess is that the word “professional” is a very important factor. Photographers are supposed to be concerned about their pictures and not about what your body looks like. It’s like going to a doctor, those people are professionals.

 

Nevertheless, the sauna gets the highest score. Of all 3 scenarios, the participants claim to be the most comfortable naked in a sauna. This doesn’t come as a surprise either, because where we are from, Belgium, the naked sauna culture is growing much faster than naturism. The reason behind this, we believe, is that the focus at the sauna is not on the nudity. The words “nude beach” and “nudism” literally speak for themselves, and also naturism is very much linked with nudity. Whereas the sauna is a place where you come to relax, destress, enjoy, and where you just happen to be naked for hygienic reasons.

 

 

How comfortable are YOU naked?

The survey had scenarios in which the participant is clothed and others are naked, but unfortunately not vice versa. A statistic that we would have loved to see because it would test the water about how many steps still need to be taken to get towards our perfect world.

 

So the only thing we can do is ask you, our dear readers, about your experiences. Do you feel more comfortable naked when others are also naked? When others are clothed, is that a reason for you to get dressed too, even if you’d rather be naked? Have you ever been in situations in which you didn’t feel comfortable naked? And if so, did this have to do with yourself (e.g. body image) or with the others?
We’re looking forward to hearing your experiences in the comments section!

 
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28 thoughts on “How Comfortable are YOU naked?”

  1. Great article! As for me as a single male. I’m very comfortable being just myself. Living in the USA. Makes it tough. I start to wonder that maybe to move to other countries that is acceptable to nudist. Hmm.

    Reply
  2. Last summer we went to France, the weather was awesome. But one evening at our camper it was windy en less hot than the other evenings.

    Normaly we don’t get dressed to go to the restaurant, but that evening at our camper (at savage @ La Genese) it was chilly. When we arrived at the restaurant (other side of the camping) there was no wind at all… and most of the people where dressed…

    We didn’t feel comfortable at all…

    Reply
  3. I would have to say that I’m pretty confident. Here is an example. One time when I was at a naturist resort in the Dominican Republic (Eden Bay, now closed since I think 2011) there was a group of Dominican professionals (lawyers) there on behalf of the condominium association. I remember passing them, all of them appropriately and nicely dressed, while I carried my towel. This didn’t faze me in the least.

    More recently, I was outside in my driveway (well back from the street) when an employee of a tree service drove up. He was there on behalf of the local electric utility to check on trees that would be trimmed at the utility’s expense. I was wearing shoes (just shoes) at the time. Again, it was not a problem for me and thankfully not for him either.

    Reply
  4. Happy to be naked anywhere it is legal. I’m more comfortable if I’m with family or friends (clothed or naked) if others are clothed.

    Reply
  5. Hi Nick & Lins,
    i could give an answer in Dutch (ak Flemish) but i will give a try in English (for the international audience). Even for being relatively new in practicing naturism and having not the ideal body (172cm for 95kg) i’m pretty comfortable in most situations because i like the feeling of nature on my skin “hot or less hot” not having clothes blocking those senses (when i ‘m not one of the few nudes). Because i don’t care much (i’m fine with my body but it could be better). For my wife, she is still a few km behind on the road to be confident (with her body among others) but each time we visit a naturist campsite, with every social contact we have, she becomes more confident at her own pace.
    Grts,
    Johan

    Reply
  6. Too many questions and all the answers would make the reply too long, but taking just one case in one given environment: I use to go to an urban beach in the middle of a 200.000 inhabitant town, early in the morning, just to wake up in connection with nature (that makes me a naturist, I guess) and do a short meditation.
    Some people are in the nude, some others not, and the range may go from two people to a couple of dozens. No problem with the clothed ones, and it looks like they don’t have any either. After that, most of us go to the shower installed on the beach, 5 m. from the seaside promenade. No problem either, and the few walkers or runners don’t seem to care.
    Then, I wouldn’t do any of the above at noon in a sunny day with the beach crowded, even if nudism is allowed, and mostly tolerated by the average clothed beach-goers. The key word is ‘few’: few nudist swimmers, few non-nudists, few walkers. When one is outnumbered by a crowd, the feeling of not belonging to that place increases considerably.

    Reply
  7. Although most of our friends know I am a (beach)naturist, it took me a while before I dared to show myself completely naked in front of them. Even when they did not bothered. So I can imagine that it must be quite a step for many people. In the meantime, that step has completely disappeared. On the nudist beach, no problem. On mixed beaches, no problem. For example, I once talked a long time to 2 ladies in monokini we did not know, where my wife wondered if I didn’t think that was strange. So no. With friends who are dressed, no problem. It is just the mindset. Sometimes I do not even realize I am naked. And that is a pretty good feeling!

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  8. Thank you for the thought-provoking article. Recently I was at a clothing optional campground/resort where I was naked most of the time. While there, I was invited by the owners of the resort to go to a pool at a nearby friend’s house. Assuming we’d swim naked, I brought no swimsuit. However, when we got there, the friend, and others already there were all clothed in bathing suits. And as it turned out, the resort owners had brought suits under their clothes. I really wanted to swim, as the pool had an infinity edge overlooking a beautiful valley below. Thankfully, the pool’s owner made it clear we were welcome to swim naked if we so choose. Despite this, the sense of hesitation I felt at stripping naked while everyone else around me had some measure of clothing was quite strong. This surprised me, as I’m generally fairly confident to be naked around others. In hindsight, I do feel that my own personal body confidence was at the root of this feeling; although it was clearly an irrational reaction, as intellectually I could see that my body was arguably better than most others there (at least in society’s stereotypical terms). The experience made me appreciate just how deeply seated body confidence issues can be in one’s psyche.

    Reply
    • I understand what you mean. Same happens when going to a beach where nudism is not always practiced (depends of the days or time), although perfectly acceptable. One day you go there and there is no or few other nudists. It takes some hesitation to get naked, but after 2 minutes you notice that everything is fine and nobody really cares. And usually other people get naked after that. But it’s hard to be the first.

      I’ve noticed that on a few beaches: the presence of a few nudists in the morning will get a nudist presence for all day. The absence of any nudist in the morning will mean nobody will dare to get naked all day on that beach, unless someone is brave enough to get naked anyway and a few others will follow along.

      Reply
  9. I am generally OK on a nudist beach with clothed people provided the naked contingent is in the majority or isn’t outnumbered too much. What l do find uncomfortable are the clothed voyeurs who sit on nudist beaches. It is usually obvious that they are voyeurs going by their body language. I haven’t been naked in front of friends or family (apart from my wife). I would find that difficult at first.

    Reply
    • What about naked voyeurs?

      To be honest, I see no reason that voyeurs would not be naked too. My impression is that people assume that if people are clothed then they must be voyeurs, while in most case they are not more voyeur than naked people.

      I’ll add that I’m talking from a place where nudism is quite common. I understand that things are somewhat different where nudism is a rare occurrence, and some people go there like they go to the zoo.

      Reply
      • Tom O. Strangely I wouldn’t be so bothered by naked voyeurs I don’t think as they are also naked I think they are more difficult to identify. I suppose it’s the power dynamic in that a clothed person staring at you naked has some advantage over you. Silly but that’s the feeling I get

        Reply
      • We think that voyeurism has a lot to do with power and that sexual gratification comes from seeing others in a vulnerable state (in their opinion). This is why we believe that voyeurs are reluctant to go naked as well because it would put them in the same vulnerable state. Of course, this is a generalisation and there will be exceptions.

        Reply
        • I doubt that voyeurism has a link with power. Even some long time nudists appear to enjoy looking at beautiful nude people for their own pleasure, which is voyeurism.

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          • There probably are variations in voyeurism. We have also seen nudists who like to look at attractive people a bit longer than socially accepted. But we’re talking more about the wankers in the dunes and the ones with cameras.

  10. It’s all about permission. If the place you’re at allows it then no one cares whether you are or you’re not. As an example at a British Naturist event where one can walk in Beautiful gardens on specific days naked you get undressed straight away in the car park ( if you want to, but don’t have to ) then when wandering over to pay at the entrance there’s an elderly lady fully clothed selling her home made jams & chutneys. She’s completely unfazed that you’re naked & she’s not & likewise I totally forgot I was naked whilst discussing her excellent preserves with her. The reason being, it was allowed at this place & so everyone could relax about it.

    Reply
  11. Thank-you for yet another thought-provoking blog post.
    I have found myself in many situations where I have been outnumbered by clothed people in British naturist clubs and European resorts. Too often in these places the default is not nudity but (for reasons I will never understand) dressing up.
    I don’t want to re-open that debate, but I would like to say that naturists sometimes just have to accept there will be many occasions like that, and embrace it.
    Let me quickly say that this is not expected of beginners. If you are new or haven’t tried naturism yet, don’t let the prospect of this scenario put you off, because there is rarely any obligation to stay naked if you feel awkward, and it is perfectly fine to wait until you are comfortable (which you almost certainly soon will be).
    Anyway, I decided, years ago, that I would learn to live with sometimes being the odd one out, and eventually found myself at the next level.
    While staying at a naturist resort (Costa Natura, in Spain), we were eating in the restaurant in the evening and, one by one, the other diners went away to get dressed, while others arrived already clothed, even though it is not mandatory there.
    As soon as she was in the minority, my wife covered up too – fair enough – but I wasn’t going to, and I was eventually the only naked person left (among about 30).
    Anyway, after a while I started to realise that, far from just tolerating the situation, I was enjoying it.
    The main pleasure I get from naturism is the feeling of freedom and liberation it brings, and knowing that in one way I am refusing to conform to society’s norms – even if only temporarily. That’s why I found being the only one choosing not to wear clothes was incredibly self-empowering.
    Before anyone thinks it: this is definitely not about exhibitionism, and we should stop putting around the idea that true naturism has anything to do with exhibitionism.
    I suspect the uncomfortable feeling some naturists sometimes get when they are outnumbered in these situations is that if they choose nudity, somehow they might be doing it for the wrong reasons.
    My message to them is: true naturists aren’t, so stay naked.

    Reply
  12. I think how comfortable you feel is mostly to do with other people’s expectations. In situations where nudity is the clear expectation, even nudity novices often report feeling surprisingly comfortable. On the flip side, if you find you’ve misread the dress code things can feel pretty awkward!

    Of course, that’s not just a naturist issue. Even in the textile world there are plenty of opportunities to embarrass yourself by turning up to an event in the wrong sort of clothes.

    Reply
  13. I was surprised by two things at my first naked 5k in April of this year. The first was the fact that I was totally comfortable running a race naked despite earlier misgivings that it would be uncomfortable physically as a male. After the race, there was a social while the times were being compiled before announcing race winners, etc. During the social of course most were without clothes however I began talking to a gentleman there with his wife. He introduced me to her and she was fully clothed and seemed perfectly comfortable seeing all the naked people around her. However, I suddenly became self conscious. It was a funny feeling to be self conscious around a clothed person but completely comfortable around large numbers of naked people. I’m guessing my discussion with the man and clothed wife was more personal which somehow affected my comfort level.

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  14. Great article. Generally speaking, as long as others are accepting (regardless of their state of dress) I am ok with being naked. Unfortunately I live in a relatively conservative area, so I often err on the side of caution and slip on a pair of shorts. I’ve never had a negative experience to date, so my strategy is working. Or maybe that means that I can punch things a little.

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  15. In my opinion comfort is about friendliness vs hostility of the place and not about someone’s state of dress.

    I feel perfectly comfortable in FKK resort, designated beach or a wild mixed beach, even if there are clothed neighbors. I assume the place and the people there are friendly and I may relax.

    A strictly textile place would be much less comfortable, because of much higher perceived risk of offending someone and being confronted.

    Reply
  16. Some of the questions are highly dependent on where you live. For instance, I live in a place where going nude to the beach is very common, but there is no naked sauna. In other places it’s the opposite. So the answer to whether you’ll be more comfortable on the beach or at the sauna will likely only reflect where people are living.

    Reply
  17. I personally don’t mind being naked everywhere and anywhere, but only if it’s something I’m allowed to do. As I type this, my roomie would find it uncomfortable if I was naked around him all the time because he’s insecure about that kind of thing. I’ve had roommates that’ve been okay with it in the past, but that doesn’t mean everyone is, and I won’t force someone to take on something that they don’t feel comfortable with. The only other exception I’d make is that I’ll dress up when it gets too cold for me.

    Reply
  18. I have no problem getting naked, as long as I do not stick out like a sore thumb by doing so.
    I get rid of clothes ASAP at the nude beach.
    I’m comfortably naked at locker rooms.
    I was clothes free in a hot tub at a party with people I’ve just met.
    But if I’m at a clothing optional beach and most people around me are wearing swimsuits, I really don’t enjoy stripping. It feels like I’m a curiosity to be gawked at.

    Reply
  19. Do you feel more comfortable naked when others are also naked? I believe I would be more comfortable if we were all naked. I have not been anywhere publicly other than the gym.

    When others are clothed, is that a reason for you to get dressed too, even if you’d rather be naked? I spent a whole weekend naked while my wife was clothed and sitting with me most of the weekend. At home not a public place.

    Have you ever been in situations in which you didn’t feel comfortable naked? At the start of that weekend, I felt a little silly but she did not say anything except the first moment of seeing me naked. I got more comfortable sitting near her naked. I think I would enjoy being naked and not feeling uncomfortable. I have spent time naked in my home when no one else was here but this time we were together the entire time.

    And if so, did this have to do with yourself (e.g. body image) or with the others?
    In front of my wife, I am not worried about my body image. I am not so sure about being in front of other people (together with me/ us naked in front of people may never happen)

    Reply
    • Matthew, hopefully you will get the opportunity to be naked in front of other people. This will help with how you perceive your body image and you will come to realise that amongst naturists it doesn’t matter what you look like. Everyone’s body is different and has imperfections. Naturism is non judgemental and is part of the enjoyment of social naturism

      Reply
  20. BEING CLOTHED AMONG NAKED PEOPLE AND HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU NAKED?

    I have been comfortable naked amongst others who are naked or clothed for a very long time. I don’t know whether this arises from, but probably, as I have explained before, I was always inherently a nudie, as opposed to possibly the majority who found out about the activity at some point later in their life and tried it out of curiosity before finding out that they liked it. What I mean by inherent, is, from the youngest age I can remember, I always wanted to be naked and would frequently take my clothes off. I didn’t want to wear clothes. By the time I was 9 years old I was already sleeping in the nude. I used to go to bed in pyjamas and I would call out to my parents that I was too hot until they told me I could sleep in the nude if I felt more comfortable. My parents however were not nudie’s. But to answer the first part of the question, I would be perfectly comfortable being clothed amongst naked people. I just can’t think of a scenario where it would happen for me.

    As a youngster from about 11 into my early teens I used to walk to fields not far from home, strip off and run or walk around in the nude. I absolutely loved it. Not long after that I had my first proper experience of being nude in front of others (other than changing in the swimming pool changing room and at school for sports), including the opposite sex, when a group of us were playing down near the river and I and one of the girls stripped naked to swim. We stayed naked for quite a long time after swimming and I was completely comfortable being naked in front of two other boys and the three girls, two of which stayed clothed.

    When I first started going to nude beaches, I had no hesitation getting naked in front of others on the beach, initially only other nudies, because there were only nudies on that part of the beach. But then I discovered a nude beach that has since become one of the best official nude beaches in the UK, but at the time was only tolerated after years of use by nudies but not officially designated. Sometimes on this nude beach the nudies were hugely outnumbered by clothed people. I can remember arriving there one day and I couldn’t see any other nudies, only lots of clothed people. But I stripped off anyway and spent the day nude amongst the clothed people, and I was completely comfortable with it.

    I have been the only one naked amongst clothed people many times, mostly on beaches, but also in other situations. I love to go for long walks and very I don’t take any clothes with me (except for trainers or deck shoes if walking in a forest or country walks), leaving them either with my towel on the beach, or sometimes in my car if I’m going for a walk in the forest or along coastal paths. On some of these occasions I have encountered clothed people and stopped for a chat, while I’m miles from my clothes and couldn’t cover up if I wanted to.

    Whenever I have spent a day at a nude beach, I never want to put clothes on, so I don’t. I drive home in the nude, or if I stay over at a campsite, I stay nude. There’s one where the owner of the site says discrete nudity is allowed. Many of the people who stay there are nudies, although some are not, but even the nudies get dressed. I have spent many evenings mingling with clothed people while I’m naked and been completely comfortable.

    WHERE ARE YOU THE MOST COMFORTABLE NAKED?

    Anywhere really. Mostly beaches, and they don’t have to be designated nude beaches. As I’ve previously explained, public nudity is legal.

    Yes, I’m completely comfortable nude in a sauna. The only problem with saunas here in the UK is a lot of them are fronts for sex workers. Unless you already know, it’s fairly impossible to know which ones they are unless you go in, and even then, you might not find out immediately. I know of one that is advertised as and its sign on the from of the building says, “Naturist Sauna”. When you go in and ask to use the sauna you are asked if you would like a massage. Even then it could seem innocent. Then during the massage, the young lady doing the massage will ask if you would like anything else, then when you enquire what else there is, you’re offered hand relief or even sex. Once, a long time ago, I was driving past one that again, the signage said was a naturist sauna. I felt like I could do with a relaxing sauna after a long day working, so went in. In this one however, it was blatantly obvious what type of establishment it was when the only member of staff in the place came out of an office, and she (an 18-year-old girl) was wearing sexy underwear, stockings and high-heels. Not exactly naturist!

    I’ve only ever modelled nude for a photoshoot once. A girl I was with in a relationship with wanted some tasteful black and white arty photos of the two of us while we were still young (30) and good looking. Not for publication, just for our own private use. We found a professional photographer and arranged the shoot. We turned up and there was the photographer (male) and his two assistants (one male, one female). When the shoot was over, we remained nude while reviewing the photos, having a coffee and standing around chatting. We were both completely comfortable with it.

    I’m also comfortable being naked in and around my garden.

    VOYEURS

    Voyeurs generally don’t bother me, whether they’re male or female. I have a piercing which does draw attention. It wasn’t done to draw attention, it has a different purpose, but it doesn’t bother me if people look.

    Reply

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