Nudity, or nakedness, is a state of being in which a human is not wearing clothing, or specifically not covering the genitals. In some societies, partial nudity includes not covering other parts of the body deemed sexual. Anatomically modern humans evolved between 260,000 and 350,000 years ago, while clothing was not invented until between 83,000 and 170,000 years ago. Nakedness was the natural state of human beings for millennia in the tropical climates in which they first evolved, and continues to be the norm for many of the isolated indigenous societies of tropical regions of the world.
The modern understanding of nudity is culturally complex due to different meanings given various states of undress in differing social situations. In any particular society, nudity is defined in relation to being properly dressed, not the specific body parts exposed. For humans, nakedness and clothing are connected to many cultural categories such as identity, privacy, social status and moral behavior. Synonyms and euphemisms for nudity abound, including "birthday suit", "in the altogether" and "in the buff". "In a state of nature" is also used by philosophers to refer to the state of humans before the existence of organized societies.
There is little that can be said about nudity in general because each instance takes its meaning from a particular context, and few academic studies are made of everyday bodily experience. The social sciences until the middle of the 20th century often studied public nakedness, including nudism, in the context of deviance or criminality. However, more recent studies find that naturism has positive effects on body image, self esteem and life satisfaction. The Encyclopedia of Social Deviance continues to have an entry on "Nudism", but also defines "Normal Deviance" as violating social norms in a positive way, leading to social change.
In Western societies, there are two contradictory cultural traditions relating to nudity. The first comes from the ancient Greeks, who saw the naked body as the natural state and as essentially positive. The second is based upon the Abrahamic religions, which have viewed being naked as shameful and essentially negative. The fundamental teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam prohibit public, and sometimes also private nudity. However, the interaction between the Greek classical and later traditions has resulted in Western ambivalence, with nudity representing both positive and negative meanings in individual psychology, in social life, and in depictions such as art. In modern times, organized groups of nudists or naturists have emerged with the stated purpose of regaining a natural connection to the human body and nature, sometimes in private spaces but also in public.
In Africa, there is a sharp contrast between the attitude toward nudity in Islamic countries and the attitude toward nudity in certain sub-Saharan countries that never abandoned, or are reasserting, precolonial norms.
In Asia the norms regarding public nudity are in keeping with the cultural values of social propriety and human dignity; nakedness being a breach of etiquette and perhaps embarrassing more than being immoral and shameful. In China, saving face is a powerful social force. In Japan proper behavior included a tradition of mixed gender public baths before Western contact began in the 19th century, and proper attire for farmers and other workers might be a loincloth for both men and women. In India, the conventions regarding proper dress do not apply to monks in some Hindu and Jain sects who reject clothes as worldly.
Societies use clothing (or the lack thereof) as a marker of social status. Generally, social norms regarding nudity are different for men than they are for women. It was not until the 17th century in Europe that the female breast became a part of the body that must be covered in public. It is only in the modern era that the nudity of children represented anything but innocence. Individuals may intentionally violate norms regarding nudity; those without power may use nudity as a form of protest, and those with power may impose nakedness on others as a form of punishment.
- 1 History
- 2 General issues
- 2.1 Child development
- 2.2 Cultural differences
- 2.3 Imposed nudity
- 2.4 Laws regarding public nudity
- 2.5 Morality
- 2.6 Protests
- 2.7 Sexuality
- 3 Modern social practices
- 3.1 Baths and spas
- 3.2 Non-Western societies
- 3.3 Western societies
- 4 Depictions of nudity
- 5 Performance
- 6 See also
- 7 References
The history of nudity involves social attitudes to nakedness of the human body in different cultures in history. The use of clothing is one of the changes that mark the end of the Neolithic, and the beginning of civilization.
Evolution of hairlessness
Many explanations of hairlessness include advantages to cooling when early humans moved from shady forest to open savanna, accompanied by a change in diet from primarily vegetarian to hunting game, which meant running long distances after prey. Another explanation is that fur harbors ecroparasites such as ticks, which would have become more of a problem as humans became hunters living in larger groups with a "home base". With the loss of fur, high melanin skin soon evolved as protection from damage from UV radiation. As hominids migrated outside of the tropics, varying degrees of depigmentation evolved in order to permit UVB-induced synthesis of previtamin D3. Jablonski posits that the loss of body hair was a factor in several aspects of human evolution. The ability to dissipate excess body heat through eccrine sweating helped to make possible the dramatic enlargement of the brain, the most temperature-sensitive organ.
Origin of clothing
The wearing of clothing is believed to be a behavioral adaptation arising from the need for protection from the elements, including the sun (for depigmented human populations) and cold temperatures as humans migrated to colder regions. Current estimates of the origin of clothing are based upon a genetic analysis indicating that clothing lice diverged from head louse ancestors at least by 83,000 and possibly as early as 170,000 years ago, suggesting that the use of clothing likely originated with anatomically modern humans in Africa prior to their migration to colder climates. It is estimated that anatomically modern humans evolved 260,000 to 350,000 years ago.
The complex garments needed for survival in extreme cold would have required invention of the tools for turning animal skins into clothes: scrapers for cleaning and smoothing, fine stone knives for cutting and bone needles for stitching. What is now called clothing may have originated along with other types of adornment, including jewelry, body paint, tattoos, and other body modifications, "dressing" the naked body without concealing it. According to Leary and Buttermore, body adornment is one of the changes that occurred in the late Paleolithic (40,000 to 60,000 years ago) in which humans became not only anatomically modern, but also culturally and psychologically modern and capable of self-reflection and symbolic interaction.
For the average person, clothing changed little in ancient Egypt from the Early Dynastic Period, (3150–2686 BCE) until the Middle Kingdom (2055–1650 BCE). Both men and women wore skirts called schenti—which evolved from loincloths and resembled modern kilts. Slaves and laborers were nude or wore loincloths. Only women of the upper classes wore kalasiris, a dress of loose draped or translucent linen which came from just above or below the breasts to the ankles.. Women entertainers performed naked. Children went without clothing until puberty, at about age 12. It was not until the later periods, in particular the New Kingdom (1550–1069 BCE), that functionaries in the households of the wealthy also began wearing more refined dress, and upper class women wore elaborate dresses and ornamentation which covered their breasts. These later styles are often shown in film and TV as representing ancient Egypt in all periods.
Male nudity was celebrated in ancient Greece as in no culture before or since. They considered embarrassment at having to disrobe for sports a sign of barbarism. The toga, by contrast, was essential to announce the status and rank of male citizens at Rome. The poet Ennius (c. 239–169 BCE) declared, "exposing naked bodies among citizens is the beginning of public disgrace"). Cicero endorsed Ennius' words. An exception was the Roman baths (thermae), which had many social functions.
Clothing used in the Middle East, which loosely envelopes the entire body, changed little for centuries. In part, this consistency arises from the fact that such clothing is well-suited for the climate (protecting the body from dust storms while also allowing cooling by evaporation). The meaning of the naked body in the societies based upon the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) was defined by a creation narrative in which Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were naked and unashamed until they ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In all three religions, modesty generally prevails in public, with clothing covering all parts of the body of a sexual nature. The Torah set forth laws regarding clothing and modesty (tzniut) which also separated Jews from other people in the societies they lived within.
Early Christians generaly inherited the norms of dress from Jewish traditions. However, the Adamites were an obscure Christian sect in North Africa originating in the second century who worshiped in the nude, professing to have regained the innocence of Adam. Sects with similar beliefs emerged in the early 15th century. Islamic clothing for both men and women is in accordance with the rules of hajib. For men, clothing covers the area from the waist to the knees. For women, clothing covers the area from the neck to the ankles and also covers the hair. The practice known as veiling of women in public predates Islam in Persia, Syria, and Anatolia. The Qurʾān provides guidance on the dress of women, but not strict rulings;, such rulings may be found in the Hadith. Originally, veiling applied only to the wives of Muhammad; however, veiling was adopted by all upper-class women after his death and became a symbol of Muslim identity.
In stories written in China as early as the fourth century BCE, nudity is presented as an affront to human dignity, reflecting the belief that "humanness" in Chinese society is not innate, but is earned by correct behavior. However, nakedness could also be used by an individual to express contempt for others in their presence. In other stories, the nudity of women, emanating the power of yin, could nullify the yang of aggressive forces. Nudity in mixed-gender public baths was common in the Japan before the effects of Western influence, which began in the 19th century and became extensive during the American occupation after World War II. The practice continues at a dwindling number of hot springs (konyoku) outside of urban areas. Another Japanese tradition was the women free-divers (ama) who for 2,000 years until the 1960s collected seaweed and shellfish wearing only loincloths. Their nakedness was not shocking, since women farmers often worked bare-breasted during the summer.
The late fourth century CE was a period of both of Christian conversion and standardization of church teachings, in particular on matters of sex. Sex outside marriage with a respectable woman injured third parties; her husband, father, and male relatives. Fornication with an unattached woman, likely a prostitute, courtesan or slave, was a lesser sin since it had no male victims, which in a patriarchal society might mean no victim at all. The dress or nakedness of women that were not deemed respectable was also of lesser importance.
The period between the ancient and modern world—approximately 500 to 1450 CE—saw an increasingly stratified society in Europe. At the beginning of the period, everyone other that the upper classes lived in close quarters and did not have the modern sensitivity to private nudity, but slept and bathed together naked with innocence rather than shame. Later in the period, with the emergence of a middle class, clothing in the form of fashion was a significant indicator of class, and thus its lack became a greater source of embarrassment.
Until the beginning of the eighth century, Christians were baptized naked to represent that they emerged from baptism without sin. Although there is a common misconception that Europeans did not bathe in the Middle Ages, public bath houses—usually segregated by sex—were popular until the 16th century, when concern for the spread of disease closed many of them. In Christian Europe, the parts of the body that were required to be covered in public did not always include the female breasts. In 1350, breasts were associated with nourishment and loving care, but by 1750, artistic representations of the breast were either erotic or medical.
In the medieval period, Islamic norms became more patriarchal, and very concerned with the chastity of women before marriage and fidelity afterward. Women were not only veiled, but segregated from society, with no contact with men not of close kinship, the presence of whom defined the difference between public and private spaces.
The association of nakedness with shame and anxiety became ambivalent during the Renaissance. The rediscovered art and writings of ancient Greece offered an alternative tradition of nudity as symbolic of innocence and purity which could be understood in terms of the state of man "before the fall". Subsequently, norms and behaviors surrounding nudity in life and in works of art diverged during the modern history of individual societies.
Due to concerns about the spread of disease, many European public bath houses closed in the 16th century. By 1750, European artistic representations of the female breast were either erotic or medical.
In England during the 17th to 19th centuries, the clothing of the poor by Christian charity did not extend to those confined to "madhouses" such as Bethlem Royal Hospital, where the inmates were often kept naked and treated harshly.
The Victorian Era is often considered to be entirely restrictive of nudity. However, throughout the United Kingdom in the 19th century, workers in coal mines were naked due to the heat and the narrow tunnels that would catch on clothing. Men and boys worked fully naked, while women and girls (usually employed as "hurriers") would generally only strip to the waist (in some locations, they were fully naked as well). Testimony before a Parliamentary labour commission revealed that working naked in confined spaces made "sexual vices" a "common occurrence".
Public swimming pools in the U.S. were the product of municipal reform movements beginning in the mid-19th century. Civic leaders had not intended pools to be used for recreation, but for health and sporting activities, which were male only. Initially, working class men and boys swam in the nude, as had previously been customary in lakes and rivers. Communal male nudity in the United States and other Western countries was not a taboo for much of the 20th century. Males have been more likely than females to be expected to swim nude in swimming pools or to share communal showers in school locker rooms with other members of the same sex. These expectations were based on cultural beliefs that females need more privacy than males do. A 1963 article on a swim program in Troy, New York stated that boys swam nude, but that girls were expected to wear bathing suits; the writer of the article found nothing remarkable about these requirements. The era of nude swimming by boys in municipal pools ended when mixed-gender bathing was allowed.
In 1974, an article in The New York Times noted an increase in American tolerance for nudity, both at home and in public, approaching that of Europe. However, some traditional nudists at the time decried the trend as encouraging sexual exhibitionism and voyeurism and threatening the viability of private nudist clubs.
In tropical regions worldwide complete or near nudity was common for both men and women before contact with Western cultures or Islam. Some contemporary societies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and the Amazon rainforest, maintain their traditional norms, going about their everyday activities either nude or partially nude. Some developing nations have revived precolonial practices.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network issued a report in 2009 on child sexual development in the United States. The report asserted that children have a natural curiosity about their own bodies and the bodies of others that ought to be addressed in an age-appropriate manner. According to the report:
- Children less than four years old will normally touch their own private parts, look at the private parts of others, and remove their clothes wanting to be naked;
- Between ages four and six, children will be more actively curious. They will attempt to see others dressing or undressing, or will perhaps "play doctor"; and
- Between ages six and twelve, children will expand their curiosity to images of undressed people available in the media. They will develop a need for privacy regarding their own bodies and begin to be sexually attracted to peers.
The report recommended that parents learn what is normal in regard to nudity and sexuality at each stage of a child's development and refrain from overreacting to their children's nudity-related behaviors unless there are signs of a problem (e.g. anxiety, aggression, or sexual interactions between children not of the same age or stage of development).
The naturist/nudist point of view is that children are "nudists at heart" and that naturism provides the ideal environment for healthy development. It is noted that modern psychology generally agrees that children can benefit from an open environment where the bodies of others their own age of both sexes are not a mystery. However, there is less agreement regarding children and adults being nude. While some doctors have taken the view that some exposure of children to adult nudity (particularly parental nudity) may be healthy, others—notably Benjamin Spock—disagreed. Spock's view was later attributed to the lingering effect of Freudianism on the medical profession.
In their 1986 study on the effects of social nudity on children, Smith and Sparks concluded that "the viewing of the unclothed body, far from being destructive to the psyche, seems to be either benign or to actually provide positive benefits to the individuals involved. In 1995, Gordon and Schroeder contended that "there is nothing inherently wrong with bathing with children or otherwise appearing naked in front of them", noting that doing so may provide an opportunity for parents to provide important information. They noted that by ages five to six, children begin to develop a sense of modesty, and recommended to parents who desire to be sensitive to their children's wishes that they respect a child's modesty from that age onwards.
In a 1995 review of the literature, Paul Okami concluded that there was no reliable evidence linking exposure to parental nudity to any negative effect. Three years later, his team finished an 18-year longitudinal study that showed that, if anything, such exposure was associated with slight beneficial effects, particularly for boys.
In 1999, psychologist Barbara Bonner recommended against nudity in the home if children exhibit sexual play of a type that is considered problematic. In 2019, psychiatrist Lea Lis recommended that parents allow nudity as a natural part of family life when children are very young, but to respect the modesty that is likely to emerge with puberty.
Openness to nudity and sexuality
Tous à Poil (Everybody Gets Naked) is a French illustrated book that seeks to address the curiosity of children by providing images of "Real bodies in natural situations from a child’s everyday life to counter the numerous images of bodies... altered by Photoshop or plastic surgery, that are shown in ads or on the covers of magazines." The response from right wing French politicians was that the book is immoral, and claimed that liberal politicians had place the book on school reading lists, which was not true. The Culture Minister defended the book's being available for parents, and supported libraries that were under attack.
A series of sex education videos from Norway, intended for 8–12 year olds, includes explicit information and images of reproduction, anatomy, and the changes that are normal with the approach of puberty. The videos depict nude people of all ages. While the videos note that the age of consent in Norway is 16, abstinence is not emphasized. As of 2015, however, 37 U.S. states required that sex education curricula include lessons on abstinence and 25 required that a “just say no” approach be stressed. Studies show that early and complete sex education does not increase the likelihood of becoming sexually active, but leads to better health outcomes overall. The Netherlands also has open and comprehensive sex education beginning as early as age 4, which similar health outcomes, in addition to promoting social benefits such as gender equality. Young children often play outdoors or in public wading pools nude.
In a 2018 survey of predominantly white middle-class college students in the United States, only 9.98% of women and 7.04% of men reported seeing real people (either adults or other children) as their first childhood experience of nudity. Many were accidental (walking in on someone) and were more likely to be remembered as negative by women. Only 4.72% of women and 2% of men reported seeing nude images as part of sex education. 83.59% of women and 89.45% of men reported that their first image of nudity was in film, video, or other mass media.
High and low context cultures
High and low context cultures were defined by Edward T. Hall. The behaviors and norms of a high context culture depend upon shared implicit intuitions that operate within a social situation, while in a low context culture behavior is more dependent upon explicit communications. An example of this distinction was found in research on the behavior of French and German naturists on a nude beach. Germans are extremely low in cultural context. They are characterized by individualism, alienation, estrangement from other people, little body contact, low sensitivity to nonverbal cues, and segmentation of time and space. By contrast, the French, in their personal lives are relatively high context: they interact within closely knit groups, are sensitive to nonverbal cues, and engage in relatively high amounts of body contact. To maintain public propriety on a nude beach, German naturists avoided touching themselves and others and avoid any adornments or behaviors that would call attention to the body. French naturists, on the other hand, were more likely than Germans to wear make-up and jewelry and to touch others as they would while dressed.
Concepts of privacy
Societies in continental Europe conceive of privacy as protecting a right to respect and personal dignity. In America, the right to privacy is oriented toward values of liberty, especially in one's home. While Europeans maintain their dignity, even while naked where others may see them, Americans see public nakedness as a surrender of "any reasonable expectation of privacy". Such cultural differences may make some laws and behaviors of other societies seem incomprehensible.
In Western cultures, shame can result from not living up to the ideals of society with regard to physical appearance. Historically, such shame has affected women more than men. With regard to their naked bodies, the result is a tendency towards self-criticism by women, while men are less concerned by the evaluation of others.
In much of the world, the modesty of women is a matter not only of social custom but of the legal definition of indecent exposure. In the United States, the exposure of female nipples is a criminal offense in many states and is not usually allowed in public. In the United Kingdom, nudity may not be used to "harass, alarm or distress" according to the Public Order Act of 1986.
Breastfeeding in public is forbidden in some jurisdictions, not regulated in others, and protected as a legal right in public and the workplace in still others. Where public breastfeeding is a legal right, some mothers may be reluctant to breastfeed, and some people may object to the practice.
For example, in 2017, students at a girls' school in the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh were forced to undress as a form of punishment, police say. Although not as common as corporal punishment, it is not unusual for stripping to be used as a form of punishment in Indian schools.
In 2003, Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad (Iraq) gained international notoriety for accounts of torture and abuses by members of the United States Army Reserve during the post-invasion period. Photographic images were circulated that exposed the posing of prisoners naked, sometimes bound, and being intimidated and otherwise humiliated, resulting in widespread condemnation of the abuse.
A strip search is the removal of some or all of a person's clothing to insure that they do not have weapons or contraband. Such searches are generally done when an individual is imprisoned after an arrest, and is justified by the need to maintain order in the facility, not as punishment for a crime.
Laws regarding public nudity
Since regulation of everyday public behavior is more often a matter of social convention than written law, some jurisdictions may have no specific law against nudity in public. This was the case in 2006, when three young men who had been skinny-dipping outside Brattleboro, Vermont decided to go into town to see what would happen if they disrobed there. They were not arrested, and the following two summers saw a number of incidents of public nakedness until an ordinance banning nudity was passed.
In the 21st century United States, the legal definition of "full nudity" is exposure of the genitals. "Partial nudity" includes exposure of the buttocks by either sex or exposure of the female breasts. Legal definitions are further complicated by laws regarding indecent exposure; this term generally refers to engaging in public nudity with an intent to offend common decency. Lewd and indecent behavior is usually defined as causing alarm, discomfort, or annoyance for the average person. Where the law has been challenged by asserting that nudity by itself in not lewd or disorderly, laws have been amended to specify indecent exposure, usually of the genitals but not always of the breast. Public indecency in generally a misdemeanor, but may become a felony upon repeated offense or always if done in the presence of a minor. In the State of Oregon, public nudity is legal and protected as free speech as long as there is not an "intent to arouse". At the other extreme, the State of Arkansas not only outlaws private nudism, but bans anyone from advocating the practice.
According to a police spokesperson in 2013, nudity per se is not unlawful in the United Kingdom; however, the circumstances surrounding particular episodes of nudity may create public order offenses. Most naturists comply with the law by being nude only where others cannot see them. After repeated arrests, prosecutions, and convictions in Great Britain, the activist Stephen Gough sued at the European Court of Human Rights for the right to be nude in public outside of designated areas. His claim was ultimately rejected.
Shame is one of the moral emotions often associated with nudity. While guilt is the emotion experienced in response to a particular wrong action, shame is a more general and long-lasting self-assessment. Shame is often thought of as positive in response to a failure to act in accordance with moral values, thus motivating an individual to do better in the future. However, shame is often negative as the response to perceived failures to live up to unrealistic expectations. The shame regarding nudity is one of the classic examples of the emotion, yet rather than being a positive motivator, it is considered unhealthy, standing in the way of developing a positive self-image. Others argue that the shame felt when naked in public is due to valuing modesty and privacy as socially positive. However, the response to such public exposure of normally private behavior is called embarrassment (like guilt, also a short-term emotion), rather than shame.
One of the first—but now obsolete—meanings of nude in the 16th century was "mere, plain, open, explicit" reflected in the modern metaphors "the naked truth", "the bare facts". Naturists often speak of their nakedness in terms of a return to the innocence and simplicity of childhood. The term naturism is based upon nakedness as being connected to nature in a positive way; which includes egalitarianism, that all humans are alike in their nakedness. Nudity also represents freedom; the liberation of the body is associated with sexual liberation, although many naturists tend to downplay this connection. In some forms of group psychotherapy, nudity has been used to promote open interaction and communication. Religious persons who reject the world as it is including all possessions may practice nudism, or use nakedness as a protest against an unjust world.
Many of the negative associations are the inverse of positive ones. If nudity is truth, nakedness may be an invasion of privacy or the exposure of uncomfortable truths, a source of anxiety. The strong connection of nudity to sex produces shame when naked in contexts where sexuality is deemed inappropriate. Rather than being natural, nakedness is associated with savagery, poverty, criminality, and death. To be deprived of clothes is punishment; humiliating and degrading.
Confronted with this ambiguity, some individuals seek to resolve it by working toward greater acceptance of nudity for themselves and others. The majority of naturists go through stages during which they gradually learn a new set of values regarding the human body. However, Krista Thomason notes that negative emotions including shame exist because they are functional, and that human beings are not perfect.
Nudity is used to draw public and attention to a cause, sometimes including the promotion of public nudity itself.
The connection between nudity and human sexuality is complex and ambiguous, since it also involves issues of gender identity, body image, and moral judgements concerning what is normal, deviant or even criminal behavior.
Naturists (persons who practice and advocate personal and social nudity) distinguish between sexual and non-sexual nudity. Studies of naturism find that its practitioners adopt behaviors and norms that suppress the sexual responses while practicing social nudity. Such norms include refraining from staring, touching, or otherwise calling attention to the body while naked. However, some naturists do not maintain this non-sexual atmosphere. In a 1991 article in "Off Our Backs", Nina Silver presents an account of mainstream sexual culture's intrusion into some American naturist groups. Nudist resorts may attract misogynists or pedophiles who are not always dealt with properly, and some resorts may cater to "swingers" or have sexually provocative events to generate revenue or attract members.
Psychological issues involving nudity and sexuality include exhibitionism, a condition marked by the urge, fantasy, or act of exposing one’s genitals to non-consenting people, particularly strangers; and voyeurism, a sexual interest in, or practice of, spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors like undressing or sexual activity. While these terms may be used loosely to refer to everyday activity, these feelings and behaviors are a indicative of a mental disorder only if they interfere with normal functioning or well-being, or involve causing discomfort or alarm to others. Much rarer is gymnophobia, an abnormal and persistent fear of nudity.
Norms related to nudity are associated with norms regarding personal freedom, human sexuality, and gender roles, which vary widely among modern societies. Situations where nudity is accepted vary. Some people practice nudism within the confines of "nudist camps" or clothing-optional resorts, while naturists seek more open acceptance of nudity in everyday life and in public spaces.
Baths and spas
Bathing for cleanliness and recreation is a human universal found worldwide, and the communal use of bathing facilities has been maintained in many cultures from varying traditional sources. When there is complete nudity, the facilities are often segregated by sex, but not always.
The sauna, originating from Finland, is attended nude in its source country as well as in most Scandinavian countries and in the German-speaking countries of Europe. This is true even when a swimsuit must be worn in the swimming pool area of the same complex. The trend in some European countries (Germany, Finland and the Netherlands, for instance) is to allow both genders to bathe together naked. For example, the Friedrichsbad in Baden-Baden has designated times when mixed nude bathing is permitted. Most German (not to mention French, Spanish and Greek) beaches and swimming pools offer FKK (clothing-optional) areas. The German sauna culture also became popular in neighbouring countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.[a] In contrast to Scandinavia, public sauna facilities in these countries—while nude—do not usually segregate genders.[b]
In Japan, public baths (Sentō) were once common, but became less so with the addition of bathtubs in homes. Sentō were mixed gender (konyoku) until the arrival of Western influences, but became segregated by gender in cities. Nudity is required at Japanese hot spring resorts (Onsen). Some such resorts continue to be mixed gender, but the number of such resorts is declining as they cease to be supported by local communities.
In Korea, bathhouses are known as Jjimjilbang. Such facilities may include mixed-sex sauna areas where clothing is worn, but bathing areas are gender segregated; nudity is required in those areas. Korean spas have opened in the United States, also gender separated except the bathing areas. In addition to the health benefits, a woman wrote in Psychology Today suggesting the social benefits for women and girls having real life experience of seeing the variety of real female bodies—even more naked than at a beach—as a counterbalance to the unrealistic nudity seen in popular media.
In India, priests of the Digambara ("skyclad") sect of Jainism and some Hindu Sadhus refrain from wearing clothing to symbolize their rejection of the material world. In Bangladesh, the Mru people have resisted centuries of Muslim and Christian pressure to cloth their nakedness as part of religious conversion. Most retain their own religion, which includes elements of Buddhism and Animism; as well as traditional clothing, a loincloth for men and a skirt for women.
In sub-Saharan Africa, full nudity or nudity below the waist is the norm among some ethnic and family groups—including some Burkinabese and Nilo-Saharan (e.g. Nuba and Surma people)—in daily life or on particular occasions. For example, at highly attended stick-fighting tournaments, well-exposed young men use the occasion to catch the eye of prospective brides. The revival of post-colonial culture is asserted in the adoption of traditional dress—young women wearing only beaded skirts and jewelry—in the Umkhosi Womhlanga (Reed Dance) by the Zulu and Swazi. However, the authenticity and propriety of the paid performance of "bare chested" Zulu girls for international tourists is sometimes questioned.
In Brazil, the Yawalapiti—an indigenous Xingu tribe in the Amazon Basin—practice a funeral ritual known as Quarup to celebrate life, death and rebirth. The ritual involves the presentation of all young girls who have begun menstruating since the last Quarup and whose time has come to choose a partner.
Clothing optional recreation
Nudity in Asia is limited to very isolated locations or private resorts.
A 1999 survey by the Federation of Canadian Naturists found that 39% of Canadians "have walked or would walk around their houses nude". According to a 2004 U.S. survey, 31% of men and 14% of women report sleeping in the nude, while a 1996 BBC survey reported that 47% of U.K. men and 17% of U.K. women have done so. In a 2019 survey of American sleep habits, only 17% of respondents stated that they slept entirely naked.
Historically, certain facilities associated with activities that require partial or complete nakedness (such as bathing or changing clothes, for example) have limited access to certain members of the public. These normal activities are guided by generally accepted norms, the first of which is that the facilities are most often segregated by gender; however, this may not be the case in all cultures.
Changing rooms and communal showers
Changing rooms may be provided in stores, workplaces, or sports facilities to allow people to change their clothing. Some changing rooms have individual cubicles or stalls affording varying degrees of privacy. Locker rooms and communal showers associated with sports generally lack any individual space, thus providing minimal physical privacy.
The men’s locker room—which historically in Western cultures had been a setting for open male social nudity—is, in the 21st century United States, becoming a space of modesty and distancing between men. For much of the 20th century, the norm in locker rooms had been for men to undress completely without embarrassment. That norm has changed; in the 21st century, men typically wear towels or other garments in the locker room most of the time and avoid any interaction with others while naked. This shift is the result of changes in social norms regarding masculinity and how maleness is publicly expressed; also, open male nudity has become associated with homosexuality.
By the 1990s, communal showers in American schools had become "uncomfortable", not only because students were accustomed to more privacy at home, but because young people became more self-conscious based upon the comparison to mass media images of perfect bodies. In the 21st century, some high-end New York City gyms were redesigned to cater to millennials who want to shower without ever being seen naked.
Social and public nudity
Attitudes toward public nudity vary depending on culture, time, location, and context. There are particular contexts in which nudity is tolerated, accepted, or even encouraged in public spaces. In Europe, such contexts include nude beaches, within some intentional communities (such as naturist resorts or clubs) and at special events.
While some European countries (such as Germany, for example) are rather tolerant of public nudity, other nations disfavor or punish public nudity. In the United States in 2012, the city council of San Francisco, California banned public nudity in the inner-city area. This move was met by harsh resistance because the city was known for its liberal culture and had previously tolerated public nudity. Similarly, park rangers began filing tickets against nudists at San Onofre State Beach—also a place with long tradition of public nudity—in 2010.
Naturism (or nudism) is a subculture advocating and defending private and public nudity as part of a simple, natural lifestyle. Nudism originated in opposition to the industrialization of Europe in the late 19th century.
Naturists reject contemporary standards of modesty that discourage personal, family and social nudity. They instead seek to create a social environment where individuals feel comfortable being in the company of nude people and being seen nude, either by other naturists or by the general public.
Nudism spawned a proselytizing literature in the 1920s and 1930s. Nudism's other common name, naturism, signals its core contention that the naked body is natural and that modesty and shame are cultural impositions with deleterious effects on psychological, sexual, and social well-being. Early nudism was in dialogue with sexology and feminism. Its proponents believed that nudism could combat social inequality, including sexual inequality. As a socially marginal practice based on the naturalness of nakedness, nudism has had a complicated relationship with sexuality and pro‐sex discourses.
A nude beach, sometimes called a clothing-optional or free beach, is a beach where users are at liberty to be nude. Such beaches are usually on public lands. Nude beaches may be official (legally sanctioned), unofficial (tolerated by residents and law enforcement), or illegal.
Flashing, mooning, and streaking
The brief exposure of parts of the body normally hidden from public view has a long tradition, taking several forms. "Flashing" refers to public exposure of the genitals; "mooning" refers to exposure of the buttocks to insult someone; and "streaking" refers to running nude through a public area for publicity, as a prank, as a dare, or as a form of protest.
Otherwise deviant or even criminal, in some social contexts either flashing or mooning may have a defined social function. At Mardi Gras in New Orleans flashing—an activity that would be prohibited at any other time and place—has become a ritual of long standing in celebration of carnival. While many celebrations of carnival worldwide include minimal costumes, the extent of nudity in the French Quarter is due to its long history as a "red light district". The ritual "disrobing" is done in the context of a performance which earns a payment, even though it is only symbolic (glass beads). Although the majority of those performing continue to be women, men (both homosexual and heterosexual) now also participate.
Mooning a stranger is classified as indecent exposure, which may be criminal if intended to alarm or assault. The target may also be an authority figure, making the action a protest, while mooning in popular culture is generally a prank or joke. Mooning opponents as an insult may have a history going back to ancient Rome.
Distinct from the nude artworks created, sessions where artists, both amateur and professional, work from live models are a social situation where nudity has a long tradition. The role of the model both as part of visual art education and in the creation of finished works has evolved since antiquity in Western societies and worldwide wherever western cultural practices in the visual arts have been adopted. At modern universities, art schools, and community groups "art model" is a job, one requirement of which is to pose "undraped" and motionless for minutes, hours (with breaks) or days as the artwork requires.
Public photo events
Photography of groups of nude people in public places has been done around the world with or without official cooperation. The gathering itself is proposed as performance art, while the resulting images become statements based upon the identities of people invited to participate by posing, and the location selected; urban, scenic landscapes, or sites of historical significance. The photographers state a variety of artistic, cultural, and political reasons for their work, while those being photographed may be professional models or unpaid volunteers attracted to the project for personal reasons.
- Spencer Tunick has been photographing his "installations" since 1992, often in urban spaces but also in landscapes. The number of participants has also varied, but generally grown from hundreds to thousands, all volunteers.
- San Francisco Bay area photographer Jack Gescheidt stages events as part of an ongoing series, called "The Tree Spirit Project".
- Photographer Henning von Berg photographs naked people in public urban locations around the globe.  One of the locations was the Reichstag building in Berlin.
Depictions of nudity
In Western societies, the contexts for depictions of nudity include information, art and pornography. Any ambiguous image not easily fitting into one of these categories may be misinterpreted, leading to disputes. The nude in photography includes scientific, commercial, fine art, and erotic photography.
Indecency and obscenity
Limits of the depiction of nudity are based upon the legal definitions of indecency and obscenity. In 1973, the Supreme Court in Miller v. California established the three-tiered Miller test to determine what was obscene (and thus not protected) versus what was merely erotic and thus protected by the First Amendment.
Depictions of child nudity (or of children with nude adults) appear in works of art in various cultures and historical periods. These attitudes have changed over time and have become increasingly frowned upon, especially in the case of photography. In recent years, snapshots taken by parents of their nude infant or toddler children were challenged as child pornography.
The nude human figure has been one of subjects of art from its Paleolithic beginnings, and a major preoccupation of Western art since the ancient Greeks. In "The Nude: a Study in Ideal Form", Lord Kenneth Clark states that to be naked is to be deprived of clothes, and implies embarrassment and shame, while a nude, as a work of art, has no such connotations. This separation of the artistic form from the related social and cultural issues was largely unexamined by classical art historians, but became a focus of social and feminist critiques in the 1970s, when classical nudes of women were seen as symbolic of male objectification of female bodies. The debate over objectification has continued, recently energized by the #MeToo movement.
Dance, as a sequence of human movement, may be ceremonial, social or one of the performing arts. Partial or complete nudity is a feature of ceremonial dances in some tropical countries. However, some claim that modern practices may be used to promote "ethnic tourism" rather than to revive authentic traditions. In Western traditions, dance costumes have evolved towards providing more freedom of movement and revealing more of the body; complete nakedness is the culmination of this process. Modern choreographers consider nudity one of the possible "costumes" available for dance, some seeing nudity as expressing deeper human qualities through dance which works against the sexual objectification of the body in commercial culture. While nudity in social dance is not common, events such as "Naked Tango" have been held in Germany.
A well-known performance that included nudity was the Broadway musical Hair in 1968. The New York Times printed a number of letters to the editor in 1969 with opinions ranging from actress June Havoc stating that nudity indicates that the producer has run out of ideas; while actress Shelley Winters joked that it was disgusting, but if she were 22 she would do it.
Models posing on stage nude was a feature of tableaux vivants at London's Windmill Theatre and New York's Ziegfeld Follies in the early 20th century. English law did not allow nude actresses to move on stage, but allowed them stand motionless to imitate works of art.
- German text: "Dass Männer und Frauen zusammen splitternackt schwitzen, ist eine deutsche Spezialität, für die sich nur noch Urlauber aus den Benelux-Staaten, aus Österreich und der Schweiz erwärmen können, vielleicht auch noch Osteuropäer". English translation: "The fact that men and women sweat together stark naked is a German specialty that only tourists from the Benelux countries, Austria and Switzerland can warm to, maybe even Eastern Europeans".
- German text: "In den Fitnesszentren und Kuranstalten wurde das finnische Bad, oft großzügig ausgestaltet zu ganzen Saunalandschaften, zum selbstverständlichen Angebot. Bemerkenswert ist, dass dort heute zumeist auf getrennte Badezeiten für Männer und Frauen verzichtet wird. Nacktheit von Mann und Frau in der Sauna wird hier längst akzeptiert und das hat ein positives soziales Gesamtklima erzeugt, das selbstregulierend – die seltenen Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel – das Verhalten der Badegäste bestimmt. Verpöhnt ist [...] der Versuch, sich in Badekleidung [...] unter die Nackten zu mischen". English translation: "In the fitness centers and health resorts, the Finnish bath, often designed generously to complete sauna landscapes, was a natural offer. It is noteworthy that today there is usually no separate bathing times for men and women. Nakedness of men and women in the sauna has been accepted for a long time and that has created a positive overall social climate. Self-regulation – the rare exceptions confirm the rule – determines the behavior of the bathers. Pampered is the attempt [...] to mix in bathing clothes among the naked ones".
- The dictionary definition of nudity at Wiktionary
- Barcan 2004a, Introduction.
- "Nude". Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
Synonyms, Adjective: au naturel, bare, bottomless, disrobed, mother-naked, naked, raw, starkers [chiefly British], stripped, unclad, unclothed, undressed; Noun: altogether, bareness, birthday suit, bottomlessness, buff, nakedness, nudity, raw
- Barcan 2004a, pp. 4–10.
- West 2018, pp. 677–697.
- Black 2014.
- Hasha & Kalish 2014.
- Barcan 2004a, pp. 11–15.
- Daley 2018.
- Rantala 2007, pp. 1–7.
- Jablonski & Chaplin 2000, pp. 57–106.
- Jablonski 2012.
- Toups et al. 2010, pp. 29–32.
- Schlebusch 2017.
- Gilligan 2010.
- Hollander 1978, p. 83.
- Leary & Buttermore 2003.
- Mark 2017.
- Altenmüller 1998, pp. 406–7.
- Adams 2005, p. 57.
- Habinek 1997, p. 39.
- Cicero 1927, p. 408.
- Fagen 2002.
- "Dress – The Middle East from the 6th Century". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
- Silverman 2013.
- Livingston 2013.
- Lerner 1972.
- Rasmussen 2013.
- Henry, 1999 & 475–486.
- Hadfield 2016.
- Martinez 1995.
- Harper 2012.
- Glancy 2015.
- Classen 2008.
- Veyne 1987, p. 455.
- "Did people in the Middle Ages take baths?". Medievalists.net. 13 April 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
- Miles & Lyon 2008.
- Lindsay 2005, p. 173.
- Barcan 2004a, chpt. 2.
- Stevens 2003, pp. 124–140.
- Andrews 2007, pp. 131–156.
- "Modern History Sourcebook: Women Miners in English Coal Pits". Fordham University. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
- Wiltse 2003.
- "Historic Archive – Male Nude Swimming". Historical Archives – Male Nude Swimming. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- Smithers 1999.
- Senelick 2014.
- Mann 1963.
- Sterba 1974.
- Nkosi 2013.
- Sexual Development and Behavior in Children: Information for Parents and Caregivers (Report). American Psychological Association. 2009.
- Shantz 2017.
- Smith 1986, p. 183.
- Gordon & Schroeder 1995, p. 16.
- Okami 1995, pp. 51–64.
- Okami et al. 1998, pp. 361–384.
- Bonner 1999, p. 211.
- Lis 2019.
- Marosevic 2014.
- Zadrozny 2015.
- Rough 2018.
- Allen et al. 2018.
- Hall 1989.
- Smith 1980.
- Whitman 2004, p. 9.
- Weinberg & Williams 2010.
- Williams 2019.
- Arfin 2019.
- "What is Topfreedom?". 007b.com. 20 January 2013. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
- Wolf 2008, p. 11.
- Vance 2005, pp. 51–54.
- Jordan & Pile 2003, p. 233.
- "Inquiry after India students 'stripped for punishment'". BBC. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- McDonald & Swaak-Goldman 2000, pp. 280–283.
- "CNN.com – Iraq prison 'abuse' sparks outrage". CNN.com. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- Hoge 2004.
- "Strip Search After an Arrest". FindLaw. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- Anand 2008.
- "Definition of Partial nudity". Law Insider. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- "Indecent Exposure". Merriam-Webster's Legal Dictionary. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
- Posner & Silbaugh 1996, chpt. 6.
- Hale 2015.
- Posner & Silbaugh 1996, p. 85.
- "BBC News – Naturism numbers are reportedly up in the heatwave". BBC Online. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
A police spokesman told the BBC there is no law against public nudity in the UK. 'Nudity itself is not illegal. However using nudity to harass, alarm or distress others is an offence against the Public Order Act of 1986.'
- Shaw 2014.
- Uebel 2019.
- Thomason 2018, chpt. 1.
- Deonna, Rodogno & Teroni 2012.
- Thomason 2018, p. 11.
- Barcan 2004a, pp. 77–83.
- Barcan 2004a, pp. 83–106.
- Barcan 2004a, pp. 106–138.
- Górnicka 2016.
- Thomason 2018, Conclusion.
- Alaimo 2010.
- Barcan 2004, p. 3.
- Smith & King 2009, pp. 439–446.
- Smith 1980, pp. 223–241.
- Silver 1991.
- Cooper 2011, pp. 326–357.
- Daney 1998.
- Scheuch 2004, pp. 156-.
- Kast 2014.
- "Public Baths in Japan". Japan Guide. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- Sood 2012.
- Milner 2015.
- Taylor 2012.
- Dundas 2004.
- Hartsuiker 2014.
- Van Schendel 2002.
- "Stick Fight". Omo Valley Tribal Tours. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- Naidu 2009.
- Hampton 2014, pp. 175–.
- 1999 National Survey on Canadian Attitudes Towards Nudity at the Wayback Machine (archived 5 December 2013)
- The American Sex Survey: A Peek Beneath the Sheets (PDF), abcnews, 21 October 2004, p. 26, retrieved 4 September 2009
- The Clothes Show, BBC, May 1996
- Smith 2019.
- Goldman 2007.
- Miller 2016.
- Johnson 1996.
- Sicha 2015.
- "Baring It All: Get Naked with the Germans". Spiegel Online. 10 May 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Taub 2012.
- Reynolds 2012.
- Sisson 2010.
- "Nudism". Subcultures and Sociology. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
- Hile 2004.
- Barcan 2015.
- "Definition of Flashing". MedicineNet.
- Wickman, Forrest (27 June 2012). "When Did People Start Mooning Each Other?". Slate Magazine.
- Speirs, Doug (23 June 2018). "Jun 2018: Streakers make some events memorable for wrong reasons" – via www.winnipegfreepress.com.
- Shrum & Kilburn 1996.
- Wickman 2012.
- Steinhart 2004.
- "Jack Gescheidt photographer". www.jackphoto.com. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "TreeSpirit Project – Raising awareness of the critical role of trees in our lives". www.treespiritproject.com. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Henning von Berg: About 2". Henning-von-berg.com. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
- "Henning von Berg: About 1". Henning-von-berg.com. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
- Hollander 1978.
- Eck 2001.
- Rasmus 2011.
- Higonnet 1998.
- Kincaid 2000.
- Clark 1956, chpt. 1.
- Berger 1972.
- Mulvey 1975.
- Slenske & Langmuir 2018.
- Firenzi 2012.
- Sparshott 1995.
- Cappelle & Whittenburg 2014.
- Nethers 2013.
- Libbey 2018.
- NY Times Editorial 1969.
- Chapman 2018.
- Bloom 2013.
- Jacobs 2012.
- Altenmüller, Hartwig (1998). Egypt: the world of the pharaohs. Cologne: Könemann.
- Bancroft, John (2003). Sexual Development in Childhood. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34243-0.
- Barcan, Ruth (2015). "Nudism". In Patricia Whelehan; Anne Bolin (eds.). The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 819–830. doi:10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs315. ISBN 9781786842992.
- Black, Pamela (2014). "Nudism". In Forsyth, Craig J.; Copes, Heith (eds.). Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. SAGE Publications. pp. 471–472. ISBN 9781483340463.
- Bloom, Ken (18 October 2013). Routledge Guide to Broadway. Routledge – via Google Books.
- Bonner, Barbara L. (1999). "When does sexual play suggest a problem?". In Dubowitz, Howard; Depanfilis, Diane (eds.). Handbook for Child Protection Practice. Sage Publications. ISBN 978-0-7619-1371-9.
- Bullough, Vern L.; Bullough, Bonnie (2014). Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 449. ISBN 9781135825096.
- Carr-Gomm, Philip (2010). A Brief History of Nakedness. London, UK: Reaktion Books, Limited. ISBN 978-1-86189-729-9. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- Cicero (1927). Tusculan Disputations. Loeb Classical Library 141. Volume XVIII. Translated by by J. E. King. doi:10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-tusculan_disputations.1927.
- Clark, Kenneth (1956). The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01788-3.
- Classen, Albrecht (2008). "The Cultural Significance of Sexuality in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and Beyond". In Classen, Albrecht (ed.). Sexuality in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Times. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
- Deonna, Julien A.; Rodogno, Raffaele; Teroni, Fabrice (2012). In Defense of Shame: The Faces of an Emotion. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199793532.
- Fagan, Garrett G. (2002). Bathing in Public in the Roman World. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472088653.
- Goldman, Leslie (2007). Locker Room Diaries : The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the "Perfect" Body. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 9786612788604.
- Gordon, Betty N.; Schroeder, Carolyn S. (1995). Sexuality: A Developmental Approach to Problems. Springer. ISBN 978-0-306-45040-2.
- Górnicka, Barbara (2016). "From Lewd to Nude: Becoming a Naturist". Nakedness, Shame, and Embarrassment. Figurationen. Schriften zur Zivilisations und Prozesstheorie. 12. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
- Hall, Edward T. (1989). Beyond Culture. New York: Doubleday. pp. 87–88. ISBN 0385124740. OCLC 20595709.
- Hampton, Christopher (2014). Christopher Hampton Plays 1: Total Eclipse; The Philanthropist; Savages; Treats. Faber & Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-31830-8.
- Hasha, Margot; Kalish, DeAnn (2014). "Normal Deviance". In Forsyth, Craig J.; Copes, Heith (eds.). Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. SAGE Publications. pp. 467–468. ISBN 9781483340463.
- Higonnet, Anne (1998). Pictures of Innocence – The History and Crisis of Ideal Childhood. New York: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28048-5. OL 705008M.
- Jacobs, Steven (27 August 2012). Framing Pictures. Edinburgh University Press – via Google Books.
- Lerner, Robert E. (1972). The Heresy of the Free Spirit in the Later Middle Ages. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
- Lindsay, James E. (2005). Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World. Daily Life through History. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
- Livingstone, E. A., ed. (2013). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3 ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199659623.
- McDonald, Gabrielle Kirk; Swaak-Goldman, Olivia (2000). Substantive and Procedural Aspects of International Criminal Law: The Experience of International and National Courts: Materials. Volume 2. Brill. ISBN 90-411-1134-4.
- Mark, Joshua J. (27 March 2017). "Fashion and Dress in Ancient Egypt". Ancient History Encyclopedia.
- Martinez, D.P. (1995). "Naked Divers: A Case of Identity and Dress in Japan". In Eicher, Joanne B. (ed.). Dress and Ethnicity: Change Across Space and Time. Ethnicity and Identity Series. Oxford: Berg. p. 79–94. doi:10.2752/9781847881342/DRESSETHN0009. ISBN 9781847881342.
- Miles, Margaret R.; Lyon, Vanessa (2008). A Complex Delight: The Secularization of the Breast, 1350-1750. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520253483.
- Posner, Richard A.; Silbaugh, Katharine B. (1996). A Guide to America's Sex Laws. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226675640.
- Scheuch, Manfred (2004). Nackt; Kulturgeschichte eines Tabus im 20. Jahrhundert [Nudity: A Cultural History of a taboo in the 20th century] (in German). Vienna: Christian Brandstätter Verlag. ISBN 978-3-85498-289-0.
- Silverman, Eric (2013). A Cultural History of Jewish Dress. A&C Black. ISBN 978-0-857-85209-0.
The Five Books of Moses...clearly specify that Jews must adhere to a particular dress code-modesty, for example, and fringes. Clothing, too, served as a "fence" that protected Jews from the profanities and pollutions of the non-Jewish societies in which they dwelled. From this angle, Jews dressed distinctively as God's elect.
- Smith, Dennis Craig; Sparks, William. The Naked Child: Growing Up Without Shame. Elysium Growth Press. ISBN 978-1-55599-000-8.
- Steinhart, Peter (2004). The Undressed Art: Why We Draw. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-1-4000-4184-8.
- Stevens, Scott Manning (2003). "New World Contacts and the Trope of the 'Naked Savage". In Elizabeth D. Harvey (ed.). Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 124–140. ISBN 9780812293630.
- Toepfer, Karl Eric (1997). Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520918276.
- Thomason, Krista K. (2018). Naked: The Dark Side of Shame and Moral Life. New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oso/9780190843274.003.0007.
- Veyne, Paul, ed. (1987). A History of Private Life: From Pagan Rome to Byzantium. A History of Private Life. 1 of 5. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674399747.
- Alaimo, Stacy (2010). "The naked word: The trans-corporeal ethics of the protesting body". Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. 20 (1): 15–36. doi:10.1080/07407701003589253. ISSN 0740-770X.
- Allen, Katherine R.; Gary, Emily A.; Lavender-Stott, Erin S.; Kaestle, Christine E. (2018). "'I Walked in on Them': Young Adults' Childhood Perceptions of Sex and Nudity in Family and Public Contexts". Journal of Family Issues. 39 (15): 3804–3831. doi:10.1177/0192513X18793923.
- Andrews, Jonathan (1 June 2007). "The (un)dress of the mad poor in England, c.1650-1850. Part 2" (PDF). History of Psychiatry. 18 (2): 131–156. doi:10.1177/0957154X06067246. ISSN 0957-154X. PMID 18589927.
- Barcan, Ruth (2001). "The Moral Bath of Bodily Unconsciousness: Female Nudism, Bodily Exposure and the Gaze". Continuum. 15 (3): 303–317. doi:10.1080/10304310120086795.
- Barcan, Ruth (2004b). "Regaining what Mankind has Lost through Civilisation: Early Nudism and Ambivalent Moderns". Fashion Theory. 8 (1): 63–82. doi:10.2752/136270404778051870.
- Collard, Mark; Tarle, Lia; Sandgathe, Dennis; Allan, Alexander (2016). "Faunal evidence for a difference in clothing use between Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 44: 235–246. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2016.07.010. hdl:2164/9989.
- Condra, Mollie B. (1992). "Bare Facts and Naked Truths: Gender, Power, and Freedom of Expression". Free Speech Yearbook. 30: 129–48. doi:10.1080/08997225.1992.10556145.
- Cooper, D. (2011). "Theorising Nudist Equality: An Encounter Between Political Fantasy and Public Appearance" (PDF). Antipode. 43 (2): 326–357. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2010.00833.x.
- Eck, Beth A. (December 2001). "Nudity and Framing: Classifying Art, Pornography, Information, and Ambiguity". Sociological Forum. Springer. 16 (4): 603–632. doi:10.1023/A:1012862311849. JSTOR 684826.
- Emmerink, Peggy M. J.; van den Eijnden1, Regina J. J. M.; Vanwesenbeeck, Ine; ter Bogt, Tom F. M. (2016). "The Relationship Between Endorsement of the Sexual Double Standard and Sexual Cognitions and Emotions". Sex Roles. New York. 75 (7–8): 363–76. doi:10.1007/s11199-016-0616-z. PMC 5023751. PMID 27688527.
- Firenzi, T (2012). "The Changing Functions of Traditional Dance in Zulu Society: 1830–Present". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. 45 (3): 403–425.
- Gilligan, Ian (2010). "The Prehistoric Development of Clothing: Archaeological Implications of a Thermal Model". Journal of Archaeological Method & Theory. 17 (1): 15–80. doi:10.1007/s10816-009-9076-x.
- Glancy, Jennifer A (2015). "The Sexual Use of Slaves: A Response to Kyle Harper on Jewish and Christian Porneia". Journal of Biblical Literature. 134 (1): 215–29. doi:10.1353/jbl.2015.0003.
- Harper, Kyle (2012). "Porneia: The Making of a Christian Sexual Norm". Journal of Biblical Literature. 131 (2): 363–83. doi:10.2307/23488230. JSTOR 23488230.
- Henry, Eric (1999). "The Social Significance of Nudity in Early China". Fashion Theory. 3 (4): 475–486. doi:10.2752/136270499779476036.
- Jablonski, Nina G.; Chaplin, George (2000). "The Evolution of Human Skin Coloration". Journal of Human Evolution. 39 (1): 57–106. doi:10.1006/jhev.2000.0403. PMID 10896812.
- Leary, Mark R; Buttermore, Nicole R. (2003). "The Evolution of the Human Self: Tracing the Natural History of Self-Awareness". Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. 33 (4): 365–404. doi:10.1046/j.1468-5914.2003.00223.x.
- Mann, Channing (1963). "Swimming Classes in Elementary Schools on a City-Wide Basis". Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation. 34 (5): 35–36. doi:10.1080/00221473.1963.10621677.
- Miller, Barry (2016). "On the Loss of Nudity in the Men's Locker Room". Psychological Perspectives. 59 (1): 93–108. doi:10.1080/00332925.2016.1134213.
- Mulvey, Laura (1975). "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema". Screen. 16 (3): 6–18. doi:10.1093/screen/16.3.6.
- Naidu, Maheshvari (2009). "'Topless' Tradition for Tourists: Young Zulu Girls in Tourism". Agenda. 23 (79): 38–48. doi:10.1080/10130950.2009.9676222 (inactive 14 January 2020).
- Nkosi, Gugulethu Sebenzile (2013). Umkhosi Womhlanga (Reed Dance) as a tourism enterprise in KwaZulu-Natal: Perceptions, Policies and Practices (PhD). University of Zululand. hdl:10530/1282.
- Okami, Paul (1995). "Childhood exposure to parental nudity, parent‐child co‐sleeping, and "primal scenes": A review of clinical opinion and empirical evidence". Journal of Sex Research. 32 (1): 51–63. doi:10.1080/00224499509551774. ISSN 0022-4499.
- Okami, Paul; Olmstead, Richard; Abramson, Paul R.; Pendleton, Laura (1998). "Early Childhood Exposure to Parental Nudity and Scenes of Parental Sexuality ('Primal Scenes'): An 18-Year Longitudinal Study of Outcome". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 27 (4): 361–384. doi:10.1023/A:1018736109563. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 9681119.
- Rantala, M. J. (2007). "Evolution of nakedness in Homo sapiens". Journal of Zoology. 273 (1): 1–7. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2007.00295.x.
- Rasmus, Ryen (2011). "The Auto-Authentication of the Page: Purely Written Speech and the Doctrine of Obscenity". William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. 20.
- Rasmussen, Susan J. (2013). "Re-Casting the Veil: Situated Meanings of Covering". Culture & Psychology. 19 (2): 237–58. doi:10.1177/1354067X13478989.
- Schlebusch; et al. (3 November 2017). "Southern African ancient genomes estimate modern human divergence to 350,000 to 260,000 years ago". Science. 358 (6363): 652–655. Bibcode:2017Sci...358..652S. doi:10.1126/science.aao6266. PMID 28971970.
- Shantz, Mary-Ann (2017). "'Nudists at Heart': Children's Nature and Child Psychology in the Postwar Canadian Nudist Movement". Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. Baltimore: John Hopkin's University Press. 10 (2): 228–247. doi:10.1353/hcy.2017.0026. ProQuest 1901236165.
- Shrum, Wesley; Kilburn, John (1996). "Ritual Disrobement at Mardi Gras: Ceremonial Exchange and Moral Order". Social Forces. 75 (2): 423–58. doi:10.2307/2580408. JSTOR 2580408.
- Smith, H. W. (1 September 1980). "A Modest Test of Cross-Cultural Differences in Sexual Modesty, Embarrassment and Self-Disclosure". Qualitative Sociology. 3 (3): 223–241. doi:10.1007/BF00987137. ISSN 1573-7837.
- Smith, Glenn; King, Michael (June 2009). "Naturism and sexuality: Broadening our approach to sexual wellbeing". Health & Place. 15 (2): 439–446. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.08.002. PMID 18926761.
- Sparshott, Francis (1995). "Some aspects of nudity in theatre dance". Dance Chronicle. 18 (2): 303–310. doi:10.1080/01472529508569206.
- Toups, M. A.; Kitchen, A.; Light, J. E.; Reed, D. L. (2010). "Origin of Clothing Lice Indicates Early Clothing Use by Anatomically Modern Humans in Africa". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 28 (1): 29–32. doi:10.1093/molbev/msq234. ISSN 0737-4038. PMC 3002236. PMID 20823373.
- Uebel, Michael (2019). "Dirty Rotten Shame? The Value and Ethical Functions of Shame". Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 59 (2): 232–51. doi:10.1177/0022167816631398.
- Van Schendel, Willem (2002). "A Politics of Nudity: Photographs of the 'Naked Mru' of Bangladesh" (PDF). Modern Asian Studies. 36 (2): 34. doi:10.1017/S0026749X02002032.
- Vance, Melissa R. (2005). "Breastfeeding Legislation in the United States: A General Overview and Implications for Helping Mothers". LEAVEN. 41 (3): 51–54. Archived from the original on 31 March 2007.
- Weinberg, Martin S; Williams, Colin J. (2010). "Bare Bodies: Nudity, Gender, and the Looking Glass Body". Sociological Forum. 25 (1): 47–67. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2009.01156.x.
- West, Keon (1 March 2018). "Naked and Unashamed: Investigations and Applications of the Effects of Naturist Activities on Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Life Satisfaction". Journal of Happiness Studies. 19 (3): 677–697. doi:10.1007/s10902-017-9846-1. ISSN 1573-7780.
- Whitman, James Q. (1 April 2004). "The Two Western Cultures of Privacy: Dignity versus Liberty". The Yale Law Journal. 113 (6): 1151–1221. doi:10.2307/4135723. JSTOR 4135723.
- Wiltse, Jeffrey (2003). "Contested waters: A History of Swimming Pools in America". ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. ProQuest 305343056.
- Adams, Cecil (9 December 2005). "Small Packages". Isthmus; Madison, Wis. Madison, Wis., United States, Madison, Wis. p. 57. ISSN 1081-4043. ProQuest 380968646.
- Anand, Shefali (19 May 2008). "Modest proposal: A Vermont town bucks nakedness; skinny-dipping spurs an outbreak of nudity; the fanny-pack man". Wall Street Journal.
- Andreatta, David (22 September 2017). "When boys swam nude in gym class". Democrat and Chronicle.
- Bridge, A. (5 February 2016). "Germans Most Likely to Go Nude". The Telegraph.
- Cappelle, Laura; Whittenburg, Zachary (1 April 2014). "Baring It All". Dance Magazine.
- Davenport, Justin (17 March 2014). "Met officers subject 4,600 children to strip searches over five years". London Evening Standard. p. 22.
- Grulovic, Tiyana (2014). "Simply the Breast". Flare Toronto. Vol. 36 no. 10 (Oct 2014). pp. 70–71.
- Hale, Jamie (29 June 2015). "Public nudity in Oregon: Where you can and can't legally be naked in the open". The Oregonian.
- Hoge, Warren (4 June 2004). "U.N. Says Abu Ghraib Abuse Could Constitute War Crime". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- Jablonski, Nina G. (1 November 2012). "The Naked Truth". Scientific American.
- Johnson, Dirk (22 April 1996). "Students Still Sweat, They Just Don't Shower". The New York Times.
- Kast, Günter (18 November 2014). "Bekleidung in der Sauna: Was haben Sie denn an?" [Clothing in the Sauna: What are you wearing]. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Libbey, Peter (29 April 2018). "When 'Hair' Opened on Broadway, It Courted Controversy From the Start". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Lis, Lea (5 May 2019). "Eight Things to Know About Nudity and Your Family". Psychology Today. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
- Nethers, Jocelyn (2013). "I Went 'Cause I Had Nothing On...". Dance Today. Vol. 58 no. 146. p. 56.
- NY Times Editorial (22 June 1969). "No Nudity Needed". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
- Okeowo, Alexis (21 March 2011). "The Ivory Coast Effect". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Reynolds, Eoin (20 November 2012). "San Francisco nudists warn of backlash if anti-naked law passes". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Riding, Alan (25 September 1995). "The School of London, Mordantly Messy as Ever". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Rough, Bonnie J. (27 August 2018). "How the Dutch Do Sex Ed". The Atlantic.
In the Netherlands, one of the world’s most gender-equal countries, kids learn about sex and bodies starting at age 4.
- Senelick, Richard (3 February 2014). "Men, Manliness, and Being Naked Around Other Men". The Atlantic.
- Shaw, Danny (28 October 2014). "Naked rambler Stephen Gough loses human rights case". Retrieved 29 September 2016 – via www.bbc.com.
- Sisson, Paul (23 March 2010). "SAN ONOFRE: State begins citing nudists at beach". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Sicha, Choire (3 December 2015). "Men's Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials". The New York Times.
- Slenske, M.; Langmuir, M. (16 April 2018). "Who's Afraid of the Female Nude". New York. ProQuest 2037464739.
- Smithers, Rebecca (21 December 1999). "Curtains for schools' communal showers". The Guardian.
- Sterba, James (3 September 1974). "Nudity Increases in America". The New York Times.
- Taub, Gypsy (23 November 2012). "The naked truth about San Francisco's nudity ban". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
- Tayler, Jeffrey (22 March 2013). "Tunisian Woman Sent to a Psychiatric Hospital for Posting Topless Photos on Facebook". The Atlantic.
- Taylor, Zanthe (28 February 2012). "The (Un-Erotic) Glories of Nudity". Psychology Today.
- Zadrozny, Brandy (14 May 2015). "Are These the World's Most Graphic Sex-Ed Videos?". The Daily Beast.
- Arfin, Ferne (6 March 2019). "Is Naked Sunbathing Legal in England and Wales?". TripSavvy. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Chapman, Helen (20 July 2018). "Windmill Girls meet for reunion and remember dancing days in old Soho". Islington Tribune.
- Conley, Kevin (n.d.). "The Rabble Rousers". Oprah.com. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Daley, Jason (11 December 2018). "Why Did Humans Lose Their Fur?". Smithsonian. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
- Daney, Charles (21 January 1998). "Nakedness and the Finnish Sauna". Being and Nakedness. Retrieved 3 September 2019 – via corz.org.
- Eng, Monica (10 September 2017). "Baring It All: Why Boys Swam Naked In Chicago Schools". WBEZ.
- Gardner, Elysa (13 July 2003). "Music videos provocatively skirt the nudity issue". USA Today. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
- Hadfield, James (10 December 2016). "Last splash: Immodest Japanese tradition of mixed bathing may be on the verge of extinction". Japan Times. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
- Hile, Jennifer (2004). "The Skinny on Nudism in the U.S." National Geographic. National Geographic. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- Kincaid, James R. (31 January 2000). "Is this child pornography?". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 30 April 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
- Lawson, Mark (2 February 2016). "Flashing the flesh – a history of TV nudity". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
- Mapes, Terri (6 March 2019). "Sex and Sexuality in Scandinavia". TripSavvy. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
- Mapes, Terri (3 June 2019). "Nudism in Scandinavia". TripSavvy. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
- Markowitz, Eric (29 April 2014). "Until Fairly Recently, The YMCA Actually Required Swimmers To Be Nude". Vocativ.
- Marosevic, Zeljka (14 February 2014). "Everybody Get Naked, or Don't: Right Wing French Politicians Attack Immoral Children's Books". Melville House Books. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
- Milner, Rebecca (9 July 2015). "First-time jjimjilbang: how to visit a Korean bathhouse". Lonelyplanet.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
- Saul, Heather (14 May 2016). "A woman is walking around America bare chested and she wants you to ask her about it". The Independent.
- Sealey, Geraldine (31 July 2002). "Naked Ploy Is Latest Threat in Oil Wars". commondreams.org. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012.
- Smith, Brittany (2019). "Here's the Exact Percentage of People Who Sleep Naked". Men's Journal. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- Sood, Suemedha (30 November 2012). "The origins of bathhouse culture around the world". BBC Travel. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
- Weaver, Fran (8 October 2010). "Seeking the real Finnish Sauna". this is FINLAND. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Wickman, Forrest (27 June 2012). "Mooning: A History". Slate.com. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
- Williams, Pete (19 August 2019). "Women ask Supreme Court to toss topless ban: Why are rules different for men?". NBC News.
- Zukerman, Wendy (4 November 2011). "Skin 'sees' the light to protect against sunshine". New Scientist. Retrieved 3 September 2019.