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Why are many people so afraid of nudity?

People are afraid because they’re conditioned to be embarrassed to be seen simply as they are. They’re taught to be ashamed of being human, and to be offended by others who dare look human. They’re afraid of being vulnerable to the elements when in fact their bodies are very resilient and well designed for the warm climates which they were designed for. They’re afraid of breaking a major cultural and religious taboo, even though they can’t understand and articulate why the taboo should be there in the first place.

But mostly, they’re afraid they won’t be able to control their own sexuality, and that others around them won’t be able to control theirs. That they’ll attract unwanted attention, and instead wear clothing that designed to do just that. That guys will be aroused, and everyone will see that they’re aroused, when instead simply being naked isn’t arousing and the social pressure not to be visibly aroused, suppresses it. - Rick Orlando.

Being physically naked makes you feel emotionally vulnerable because you are lacking the accoutrements of social presentation that we use to define and create ourselves. You cannot define and control what nature gave you and so we prefer to be in a state where what people see is what we choose to present to them.
That and the legacy of patriarchal religions which see sex as something impure and wish to make us ashamed of it floating about in our culture. Afraid for someone to see your bits? That is dead Aaronid priests from 5,000 years ago whispering in your ear. Ignore them. - AA Leitch.

Seriously though, poorly written parodies of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” aside, clothing is there for your protection. Getting your butt sunburned or your genitals bitten by bugs may be “natural”, but it’s also stupid if you can just cover yourself up to avoid it. The same goes for getting frostbite or hypothermia because you didn’t feel like covering yourself up.

The world is full of inhospitable environments. It’s telling that pretty much every culture which lived in such an environment invented clothing which would provide protection from the elements. Even a lot of cultures which developed in environments where clothing wasn’t strictly necessary invented clothing or armor for extra protection anyways. When looked at from the perspective of “not wearing clothing will get you sick or injured”, it should be pretty easy to figure out why most cultures came to expect people to be clothed, eventually codifying those expectations into law. That’s why things are the way they are today.

Please wear clothing; it exists to help keep you safe. - Anonymous

I don't think people are taught to be a shamed of your body per say. We're not use to be around others in the nude. We judge our own insecurities and think others are also judging us. They're not. It's a mental process. Yes, it's scary and extremely uncomfortable but when you realize everyone is different and your in the locker room to do one thing, shower. Concentrate on that at first and you'll be fine. Remember, if you do something different or out of place then you will bring extra attention to yourself. Take a big deep breath, don't panic and remember, everyone else will be naked too so your not alone. You'll be like everyone else in a lockerroom. - Vince J.

Nudity was often the norm in tropical regions, as a fact of life for the poor, and in socially or physically appropriate situations, such as while doing wet or dirty work or while communally bathing for most of history.

You can blame clothing being cheaply mass produced, nudity being associated with being poor, religious traditions of having to hide one’s body from others, and today’s worsening acceptance of oneself and others, simply as we are and simply as we look like without having to hide and decorate ourselves

Cultures change. It used to be a lot more common and a lot more accepted to use open locker rooms and showers naked with your friends, classmates, and complete strangers at school and in gyms. Boys and men were required to swim naked at YMCAs well into the 1960s and early 1970s. In rural areas, it wasn’t, and in many places, it still isn’t a big deal to go skinny-dipping with friends at lakes and rivers.

Nudity was more accepted in art and the media, especially in Europe. Nudist clubs and nudist beaches used to be more secretive. But now, they’re more out in the open.

Today, it’s just different. There are more designated or just accepted clothing optional beaches and hot springs in the US than there ever were, nudist clubs, campgrounds, and resorts aren’t a secretive as they once were, and a lot of us aren’t as concerned about others knowing that we’re nudists, than we used to be.

Will it ever be that nudity is acceptable to everyone anywhere and everywhere? Probably not. In some ways, it will become more accepted, but in others, perhaps, it will become even less accepted than it is now.
- Rick Orlando.

 
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