Countless studies have shown that people don’t like their bodies, independent of what their bodies actually look like (1). Most people believe that they are too fat, skinny, short, or too tall. Additionally, people don’t like the way their penises, vaginas, boobs, etc. look in the mirror. It’s a very serious problem that makes a lot of people extremely unhappy.
According to a study conducted at Goldsmiths, University of London, being naked around other people may make your happier (2). It makes sense though, doesn’t it? Have you ever gone skinny dipping, or better yet, have you ever let loose at a nude beach? Those people seem so happy!
The team of researchers reached out and surveyed roughly 850 people, and concluded that men and women who have spent time outdoors naked with other people, felt much better about their own bodies, had lower levels of stress, and had higher levels of self-esteem than those who choose not to bare it all.
Two more experiments were conducted by the research team as well. In these experiments the team talked to people both before and after they attended an actual nudist event. The results were as expected: Participants in the survey reported higher levels of self-esteem and self-confidence yet again.
“What we found was a very good correlation, that generally, if you did these activities, the longer you did them and the more frequently you did them, the happier you were about all of these things,” proclaimed study author Keon West, Ph.D. (3) Furthermore, “seeing other people naked predicted a more positive body image than being seen naked by others”, the study researchers wrote.
Seeing other people with “normal, not perfect” bodies helped eliminate any insecurities they felt toward their own bodies, said one nudist event participant. “So while more research needs to be done to confirm exactly why nudity could make us happier, the findings have the potential to help those with body image problems in the future”, West explains.
Dr. West also suggests that further research, “including longitudinal designs and randomized controlled trials would shed more light on these initial findings. While representation at the two naturist events was diverse, most of the respondents to the first survey were male, most were white, most were straight, and most were middle-aged. While the same effects were found when gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and age were included as factors in the analyses, Dr West believes it would be useful to conduct research with more diverse populations.”
Does Being Naked Make You Happier?
Dr. West’s desires to conduct further research should not detract from the conclusion that naturism appears to have psychological benefits. Heck, for a long time many people, even health professionals, assumed that public nudity was a sign of psychological dysfunction (4). This perception has stuck, with no help from the amateur porn industry, even though an increasing number of people are now taking part in clothes-free activities (5).
The findings certainly indicate that naturism appears to have positive effects, not negative ones. As such, Dr. West suspects that it could offer a low-cost, widely available solution to the problem of body dissatisfaction. “At the very least”, he concludes, “this is worth investigating”.