Is Nudity Psychologically Harmful For Children?

Is it okay to be naked in front of your kids? Daily Mail. UK

I am asking this question because almost all of the outrage being expressed against nudity, especially nudity in the home and in public, is prefaced with “My God! What if children see nude people? They’ll be scarred forever!” As a naturist and as a therapist, I obviously don’t believe that nudity in itself causes psychological scarring for children or for adults. We are all nude beneath our clothing and are born nude. We are the only species that covers up because of some sense of shame at our nakedness. But at the same time, I don’t want to let my opinions get in the way of truth, so I went out searching for answers.

Suffer the Little Children to Come Unto Me, 1633, Cornelis van Haarlem

Curiously, I didn’t find any scientific or psychological studies that confirmed that seeing nudity (oneself or others) was psychologically harmful in itself. Where there was harm, other factors were also present. However, I did find serious studies that basically stated that nudity was not the factor in the psychological scarring of children, studies such the one led by Paul Okami (cited below), Higgins and Hawkins (1984), and Dr. Conrad Manning. What was interesting in doing the research was the

Pool in Calgary Canada that was at the centre of vicious rants about traumatising children by seeing naked adults in swimming pool, scarring them for life – 2018.

fact that few children in North America saw any adult nudity while children.

“Given the vehemence with which clinicians and child-rearing specialists often condemn childhood exposure to parental nudity, it is paradoxical that their dire predictions are not supported by the (scant) empirical work that does exist.” [Okami, Olmstead, Abramson, Pendelton, Archives of Sexual Behavior. Volume: 27. Issue: 4, “Early childhood exposure to parental nudity.”

Another study by Lewis and Janda (1988) studied the literature and conducted a study of Seventy-seven males and 133 females to assess the relationship between exposure to nudity and adult well-being.

“The results suggest that childhood exposure to nudity and sleeping in the parental bed are not related to poor sexual adjustment. In fact, for boys, exposure to nudity in early childhood appears to be modestly related to greater

comfort levels with regard to physical contact /affection.” [Lewis and Janda, Archives of Sexual Behavior Vol. 17, No. 4, 1988 “The Relationship Between Adult Sexual Adjustment and Childhood Experiences Regarding Exposure to Nudity]

Studies aside, society judges harshly. And as with all harsh responses, reality is not the issue, only the dark shadow hanging over and within a society and its constituents. Will children be scarred by the sight of nudity? If our collective shadow has its way, we will make sure that they do. Left to nature, never!

3 thoughts on “Is Nudity Psychologically Harmful For Children?

  1. Robert, I absolutely share with you the conviction that for a child to see a parent or other adult naked does absolutely no irreparable psychic damage of itself: I’ve heard and seen too many witnesses to the contrary over my nearly 4 decades of active participation in clothes-free social venues of all kinds. And yet I find it not just fascinating, but unnerving, that in our North American culture in its current state, there is such increasing paranoia about the body and sexuality, on one hand, and about a perceived need to “protect oneself” from violence that could be inflicted, by of all things, a naked, flaccid penis. So I’m very grateful to you for maintaining a calm, reasonable voice, and for speaking out as quietly but clearly as you can. Thank you!

  2. As a society, we seem to have this peculiar need to be protected from what is very unlikely to harm us yet we seem determined to do nothing at all to protect ourselves from what we know will certainly harm us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.