Are you a Naked Person?

Via Alden Wicker
on Mar 10, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

Your comfort with nudity says a lot about who you are.

Let’s step away for a moment from all the debate surrounding nudity, sex, and whether nudity means selling stuff through sex. Or something.

What I really want to know is this: are you a naked person?

Hey, it’s an important question. I’m not asking if you’re a nudist, an exhibitionist, or a Playboy model. I’m just asking if you’re comfortable in your nakedness. After bikram yoga, do you strip off your sweaty pants in the locker room while chatting with your neighbor? Do you jump into a dressing room with your best friend so you can look at each other’s outfits? Do you feel comfortable sauntering across the bedroom – no, the living room – in

Credit: tallacman1 on Flickr

just your skivvies while your significant other watches with a surprised grin?

I think your view of nakedness says more about you than how conventionally beautiful you are. It’s not about how many packs you’ve got in your stomach, or how much bounce you’ve got in your boobs. It’s about how you approach life. People who feel comfortable naked are apt to give bear hugs. They relish food and will share theirs with you, and will also spear some off of your plate. They like to make new friends, and don’t judge others based on what they are wearing.  If they fart in public, they just laugh and say, “Whoops.” Naked people don’t mind what other people think of them, and will take risks in the pursuit of fun. I’m not saying naked people are better; they just approach life differently.

Not-naked people approach life more cautiously. They want to do things right, and worry about being seen as reckless or inappropriate. They value long-standing relationships over meeting new people, and are careful about eating right. Whether or not you’re a naked person says more about you than your zodiac sign, the place you were born, or your level of education.

Credit: AvaJune on Flickr

I asked my sister this question over a couple of beers last year, and she told me that she is definitely not a naked person. If she is in the bedroom, getting ready to go out, and her loving husband walks in and exclaims, “You’re naked!” (no doubt delighted) she becomes self-conscious and dashes into the bathroom.  I, on the other hand, regularly cause my roommate to avert her eyes when I wander into the kitchen for a glass of water with nothing but a thong on. Our mother is not a naked person. Neither is my best friend. I cause all these people consternation when I forget my towel and decide to make the trip to the bathroom without it, propriety be damned. But then again, I cause them consternation in a lot of other ways as well. It’s just the way I am. I would strip off my clothes when I was two-years-old whenever I got the chance.

Try this game next time you are out with a friend: ask them about acquaintances you share and whether they are naked people. You’ll have fun parsing it out. “She makes dirty jokes all the time. She’s definitely a naked person.” Or, “She’s a naked person once you get to know her.”

It becomes shorthand for the nuances of a person’s personality. “Is he a naked person?” can answer the question of how outgoing he is, whether he would accept an offer of a puff of your blunt, whether you should hug him when you first meet, or offer a hand shake.

So maybe next time you really want to get to know somebody, ask him or her this question. “Are you a naked person?”

Photo: Matthew Blasi


Learning to Make Friends with Ourselves: Pema Chodron video on Maitri.

A mindful diet doesn’t include dieting. How to be in harmony with our body, speech, and mind:


About Alden Wicker

Alden Wicker is a freelance journalist and founder of, a blog about all things sustainable in New York City and beyond. She also writes about electronic music, personal finance, and yoga for publications such as Well + Good, Refinery29, LearnVest, Huffington Post and Narratively.


72 Responses to “Are you a Naked Person?”

  1. anniegirl1138 says:

    I am a naked person, I guess. Nudity within my home and with my husband has never been an issue, and I am puzzled by women who freak out about nudity in a locker/change room.

    But I am still reserved around people I don't know and being touched at all by someone I don't know or know just a little is not okay with me. Even people who stand too close in a check out line feels a bit invasive.

    Perhaps I am not naked enough, but there are some situations that call for clothing and space bubbles, imo.

  2. mikeslominsky says:

    I want to be a naked person, but I'm not. Accepting where I'm at right now is important, no doubt. I really want to know how to get to the point of being a naked person, though.

  3. latexsolarbeef says:

    i'm naked right now

  4. innkeeper says:

    I am NEVER NEVER EVER naked. Just the thought makes me cringe. But….I kinda envy folks who are naked people…I'm just not wired that way.

  5. sofree roots says:

    being naked in nature – communing with the elements with my skyclad being – is part of my spiritual practice. i was initiated at 17 at Wreck Beach in Vancouver – a most stunning cool clothing optional community beach… it took about 5 mins before i found myself stripping my clothes off, running into the water, feeling the free-est ever, knowing i was going to be alright….

    years later, sick in my soul, not knowing what was up, i came to know that i must practice this again. when i found my fav clothing optional place in the whole wide world, i began practicing naturism on a regular basis and know this is why my health issues are as transformed as they are.

    we’re all beautiful, people! the whole image game is a trap and a prison! not one body is the same and the diversity is truly a stupendous garden of flowers!!! open yur soul eyes!!!

    disengage from the image game and look for, see and know the beauty in everyone’s eyes which are connected to a heart, which is connected to a soul, which is connected to Source…. we are truly one, the particles of the quantum wave – if we Re-Member…. and remembering that together is divine onelove ecstasy!!!

    it’s such a relief when others see everything, lumps and bumps and scars and still talk to us, get to know us, in spite of our bodies! there is such maturity and intelligence in the naturist community! if we become romantically interested in someone, when we finally, slowly, fully connect more intimately, it’s not about seeing body parts but about communing with our minds, hearts and souls, and our bodies are simply the vehicle with which we experience the gifts of touch, sound and movement…. the door to our birthright to truly, deeply being a wave of ecstasy!!!

    may all beings remember being skyclad!



  6. Tom Mulhall says:

    Hi Alden, My name is Tom Mulhall. I am a naked person as I am the PR Chair of an organization called the American Association for Nude Recreation We represent hundred's of thousands naked people. And my wife and I own a clothing optional resort in sunny Palm Springs, CA called the Terra Cotta Inn So I guess you could consider us professional naked people. We were just on the TV show The Doctors a month ago on an episode called The Naked Truth about your Health.
    From a professional naked persons point of view, you are RIGHT ON. Naked people are more fun, are more social, We love food (but many also eat healthy food). We love meeting new people and relish our long time friends.

    You only live once and we get the most out of life. It is interesting that people commented they envy naked people. Sadly it's the fear of the unknown that prevents them from becoming one of us.. Naked people are the nicest people you will ever meet. If you are naturally a happy smiley person, then deep down you are really a naked person just waiting to get out of your clothes. Everyone should try nude sunbathing at some point. Once you do, you'll love it. The only thing you have to lose is your funny tan lines. Tom

  7. zuko says:

    I've been sleeping naked all my life.. only way i can really sleep. Every morning, walking down the steps, letting the sun hit me body right.. all while walking down the hallways, through the open rooms, watching the cars pass by. (lol) Big Love for this article!

  8. Joe says:

    I'm a naked person, figuratively at all times, physically whenever possible. Also, just got back from Mardi Gras, where my partner and I saw lots of naked persons (males – dancing on the bars, and on Fat Tuesday, a few in the streets).

  9. JohnS says:

    I am a NAKED PERSON. Have been since about 17. Sleep nude all the time & only own 1 pr of PJ's… Just in case…. Never wore then more that 2-3 times. Losing the clothes as soon as I get home is done unconsciencely. I love spending the day at the lake getting a nice full tan and taking a dip in the water to cool off. I have even had a few opportunities to work naked too…
    I have installed floor tile in one home(3bedrooms, 2bathrooms, kitchen hallway laundry room, living room & entryway.
    I also installed Floor tiles for my landlady's kichen & entryway. Painted her bedroom, hallway, kitchen and dining room.
    I also installed 8000 square feet of hardwood laminate flooring in a friends house nude… (Which was a very good thing as this was last year during the heat wave and she didn't have AC….. I also did some painting for her too…

    Ya I am a naked person & I love it. I would highly recommed everyone to be a naked person !


  10. Ivy Stirling says:

    Well surely we are all born "naked persons". What happened?

  11. ValerieMitchell says:

    Such truth in what you've said.

  12. rosewood says:

    i have some work that needs doing in my house…. 😉

  13. rosewood says:

    this seems to me to apply more to women than men. i am a naked person, but many women are shy about their bodies. men on the other hand, seem ready to shuck clothes at the "drop of a hat."

  14. Emily says:

    I am a naked person. I always thought it came from years of swimming competitively and being used to walking around in a swimsuit while many others were fully clothed. Just today I watched a mother "shield" her 7 year old girl with a towel in a locker room while the girl changed out of her swimsuit. I always find those scenes very strange, as I do undress while talking to my friend.

    A movie scene that has stuck with me (but I don't know what movie – perhaps you do): a cool, buff, surfer chick totally undresses and redresses while standing next to her car talking to a guy she just met. She does it completely modestly, except for the fact that we know she is undressing. I found the scene very sexy.

  15. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks for the comment! Honor to hear from a professional naked person! As for myself, I'm super-comfortable naked…alone or with a loved one. I love walking around the house naked, it's always strangely cheering.

    All that said, I wasn't brought up skinny-dipping or anything, and turn into a huge prude if I have to be naked around anyone else. Weird. ~ W.

  16. […] ball at the park this morning with Soma. I am looking forward to yoga later and glad to be at elephant journal. I’d like to write an article about ebookling this week. elephant journal is dedicated to […]

  17. […] you a Naked Person? Are you a Naked Person? — Your comfort with nudity says a lot about who you are. Alden Wicker on Mar 10, 2011 at The […]

  18. jim says:

    Agree. It's the same as the old Q: are you an extrovert or an introvert? Most people fall somewhere in between. Also, we often forget about the environmental factor••

  19. Marinboy says:

    I am a naked person. I started as a teenager with private nudity, some at home and esome outdoors. In my 30's I got up the courage to visit a landed naturist club and felt so at home I was sorry I did not find this sanctuary earlier. Now nudism offers a sane and enjoyable escape in an insane world. I intorduced my wife to naturism and sadly she died young of cancer before we could have children . I still hope to meet a naturist woman who, as I am, is totally at ease with her body and going clothes free whenever possible. I hope to have children and have a naturist household. I have no experience having a naturist family environment since my parents were strict textiles. I am assuming this is a natural way to family cohesion and openness but I would welcome the experiences of those raised in such households to know the issues I might face and how to best manage them.

  20. PankoJo says:

    Gotta admit, I'm a naked person.

  21. […] next week when I showed up for my lesson, Harry was the one who was exposed (totally naked) this week. After a moment, an apology for forgetting about my lesson and a quick change, we […]

  22. MAC says:

    Stereotype much? What's the basis for these assertions? Just your gut feeling? I know lots of people–both comfortable and uncomfortable with nudity–who defy these characterizations: "People who feel comfortable naked are apt to give bear hugs. They relish food and will share theirs with you, and will also spear some off of your plate. They like to make new friends, and don’t judge others based on what they are wearing.  If they fart in public, they just laugh and say, “Whoops.” Naked people don’t mind what other people think of them, and will take risks in the pursuit of fun."

  23. […] our obsession with sex, American culture doesn’t really encourage nakedness (physically or emotionally). And if all the pleasantries and social constructs we use weren’t bad enough, we add social […]

  24. YOGA BEAR says:

    I wish that we could be naked all the time. There could be no hiding behind fancy or expensive clothes. What you see is what you get!

  25. yogijulian says:


  26. yoyoyogi says:

    I’m an enthusiastic naturist myself and not a prude by any means – and am curious why you keep on being naked around people you know are uncomfortable with it, like your roommate. I’m sure nobody wants to crush your spirit ( at least i dont ) but there is such a thing as consideration for other people’s emotional comfort, even if you think they’d be better off getting over it. If you share a home, aren’t her feelings at least as important as yours? My own feeling about it is that being naked is awesome, but I’m not trying to make a statement with it – so if others in a shared space aren’t comfortable, then I throw something on. No big deal.

  27. Joe says:

    Love it! You speak so much of my own experience and feeling! If I had one wish to be granted, it would be that ALL people be naked in the true sense you describe!
    Skyclad Joe

  28. sergio cossu says:

    I am a naked person, always. And 'my condition. It is not a philosophy, but it is a mode of existence. a way of being with me, with the Other and the World. No I feel better when I'm naked, I just feel myself.
    bye bye Serge – Sardinia Naked Group – Sardinia Island – Italy in Facebook

  29. In one own's abode, dress or undress as one pleases. If she were rooming with a conservative muslim, would she be expected to conform to Muslim sensitivities every time her roommate had family over. If the roommate is uncomfortable, she needs to move rather than making others conform. Most people who are uncomfortable with being naked quickly get used to the nudity of others if practiced. See

  30. Pamm Ford says:


    I've always hated being dressed and appreciate what you say. I consider myself a nudist and live clothing free in my home.


  31. Mark says:

    I'm a naked person, but I was not always one. Like most people I was raised to think that it's not appropriate for anybody to see your body after you're old enough to dress yourself. As a skinny kid I would never even take my shirt off because people would exclaim at how skinny I was – which was not meant as a put-down, but being singled out like that was so uncomfortable. In my 20's I stumbled across a group of nudists at a local secluded beach, and I decided to join them. It was awkward at first, but it was an adventure, and I knew I was on to something when nobody freaked out on my skinny body. Years later and I'm still skinny, but I know what a sham and a shame it is that commerical/corporate interests influence how we perceive our bodies and our self worth. Now I practice nudism. Nudism/naturism is not a perfect practice – there's alot of misinformation about it because of the internet, and because it's been marginalized for so long. But if you learn the core values and find a supportive community it's a wonderful thing to experience. It is NOT about showing off or getting turned on by others nudity. Don't believe what the mass media tells you. Try it yourself and then decide for yourself if it's right for you. Don't let anybody pressure you into it, and do not post naked pictures of yourself online.

  32. Naked Angel says:

    I am a naked person. I am a nudist and I am naked 99% of the time at home. I'm most comfortable naked. It's my natural state. Unlike many nudists, I don't mind being photographed naked by strangers – they don't need my permission.

  33. TinMan says:

    I think fear of being naked relates to a sense of self and how you approach relationships. (I am male 33) For example I have friends that have no problem being naked. They will share every thought and emotion that goes through their mind. They are interested in people at deep emotional levels. We (my friends collectively) do a lot of deep wilderness/river camping trips/play hockey/have gym memberships which means lots of opportunity/necessity to be naked. None of my friends are exhibitionists or nudists – but a few will not in any way be naked. If my friend is afraid of being naked in front of me I feel like they don't trust me not to judge them by something like how their body looks/how they think I perceive their body looks. These friends are the same ones that have a VERY HARD TIME opening up emotionally or sharing any personal experience. As soon as you talk about anything personal/deeply emotional they turn into wallflowers. I guess some of us are open books – some, not so much. But definitely – my friends who go to unusual extremes to avoid changing in front of people are the same ones that never share in an emotional/personal way. I wonder what the correlation is? upbringing? personality? genetic? cultural?

  34. Not naked says:

    With all the pedophiles out and about, no wonder the woman in the locker room shields her naked child. I always do it too, partly because I don't want her to be too comfortable taking off her clothes around people, due to the reason i stated in the first sentence. A child is easily manipulated, and if she/he is not taught to protect her privacy, bad things can happen you know, when parents are not around.
    Also, we are all different. I am extremely uncomfortable being naked. I once went for a massage and decided to never do it again – it was a horrible experience for me. I don't have a reason why. Nature, I guess. But don't judge us just because you are different.

  35. anaguardia says:

    But the question is, can you be a too naked person?

  36. thanatoid says:

    I don't agree with any of these incredibly broad statements about comfort with nudity. This seems to be based entirely off of characteristics observed of people the author knows personally, probably with a high degree of confirmation bias. It's not representative of people as a whole; probably not even as a majority.

  37. J.D. says:

    I suppose I would be categorized as a not naked person.

    I understand your joy of nakedness. I have many people in my life like you and I love them and their nakedness (I love you all for wanting to talk about it!). I do not cringe to see…I giggle when they decide to run around and towel snap each other’s fleshy parts.

    The difference is that they've never made the generalizations you have about who and what I am based on this choice. They don’t label me because I don’t care to lounge around with double d's all askew and my ladybits aflutter. It ain’t my thing. I tried to see your perspective of me as a not-naked person (thank you for your thoughts) and I was challenged to not feel a wee bit insulted by the picture you paint, even though you were clear that you did not outright say one was superior to the other. You see, the naked people in my life have *never* thought me "cautious". They've never made me feel that my choice to remain clothed had anything to do with me being worried about "what other people think” , nor have they ever announced that I don't "take risks in the name of fun". In fact, I have a long and lovely list of things I did alone because no one was crazy enough to come with me. I have not lived a cautious life (phew). I've been reckless, inappropriate, and even more importantly, I am really good at bear hugs, lion tackles, and tiger pounces. I am trying to remember that you may have met some non-naked people that aren't like me, but then, that’s my point.

    Do we really need to be one or the other? Or does the joy and self-empowerment come from simply being what we are and who we are in that beautiful moment? I think choose this rather then picking a label. I choose to refrain from assuming that those who are not like me in this respect are not to be categorized at all unless science suggests otherwise and accounts for all the lovely variances that float in between.

    If I must pick then perhaps it’s best to say…I am Bi-Naked and I am sure there is a scale somewhere. I laugh to think of what the descriptions on that scale would say if I wrote it and where all my friends would find themselves. Peace be with you and your badass naked selves.

  38. Robin A. Shipley says:

    I would have to agree with your nakedness correlation. Can one be a part-time naked person? It is true society tries to force the perfection of body & youth & being well dressed. But we need to be comfortable in our skin and for some folks this is a tall order, for others not so much. I have always told people, make friends with yourself.

  39. Theresa B says:

    Naked family of 4. My son started covering all on his own by the time he reached about 11 years old. He is 13 now. Interesting that he grew up naked and on his own became clothed. My daughter now 10 did her last at home piano lesson about age 8 naked. Poor (male) teacher pulled me aside and asked me if I noticed. Good thing he use to be a kindergarten teacher so the element of surprise was just met with a "play that again in G minor and let me talk to mom one sec". I think the more you treat it like a hidden filthy secretive entity, the more sexual the body becomes in society.

  40. Pete says:

    I grew up naked, as did my kids, with me and my wife. At parties I strip off on arrival, and usually lots of others follow suit pretty quickly. I'm usually naked at the beach, in the countryside, at home (obviously), and nearly always when visiting friends. It's how I feel comfortable, and others are totally accepting, whether they are naked or not.. I sometimes wonder whether there'd be less problem with porn if most of us were uninhibitedly naked, and if sex were often less private than at present. Nudity obviously makes our bodies more available to others, but so long as people respect any boundaries we make surely that's totally cool? At kids parties mine were always the only naked ones, but no-one seemed to mind! It's the way God made us, and should, I reckon, be the default condition for all of us, unless circumstances (sport, work, uniform, not giving offence) dictate otherwise. But the law doesn't agree, of course, so a change in law will be achieved, as it always is, by ordinary people ( young ones specially, perhaps) leading society into nude-friendly attitudes.

  41. Pete says:

    Kids vary, specially when their sexual characteristics begin to develop. Some cover up, others are pleased to exhibit their development. Either way is fine, and in our experience once the changes are well established cheerful nudity becomes routine again.

  42. Pat says:

    I am definitely a naked person! Sleep best when I'm naked, can wander around my house naked with no qualms. It often surprises people how comfortable I am…my sister is a naked person too 🙂

  43. Pablomago says:

    I remember one time out skinny dipping with a group of friends. Non of us had any trouble being naked together. But when we got back home two of the women who were with us got really shy about changing clothes and had to have the door closed. I found it funny. Out on a river in the woods you could be naked, but not in someone's house?

  44. Diana says:

    I've always found it freeing to strip off my clothes as soon as I returned from the day out, and lounge comfortably. It sounds weird, but once I was in a small neighborhood bar in NYC and I convinced a half dozen of my friends to take off their tops with me. The mood of the bar changed and became noticeably more open and relaxed. I've done this at parties occasionally too, with mostly close friends. It was never sexual, and if your projection is not sexual, there is an openness projected that is not easily explained.

  45. Pete says:

    Hi Diana, That sounds just right, and chimes in with my experience too. At parties or in groups of friends (often with strangers too) I strip off, and it's amazing how quickly others do too. By the end no-one can really see the point of us wearing clothes at all.Is it, do you think, about being unprotected, open and accepting, so we all know just who we are and don't need clothes to hide it? You're right it's not about sex, or even good looks, just rather about being human, easy and uninhibited. I'd love to see carefree nakedness become totally acceptable pretty well everywhere.

  46. jennablackphotography says:

    I kind of wonder if everyone would be accepting of a man who was like "oh, I wander around naked and it makes people really uncomfortable, but that's just who I am."

    There's a huge difference between being willing to be intimate with people (like being naked and sharing food) and forcing intimacy (like being naked in a non-naked-appropriate space and stealing food). There are pretty significant legal and ethical issues at hand with these. Because actually, people have a say in how intimate your interactions with them are.

  47. Marcus Goater says:

    I love to paint naked, especially with the warm afternoon sun on my back, somehow it makes the painting turn out more 'lively'

  48. Valarie says:

    I would think that compatibility would need to be established before making such a major decision (perhaps it was?) to share an intimate space. Otherwise, this argument would be never ending as to who's sensitivities 'deserve' the determining respect.

  49. taraeisler says:

    I find this article to be quite egotistical, self-congratulatory, and full of (inaccurate) stereotyping. "Oh look at me, I love to be naked! I'm obviously better at life compared to people who don't love to be naked, who are obviously closed off, less adventurous and less outgoing, and really, just less enjoyable to be around!"

    For the record, I love being naked. I never thought to give myself a huge pat on the back about it though, or call out people who don't…