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From Being Naked and Afraid to Dating Naked – Why Is TV Nudity Doing So Well?

| September 28, 2014 | 24 Comments

How Naked and Afraid Paved The Way For Dating Naked and TV Nudity?

Are People Not Naked and Afraid Anymore?

For those of you who may not be aware, we receive requests from production companies and casting agents every other week. These companies, for the most part, are looking for people who are comfortable being naked on screen, to participate in their reality shows. But what caused this surge of interest in naked people on TV to begin with?

Most people know that TV networks are always looking for new ideas for shows that will bring in good money. This is no big secret. But what they care about more is not losing money or sponsors. Appeasing the sponsors is the top priority as they are the driving force behind every show. Without their money there would be no TV show.

So how did we get from no nudity to lots of naked people on TV? For the most part and as a general rule, nudity does not sell, it is the sexual component that does. But shows like Naked and Afraid or Dating Naked don’t really have the sexual component… all they have is naked people doing different things, and many of the things they do are by no means attractive or sexual. The reason why TV networks are so overly concerned about simple nudity is that they do not want to lose sponsors. Sponsors are looking for exposure (pardon the pun). They are also concerned about where and when their ads appear as they do not want to piss off their clientele.

So what was the reason that everything changed with regards to nudity on TV? The simple answer  is – the viewers!

naked and afraid discovery channel nudity reality tv young naturists america

Naked and Afraid, Discovery Channel

The big game changer for non sexualized nudity on TV was the show Naked and Afraid. The sheer volume of viewers was so enormous that the sponsors came beating down the Discovery Channel’s doors. Despite the nudity, they wanted to showcase their products to this massive new audience. The ratings were so high that no one cared about the nudity anymore – the results speak for themselves.

Without Naked and Afraid, none of the others TV shows like Dating Naked or Buying Naked (real estate show on TLC), would have ever been produced. The interesting aspect of all this is the fact that the general public tunes in initially for the nudity, but keeps watching for the content.

To be perfectly honest, we turned down VH1 when they first reached out to us months ago. They were quite surprised at how uninterested we were and naturally they wanted to know why. I drafted a somewhat long email that explained the core issues we have with sensationalizing nudity. I gave them all the reasons for my concern and explained every issue as best I could. I also expressed hope that they would focus on the content and not on the nakedness.

Now Dating Naked is a hit. In my opinion, the producers at VH1’s Dating Naked did a great job. They created a show that was far better than we had ever thought possible (at least these days). I for one am happy to say that I was wrong about Dating Naked – I could not ask for much more from a mainstream TV network (other than making the non censored versions available as well).

I learned all this during a meeting I had with a production company over a year ago. I also learned that while many of them agree that blurring the body parts may be sending a wrong message, they look at it as a starting point. Perhaps by launching more shows that are not focused on sexuality, we will be able to see full nudity on TV in the near future. It is all basically up to the sponsors, and the sponsors go where the viewers are. So in essence, it is up to us, the viewers, to dictate what can or can’t be shown.

I urge people to comment on this post as some of the producers may be reading it. I also ask that people use email, letters and engage on social networks – give props for how far TV nudity has come but also mention the body shame that may be caused due the censorship aspect. Felicity and I are constantly engaging with people and networks but we need you to support our efforts. Re-tweeting, sharing posts and engaging directly are the tools to make this happen. So please make your voices heard!

Now it is your turn to weigh in… I would love to hear your thoughts about the naked reality shows and the recent spike in nudity on TV. Do you think they are doing a good or bad job as far as the nudity is concerned?

This article was published by Young Naturists and Nudists America – YNA

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Category: Dating Naked VH1, Nudist Blogs, Social Nudity

About the Author ()

Jordan Blum is a lifelong nudie and co-founder of Young Naturists America.
24 comments
BobSantoro
BobSantoro

As a 25 year nudist, (my wife and children included) we are so glad the networks are not making a mockery or a joke of The Lifestyle.  We all hope and wish that Nudity could someday become mainstream and Americans can think more like europeans and not be so incredibly hung up, inmature, and such gaukers about it.  Bob Santoro

Santa Barbara, CA


NathanPowers
NathanPowers

Based on some recent stats and articles I have read, none of the "Naked" shows appear to be doing well. I think that, after watching 10 minutes of each show, the nudity becomes inconsequential (ho-hum), and all that remains is the typical "reality" show type of plot, which, frankly, is not that interesting.


What they need are REAL story lines with REAL people, who just HAPPEN to be nude.

ChristopherShadwick
ChristopherShadwick

As for Dating Naked, the comments of both genders have been more frequent, but again, I really don't see that the content of this show is overtly sexual by any means. *

ChristopherShadwick
ChristopherShadwick

I have watched several episodes of both Dating Naked and Naked and Afraid.  In the case of Naked and Afraid, while some of the male contestants have made mildly sexual comments about their female counterpart, I really do not see how the show overall can be seen as sexualizing, at least not by any of the content on the show itself.  As for Dating Naked, the comments of both genders have been more frequent, but again, I really see that the content of this show is overtly sexual by any means.  I mean, keep in mind, as we all know the participants are not naturists, so you'd expect them to make sexually-related observations about their date of the opposite sex.  Does either show necessarily further the actual naturist cause directly?  No!  It can be said to be a slow step in the direction of getting people more comfortable with nudity on television, but is that step leaving the footprint naturists want left?  Honestly, I think it is very hard to say.  From what I've seen online (I don't quite live in an area where public nudity is even remotely legal), there seems to be slightly more of a presence of people who like doing activities, like being at some special events in the buff.  Probably some of that is nonchalant nudity and some of it is likely of a sexual or perhaps even exhibitionist nature.  I guess all I am getting at is I'd like to see where things go.  Maybe that step is leaving a "muddy" footprint behind and ultimately naturism will be affected negatively by it.  On the other hand, slow introduction of relatively non-sexual nudity could event lead to more relaxed restrictions on social and public nudity, which could ultimately benefit naturists.  As for the sexual angle, it seems to me the majority of the concerns about that are focused on what the producers' or TV networks' intentions are, and maybe the intent of the majority of viewers.  We can all make a fair assumption that some decent-sized component of those involved in the production of the show have the intention of increasing ratings by showing nudity.  And, yes, they probably are exploiting the concept that many non-naturist people are going to view for sexual reasons.  But should anyone let the network or production team intentions muddy the content of the actual shows themselves?  I don't think so.  You're taking one intent and splashing it all over the entire packaging by doing so, IMAO (that's "in my arrogant opinion").  As at least one person who was tagging it all a sexual venture, someone seems to be very cynical and immediately looking for the worst possible outcome down the line!

TomPine
TomPine

Say what you want about content, but the networks sell these shows for one reason ... the sexual angle. How can a show about dating naked NOT be about sexuality? Though the content may be "cleaned up" for general consumption, don't be fooled. It's all about money and we all know that "sex sells." Sorry to be so cynical, but VH1 isn't, by any stretch, a naturist organization, is it? Naturist organizations have a heck of a time getting their members to do anything to further the cause. Are we now to expect TV shows to carry our water? Not likely. I recently viewed the "Act Naturally" movie and, though they put in a few good points about social nudity, most of it revolved around the usual slap-and-tickle nonsense that make naturists cringe. At least I did.

JosephAnnino
JosephAnnino

Generally, rules are relaxed on cable after I think 11pm, with the idea that "no children are watching".  Its silly, but that is the compromise that exists right now between free speech and our puritanical history.  Late night would be a place to start with removing the blurring.  Eventually, that may become normalized for other parts of the schedule.  It has happened before, as more and more language has become uncensored.

Baviaantje
Baviaantje

The problem here is that nudity is assumed to be automatically pornographic, and that attitude gets reinforced every time it's presented to give people kicks, even in a censored form. And then once it's established as being "naughty", the lure of breaking rules becomes part of the fun. Of course we say nudity isn't porn, but if it's used to create a thrill for the viewer, isn't it automatically true? These nude TV shows are just promising some excitement with something forbidden, while letting the network deny that it's porn with the fuzzed-out parts. We could say that it needs to be more explicit to be actual porn, but I don't agree--morally it's porn, even if it isn't legally seen that way.


From fig leaves to electronically blurred crotches. We've certainly progressed over the years.

livefyrebob
livefyrebob

TV, film, 'net, books, newspapers, radio, etc. are all good ways for truth, beauty, and goodness to be passed around.

My wife and I gave up TV in 1990.  We subscribe to two newspapers, listen to KUSC-FM (classical, non-commercial), and surf the 'net daily.

naked is normal

victimization, exploitation are bad bad bad

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control are good good good

Gregorio Delame
Gregorio Delame

As the statement goes," God created nudists. Sinners created clothes." I am DVRing both telecasts. The partcipants are doing nothing inappropriate to anyone including themselves. There have been some men on Dating Naked who have had a premature ejaculation, which I  think is understandable give the fact that for the most part none of them are nudists and have a difficult time controlling their subconscious minds The only reason to hide genitals is if the pubic hair is not trimmed. You see everyone's rear end what is wrong with the front end?  

MichaelConnolly
MichaelConnolly

I've not seen Dating Naked as yet... but Naked And Afraid has me addicted, I've even applied... still waiting "don't call us we'll call you"  :(

I think any show that portrays nudity in a non sexual light goes a long way to helping people get past their body phobia issues... just have to watch out for the "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN??????" brigade.

I just found out today that Naked Dating is coming to free to air TV in Australia on the 9th of October, so I'll be able to check it out for myself.

Steven Clark
Steven Clark

There are more people who will cuss you for running around naked and telling you that doing so will send you to hell ....... BUT THEY WILL BE THE FIRST ONES TO MAKE SURE THEY DON'T MISS AN EPISODE OF WHAT EVER NAKED SHOW IS ON.......hmmmmm, what do they call those types of people????

seanturvey
seanturvey

In 2000 I remember a friend showing us the video of him applying to do the first season of Survivor naked. It was that year that they had the episode with the guy who went naked on his birthday. I have always felt that I was around for an important moment of history.

Toga1cat
Toga1cat

Hopefully it will further the acceptance of nudity.

Merely being nude doesn't mean vulgarity.

jochanaan
jochanaan

By blurring body parts, these shows are inadvertently sending a message that these body parts are shameful, improper to show or only for sexual activity. Let us see that ordinary folks get nude when not doing sex too!

NickAlimonos
NickAlimonos

I think any nudity on TV, sensationalized or not, is a good thing; it only helps to pave the way for the kind of innocent nudity we want to see. I know I've been doing my part for years with the naturist characters in my novels and as times change I am seeing greater acceptance of this idea. Naturist ideals will never become mainstream until we have a footing in all media outlets.

ChristopherJudson
ChristopherJudson

I don't think they're doing s good job as far as nudity is conceded. Censoring it kinda turns it into an exhibition program. Cable networks don't even have to blur nudity if they really didn't want to.

FelicityJones
FelicityJones moderator

@TomPine Have you seen the show? Or that public naked dancing ad they released prior to the show's debut? They actually haven't been focusing on the sexuality aspect with the nudity. Yes, there is sex (at night after their dates) and sexuality, but a lot of the nudity is very innocent. Of course we don't expect them to be spokespeople for naturism, but like it or not they do show that humans are capable of engaging in social nudity without sex involved. Not sexuality (which never goes away) but sex. The people go on dates where they swim, go zip-lining, biking, jet skiing, even bird watching. But for the most part they don't engage in sexual behavior on these dates.

Sure some viewers will tune in for the excitement of seeing naked people, as it's taboo, and VH1 plays into that with the word "uncensored." But viewers will also see simple, innocent nudity and that is what's beneficial to naturism.

WylieRichardson
WylieRichardson

@Baviaantje But the definition of 'porn' is 'artwork or media designed soley to arouse sexual desire'.  Surely there is more to "ND" than that;  for example, the competition factor (seeing who the contestants will choose, just like previous 'dating' - themed shows).  

wylierichardson1967
wylierichardson1967

@ChristopherJudson What do you mean by 'exhibition' program?  It's simply meant to generate ratings - and therefore ad dollars - for the network, just like (virtually) every other TV show around.  

capt_james
capt_james

@ChristopherJudson I agree with you, the cable channels blurring out the natural bodies in a non sexual way is just putting this issue further behind...

TomPine
TomPine

@FelicityJones @TomPine

Just parsing words a bit, since people often leave out the "uality" when they see sexuality. I also understand your point, but I don't agree with your conclusions.  The big draw of these kinds of shows is the sex angle, sexuality or otherwise. Now, I have no problem with sexuality, per se, but I don't see these shows furthering the naturist cause, to any extent at all. As I said, call me cynical. I keep hoping, though.

That said, I think the work you and Jordan are doing with YNA is admirable and the future of naturism. It's good to know that there are younger naturists in the ranks to carry the torch when we "old fogeys" past it on. I've linked you on our website, The Naked Truth Naturists (TNTN), and I've met you at the Winter Festival here in Florida. Keep up the good work!