Is Family Nudity and Nudism Really Good for Children?

| May 20, 2012 | 21 Comments

Is Nudism, and Family Nudity Good for Children? Aren’t Kids Nudists Anyway?

Is Nudism Good for Children and The Truth Behind Nudity in the Family:

Benjamin Spock, Ann Landers, and Abigail van Buren, all popular authorities on child-rearing and other matters, have often warned of the dangers of exposing children to nudity. Though their theories on the matter are well-known, are they truly valid? Is there solid research to prove it? Studies of how nudity affects kids are actually sparse, though they have slightly increased in number in recent years.

The findings and their interpretations are often influenced by researchers’ own preconceptions, including findings that may better explain the effects of parents’ attitudes toward nudity on kids rather than the actual effect of children being exposed to nudity.

Family Nudism YNA

Family Nudism – Nude Kids and Mom Enjoying Some Naked Quality Time Together

However since the late 1970’s, more objective and controlled research has taken place in an effort to identify the truth of how exposure to nudity affects child development. All of this nudism research indicates not only a lack of negative effects, but a whole list of benefits to children.

One of the first truly objective studies was developed by Dr. Marilyn Story, a researcher who sought to examine the role of family social nudity classification on body self-concept development in preschool-aged children. Dr. Story interviewed 264 children aged three to five years as well as their parents. The children were classified in one of three categories: social naturists or simply put – nudist kids, at-home nudist, and non- nudist kids.

Family Nudity YNA

Family Nudity Time – Nudist Dad And His Boy

Each child was interviewed individually as they were asked about their body parts, namely whether they like each of the 16 body parts discussed. Within this study, a correlation was identified between gender and which body parts were most desirable.

The study also found that non- nudist kids most often identified their genitals as their least-liked body parts. Adversely, nudist kids (which basically means – children from nudist homes) identified their genitals as their most-liked body parts and identified no parts of their body that they liked the least. Within this study, naturism / nudism was found to be a more important variable than gender, race, and geographical area in terms of having a positive self-concept, body acceptance, and self-image.

nudist kids

my body

Another important study was conducted by Ron and Juliette Goldman in 1981 to examine children’s perception of clothing and nakedness in regard to modesty in four different locations: North America, England, Australia, and Sweden. Within this study, children aged five to fifteen were studied, and research centered on children’s perceptions of the need for clothing in different circumstances as well as the reason given for the need for clothing.

Though the study was intended to determine which societies were most insistent on wearing clothes for the purpose of modesty, this study determined that children’s perceptions of nakedness was strongly tinged with guilt. As they aged they conformed more to their parents’ modesty training, thereby causing children’s guilt about nakedness to increase with age. Such guilt was found in children who did not understand, accept, or enjoy their body and its sex organs as natural and normal.

Nude Family Naturist Camping At Nudist Campground

Nude Family Naturist Camping At Nudist Campground

Robin Lewis and Louis Janda conducted a study in 1998 to examine the relationship between adult sexual adjustment and childhood exposure to nudity, sleeping in the parental bed, and parental attitudes toward sexuality. These components had mixed results in previous studies, which necessitated further research. Lewis and Janda used an extensive questionnaire to survey 210 undergraduate university students about their childhood experiences with nudity.

Nude Picture Of Naked Young Boys by Jock Sturges

Nude Picture Of Naked Young Boys by Jock Sturges

The results of the study were clear: there is a positive relationship between childhood exposure to nudity and adult sexual comfort. Further, the study found that children from birth to age five who were exposed to nudity felt less discomfort with affection and physical contact as they grew older. Children ages 6-11 who were exposed to nudity (i.e. nudist kids ) had greater self-esteem and knowledge about sex.

Margaret Mead is an anthropologist who has completed many studies on the effects of nudity on children and is one of the most well-known researchers on this topic. Dr. Mead studied cultures throughout the world and noted many negative effects that clothing had in the western culture’s clothing-dependent society.

Family Nudist YNA

Family Nudist Dad And Daughters Enjoying Some Family Naked Time

These effects include a separation of “self” from the “body,” a lack of point of comparison for all body parts due to clothing covering them, a preoccupation with sex that is emphasized through clothing, and a lack of education about the human body related to lack of exposure to it. She further identified that the nudity or partial nudity common to more primitive cultures was not an indication of a lack of modesty, and the way nudity is handled within a culture is more important than the presence of nudity in determining whether it will have negative effects. One area that she emphasizes is that a child must see nudity among adults so that they know what their body will become; this is essential to the developing person.

Nude Picture Of Naked Young Girls by Jock Sturges

Nude Picture Of Naked Young Girls by Jock Sturges

One common theme throughout the research was the effect of the family’s and society’s attitude about nudity on children. The presence of a positive or negative attitude towards nudity was far more important than any other factor in nearly every situation when it came to how a child would react to nudity around them. These studies show that not only is nudity not harmful to children (sorry Dr. Spock), but that they can benefit in various ways from exposure to nudity in a body-positive, accepting environment.

Nudist Family YNA

A Nudist Family – Nude Parents Teaching Naked Kids To Ride A Bike

Children can gain increased knowledge and understanding of the human body in all of its forms along with greater comfort with sexuality and physical contact as they grow older. They also learn to accept their own bodies and have greater self-esteem. Thus it is really up to us as parents, as educators, as individuals, as a society, to adopt a more open and accepting view of nudity for children to benefit.

On a continuing note:

Nudity, Family Nudism and Raising Nudist Kids

Guest nudist Blog

Family Nudism and Raising Nudist Kids

Nudism is a way of life, a philosophy for some. It’s not about stripping off one’s clothes to be an exhibitionist. It is about personal freedom and acceptance of the human body in all its forms and beauty.

I grew up in a nude home that supported nudism and family nudity.

Naked Family Picture With Naturist Nudist Parents

Naked Family Picture With Naturist Nudist Parents

It was only natural that my husband and I also practice family nudism. When in private, we and our children refrain from wearing clothing in our house and secluded garden. We’ve chosen a home that is away from others, allowing us to express ourselves in our own way.

Family Nudism is one form of expression for us. Just as others choose certain clothing to wear, we, in our family, simply choose to wear none.

Family Nudism YNA

Family Nudism At Rock Lodge Nudist Club in NJ

Our young kids, ages four and six, have complete acceptance of their bodies. They know the proper names for their anatomy and use them accordingly.

There is no fear or embarrassment about seeing a person naked. My husband and I often speak about how beautiful our children are. Nudity, in many ways, has brought us all closer together.

As a family, we respect the rights and wishes of others as well as most social norms. If company comes to call, such as other children from from our kids school, or when we go out in public, everyone is dressed. However, as soon as privacy is restored, we are all quick to shed any covering and poof – back to being the naked family again.

Family Nudists YNA

Family Of Nudists Enjoying Some Nudity Time At A Nude Beach

There’s nothing like the sensation of the fresh air and warmth of the sun on the naked body. None of us are uncomfortable while nude in the least. There is nothing sexual about being a naturist and there is nothing sexual or obscene about simple family nudity as well.

We simply enjoy being nude and believe that there is nothing wrong with being in our natural state as we go about our daily lives.

From day one, both my husband and I grew up with in nudist families. We used to gather for special nudist functions so from a young age, we became accustomed to seeing each other’s naked bodies.

Nudist Children

Nudist Children and kids

Denial of the human body will not be a problem in our family. There was no sense of taboo with regards to being nude, nor was there a feeling that something should have been hidden.

As we grew older, my husband and I grew closer and as time went on, we became a couple. As such, we were ready to explore each other in other responsible ways too.

One day, they will grow up and find partners of their own. As our children mature, we wish to teach them the same values and hope they will learn to be responsible and caring adults.

Nudist Family YNA

Nudist Family Hanging Outside in The Nude

We can only hope that they will find others who will accept their bodies and will live in complete acceptance of their natural state if that is what they wish.

Family Nudism and Growing Up As a Nudist Was Published by – Young Naturists and Nudists America YNA

Blogs about nudist kids and Posts About Social Nudity By Young Naturists and Young Nudists America

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Category: Social Nudity Blogs, Body Image Blogs, Nudism and Naturism, Nudist Kids, Social Activism

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Guest blogs written exclusively for Young Naturists America.
  • Spiritmoves

    My in-laws became naturalist when they retired and it has had horrible consequences on the family. They spend half the year in clothing optional communities and very little time with their kids and grandchildren. I find them to be becoming increasingly self-absorbed and no longer wish to spend time with them. They have become selfish people, with disgusting habits and righteous friends who justify bad behavior to me. Family is more important than nudity. They only care about their self-expression and that is disgusting and disgraceful when you have 5 children and 10 grandchildren. I could care less about the nudity, it is the self absorption and righteousness that is too much. They have missed out on a beautiful life!

  • MichaelConnolly

    I have always gone nude around my 4 kids b11, g13 , b15 & b17(no issues until my daughter hit 11… now 13 and she accepts it) and then my step kids who I joined the family 7 years ago at ages b6, g9, & g11
    My wife used to go naked around the house all the time as well in Summer at that time when I joined the family.
    The 2nd eldest step-daughter even went skinny dipping in a local creek as well as at a legal nude beach we were camping near at sunrise… she denies it now though.
    The two girls were both ok with my mine & my wife’s nudity up until the two girls started high school, then they started saying “EWWW mum, put some clothes on” and they also started complaining about me being naked and used to cover their eyes when I walked toward them… My wife felt uncomfortable being naked around the kids so she stopped going naked outside the bedroom and shower, but does not cover up if they happen to walk in on her.
    We went away last year on a beach holiday and my wife and I and her son were at a beach (non nude) in the waves and my wifes bikini top kept coming off so she just took it off and was topless (I was already nude anyway) her two daughters came walking along the beach and saw my wife was topless in the surf… the eldest just rolled her eyes but the 2nd eldest started making a scene “MUM MUM PUT YOUR TOP ON!!!!” other people on the beach thought it was hilarious and the daughter walked off in a huff with her older sister laughing at her!
    My wife eventually took her bikini bottom off as well as it was an old bikini which was too loose and kept falling off anyway… not that anyone could see us beyond the breakers anyway.
    Roll on 12 months and now the 2nd eldest daughter doesn’t even bat an eyelid when I am naked around the house, she talks to me as if nothing is any different and doesn’t say anything.
    We are going away to beach again next month for a holiday… will be interesting to see what happens….

  • Nudistdating1

    Enjoy life by being natural. nudistsocialclub is a place where individuals can relax, be at ease and develop an acceptance of the natural human form. Challenge yourself by trying the nudist lifestyle.

  • Nudistdating1

    cool article!

  • HeartHealthyChris

    I also concur that children and naturism are a healthy combination. I’m living proof, if I may say so myself.
    My parents were naturists from before my birth and I’ve grown up with a healthy body image as well as respect for other humans irespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, validity, obesity or any other labeling possible or customary.
    A health body comes from a healthy mind!

  • dribblepussy

    Nudism 4 children is the most normal uninhibited upbringing a child can have !!!
    All of my 3 Sons have been naked since is so free & natural 4 them & me !!!
    peter watling jp Sydney Australia // & twitter

  • Jason Lee

    nudism is good for children because when a boy sees a guy with an erection he won’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about asking his parents regarding his bodily functions 

  • George Mycroft

    Makes one wonder what Messrs. Spock, Landers and van Buren's exposure (pun intended) to social nudity is/was – ? – if any whatsoever.

    How can one advise someone else whether or not they should smell a rose, and indeed what it smells like, if one has not in fact inhaled deeply of a rose oneself?…

    • Carl Mario Nudi

      I have always thought that Ann Landers and her twin sister, Abigail Van Buren, (both pen names) were quite liberal about nudity in the family. I did a google search of some of their columns on nudity and i think over all they thought that children raised in a nudist family was a good thing. As for Dr. Spock, I haven't seen anything he wrote about the subject, yet.

  • Krissy, I grew up with it too, and I think I turned out ok :P Yeah the “experts” are clueless.

    Thank you for sharing that article Stephane. That’s a great set of Q&A’s!

    Chris, yes it seems like the majority of kids who grow up in naturism become confident, well-adjusted adults!

  • JBlum

    Krissy, I grew up with it too, and I think I turned out ok :P Yeah the "experts" are clueless.

    Thank you for sharing that article Stephane. That's a great set of Q&A's!

    Chris, yes it seems like the majority of kids who grow up in naturism become confident, well-adjusted adults!

  • Chris

    We are a nudist family, and my son seems to be very well adjusted. He doesn't seem to have the issues with body image or hangups about clothes that most of his peers seem to have.

  • The facts are undeniable. But the instantaneous, emotional reaction from the general public is also inevitable. That's why we created a page to answer deal with all those fears using a Q&A format.

  • Hermann Brenner

    Summerhill is an alternative school where children enjoy lots of freedom, including what they want to wear. They could be nude if they wanted to –

  • Felicity’s Blog

    Hey Hermann I agree. And I’ve heard of Growing Up w/o Shame, but not Summerhill School- does it address nudity and children?

  • Prompted by this, I provoked a facebook debate, if you are inclined, or able to acess, please do.

    • Krissy

      Tony, where? Haven't found it yet….

  • Krissy

    I grew up in a nudist family and I'm okay… Not sure that the so-called experts have any clue what it's like. Perhaps they should actually try it.

  • Hermann Brenner
  • Hermann Brenner

    One has to go to any family nudist club to see the effect of nudity on children. Our so called experts are, as usual, clueless. Have Dr, Spock at all ever been to a family nudist club? One of the first books I read about child rearing was this book, which I found in the local library –

  • Rusty Burton

    I have to agree