Updated: Aug 15, 2019
As I have said before, science is proving that there are mental and physical health benefits from being naked in public. More recently, three studies discussed over at I Fucking Love Science, looked more deeply into this topic.
Prior research had already proven that "unrealistic ideals of attractiveness" were the source of negative body images in both men and women (McCreary and Sasse 2000; Striegel-Moore et al. 1986). Particularly they noted that unrealistically thin images of women and unnaturally muscular images of men are pervasive in our commercial advertising and result in negative impressions of peoples' own bodies. Dissatisfaction with one's own body is now classified as a serious issue internationally.
In the face of this, Keon West of the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London undertook three separate studies, one of which was large-scale and cross-sectional, to test the psychological benefits of naturist/nudist activities. The results are some of the best empirical evidence that getting naked with others is good for you.
Unsurprisingly, they discovered there is a direct correlation between body image and self esteem and that being naked with other people improves body image, which then boosts self esteem and leads to increased life satisfaction. The actual data is rich and detailed and, therefore, we suggest you read through it yourself over here because it is more than we can reasonable get too deeply into in this blog. We will simply leave it at this: Yes, there is objective, scientific data that proves public nakedness is healthy and good for all. This means that current laws prohibiting nudity and the cultural norms banning nakedness are unhealthy and harmful. The mechanisms that work to improve body image and self esteem are simple. Seeing naked people of real body types, rather than the photoshopped artificial images we are presented in the media helps us to reshape the expectations we have for our own bodies. On top of that, exposing our bodies to other people who accept us as we are in our natural state affirms a positive self image. The more frequently participants engaged in nudist activities, the more benefit they experienced.
This data can and should be used by advocates seeking reform of public nudity laws which should be done away with, or at least significantly revised. Laws which suggest the bodies of the citizenry are bad and shameful should be done away with as damaging and harmful. And, these studies prove it. Go out there, get naked and get happy!