A Comparison of Pro- and Anti-Nudity College Students on Acceptance of Self and of Culturally Diverse Others
Negy, Charles, Winton, Samantha, The Journal of Sex Research
In contemporary United States, social nudity is not accepted by the majority of people. In all 50 states, strict laws prohibiting nudity in public places exist with very few exceptions. Those exceptions typically include when social nudity occurs on private property (e.g., privately owned "nudist resorts") or on slivers of well-delineated public land designated to be "clothing-optional," such as small sections of public beaches. Clinical psychologists generally view nudity within the family as "pathological" (Negy, 2004; Okami, 1995), and a recent analog study has found that college students tend to perceive an adult to have sexually malicious intentions in an ambiguous situation in which the adult is nude with an unrelated minor in a private swimming pool (Negy, Ferguson, & Orooji, in press).
Despite pervasive public concerns over social nudity, there is a dearth of studies on the consequences of social nudity or even on nudity within the family. Further, the handful of studies that have been done has failed to find demonstrable evidence of deleterious consequences for those who practice family or social nudity. For example, Story (1979) compared self-concepts related to body image between preschool children whose families self-identified as nudists and comparable preschool children whose families self-identified as non-nudists. Children in nudist families had significantly more positive self-concepts related to their physical appearance than children in non-nudist families, with boys from both types of families manifesting higher levels of self-concepts than girls.
Lewis and Janda (1988) surveyed college students on the frequency of seeing others nude during their childhood and sleeping in their parents' bed as children and on their parents' attitudes about sex. The results indicated that those who reported having slept in their parents' bed as children and who commonly were exposed to family nudity in childhood did not manifest higher levels of "sexual adjustment" concerns in young adulthood relative to those who either had not slept in their parents' bed as children or who were not exposed to family nudity. Moreover, exposure to parental nudity as a child was associated with increased comfort related to physical contact and affection with others, as well as an increased likelihood of engaging in casual sex as adolescents and young adults.
In a nonrandom survey with a nonequivalent control group of college students, Smith and Sparks (1986) surveyed 66 young adults who grew up in nudist households. The adult children of nudists and non-nudist college students completed a 100-item questionnaire to assess basic demographic information, nudity and sexual development experiences, indicators of "social pathology" (e.g., treatment for psychiatric conditions), family relations, current sexual functioning, and current nudist experiences. Overall, no significant markers of "pathology" were found to distinguish adult children of nudists from non-nudist college students. Most adult children of nudists described the intrafamilial relations during childhood in similar terms used by non-nudist college students, with one exception. Adult children of nudists reported having participated in "sex play" with siblings or playmates more frequently than non-nudist college students. In addition to a higher frequency of sex play participation among children of nudists, they also reported feeling less guilt about the sex play compared with non-nudist college students who also reported, though to a lesser degree, having participated in sex play as children.
In a review of clinical opinion and empirical studies, Okami (1995) examined childhood exposure to parental nudity, parent-child cosleeping, and exposure to parental sexuality as a child. Regarding exposure to parental nudity, Okami's review of the literature revealed how common psychotherapists and related professionals (e.g., protective service …
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Publication information: Article title: A Comparison of Pro- and Anti-Nudity College Students on Acceptance of Self and of Culturally Diverse Others. Contributors: Negy, Charles - Author, Winton, Samantha - Author. Journal title: The Journal of Sex Research. Volume: 45. Issue: 3 Publication date: July-September 2008. Page number: 287+. © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
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