I have a house full of sons and I'm ok with them seeing me naked

September 5 | Guest post by Krystal
Image from page 210 of "The Encyclopedia britannica; a dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature. With new maps, and original American articles by eminent writers. With American revisions and additions, bringing each volume up to date" (1892)
Photo by Internet Archive Book Images, used by CC license.

I have always been a "nudie booty" in my own home. I would come home from work or class and just shed my clothes. It's not so much that I dislike clothes; I actually love them quite a bit. I love to be able to express myself with my wardrobe, but when I want to relax, I don't want anything to do with them. Not even underwear. Nudie Booty. I like being naked at home.

My husband had always liked it in the past. He'd come home from a long day at work to find his naked girlfriend sitting at her computer playing World of Warcraft, or his naked newly big-breasted pregnant wife sleeping on the couch. He even thought it was cute after our first son was born to find the two of us naked napping in the bed.

But something changed when we found out our second was a boy too.

Not too long after the big gender reveal of our latest pregnancy, my husband came home and found me and our son, both naked, playing in the bathtub together. He very calmly said "Don't you think you should start covering up around him? He's getting a little old for that." I just brushed it off saying that our two-year-old didn't care or understand just yet. Husband let it go.

But now that our youngest son is about to turn one and our oldest son is just over three and well aware of the differences between my body and his and his brother's, the thought of my nudity at home around them has stirred up a sense of panic in my husband again.

He uses words like "appropriate" and "decent" to try to justify my need for covering up. I guess I still don't really get it — why I, as their mother, would need to cover up around my sons.

I mean, they both grew inside my body, made their way through my body, and used my body for nourishment and comfort. Neither one sees my body as something bad or as something to hide — it's just mommy's body.

Husband and I had a long talk about it one night because I honestly don't understand his problem with my being nude around our boys and he rebutted that he didn't understand why it was such a big deal to me.

That one stumped me.

I told him I'd think about it and get back to him. Well, I've thought about it, and here's why it's a big deal: because my body isn't bad.

By: viZZZual.com - CC BY 2.0
By: viZZZual.comCC BY 2.0

Why should I hide my very real body from my sons? They're going to be accosted by images of perfectly Photoshopped and smooth women their entire lives. Wouldn't it be a good idea to show them, starting from a young age, what one real woman's body looks like? A size 10, saggy belly, dimply, stretch-marked, real and very imperfect body.

Wouldn't it be a good idea to show them that bodies are nothing to be ashamed of? That just because you're not what our society deems as perfect doesn't mean you should be ashamed of your body.

I want my sons to grow up with a much healthier view of their bodies than I had growing up. I want them to see their bodies as instruments, not ornaments. Finely tuned machines that need to be treated well to run well with good clean fuel and plenty of exercise. To make them want to do all these things because they want to be healthy, not just skinny.

I want them to respect all shapes, sizes, and colors of people's bodies for more than just their aesthetic appeal. To realize that there is much more to a woman (or any person) than just her physical body.

I feel like not changing who I am, not hiding my body or being ashamed of my body will be a good foundation and example to point my sons into this direction.

Of course, I do realize there will probably come a time when being around naked mommy will embarrass one or both of my boys, and when the time comes that one of them asks me to cover up, I will.

But for now, while they still have innocent pliable minds, I think my nude booty will do them more good than harm.

  1. Oh wow, I don't know where to begin agreeing with and encouraging you!
    My parents and brother and I have always walked around the house (well okay, not in front of windows and front doors etc, but to and from the shower and such) in the nude – how very European of us 😉 – and I'm certain that (of course among other things) has had a positive effect on how we've gone about dating and the opposite sex, like there was less fear of the unknown, if that makes sense?

    71 agree
  2. Hum… that's given me something to think about. I am not a nude person, but I do often wander around in just undies and a tank in our house, and my daughter can do the same around bed time. You also have to go through my room to get to the bathroom or her room, so she often sees me after my shower, or in the throws of getting dressed.

    I ask for privacy while naked naked, just because I feel it right for me, but I've wondered about our "pantsless" attitude for a while. I like your comment that there is nothing wrong with a child seeing a real body.

    43 agree
  3. You're right: you should stop walking around naked in front of your sons when they express discomfort with it. Typically, that begins to happen around age six, but everyone's different.

    36 agree
    • Actually, this doesn't "typically" happen unless or until children are taught to be uncomfortable around nudity, either by their parents, other adults or kids in their lives, or society in general. Being uncomfortable with nudity is not a natural human condition – it is a social artifact.

      158 agree
      • Eh, that's not totally true. Around 4-5, young kids start to recognize that we wear clothes all the time. If confronted with someone who doesn't – they will typically respond in one of three ways – be okay, be indifferent, or be uncomfortable (not because of the nudity per se, but because the behavior is counter to their every day experiences). And it's totally okay to not want the world to see your body.

        25 agree
        • But again, wearing clothes all the time is historically and culturally bound. A person (children are people too) who is accustomed to seeing the body as normal and not something secret or to be hidden is less likely to feel uncomfortable about bodies.

          44 agree
          • Mhm. Also, there were and are many cultures where people wear little or no clothing, at least part of the year, and no one gets embarrassed about it because that is the cultural norm.

            35 agree
        • But agreed that it is ok to not want to have your body seen.

          18 agree
      • Agree entirely. However, feeling uncomfortable, though a social construct, is a real phenomena. So unless we are going to set up an alternative society, we have to accept that our kids will pick up many of the 'norms' out there – and we have to go with it, or risk making them feel uncomfortably different. Having said that, many families here in Europe go topless/nude on holiday together, with no problems at all because everyone is cool about it.

        13 agree
    • It didn't happen in my house growing up…ever. And my own boys are 18 and 16 and while they don't walk around nude (but one sleeps nude and is nude a lot in his own room), they haven't YET expressed concern with much nudity. They still come talk to me in the shower or if I'm changing. I nurse their toddler and infant brothers openly.

      And a breastfeeding woman gives them no pause at all.

      72 agree
    • My son is odd then, I guess. He'll be 11 and this month and still doesn't care if anyone else is naked. For a weird twist though, he doesn't like to be naked himself. *shrugs* To each their own! :)

      11 agree
    • I gotta say…I am a bit uncomfortable with the idea that children should dictate how their parents choose to dress (or undress, as the case may be). It's one thing if you refuse to put clothes on when their friends come over or something, but if they've grown up around you being naked all the time, I don't see why you can't continue to do it.

      I think it would have really upset me as an adult to learn that my parent(s) had stopped doing something they really enjoyed, purely on my account.

      Maybe I'm missing something too?

      27 agree
      • One thing you might be missing is–if the parents disagree, the kids pick up on that. My dad used to shower with me and my sister, and I was old enough to remember, but it was great, because showering with daddy was fun! He showed me how to shave (I'm a girl, but he showed me anyway) and we sang songs and stuff and it was the best thing ever. Also, we had a shower with a ledge I could sit on, so we were almost at eye-level. Had I been at exactly crotch-height, it might not have been so cool. I don't know.

        And then… he refused to put anything on in hot tubs, or when transferring from the shower to the bedroom, even though my mom asked him to. She was clearly uncomfortable, my sister was uncomfortable, and their discomfort made me uncomfortable, but I didn't say anything. Because of social pressure to Be Cool.

        It got more and more uncool as we got older, too, but I kept on not saying anything. I'm assuming Krystal isn't a self-centered idiot like my dad, so I guess I'm just saying you gotta watch out and be sensitive to your children's averted eyes and fake smiles. I'm sure you'll make the right choice for your family. And even if you don't, your boys will still be fine.

        16 agree
  4. My boy is seven and we are both still very comfortably nude around each other. It will stop as soon as he tells me he's uncomfortable with it. So far, he doesn't give a toss, and it's teaching him a lot of good things about body image. :)

    32 agree
  5. I like to sleep with just panties on, and I've always wondered if I would continue doing that when my baby is older. My husband is not as offbeat as I am, and I could see him making similar comments to me like the author's husband did with her. This article has given me something to think about!

    As a side note, I'm glad to see I'm not the only girl who has played World of Warcraft in the nude! Woo!

    28 agree
    • Haha, I've played Guild Wars and GW2 nude. I don't play WoW because I find it too much of a grind, but everyone's different. I'd like to think my nudie…or at least topless ways won't change too much when I have kids, but I'll play it by ear when the time comes.

      3 agree
  6. My parents never walked around naked when I was little, but they did always sleep naked. This actually kept me from going to them if I was sick or scared in the middle of the night. I didn't know what sex was, but I just knew that there could be things I shouldn't see going on, and I wasn't comfortable going into their bedroom. This was not something I ever vocalized to either of them. As an about-to-be Mama, I plan on always sleeping in at least a top and underwear. Just something to think about.

    20 agree
    • As a counter point, if your parents had walked around naked, you probably wouldn't have thought that nudity was synonymous with things that children shouldn't see. Food for thought.

      66 agree
      • Honestly, though, I think it depends entirely on how much and how early your child is exposed to the rest of society, and non-kid movies. I grew up with tons of adults as friends, and always watched movies with my family, no matter what the rating. I'm pretty sure by the time i was 5 I was highly aware of how society views nakedness, and I was on board with them already. I know that nude parents would have mitigated that a little, but likely not for very long.

        5 agree
        • My mom was a total nudie growing up, and I never wore shirts at home until I was at least 7. I routinely watched movies up to an R rating starting when I was like…5. I already knew that outside of the house, I was supposed to wear clothes, but I also knew that TV was "just pretend." I have always had a really healthy body image and I feel like it comes from my mom's comfort in her own "imperfect" skin.

          20 agree
        • I was exposed to a decent amount of society early with brothers so much older than I. Around 6 or 7, my mom started making me wear at least an undershirt, but that didn't stop me from stripping my t-shirt off in the living room of a friends house once. I just didn't understand what the big deal was about girls not wearing shirts. Boys didn't have to wear shirts, I didn't see why I had to. However, I've known guys that will not strip their shirt off in public, or outside, regardless of how hot they are. Some people are comfortable nude, or partially nude, and others aren't and never will be.

          7 agree
      • It's true! My parents were sometimes naked during the day, so when they slept naked, it seemed normal to us, and we just climbed right in.

        27 agree
  7. I've been naked at 339 pounds in front of my son and at 129 pounds. I've been naked at 25 in front of my son and I've been naked at 49 in front of him. Now, I admit, I don't lounge around naked, but I don't do that alone either. I do however lounge around in panties and a bra. I also drop the towel and get dressed when my son is in the room. [At some point I started turning away from him whilst I was getting dressed, but I never stopped dropping the towel.] He's never asked me to cover up and I never thought to ask him if he'd like me to. I can't even remember when the last time was that I shut the door to my bedroom. He comes in and out whenever he pleases. Heck, quite often he'll even come in the bathroom while I'm in the bath and have a chat. Bodies are just bodies.

    52 agree
    • And I bet when you're old and he's the one who has to take care of you, maybe help you out of the tub, you'll be glad that the nudity issue isn't one you need to "get over" between the two of you.

      I showered with my mom pretty late (I'm a cis*girl), but she would get laundry out of the dryer–in the kitchen, at the extreme opposite end of the house from her bedroom–including bras, running out in nothing but underwear to do so. And let's just say, these were not underwear that left anything to the imagination. My dad was known to lounge in boxers during warmer months, and if I wandered around in a tank top and underwear during the summer, no one ever said word one about it. My brother wasn't one to do so, but he never said anything so it was a totally personal decision in our house. Full nudity seemed to be a little passe, but underwear was fair game.

      Bonus, if a man from our family sat wrong in a kilt, it wasn't a big deal, even as an awkward teenager. A simple reminder to "check your sporran" is all that's needed to avoid continued up-skirt shots of the family jewels.

      14 agree
  8. My brother and I grew up with a very open mother. I must say that even as we got into teen years and beyond my brother and I would both end up having our deepest conversations with her as she soaked in the bathtub. I don't know if it fostered a positive body image onto us because I'd say we both lack in that department. I would say it creates a special bond and drops social barriers to let a wonderful relationship flourish. I am and my fiancé is a nudie booty as well and we are not small people, I hope to be open the same way my mother was with me with the child growing inside me right now. Good job for standing your ground, allow your husband time but do try to get him to understand the importance of such a great relationship you will have with your sons!

    19 agree
  9. This. This is super important. Teaching your boys that nudity isn't sexual nor is it for their benefit will go a long way toward them treating women like human beings when they're adult men.

    86 agree
    • YES! Nudity is incredibly over (and unnecessarily) sexualized in US culture. I grew up in a family where grandma peed in front of me and I talked to my mom while she took a bath, but nudity was a female thing, for other females. I remember the first time I was around a lot of nudity (on The Playa over 4th of July in my early twenties): people were naked and swimming in a natural hot spring. I was nervous at first until I realized that no one there actually gave a rat's ass about everyone else being naked. No one was "checking people out" or approaching people in a sexual way. We were all just hanging out and happened to be naked. And there were a variety of body types (and modifications!) I had never seen before. Ever since, I have been so much more comfortable with my own nudity. Now, I am definitely naked in front of my two year old a lot. Hopefully, I'm making it enough a part of our family culture that it will be a non issue growing up.

      20 agree
  10. I believe that every family is different and whatever works for your family is awesome but I will say my husband has brought up to me (but probably never his mother) that he was very uncomfortable with her being naked around the house and wearing "slinky" nightgowns (to the point that he's asked me not to wear such nightclothes as it reminds him of his mom). Again, he's probably never said anything to her about it- he avoids confrontation with anyone but me at all costs. While I don't want my kids to feel embarrassed by the naked body, I'm not sure I'll ever live in a "naked" house. On the flip side my husband is very comfortable being naked around the house so who knows.

    12 agree
    • The same is also true of my brother and me after we reached a certain age. We could hear our parents having sex sometimes in the middle of the night, and once we were old enough to know what that meant and to know it should be private, seeing them nude made us very uncomfortable because it reminded us of hearing their very intimate moments.

      Which actually raises a point that I haven't really seen anyone else make yet. Sometimes, your child may not be able to verbally tell you they are uncomfortable, or articulate why, even if he/she grows up in a very open, loving, communicative household. If the parents going to be openly nude around the house (which I think is OK if it works for the whole family), the parents should make sure to pay attention to non-verbal cues of discomfort. If your child is ALWAYS dressed while you are naked, for example, his/her actions may be speaking louder than words. Also, if your child can't look at you while you're naked, or if they can't stop looking at you, it may be a sign they are uncomfortable and should necessitate a conversation.

      61 agree
      • I brought that up in my earlier comment. That's what had happened to me. I never told my parents that their nudity was the reason I wouldn't go to them when sick or scared. They knew that I would never go to them unless it was an absolute emergency, but never figured out why. Just because your kids don't say anything doesn't mean they're comfortable.

        17 agree
  11. I have the no-clothes policy with my children (not avoiding covering up if they are in the room while I'm changing, using the bathroom, etc.) until it feels "inappropriate". I don't know how to describe that moment, but I felt it with my older child, so I've tried to not openly be naked around him. My children are of a literal world, so I have the double duty of explaining why people do things, and why it is or is not okay to do things. I admire people who can be openly naked around their children and spouses. I've had some serious body issues for many, many years and it wasn't until maybe 2 years ago that I finally started walking around naked in the bedroom with my boyfriend in there.

    8 agree
  12. My husband and I liked to be in various states of undress when we're home alone (alone being alone or with just each other around), and we agreed before we got pregnant that we wouldn't stop doing that because there were kidlets around–unless kidlets had friends over, of course. I came from a home that consisted of Mom, Dad, and the three of us girls. We had no qualms of walking around in bras and whatnot (though not naked) unless Dad was home; if we weren't fully dressed, he was very uncomfortable.

    So hubby & I sleep naked, and frankly, I hope that my daughter feels okay doing that when she's older and making her own nightwear choices. I personally didn't start sleeping naked till I was in my 20's no matter how hot it was outside. I want my daughter to be a lot more comfortable in her skin (and around other people's skin) than I was growing up.

    10 agree
  13. Both of my parents would walk around naked sometimes when I was growing up and I would do the same. Once I hit the awkward teenage girl years I started becoming less comfortable with my own body and walking around naked, but my parents still would from time to time (getting out the shower, getting dressed etc.) and it was never something that made me uncomfortable or thought was weird.
    My husband and his ex wife also practiced the same thing with their son and he would walk around naked too. He just turned 12 and has just now started to ask for privacy when he is naked, which we obviously give him. My husband and I both sleep naked now, and his son knows this, but it doesn't stop him from coming in when he needs something from us.
    I really think being comfortable with nudity in the house helps kids be more comfortable with their bodies and the bodies of other people. When and if they ask you to cover up, do it. If they don't ever ask, don't worry about it.

    14 agree
    • I love most of your comment, but (respectfully) disagree with your final sentence: "When and if they ask you to cover up, do it. If they don't ever ask, don't worry about it."

      I'm actually cutting and pasting a comment I just made above to explain why I disagree:

      Sometimes, your child may not be able to verbally tell you they are uncomfortable, or articulate why, even if he/she grows up in a very open, loving, communicative household. If the parents going to be openly nude around the house (which I think is OK if it works for the whole family), the parents should make sure to pay attention to non-verbal cues of discomfort. If your child is ALWAYS dressed while you are naked, for example, his/her actions may be speaking louder than words. Also, if your child can't look at you while you're naked, or if they can't stop looking at you, it may be a sign they are uncomfortable and should necessitate a conversation.

      11 agree
      • Sorry, I guess I didn't really clarify what I meant by the kid asking you to cover up. It definitely came out different than I meant it now that I'm reading it again.
        I totally agree with you. You need to look for the verbal and non-verbal cues to know if your kid is uncomfortable with it. It really comes down to knowing your kid and paying attention to what they are and sometimes aren't saying.

        8 agree
  14. It seems to me that everyone in the family needs to be listened to on this stuff. When it comes to clothing/naked norms in my house I try to listen to my own level of comfort and the hidden lessons in what my dress or undress says to my kids(what about it evokes strong emotion from me? why?), my spouse's comfort levels (after all if I am choosing to do something involving our children that makes my spouse uncomfortable this sends messages to them too), and the kids' own cues, verbal and non-verbal.

    I don't think that family nakedness is the only way or even necessarily the best way to communicate comfort and body acceptance to children. It may be a good way, though.

    11 agree
  15. Although I am not disagreeing with a lot of the arguments around nudity in the home — I love the points about body confidence and raising boys to have a positive attitude towards their own and women's nudity — I do think that there is a second point here for discussion.

    In a lot of the examples that are coming up in response to the original post, people are saying that nudity is the norm in their homes as a result of agreement between both parents. In the original poster's story, though, one of the parents, the dad, is saying he isn't comfortable with the nudity.

    I think the father's feeling that he's not comfortable with nudity is just as valid a point of view as the mother's feeling that she is. They need to reach an agreement between them about levels of nudity in their home that both partners can be comfortable with, or else arguments between them about it is going to shout to their kids louder than any number of layers that nudity is a big deal. Just as a previous poster pointed out that kids might express their discomfort with nudity by always being clothed while a parent is naked, so kids will pick up on the message if one of their parents is always clothed while the other is naked.

    39 agree
    • Yes. Thank you. This is what I was thinking the whole time reading the article and the comments.

      There are a lot of ways to parent, and a lot of opinions on all sorts of issues, but in the end of the day the most important thing in a two-parent home is for those parents to find a parenting style that suits them both.

      As much as you may feel that your nudity is important to your children, your husband's comfort level is also important. Articulate your feelings to him (as I'm sure you did before posting this article) and find a way to accomplish your goals without alienating your husband.

      8 agree
    • Well… I have one quibble with your sentence: "I think the father's feeling that he's not comfortable with nudity is just as valid a point of view as the mother's feeling that she is."

      The difference is between the decision about what to do with your OWN body, and what someone else is doing with their body. The difference is between "Here's what I'm going to do to make myself comfortable" and "Here's what YOU should do to make ME comfortable."

      I agree that living together and being a family together necessitates consideration of everyone's comfort level, and we'd really get nowhere if we only considered what we wanted for ourselves without taking others' needs into account, but I still think it's sketchy to say they're equal or equivalent needs.

      18 agree
      • And going back to the original post, I'm gonna go ahead and get all feminist about this: "Well, I've thought about it, and here's why it's a big deal: because my body isn't bad."

        The world is full of men telling women what they should and shouldn't do with their bodies. Patriarchy is all about women believing that how they feel in their bodies is secondary to how other people feel about their bodies. I'm positive this particular man and this particular couple does not intend to reproduce that dynamic, but regardless of intent that's what's happened, and honestly I think how they talk about this conflict and how they resolve it WILL have implications for how their children think about women and women's right to decide what to do with their own bodies.

        17 agree
        • I'm going to play devil's advocate a bit here, because while I agree in principle that someone doesn't have the right to say "what you're doing with your body doesn't make me comfortable, stop it", I don't think that fully encompasses this particular situation. If the original poster was talking about her then-boyfriend coming home at the beginning of their relationship and finding her naked on the couch and asking her to put some clothes on, I would utterly agree with your response. If my partner had walked in on me naked at the beginning of our relationship and said anything like that, I'd have had serious questions about whether or not I wanted to be with someone that wanted me to hide my not-perfect-but-proud-it's-mine body away like a dirty secret.

          But the original poster isn't — or isn't just, at least — talking about her partner asking her to cover up more. She's talking about her co-parent expressing that he is growing uncomfortable with a parenting choice that affects their children. He may have very real reasons for his discomfort with his partner's nudity around their children which, with a bit of time and thought, he could articulate just as clearly and convincingly as the original poster articulated her point of view. He may just have grown up in a family where nudity was kept behind closed doors and is struggling to get to grips with his partner's different approach. Possibly, he himself is just a private or body shy person and, like some previous posters, was made uncomfortable around parents who were as comfortable with nudity as his partner, a situation he is trying to prevent for his own children. Whatever his reasons, however, they deserve to be heard out by his partner and an agreement reached between them on what is best for their children.

          As I said in my original comment, I like the discussion around encouraging positive attitudes in her sons towards their own and women's nudity. But if you think it's sketchy to say that the pro-nudity parent and anti-nudity parent have "equal or equivalent needs", I think it's sketchy to suggest that the mother's point of view here should be somehow privileged over the father's as to what is best for their children. Besides, nothing will make the kids more confused and uncomfortable about nudity than the sense that Dad isn't comfortable when Mom is naked. And they will pick up on that if the parents can't agree on what and when to cover up.

          47 agree
  16. I definitely agree with you about teaching healthy attitudes about bodies in your home with your family. But beware about dismissing what your partner is expressing is important to him. Aren't you a parenting team and isn't he equally entitled to decide how you two parent in this area? And while I think you have a few years before it becomes as you put it, "embarrassing" for your sons, I encourage you to really consider the problem with leaving it open-ended: it puts the burden on your son to display his discomfort. It's possible that as he turns 5 he'll start to feel uncomfortable but not want to hurt your feelings by saying so.

    7 agree
  17. I was JUST about to mention that the reason I would suggest covering up is because your boys might eventually be uncomfortable/embarrassed by it. But then you mentioned it yourself. So… for what it's worth, so long as you know that yourself, I think there's no problem with the course you're on. Kudos for attempting to teach your sons that women don't come airbrushed.

    2 agree
  18. Grew up in the country.

    Kids naked, parents naked, it's hot and dirty in the garden, I don't think anybody cared.

    It was a kid-led nakedness, mostly – if the kids were naked, parents could be naked too, but my parents didn't usually disrobe first? In retrospect, what a weird system, though it worked for us.

    We skinnydipped for a lot longer than we just casually hung out naked and weirdly nakedness was mostly an outdoor activity.

    I don't really know what to make of it all – but, seriously, good on you for thinking about it. It seems like if you're just naked/barely-dressed un-sexually (ie not only in the bedroom or sexy undies) then you're probably fine. Seeing my parents' bodies in a boring context didn't do me any harm, and maybe even some good (so THAT's what adult men look like from dad, and a premonition of my future butt from mom). I also thought my body was "cool" further into puberty than most of my friends, but that could've been parenting differences other than nudity policies.

    4 agree
  19. My son is three and he has always showered with me. I have had the question, why do girls have big boobs and boys still have boobs but little ones. I have thought that maybe he is getting a little old, and when I change in front of him, I turn my back… But to be honest there was a moment a few weeks ago when I pulled out a pregnancy book (I am 11 weeks pregnant now) with a picture of a naked woman and what the baby looks like inside my belly.The first thing my husband says when I show him- Geez, look at her boobs! The first thing that my son says when I show him the same picture- What are those? (Intestines) So I think I will just keep doing what works for us until it doesnt work anymore.

    10 agree
  20. So, I actually have a question. I'm not even sure how I feel about this perspective but I think it bears consideration. (I grew up with same-sex nudity ie: mom, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, all being totally normal; my dad was the only guy around and he always at least wore underwear. My daughter is nearly 2 and I'm naked with her frequently, my husband wears underwear around the house now because of his comfort level and also because she has started being grabby!) My question is: Is this necessarily a question of how comfortable the child is with nudity? Does the parent have the right to be clothed or nude in their own home however they are comfortable? Obviously, we put our own needs a distant second to our childrens' needs in most circumstances, but should this be one of them? Is it possible that by trying to be super sensitive to a child's feelings, we are compromising our responsibility to teach them that everyone's body is their own? That they should not be subject to someone else's opinion of what is right for their own body? How much should we be careful of our children, and how much should we teach them that the world isn't about making them comfortable?
    Again, I am really not sure how I feel about this argument, but I would really appreciate your opinions.

    10 agree
    • Thank you for asking this! I am really trying to understand the assumption that a lot of commenters have, that if the child wants you to cover up, they necessarily should.

      For my part, one of the most important lessons I feel I learned from my parents was that they were separate people from me, with their own lives, interests, dreams, etc. that definitely *included* me but weren't *about* me.

      I feel like if a child has difficulty dealing with their parents' nudity, it would be better to talk to them about it and find out why it makes them uncomfortable, and help them work through it, then to just cover up when you see it bothers them. I feel like covering up like that gives the signal that nudity is shameful.

      12 agree
      • The thing that I find interesting is that there appears to be an assumption that nudity is inherently the better thing, and that if nudity makes someone uncomfortable then they have a problem that should be worked through.

        If that uncomfortablenss is motivated by poor body issues, or a skewed view of the human body, then of course those are things that should be talked about and worked through. But shyness is a natural personality trait, and I think that if someone doesn't want to be nude, or doesn't want to be around people who are nude then that's perfectly acceptable. Isn't that why as a Western society we have agreed to wear clothes in public? Out of respect for the choices of others, right?

        When it comes to the choices made at home, I think the greater lesson here is that relationships (familial and romantic) are about compromise. What is this same question was about one partner being vegan and the other not? Should one person be able to impose their views on the other?

        Perhaps there is a way to appease both parents here. We have occasional nudity at my home. I sleep naked, and walk from the shower to my bedroom nude, and I enjoy lounging with just my silk robe on. My son (almost 5) has bathed with me, slept next to me, and has always enjoyed his own nudity. My partner however isn't so much into the nude thing, and the pre-schooler crawling all over him nude makes him uncomfortable (what can I say, getting tea bagged by a 5yr old isn't his thing.). We don't use shame to ask my son to put his clothes on. We simply say, "hey I know its fun, but if you want to do this activity then you need clothes". I think in doing so he'll be fine with his bodies and others (well aside from his obsession with boobs) but I also want him to understand the importance of showing compassion for others by being considerate of them as well.

        8 agree
  21. I had swimming class when I was a little girl. Up until my fifth birthday, I would go in and change with my dad in the men's room. I guess because of that 'rule', 5 became a magic age for me. ALTHOUGH I have to admit, I may feel a little bit weirder if we have a girl and my husband is around her naked, only because of the grabby factor. My son reaching out to grab my husband's penis in the shower was hilarious, but the idea of a bay girl doing it seems less so. I'm not proud of feeling that way, but I guess I do!

    For occasional nudity or partial nudity, I don't think it is ever completely inappropriate – walking through the house to the shower, etc. – although at puberty if would have made me really uncomfortable!

    As for me, I have no intent of covering up. Thankfully my husband and I both grew up with naked moms and it's no big deal. I guess we're starting a naked house over here!

    12 agree
  22. The sexualization of women's bodies is a real problem in the U.S. and elsewhere. Marketing, movies, TV, and porn (can't pretend it doesn't exist!) all tell men AND women that women's bodies are for sex first. (For example, a nude man in a film causes a completely different reaction in an audience than a nude woman.) I can't speak for anyone else, but this sexualization of women's bodies makes me feel like a prisoner.

    I appreciate that Kyrstal is trying to combat this in her own family, and I find it inspiring that she somehow managed to develop such a healthy relationship with her own body. I don't know how well (or for how long) the strategy will work, though. The outside forces are real and they seep into every family. A larger scale cultural change of the understanding of women's bodies is really needed.

    I do think that her partner's discomfort is coming from a correlation between her body and sex, which is also why he enjoyed the nudity in the just-we-two context. Ultimately, it may be difficult for a male partner to understand that Krystal's "nudie booty" preference is political (in the way that the personal is political), and so his being against it may also feel political to her. Essentially, she is saying, "My body is not an object. My body is not sex. My body is just my body." And he's saying, "I'm not so sure about that," and the larger culture echoes this position.

    45 agree
  23. My dad was never naked around us ( I have 1 brother and 1 sister). My mom on the other hand always was and still is (I am the oldest and my bro and sis are 23 and 19). It has always been totally normal to see my mom in her bra and underwear and panty hose! running around the house. My mom has always been overweight, but very accepting of her body. My brother is very respectful of women and has never commented on my mother's choice of non-clothing around the house. My parent's room was always a place we all gathered. To this day it is totally normal to see my mom laying in bed with me, my sister or my brother laying beside her talking or watching tv. I think her openness made us feel much closer to her. My dad on the other hand has a more distant relationship with us. We love him dearly but we are less likely to snuggle up to him. I understand why your husband might feel uncomfortable, but I think it is complete natural.

    6 agree
  24. Coming from a split family – parents never married, never lived together during my childhood, etc. – I must say I'm surprised by a lot of the "female-only" nudity. My father and I showered together until I was 7 or so, because it was just easier to do all the showering at once in the morning. And it saves water :). Yet at my mother's house, she was the prudish one who had a part in my lack of pride for my wonderful human body. With comments such as, "Oh my gosh, you have boobs!" Very loudly…after me asking her to get a towel, then covering her eyes and handing it to me. At 12 that can leave an impression of, is it bad to have boobs? Is my body so off putting that even my mother doesn't want to look at it?

    Now, being step-mom to an 8 year old boy who changes his clothes for school with the door closed and doesn't even like his father in the bathroom with him, I can see how large the range is of "acceptable" (Ick, dislike that word) nudity to other parenting styles. But, with my own baby girl on the way and full intentions of breastfeeding, my little man is going to have to be amiable at least to some topless-ness. Girl's gotta eat.

    Point of it all is… Adjust accordingly in today's blended family climate. Deciding exactly how you will handle the situation now is probably fruitless.

    5 agree
  25. I really liked the article because I've actually had a deep discussion with my husband about nudity and he agreed with me, even saying he wouldn't mind being nude himself. What had peaked our interest though is a family-friendly park in North Georgia called "Serendipity Park". Yes a nudist park in Georgia for all ages and backgrounds. They have strict rules, and even great sanitation guidelines for the most germaphobe guest. They have been around for years and me and my husband have always wanted to go. I love going through the testimonials and getting excited to see entire families bare it all with no shame. NONE, zip.. NADDA. I think the author should take it a step farther and go to one of these places with their family. It might even open up their husband's sense of 'decency'. I mean , wouldn't be nice to just have fun and be judged for your character than how you look in clothes?Being nude isn't shameful at all, its empowering and even spiritual in some ways. Keep on with the Nudie booty and be proud. =)

    9 agree
  26. I just want to say that this article and the discussion following it are why I love this site!! Intelligent and respectful points and counter points :) Also, my husband and I are now having our own discussion.

    Not sure how I feel about the nudity. I LOVE the idea of fostering body acceptance and healthy ideas about a woman's body. But I must admit I feel a little different about a father than mother… not sure why I feel that way either. Something to ponder…

  27. I wouldn't say that my mum is a nude-loving person, but to this day she does not care if we kids (including my 16 year old brother) see her naked in the bathroom or when she is getting dressed. I usually storm in the bathroom to get something and on the way out give her a little slap on her bum :D. I used to see my dad naked in the bathroom all the time too, until eventually I felt uncomfortable with it (age 12?). I think the German culture is a lot more open with nudeness. That said I remember sleeping over at my friends house, when I was like 9 – and her parents would fit really nicely on offbeatmama. Very hippy, very sexual people and these days they actually own a house in a FKK village in France – where you even shop naked in the supermarket. The dad came in to say good night to my friend that night and actually gave me a good night kiss on my head too – the weird thing being that he was naked doing so.

    1 agrees
  28. My mom would sleep nude & would sometimes walk around in various states of undress while getting ready/going to bed.

    I, however am a very private person. I don't like being naked other than while showering or changing. I've even given sleeping naked a shot a couple of times to see how it'd go, but it turns out I hate it. Despite my upbringing, I don't like being in the nude, so I feel like in my experience, it really comes down to personality/personal preference.

    If/when I have children, the topic of nudity/covering up will focus on social expectations- otherwise I'll probably have to address things as they may come up. I do think, however that a child shouldn't have their parents' nudity forced upon them if they are clearly uncomfortable with it.

    1 agrees
  29. Every family does have to figure out what is right for them. Your comfort level will speak volumes to where you land on this. My experience was that my mom was naked around us growing up… not hanging out naked but certainly comfortable enough to converse with us while she dressed, etc. By the time my 3 brothers were all born, she was a single mother. Raising 3 teenage boys alone made her uncomfortable and she became crazy strict about covering up, even to the point of yelling at me when my daughter came along. As a result, my brothers all have serious issues with women and nudity. One of them has a real problem with women and is quite twisted over all sexuality.
    The funny thing is, one comment here mentioned slinky nightgowns… I think that is more inappropriate than naked. The whole point is to show our boys that not all nudity is sexual. I would never wear something intended to initiate sex in front of my boys.
    Recently I heard a friend of my son's ask "when you were little, did your mom walk around naked?" My 17 yr old son responded, "She still does." (with an eyeroll)
    That's exactly where I want him to be.

    10 agree
  30. Good for you. Out of curiosity, what is the oldest you will you let your boys be naked in front of you?

    1 agrees
  31. My wife and are casually naked in front of our son who is going on five years old now. Her family is comfortable with casual nudity like this – her parents were ok with letting her siblings and her see them naked – and my parents were not prudes either. So we think this is normal behavior.

    5 agree
  32. You are doing no harm, my mother walks around the house naked all the time. Infront of me and my brother. Even when my brother was 15 she still would. But that doesn't mean you should always be naked. Maybe just around the night. And whenever they have friends over be sure to cover up. And no, your children will not be scared by this, as you said they will just think of it as mommy's body nothing more they won't even think about it.

    4 agree
  33. I am neither a nudist or a prude and I certainly don't have a model figure. I have now turned 50 with 2 boys nearing their 30's who flew the nest many years ago. Being seen naked, in the shower, dressing or being topless on holiday was never an issue. Yes they did go through a period of wanting their privacy as their bodies changed but they were still comfortable enough to be around me when i was dressing or drying off. Yes i could have put barriers up and shut them out, but why, they grew up with me and if they were uncomfortable then they could make sure they steered clear.
    But… the important thing is everyone and every family are different.
    My husband and i recently went on holiday with my best friend (40 and divorced) along with her 2 children (boy 12, girl 7) to a villa in Spain. We have been on holidays together in the past and we both sunbathe topless. Both kids have been brought up that nudity is not an issue and would often jump in the pool with no clothes on and then dry off at the side of the pool before getting dressed. However at any other time the daughter made it clear that she wanted privacy to shower, get dressed etc…. but thats kids for you. Its right and proper that they are educated in the etiquette of when its not acceptable and why but otherwise they will find their comfort level

    5 agree
  34. As a guy that grew up in a totally uptight family – including my extended family – I applaud all of you. It's taken me DECADES to get over all the societal rubbish surrounding nudity and human sexuality.

    7 agree

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