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Gymnophobia is a fear (phobia) of nudity.


The term gymnophobia comes from the Greek γυμνός - gumnos, "naked"[1] and φόβος - phobos, "fear".[2] A phobia that has a significant amount of overlap with gymnophobia is dishabiliophobia, which is the fear of undressing in front of others.[3]


Gymnophobics experience anxiety from nudity, even if they realize their fear is irrational. They may worry about seeing others naked, being seen naked, or both. Their fear may stem from a general anxiety about sexuality, from a fear that they are physically inferior, or from a fear that their nakedness leaves them exposed and unprotected.[4]

Gymnophobics often attempt to rationalize the condition by avoidance or shunning of many forms of nudity, or such as using modesty or other seemingly rational or moral grounds. Many people avoid public nudity as well as nudity in private situations, and some have an aversion to nudity as an aspect of prudishness or body shame.

Gymnophobia refers to an actual fear of nudity, but most sufferers with the condition learn how to function in general society despite the condition. They may, for example, avoid changing rooms, washrooms, showers, and beaches. However, the condition can be regarded as an anxiety disorder if the person cannot control the phobia or it is interfering with their daily life.[5] Gymnophobia is common among children, especially those undergoing puberty. Child gymnophobia is common due to peer pressure, bullying, and a fear of exposing sexual organs.

Gymnophobia has been likened to the fictional condition "never-nude" portrayed in the comedy series Arrested Development.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ γυμνός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  2. ^ φόβος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  3. ^ Greene, Elliot (2013). The Psychology of the Body. p. 240. 
  4. ^ "Gymnophobia". MedicineNet. 
  5. ^ Edmund J. Bourne (2005-05-01). The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. New Harbinger Publications Incorporated. ISBN 978-1-57224-413-9. 
  6. ^ Nick Haslam (23 May 2013). "No more cover-up: bared bodies and never nudes exposed". The Conversation. 
  7. ^ Meghan Holohan. "Gymnophobics are real-life 'never-nudes'". NBC News. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Tobias Fünke's "nevernude" problem is real. It's called "gymnophobia," or the fear of nude bodies.". Mental Floss. 
  10. ^ Tracie Egan Morrissey. "'Never Nude' Is Actually a Real Condition". Jezebel. 
  11. ^ "Here's a timely reminder that "never-nudes" aren't just something Arrested Development made up".