When Nakedness Is (and Isn’t) Hilarious

naked stereotype

Sometimes nakedness is funny!

Are you comfortable naked? I wasn’t for years, which made entering the fashion world in my late teens mighty interesting. Growing up in a modest, largely Scandinavian community in Minnesota, I wasn’t exactly prepared for the nakedness modeling involves. I wasn’t modeling in the nude, but quickly learned that changing in front of others is common, sans presto-change-o tricks I’d developed for high school gym class.

Before my fist runway show, I was standing amid of a group of runway models being fussed over backstage when my dresser approached and said, “Arms up!” As she stripped me down, the prom dress I’d be sporting at the ready, I learned that she attended church with my parents. (Hmm… Awkward!)

Then there was the time I took my sweet then teenage little sister for a picnic on the beach in Miami, only to realize upon plunking down with our sandwiches that we were the only females and the only clothed people on the crowded (fully nude and gay) beach! LOL Funnier yet was our attempt at nonchalance, as though that had been our plan all along. (“Popcorn, anyone?”)

I’m sure we all have silly stories about nakedness gone embarrassing or wrong. Nudity is a funny thing in our culture, but sadly not often in a laughable way.

The Not-So-Hilarious Parts

As early as age-six, girls are starting to see themselves as sex objects, according to Women’s Media Center research, which results from media depictions, parents’ ideals and religion. Here are some of the reasons:

And sometimes, it's sad.

Other times, it’s sad.

We’re bombarded with over-sexualized, “perfect” (fake, unhealthy and/or unrealistically proportioned) bodies in print and on the screen. Women continue to be heavily underrepresented in TV and film, and female characters who do appear are far more likely to appear seductively nude than male characters. And while there’s increasing pressure on men to look “perfectly” chiseled and fit, women are significantly more likely to appear over-sexualized in advertisements.

Meanwhile, sexuality—particularly women’s—remains fairly hush-hush in the masses, and many women who speak openly about or celebrate sex are considered too forward and rude. All of this leads to a very confusing message: “You should be stereotypical porn-star-sexy and fierce when you’re naked! But don’t talk or think too much about sexuality unless you want to be considered slutty.” 

So…what can we do?

While we can’t likely change these double-standards quickly, solo or soon, we can make changes in our own lives. We can laugh about nudity when it’s genuinely funny, and steer clear of societal, media and interpersonal influences that make us feel crummy about our sexuality or looks. We can commit to never speaking badly about our physicality around others and celebrate what matters most: beauty that radiates from within. In doing so, we contribute to a world in which naked humor really is funny, and all that’s demeaning is the exception, not the rule.

adam eve joke




nudist colony

We should all be able to embrace and celebrate our sexuality and bodies, with and without clothes. I’m not talking about flaunting or developing arrogance for either, but giving them the full honor and respect they deserve. Through acceptance and self-love (which includes cultivating a happy, healthy sex life!), we’re better able to live empowered, gratifying lives. All of this makes us stronger partners, lovers, family members, friends and residents of this big beautiful world. Seems like a scrumptious win-win-win to me.

To find out if you could stand to gain comfort regarding your own nakedness and learn FUN ways to improve your sex-related body image, check out my latest radio show podcast on iTunes: Let’s Get Naked! 

August McLaughlin Girl Boner Radio

Okay, I told you mine—tell me yours! What’s your funniest nakedness story? How do you ensure comfort while you’re naked? What will you do to gain comfort that’s lacking? I love hearing from you! 

Leave a comment


  1. laurie27wsmith

     /  April 14, 2014

    Ooh, ooh, ooh I’m first! Good evening August. I love being naked, it feels great and I don’t mean in a pervy way. I like the sun on my skin and the wind. I remember when I was 13, a few of us lads went skinny dipping in the river behind the railway workshops. There were several large rock pools, all crystal clear. We were jumping in naked when a woman in her thirties and her teenage daughter came by. So they stood for a while and watched and we spent an awful long time treading water. Oh, to know what I know now. My wife and I live on 40 acres and our house is at the rear of the block. There is about 7,000 acres of grazing land behind us, so we’re reasonably remote. One sunny Sunday morning we went outside, starkers of course to be confronted by several people on horseback riding along the back fence about 30 yards away. We did the polite thing, waved and said good morning.

  2. Having grown up with a parent who enjoyed museums and art of all kinds, not to mention in possession of a psychology degree which turned most of life’s situations into a clinical study, naked was never a big deal. I knew human anatomy by it’s clinical names and was never shamed for having this knowledge. Consequently, being naked in front of others wasn’t an issue – at least for me, lol. I learned quickly though that not everyone was as comfortable so I too developed an almost magically way of changing clothes in front of others that Houdini would have been proud of. Take for example the time I was late to a performance and had to get into costume while the cast meeting was in progress. I changed from jeans and a tee-shirt into a full length maxi dress with halter top, bra and thong (the dress was tight and panty lines proved to be highly visible under the glare of the stage lights) without anyone noticing. I was the talk of the production for weeks afterward, lol.

    • What a great way to learn to respect nudity and physiology. Women are still much more likely to be depicted nude in fine art (largely due to cultural norms and relatively small number of female painters), but they’re shown in much healthier, lovelier ways.

      I learned Houdini tricks, too! Remind me to tell you a story about that. 😉 I can completely picture your presto-change-o example. Love it!

  3. After an extended time dieting and spending time in the gym I am becoming comfortable with my body. Especially at the gym. (Pick your own mental image). I’m not ready for a nude beach but a partner in private would be a whole lot easier,,

    • Glad to hear your body image has been improving, Tom! Health and wellness certainly help. I hope the diet is a healthy, happy one. 🙂

  4. I’ve been trying to explain the beauty and majesty of the body to my children as of late. Last week, we visited an art museum with a collection of African sculpture, and my 10-yr-old was uncomfortable by the way the female body was portrayed (breasts elongated, pointed and erect). I also work to keep open, positive communication with my girls about their bodies, regularly noting ads with images that are manipulated into unrealistic forms. I agree that we need to talk positively about ourselves. No matter how we look, we can find beauty and discover ways to be comfortable in our own skin. 🙂 Nice post!

  5. I don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied with my body. I think back in my forties on how self conscious I was of my body and now I think that was a great body. 🙂 Wish I had it again.

    • I hope you prove yourself wrong, Carol! I’ve found that emotional fulfillment and self-care, which includes ditching dieting, etc., really make one feel and appear more beautiful. I think older women with peace and light in their eyes are stunning! Hoping to be one someday. 🙂

  6. At my age – and the physique that goes with it – I’m sure anyone who happened upon me naked would run away shrieking and have nightmares about the experience.

  7. Oddly enough… I didn’t develop body issues until I started going to the gym on a regular basis. Something about changing in a locker room…

    • I don’t find that odd at all, Eden. The gym mindset can really work against folks. I think it’s a matter of finding that happy place where fitness is enjoyable and about health and emotional fulfillment versus focusing on aesthetics. Sadly, gyms are full of people and products promoting the opposite.

  8. Raani York

     /  April 14, 2014

    Thankfully I haven’t experienced any remaining “naked stories” that stayed within my memory. Even though I enjoy being naked I prefer my own “four” walls to walk around as God has made me…
    Except that whenever I sit down somewhere or lay down on the couch I need a shower afterwards since I’m covered in cat hair. *chuckle*

  9. I could say something serious, but something on the funny side fell in my lap. here’s someone who really gets it. she not only gets what’s funny about being naked, but is ok with being completely goofy. http://giant.gfycat.com/SpryMixedGelding.gif (NSFW)

  10. I seem to be developing body issues now as I near 30. My body isn’t bouncing back from habits like it used to. I think it’s getting magnified because I’m wedding planning and I feel doomed to fit that “most beautiful woman in the room” expectation. I don’t feel that way when it takes 2 people to zip me into my dress and I’m dealing with acne all over again. It finally hit me how bad it got when my fiance called me out about not accepting compliments from him at all. He would tell me I look beautiful and I’d immediately point out my flaws. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Scary.

    I’m envious of my younger, more free self. My interesting nakedness story is that I participated in an environmental nude calendar shoot when I was in college. It was like Calendar Girls – in that all the models were discreetly covered where it counted, but we did have to get naked for the shots. One shot was out in the bluffs on a hiking trail (each month featured a different environmental issues) and I was so worried some other hikers would come across this group of naked hippies. LOL Thankfully no one did!

    • Thanks for your honest thoughts, Jess! Sadly, most women struggle with poor body image at some point. (One perk of having an eating disorder and overcoming it is getting to a healthy place too few women do, body image-wise. Wish I could carve out a piece for you!)

      I’ll tell you what I tell all brides I’ve talked to over the years: being happy, healthy and strong are the best goals for your wedding — and no one wants the added stress of dieting. You WILL be the loveliest woman in the room, thanks to your sparkle. 🙂

      I’m committed to never looking back with longing at my previous years aesthetically–which is so common and natural nowadays. I hope the same for you. 🙂

      LOL I love that story! Priceless.

  11. Hubby likes to tease that I’m a closet nudist. I’ve always been a minimalist where clothing at home is concerned. As for funny naked stories? Can’t really think of one. So glad you’re working to send a positive nudity message!

  12. This is hilarious, I just did the first in a 3 or 4 part sexism in media post yesterday.
    I couldn’t agree more. We as women are falsely portrayed and given no voice in the media. It paints a picture so unlike the truth that girls and women are literally killing themselves over it. So freaking ridiculous.

    • I’ll have to check your post out! Thanks for covering such a vital topic — I so agree with you.

      • Thanks for commenting! 😀 I swear I’m horrible with replying to comments quickly. I always reply. I’m trying to be more quick about it though.

        Yeah, the whole sexism thing has been really prevalent in my life all of a sudden in the past year or so. It’s just really standing out to me everywhere I look – and I’m not even looking for it! I was kind of hesitant to post on it because I was afraid people would just roll their eyes and think I was being negative, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that people are willing to talk about it. Thanks for being so brave about it. 😉

  13. My funniest ‘nudity’ story happened on Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui. My wife and I stayed there a few years ago and discovered it filled with elderly and violently over-weight German tourists who had left their swim-gear behind in Dusseldorf. All comfortable in their own skin. The funny part? The ‘tude. Nothing to do with clothing, everything to do with a sense of owning the beach. I don’t know what the Thais thought. They’re a very polite people…and have a pretty strong nudity taboo.

    The funny part? A gentleman who looked just like Colonel Sanders in every detail, except for the clothing… a ‘posing pouch’ with butt-floss. Ewwwww!


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