How Does Nudeness Affect Human Behavior?

While reading Sunday’s New York Times at Starbucks on Pearl Street here in Boulder, I smiled at the article declaring toga-themed college parties “old news.” Apparently, “nude” is the hot new theme. No clothes, and you’re in the door.

Just another college trick to make sexual exploration a little easier? That may be the intent, but the result, according to students, is more sophisticated and serious conversations. As the eminently sensible Tyler Cowen comments:

I would expect the [nude] parties to be more socially egalitarian, given that clothing cannot be used for social signalling, or for that matter for social concealing. I would expect less flirting, less drinking, less aggressive behavior, less lying, and more social seriousness. These effects should also wear off over time, as people get used to nudity and develop other means of signalling and concealing.

4 comments on “How Does Nudeness Affect Human Behavior?
  • If you give this a try, you’ll have to report on whether it is an effective way to make parties more egalitarian.

    It reminds me of the giant streaker festivals of the 1970s, one of which took place on the CU Boulder campus at Folsom Field where hundreds of people stripped and ran.

  • One of my best friends at Yale was the Pundits president and therefore in charge of throwing the naked parties. She kept trying to get me to go, but I never went.

    Years later, she and I and a bunch of our friends all went to a waterfall onsen in Hokkaido that was basically coed naked. It totally wasn’t sexual at all and there were lots of gnarly looking old men and ladies there. I think that Japan can be very accepting of these things. Anyway, if the right attitude is taken I think that a naked party would actually turn out quite well. Not having gone is one of my regrets. There’s something about being naked that is very relaxing.

    Another really good naked memory of mine is a coed naked snowball fight I had with the same friend, in an outdoor onsen in Niseko, Hokkaido during the Winter Festival.

  • Ah yes. Truly egalitarian.

    Great conversational skills & original sense of humor cannot be developed as easily as a washboard ab and six packs. I can see more students seriously taking to Gym and workouts and learning to shed inhibitions early on in life…!

  • I don’t know about college parties but I have enjoyed nude beaches for years. It is very relaxing. And it is not about sex.

    Nude isn’t new, the American Association for Nude Recreation has been around for over 75 years. Check out

    There is an AANR club not far from Boulder called Mountain Air Ranch ( I’m pretty sure if you try it out with an open mind you will be surprised at how wonderful it feels. And most nudists are very friendly people.

    Probably not the most scientific study but interesting nonetheless: “over 18% of all Americans would find a visit to a nudist club or other clothes-free experience a highly desirable vacation choice, according to survey results in USA Today.”

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