The recent Vanderpump Rules drama has captivated audiences in the reality TV universe and shined a spotlight on a topic that resonates deeply in today’s pop culture: body confidence. Amidst a widely-publicized cheating scandal (coined #Scandoval), the fallout revealed a surprising revelation—an alleged lack of intimacy traced back to a struggle with body confidence.
Drama of this nature leads us to wonder how comfortable the average American is with their body? And more specifically, being nude? And in which situations are we most confident being naked?
Bespoke Surgical surveyed over 3,000 people across the country to find out.
We ran a nudity confidence survey asking a diverse set of Americans to rate their confidence in being naked in several scenarios. Sending nude photos, being naked around pets, skinny dipping, and Facetime sex were all fair game survey questions to find out just how confident Americans are going “au natural.”
Read on to see which states, generations, and sexual orientations are the most nude-confident!
Analyzing Nudity Confidence, State by State
First, we asked respondents to rate their level of confidence in the nude on a scale from one through 10, where 10 indicates the highest level of confidence. As it turns out, not a single state managed to score above 5.8 on the nudity confidence scale, which is a clear reflection of the challenges we face as a society when it comes to fully embracing our bodies.
It looks like we still have a lot of work to do, as an overwhelming 71% of our respondents feel either pressured or seriously pressured to have a specific body type.
The main culprit? Social media.
Many of our survey respondents (82%) point their fingers at social media as the biggest source of pressure to conform to a certain body type. Carefully curated feeds, influencer culture, and endless comparisons can have a heavy impact on our self-image. It’s difficult to escape the constant stream of images and videos that make us question if we measure up.
Below are the states who are the most (and least) confident in the nude:
States with the highest nudity confidence:
- Washington – 5.80
- Rhode Island – 5.66
- Delaware – 5.47
- Maryland – 5.46
- Colorado – 5.46
States with the lowest nudity confidence:
- Indiana – 4.36
- Oregon – 4.36
- Nebraska – 4.56
- Minnesota – 4.58
Analyzing Nudity Confidence by Demographic Group
It would appear there is a relationship between sexual orientation and feeling confident in the nude. Gay and lesbian respondents score notably high, with an average of 5.3 on the nudity confidence scale, 6.6% higher than the average score.
The source of gays and lesbians’ high nudity confidence is up for interpretation. Could it be that being more open-minded and accepting of diverse expressions of self correlates with higher self-confidence overall? Another hypothesis is that gays and lesbians can be self-conscious about their bodies, which motivates them to exercise frequently and be stricter about what they eat. Then their body confidence is higher as a result.
Meanwhile, asexual Americans are the least nude-confident demographic. Perhaps there is a correlation between body confidence and feeling comfortable engaging in sex, as many Americans report that they feel the most confident during the act.
Although they are known for being a more conservative generation, baby boomers come out on top as the demographic most comfortable being naked. Perhaps the lack of social media during the early stages of their lives has helped them embrace their bodies as they are long-term. We also suspect there’s a level of just not caring what others think anymore once you’ve reached a certain age.
Millennials score the lowest on the confidence spectrum, likely due to the specific cultural context they grew up in. The influence of pop culture, which often glorified skinny figures and emphasized unrealistic beauty standards, might have impacted their confidence levels.
It’s worth considering that body positivity and inclusive conversations around diverse bodies have gained more traction in recent years, and many Millennials came of age when those conversations were not as prevalent.
When Are We Most Comfortable in the Nude?
Regarding the moments we feel most comfortable in the nude, respondents say their confidence is highest during sexual activity with the lights off.
This scenario has an average confidence rating of 8.59 out of 10. The added allure of darkness can create a safe and intimate environment where we can let loose and enjoy being naked.
Close behind, being nude at home alone also has a high average rating of 7.85. There’s nothing more liberating than roaming around our homes in our natural state without judgment or prying eyes.
Speaking of the right vibe, many Americans say they feel right at home when changing in front of their partners. With an average rating of 7.72, it seems that having a supportive and encouraging partner can do wonders for our self-image. After all, a little hype and admiration from the people we love most can go a long way in making us feel sexy and empowered.
In contrast, there are scenarios where respondents are a little less comfortable showing skin.
Understandably, changing in front of friends scored a modest nudity confidence rating of 4.05, indicating that the presence of friends might create a slight dip in our comfort levels. We tend to be more conscious of how we appear in front of our peers, and being vulnerable can be daunting and draining.
On the topic of public nudity, both partially and fully, respondents expressed a relatively low level of comfort. Being partially nude on the beach received an average rating of 3.79, while going full-frontal on the beach garnered an even lower average rating of 2.73.
Unsurprisingly, the thought of exposing ourselves to strangers in a public setting makes us feel the most reserved and guarded.
American Nudity Preferences & Observations
Over half of our respondents (53%) prefer to keep it modest and stay partially clothed even walking around their homes alone. Many Americans feel perfectly comfortable at home in their bras, underwear, or similar attire. Following closely behind, 39% of participants prefer to keep everything under wraps and opt for full clothing even in the privacy of their own abode. Finally, a daring 8% feel the most comfortable being fully nude at home.
Even during sexy time, finding the right angle can make or break the big picture. Interestingly, one-third of respondents confess that their level of nudity confidence during sex changes depending on the position. Our findings show that 40% of women reported changes in their comfort levels depending on the sex position, compared to 29% of men and 31% of non-binary respondents.
When it comes to being a good neighbor, we found that Americans tend to overshare. About 24% of respondents suspect that a neighbor has caught a glimpse of them in the nude (unintentionally, of course), while 17% of participants have actually accidentally witnessed them in their birthday suits.
These numbers increase to 31% and 21%, respectively, when we focus on respondents who live in cities. It would seem urban living brings its fair share of unplanned peep shows.
Moving onto dating culture, we found that 30% of men surveyed have sent more than 50 nude photos in their lifetime. It certainly plays into the cliché of those “unsolicited dick pics” that often make the rounds. It’s a reminder that some folks may need a lesson in respecting boundaries and obtaining consent when sharing intimate photos.
Americans Tell Us Their Biggest Source of Body Confidence
We asked survey respondents to tell us their biggest source of body confidence, and here were some of the most compelling answers:
- Positive self-affirmations
- Positive reinforcement from my partner
- Seeing others in my life show similar confidence
- Encouragement from friends
- Physical fitness
- Being a good influence on my children
- I’m too old to care much about nudity anymore
- Being a nude model for figure drawing classes
- I feel much more comfortable after transitioning
- Focusing more on how I feel and less on how others see me
- Avoidance of social media
- Going to therapy
- TikTok influencers that promote body inclusivity
- Getting tattoos on my body
- Seeing diverse body types in media
- Eating relatively clean
Exploring nudity confidence across the United States gave us important insights into our perceptions of our bodies and the societal influences that shape them.
Sexual health and wellness expert, Dr. Evan Goldstein, weighs in: “with every state in the U.S. ranking below a 5.8 (out of 10) on the nudity confidence scale, it’s clear our society universally struggles with body image.”
“Often at my practice, Bespoke Surgical, a patient’s physical confidence directly relates to one’s sexual self-assurance and drive. The same way it is our mission here at Bespoke to create an open, educational dialogue surrounding anal engagement to erase stigmas in order to increase confidence, we need to move the benchmark on body inclusivity and what we deem as “beautiful” to change society’s impact on self-perception. The more comfortable and confident people are with their body and sexuality, the better their overall well-being and quality of life are—both in and out of the bedroom.”
At Bespoke Surgical, we understand the importance of feeling your best in the nude. That’s why we offer services, education, and resources to help individuals navigate their body confidence journey.
We surveyed 3,166 respondents, with a representative sample across various sexual orientations, generations, and gender identities. The survey was conducted from April 21 to April 30, 2023, allowing respondents to share their thoughts on nudity confidence.
While data from Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming couldn’t be included due to an insufficient number of respondents, we still obtained valuable insights from the remaining 44 states.
About the Author
Consistent, proactive, and thoughtful healthcare is not only a priority, it is a demand by men who live well. Bespoke Surgical is built on this understanding. Today's modern, urban male has become adept at making the most of life, believing in living fully and completely in all aspects of work, fitness, relationships, and family. This makes excellent health more important than ever.
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