Nudophobia (Fear of Nudity)
Nudophobia is the fear of nudity. This fear may include a fear of seeing other people nude, seeing oneself nude, or both. Someone suffering from this mental disorder may experience high amounts of anxiety when thinking about nude people or when seeing a picture of a nude person. Their nudophobia may even interfere with their sexual desires.
Due to the fact that public nudity is outlawed in numerous countries, someone with an intense fear of nudity will typically not have to put forth much effort trying to avoid it. If anything, someone with nudophobia may think repetitively about nudity and can even become obsessed with it.
Due to their nudophobia, they may dress extremely conservatively so to not risk exposing certain body parts. However, it is important to note that the specific symptoms of this disorder will vary from person to person.
In extreme cases, it may not be uncommon for someone suffering from nudophobia to abstain from going to beaches or public pools so to not risk seeing people in little clothing. Though this is a very extreme example, the exact symptoms of this condition may greatly vary from person to person.
Symptoms of Nudophobia
There are many different symptoms of nudophobia that may make day to day life quite difficult. They will often experience heightened anxiety when looking at a nude person, a nude photograph, or thinking of a nude person.
Like most phobias, someone with nudophobia will experience muscle tightness, shakiness, dry mouth, increased heart rate, and other physiological changes. The severity and specifics of the many different symptoms of nudophobia will vary and may also depend on whether or not they suffer form additional mental disorders.
Someone with nudophobia will often use “avoidance” as the method of choice when trying to minimize their painful symptoms. Such avoidance may include avoiding have sex with the lights on, abstaining from sex altogether, not going to beaches, or not looking at oneself when naked, among many other things.
Below, you will see the most common symptoms of the fear of nudity:
Intense anxiety when looking at a nude person
Anxiety when thinking about a nude person
Ashamed of one’s own body
Irrationally emotional when looking at a nude picture
May dress very conservatively
Causes of Nudophobia
There are no known causes of nudophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment most likely play very significant roles in its development. If you have a family history of mental illness, then you may be at risk for developing nudophobia. This is especially the case for those who’s close relatives have anxiety disorders or phobias. The other potential factor for someone developing nudophobia is their environment.
Growing up in a very conservative and religious home may be very stressful for some children. Being taught specific religious doctrines at a young age (e.g. Christianity) may have a very significant influence on a young child’s mind. They may be taught from a religious standpoint or merely from a non-theistic moral standpoint that nudity is looked down upon and is unethical.
Other potential causes of nudophobia may be that it is the result of another mental illness such as OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, or social anxiety disorder, among other things. To find out if this is the case for you or not, you’ll need to see your doctor so that you can get properly diagnosed.
It is not clear what the exact causes of mental illness are. Nevertheless, the consensus is that genetics and one’s environment may be the best indicators of whether or not someone may develop mental illness or why they developed a particular illness to begin with. There are many different factors that come into play when looking at the causes of broad disorders like generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder, let alone when looking at specific phobias like nudophobia or triskaidekaphobia for example.
Nudophobia Treatments (abridged)
There are no specific types of treatment methods designed for those suffering from nudophobia. Nevertheless, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medications may be able to help minimize the intrusive symptoms associated with nudophobia. If you are unsure as to which form of therapy you’d like to try or that would be best for you, then you should talk to your doctor so that you can be put on the right path.
One of the most popular forms of therapy to treat anxiety disorders is CBT. This form of therapy would work by having the patient learn new ways to think about their fears, as well as learning effective coping skills for when they are stricken with intense anxiety from their nudophobia. Like with virtually all types of behavioral therapy, it will take some time before the patient can expect to see very significant improvements. So, it is very important that you are able to commit yourself to seeing your therapist as scheduled.
Another very effective form of therapy that can significantly help improve the intensity of your nudophobia symptoms is exposure therapy. This form of therapy is commonly prescribed for people suffering from phobias. Essentially, exposure therapy can be an advantageous form of treatment as it would allow the patient to become desensitized to their irrational fear of nudity.
In this context, the patient may use exposure therapy by looking at nude pictures, videos, etc. Though they may initially experience heightened amounts of anxiety in the beginning, the goal would be for the patient to feel less and less anxiety from their nudophobia the more they were exposed to nudity.
If you think you may have nudophobia, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can get treated or be sent to a specialist (i.e. psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) It may take some time to find the right therapist for you as it is not uncommon for people to go through multiple therapists before they find one who is the best fit for them. If this is the case for you, then don’t let this discourage you. Instead, prepare yourself for what may possibly occur.
Exposure Therapy for Nudophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as nudophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with nudophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with nudophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their nudophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with nudophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Working Out for Nudophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including nudophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of nudophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of nudophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with nudophobia over time.
Yoga Sessions for Nudophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from nudophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with nudophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with nudophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with nudophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of nudophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Nudophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from nudophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with nudophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of nudophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Psychiatric Medications for Nudophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe nudophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their nudophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as nudophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of nudophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of nudophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Nudophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with nudophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with nudophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with nudophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with nudophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Nudophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like nudophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with nudophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with nudophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with nudophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your nudophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Meditation Practice for Nudophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from nudophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from nudophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with nudophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of nudophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with nudophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Control Caffeine Consumption for Nudophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with nudophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with nudophobia.