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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KCL chapter.

How do you feel about being naked? Does it make you uncomfortable or anxious? Do you feel exhilarated by it? Would you feel comfortable being naked in front of someone else or in a group? I pose these questions for you to consider before reading the rest of this article. 

Being naked is often related to the emotions of fear, vulnerability and importantly, embarrassment. I want to share with you my recent change of mindset towards nudity and how the naked human form has inspired me and increased my self esteem through going to the gym and practising art. 

As children, most people have had the common dream of being naked at school. The mortifying feeling when everyone is laughing at you or staring and you’re just standing cheeks out in the school corridor. A psychoanalyst would have a lot to say about this, but to put it simply, from a very young age we develop an embarrassment towards being naked, ultimately leading to us valuing our naked bodies as inherently embarrassing. However, this is a misconception as it’s really anxiety and fear of vulnerability that creates this embarrassment. The disgust towards your own body only gets worse when you hit puberty, as you start to noticeably differ from others and have to manage the multitudinous raging hormones that cause daily internal battles. Self-image often worsens again when you become sexually active; many young people are unsure what is ‘normal’ or ‘on trend’ and of course the porn industry just aggravates the issue with its blatant falsity combined with the ever growing power of the internet. It seems to me absolutely tragic that so many people don’t see their body as something wonderful and awe inspiring and have grown up never thinking any differently. 

I have always struggled with my body image, having big boobs and dark hair on my arms and legs, and would never have dreamt of being so comfortable with being naked and being amongst other naked people as I am now. I started going to the gym two years ago with the intention of getting smaller, and although I worked hard I would just never lose any weight. I continued going to the gym and my interest slowly changed from wanting to get smaller to seeing how heavy I could go and how far I could push my body. To this day, I am obsessed with the feeling of the gym and how it makes my body and mind stronger. It hasn’t changed my body shape dramatically, but when I look at myself naked I think of all the amazing things that my body can do, and size and shape doesn’t play into that. 

Over the summer I was lucky enough to go on holiday to Scotland with my close friends. We spent the majority of the time swimming in the loch and a darling friend of mine and I reignited a tradition that we had formed on holiday the previous year… skinny dipping. God I love skinny dipping. Every morning, early, before the others were awake, we would creep outside to the loch, strip off, and take the bitingly cold plunge into the water. It became a staple of the holiday and would boost my mood tenfold. The repetition of our naked swims eased my fear about being naked in front of others, as the feeling that we got from the experience was far greater than the issue of being naked. We spent one morning sprawled out on a big rock in a corner of the loch, putting the world to rights and soaking up the sun, and it is safe to say I have never felt quite so free and at peace. 

I was so inspired by the revelation that being naked can actually be beneficial to me mentally that I decided to take it one step further and do a naked photo shoot. Another friend on this trip is a photographer, and I’ve known her for 10 or so years – we’re like sisters. I explained to her that my idea was that I wanted to recreate classical positions of the naked body seen in old paintings of the Greek goddesses. This was all so that I could use the photos as references for a self portrait that I have been wanting to do. She loved the idea and we picked a warm afternoon for me to strip. At first I was horribly uncomfortable, both from negotiating with twigs, leaves and rough tree bark, and also being completely naked in the light for my friend to see. I felt awkward getting into certain positions and was worried that it was too much for my friend to see of me! As we started playing around with light, positions and the scenery around us, we got more and more comfortable together, and it became a collaborative experience of creativity. The photos have turned out magical and I often look at them just because I’m in awe of the creation, and since then I’ve painted and sketched many of the photos. This experience has developed in me an appreciation for the human body as a form of art that deserves to be marvelled at, and praised by yourself. What added to this was going to life drawing classes, spending time studying the human form and being in wonder at the way it moves and changes and how everyone has a different perception of form, in this case, through art. 

I also encourage you all to talk to each other about your bodies, what you love about them, what you find uncomfortable and dislike; not only so that you break down the fear and embarrassment of nudity, but also for health reasons – it’s vital to check yourself for lumps and bumps and any changes in skin texture and colour. I cannot stress enough that being comfortable with looking at yourself and checking your naked body can really save your life. I learnt this from an experience I had 5 years ago… When I was 15 I found a large lump in one of my breasts when routinely checking myself. Growing up with a medical mother I had the sense to seek professional help, and thankfully after many tests and tracking its growth it was confirmed as benign. It was large enough that I had it removed and now have an impressive scar to show for it! On reflection, this experience may have kick-started the shift in my mindset towards my body, it forced me to appreciate that my body is mine to look after, and if I neglect that duty I might lose it and be forever regretful. 

I have found it important, in coming to terms with my feelings towards my own body, to surround myself with people I wholly trust. Being around the people you love is enough to feel confident in your own skin, naked or not. I’m not suggesting you hang out with your friends as some sort of nudist colony (however you’re free to do what you like). But if you surround yourself with people who love and cherish you, then you are bound to reflect that love onto yourself, and it goes the other way around. I have found going into my twenties that a lot of the teenage angst with body image falls away, and people gain a clearer perspective on their bodies as not some sort of alien part of existence but something to celebrate and learn about with friends, creating a positive atmosphere and dialogue around being naked. Our bodies are so much more than just flesh and bone; their abilities are awe inspiring and it’s exciting to get to know your own body as if you were getting to know a friend.

We only get one body, and one life and I for one am going to strive to banish the feelings of embarrassment and shame that come with nudity. My body, as does yours, doesn’t deserve to be concealed for fear of embarrassment. So… basically get your tits or tackle out and give yourself a humongous smile and thank the universe for providing you with such a glorious home. :) 

Chrissie is a writer for the Life section of the Kings College London (KCL) chapter. She will be writing about a variety of topics that will be relatable to everyday University life. Chrissie is at the beginning of her first year of an undergraduate degree in English Literature with Film Studies. Chrissie has a long history of speech writing and performance, as well as, more recently, a great interest in screenplay writing. She has written, produced and directed her first short film and there will be many more to come. After graduating in 2026 Chrissie hopes to pursue a career in the film industry as a writer/director of feature films. Chrissie has worked over the past few years with tutoring English students at GCSE and A-level - most notably students with dyslexia and learning difficulties and has hence gained an appreciation for the different ways in which young people learn and retain interest and knowledge. Chrissie loves to paint and play music in her free time as well as read and escape into the world of film. She is also adores cold/wild water swimming and will jump at any opportunity to take a cold plunge. She loves animals and has a growing interest in animal welfare in the meat trade and sustainability in day to day life. The perfect night in for Chrissie would be to cook with friends and enjoy wine and card games and good conversations.