Fear of Nudity
Gymnophobia, or the fear of nudity, is a highly personalized phobia. Some people with this fear are afraid only of being naked in public, as is the case in communal showers or changing rooms. However, some people also fear being naked while they’re with their partner or even when they’re on their own. Others fear being naked alone as well.
Many people with gymnophobia are unable to participate in sexual activities and may develop a more generalized fear of sex that stems from their gymnophobia. In extreme cases, this fear can even lead to a phobia of bathing or showering. Some people are comfortable with their own nakedness but fear the nudity of others.
Gymnophobia can have many different causes. Those who have been through a sexual trauma are certainly at increased risk for the phobia, partially because they feel especially vulnerable when naked or they experience nudity as a triggering event.
Fear of nudity (or, more commonly, a fear of sex) can also be brought about by being raised in a conservative culture or religion that frowns on nudity and sexual expression. Children and young teens may also develop this fear if they are bullied or shamed for some reason related to their bodies, for example, if they are developing more or less rapidly than their peers.
Gymnophobia is sometimes related to other anxieties as well, such as the fear of vulnerability or the fear of intimacy. It may also be linked to body dysmorphic disorder, social anxiety, and other conditions that cause people to be unusually critical of themselves. Lastly, having surgical scars or other disfigurements can cause increased shame of one’s body that can easily develop into gymnophobia.
Original publication 24 July, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 4 weeks ago
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