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What's the Problem with Nudity?

2009, Sexuality  -   46 Comments
Ratings: 6.72/10 from 83 users.

What's the Problem with Nudity?What is wrong with nudity? Why are people embarrassed about their bodies? How and why did they get the way they are?

This documentary takes a group of volunteers and subjects them to a series of psychological and physical tests to challenge attitudes to the naked human form. The questions raised strike at the heart of human physical and social evolution.

Human beings are the only creatures that can be 'naked' - but why, how and when did people lose their fur? That question takes Horizon around the world to meet scientists from Africa to Florida, and they are finding answers in unexpected places: the chest hair of Finnish students, the genetic history of lice, and the sweat of an unusual monkey.

It turns out that something everyone takes for granted may hold the key to the success of the entire human species (THIS DOCUMENTARY CONTAINS SOME NUDITY...CONSUME AT OWN RISK!!!). (Excerpt from

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46 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Rick Slobodian

    I hate copyrights when the copy right whats left ? whats left is torrents ... I hate when the media controllers tittilate us then deny us................

  2. don intestine

    it would be funny a nude young man and cute girl and a naked irradiated daddy at the store young man with a boner 9 inches saying its nature man just look at her

  3. Luciano

    I think is because of the following
    Sexual attention
    So yeah it could be of that

  4. Jonathan Hughes

    The problem with nudity is all in the head. The devil will be pushed out when the things that God made are not despised.

  5. Jonathan Hughes

    There is literally nothing wrong with nudity. There is nothing wrong with a boner either. God's word says there is nothing wrong with it. There should be no schizm in the body. There is schism in art like in Motels where there are furry conventions. I want the black curtian to come down.1 Corinthians 12: 23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
    The parts that are seen by people as being uncomely not having have any honor are seen by God as being comely worthy of honor.

  6. DWest

    Giving birth in a teaching hospital changed my perspective thank goodness

  7. Blake McCabe

    they said naked monkey, we're related to apes, not monkeys

    1. Greg Forschler

      To be accurate, we are ralated to monkeys as well, as all living things are related.

  8. DrJack37

    Interesting! In the original Olympics the athletes (all men) were naked. I think we should bring that back for both genders and start wearing the body proudly whatever its type, and celebrating the body as it is.

  9. lixiaolong

    ha ha.. the film has been banned from youtube. crap.

  10. Kazanova Ash

    One of the best documents that i have ever watch ......... NOTHING MORE

  11. DanaAbe

    Interesting topic but I don't think this documentary did justice to it. Many questions were answered very cosmetically and unconvincingly whilst others ignored obvious influences like cultural inclinations and modern marketing influences (ex pref for hairless vs hairy men) and why we evolved the need to cover ourselves with clothes. Its surprising the documentary and the science it featured didn't include a more thorough look at societies that survive to this day that are more or less naked.

  12. VareVatxingU

    Sorry but it doesn't make any sense that they conclude women prefer hairless men just because students in Finland and 8 ppl in London say so... what about cultural influences, for example? I bet 30-40 years ago this wasn't as important as it is now. This is doesn't seem like a very critical documentary... but i'll see how it turns out, it still has some interesting points :)

    1. Kiplin

      Check out the NatGeo documentary "How Humans Tamed Wild" and they get into how Humanity has been self domesticating for thousands of years.

      They show what happens to foxes when you mate for docility and mate for hostility and how the docile/smarter foxes get lighter in coloring and thinner in bone structure while the hostile foxes get darker and heavier boned.

      When you look at populations of humans, you start to see how important who gets to select the mates and what a culture values impacts the population as a whole.

      In the West, women make the primary decisions regarding mating and childbearing. Thus the West and "Westernised Cultures" have become more docile, more tolerant, more intelligent, thinner boned, taller, and lighter in coloring... Regardless of the origins of the people in the culture.

      In Male Dominated Regions, such as parts of India and the Middle East, men make the breeding decisions. Women are forced into accepting the decisions of their fathers regarding mating and violence and agression are valued... And they're not looking likely to get out of their 2nd and 3rd world values, culture, and lifestyle anytime soon.

      We're watching humanity diverge... And it's a scary thing.

      National Geographic Explorer: How Humans Tamed The Wild. Animal domestication was a major prerequisite for human civilization to evolve. How did such an important and dramatic shift from wild to tame happen? In the past few years, science has begun to reveal the genetic code that made it all possible. DNA and archaeological evidence are now painting a very different picture of human / animal history. Domestication means altering the size, shape, and
      behavior of animals through long-term selective breeding. Not all animals can be domesticated however. Why did the horse accept mans control but not the zebra? The answer may lie somewhere in the DNA, and pinpointing the exact gene is the next step in discovering what makes one animal afraid and another curious. It may even suggest that some great apes, and perhaps even humans are actually self-domesticated.

    2. Achems_Razor

      Sorry your link did not work, also please do not put on more than two links at one time, thanks

  13. lovelyfluffharmony

    I love how they say that basically it is more benificial for us as a species to be naked rather than clothed and to be naked is to be Human.

  14. Angelica Guerrero

    Thanks, BBC. For making a documentary about nearly everything under the sun. Really want to watch the latest one about assisted suicide called, "Choosing to Die". Seems very interesting!

    1. 0zyxcba1

      I wish Cheney would wish to die!

  15. KsDevil

    Tracking the genetic history of nudity was interesting. The emotional aspect of nudity was a bit constrained by bias, however. They really didn't go much into depth on how society creates an environment that causes emotional distress to nudity by ritual and myth. The references to monogomy seemed a bit conceptualized.

  16. JugDishSpoon

    Too bad I had to sign up to post a comment.. At least it was quick and painless lol..

    Any how, about the documentary:

    I had to stop watching half way through..
    Not cause of nudity or what have you, simply because this documentary seems to have been made by (put gently) people with intelligence less than average.

    They have made references to Humans evolving from apes all throughout the first half of the show, and I could not continue watching such rubbish.

    Evolution i believe is true. But no one has proven that we evolved from apes, and I think it is easier to disprove then prove this idea.

    These people several times said that they have no clue how this or that happen, or why or what have you. So they admitted that they are just wasting my time, since they have no idea what they are talking about, literally.

    PS: No hatin', just sayin'

    1. Rolando

      dude, we do evolved from apes.

  17. cezy

    for god's sake, what happened to BBC documentaries?? All rubbish talk, naked people and no science!

  18. Ptolemy_Banana

    I enjoyed this docu, but that's probably because of all the nudity :P

    Overall I found it to be quite unimaginitive, and I also found that the setting was counterproductive to what they were trying to study. This was quite obvious with the man (neil?) who was focused on people's faces. I am like him...I make a point of looking people in the eye. The more obviously they are displaying their goods, the more I refuse to look at those goods. and it isn't more obvious than complete nudity. One thing I found really fascinating though was that the instant her head turned away (she wasn't looking at him anymore) his eye targeted her breast.

    I think a docu with this subject would be much more beneficial and informative with a much larger and diverse research group. ie these 8 people, as well as studying nudist colonies, and then tribes where nudity is normal, groups of people who dress very conservatively, etc. The more different things we can look at, the more similarities we could find.

  19. rachelnico

    LOL, i wonder if the 3 naked people knew they were chosen to be that way for the experiment, or if it was at random. Either way, the clothed ones were lucky.

  20. steve

    Rating pictures of body hair / no body hair was just an exercise in how mentally homogenized a small group has been formed by media to view nudity. How many Tommy Hilfinger adverts do you see of men with hairy chests?
    Why didn't we "evolve" a patch of red, blood-engorged skin on our upper chest where it would be both less likely to be covered by hair or clothing - and so still show "health."

    "cod TV science" I think you may be right.
    We need more videos on this topic, but better quality than this.

    "...frigidity, people don’t get arouse and don’t enjoy the normal pleasures of sex."
    I disagree. I think what we're seeing now is a lot of (emotional) frigidity or hyper-arousal. People don't know how to react normally anymore.
    Oh I think nudists definitely enjoy normal sexual pleasures. It's just not cruxed on visual stimulation. People won't be able to be artificially focused to cleavage, or artificially lifted by bras.
    The problem is that people are focusing on the quick, easy fix of implants and fashion, instead of the true difficulties of developing interpersonal intimacies and working out inner insecurities. So much for the "sophistication of man" {see also: sophistry}.

    "nakedness ... will definitely bring the inevitable breakdown of society."
    What?! We are born naked! "Naked" is the epitome of normal and natural! (The breakdown of society will only come because of lack of trust - of course with strong impetus with lack of water & such. {Do you know how much effort, (e.g. guards, locks, police, security video), is put into guarding our stuff from other people?})
    I think civilization is just fine in small groups too.

    And to that lady in Africa, and what of the "water-ape" hypothesis?

    The "touching" part was interesting, but that could've been done with simple pictures so everyone could have painted everyone else without knowing how others were first painting them.


  21. Robyn

    I found the video interesting but not very scientific. When tracking eye movement, the test would have been much more revealing if there were a collage of various images shown for a period of several seconds with nudes placed in amongst them. Then, I think anyway, it would have been a more realistic and natural way that the mind, using its eyes, gathers pertinent information. And the acceptance of nudity after the 'experiment' isnt very scientific either. The two who didnt accept it were women, who can understandably be more 'modest' because of every day concerns of rape. After watching the video I got the impression that the 'experiment' was conducted more by radio hosts than scientists.

  22. Uroskin

    The Documentary Channel in New Zealand screened this the other night.
    It tried to figure out why nudity is such a social problem for our species by asking 8 total strangers who have never stripped or been nude in front of other people (and a battery of TV cameras) to do exactly that. Coupled with a potted history of homo sapiens and more ancient forebears, it tried to figure out at what stage in our genetic and cultural history we decided that it was not OK to be around others without "clothes" on.
    As this kind of cod TV science goes, it was rather un-illuminating on practically all questions it set out to answer. On the contrary, it left me with a great deal of other queries about aspects that never got touched on.
    The obvious clanger was asking 21st Century males and females to rate male chests' sexual attractiveness based on hirsuteness or baldness of said chests. This was supposed to give a clue that evolutionary we have lost our body hair because females preferred to mate with hairless men. But what this really showed was the scientific incompetence of the sex researchers setting up such a thoughtless, biased and uncontrolled experiment: even intuitively (if I may) I would have shown the subjects a range of hairy and hairless women to rate, and I bet the outcome would have been far more pronounced in favour of hairless-ness than the male-only version. Hairy females did far worse evolutionary speaking than hairy males, just look at the number of hairy men still with us compared to the amount of hairy females (ladies with moustaches notwithstanding) and the relentless marketing of lady-shaves, depilatory products and the opprobrium heaped on unshaven continental women.
    And we all know that when woman are at their most fertile era in their cycle, they prefer hairy bad boys as bed mates over plucked metrosexuals - and this has a long history too: interbreeding with hairy Neanderthal men apparently was far more common than many of us would like to remember.

  23. UnseenStrings

    I don't know why these researchers were studying humans (who were from a culture that required clothing) in order to understand human instinctive reactions. This study certainly wasn't scientific. A child is born with no shame. But the worried or irate covert glances and/or body language or the downright overt expressions from guardians teach the child shame rather quickly. Now if the study had been conducted on the Krubu, or some other Amazon Rain Forest tribe, or some normally naked tribe in Africa or somewhere else in the world, then I could have a bit more respect for the findings. Otherwise, the research is merely tells the culturally determined reactions of modern-day city dwellers. To which I ask, "What in hell did you expect anyway?"

    1. Kiplin

      A child is born without shame but worldwide, children begin to feel uncomfortable being nude around others at between 6 and 8 years old.

      Even cultures that are OK with nudity show that there is a basic part of being human that causes one to not wish to "Be Naked" in front of strangers and those that might take advantage of that state... Not "Nude" but "Naked". Semantics aside, being "Naked" means "Vulnerable" and our whole species understands this concept no matter what the culture they're raised in believes.

  24. Dash

    I found this to be a very interesting documentary.

    Although I dissagree with Daniel Fessler's views on shame.

    Shame is not an emotion in itself. What you feel when getting naked infront of other people is fear. Fear that you will not be accepted by the group / person.
    If you walk in to a bikers cafe wearing a suit and tie you can expect to feel the same sense of social rejection and fear.

    My point is that shame is nothing more than a learnt social behaviour.

    It is well known that ancient society lived in groups wherein children were raised by the group rather than only by the birth mother and father. The true genetic father of the child was likely unimportant.

    The documentary shows this in the way that the participants become quickly comfortable with each others nudity and begin to function as a close social unit.

    In my personal experience I have found that sexuality is no different in a nude society than in a clothed society. However I do believe that decoration of the body plays a role in our human mating ritual.

  25. LOL

    George Fieldman was one of my tutors when I did a psych degree in a Uni that's basically, well, almost the equivalent of community college in America in terms of how easy it is to get in and how good it was.. he always tried to be cool but never quite making it (suit and trainers... but like proper chunky running shoes not nice ones) and made bad jokes that bombed. SO glad he wasn't one of the naked ones. One of his exams was a 'seen' paper and I still managed to not do well.. it was about the peppered moth & the industrial revolution (how the black ones became more prominent cause of the soot giving them more camouflage) for god's sake, because that has SO much to do with Psychology.

    But yeh this documentary went off on too many tangents and didn't really answer the question very well...kinda rushed at the end and basically came down to social construct. which we already kinda knew.

  26. t

    interesting. This makes me feel more comfortable about myself

  27. No name

    Interesting ideas expressed here

  28. David - a nudist

    As a nudist, I'm used to being naked...even being naked now as I type this comment...and it's NOTHING to do with sexual perversion. This video is natural and I often wonder the question myself...what's the problem with nudity? I see no problem with it. Why should others? My discomfort with the subjects getting naked was barely 3, if that.

  29. Pete

    I could have done without all the lice talk.

  30. BBC

    I wonder if Fieldman goes home and masterbates thinking of the naked people he works with. Overall the Doc was pretty gross. Whats with the Brits and their crazy docs. hahahaha

    My rate of discomfort was a 9 when dudes were getting naked. Come to think of it when the women were naked it was the same.

    Was it the DNA of the lice, or the DNA ingested by the lice where they got their results from?

  31. WiLdFLoWer

    I was kinda turned off by all the "body hair" talk. Thought it'd be more about why we as a individuals in Western society feel so uncomfortable being nude in front of others.

  32. soba

    Raya- I think it was pretty "revealing" actually!

  33. new girl

    If humans evolved to have less hair as an evolutionary response to heat, why is it that people of Indian and Middle Eastern descent, which are areas with warm climates, generally have more body hair than people who are from cooler European climates?

  34. Raya

    I enjoyed the topic of this documentary but did not find it to be very revealing. I spend as much time as possible nude during the summers at a local river. The attitude along certain places of the water is very skinny-dipping friendly and I have met a large portion of the community while enjoying my time in these isolated locations. Some locations along the water are even family-nudist oriented. In this setting it is very normal for people to be very friendly, welcoming newcomers with hugs, sharing food and joints (medicinal of course). How pleasant it is to sit in good company enjoying a drum circle and the sun in your natural state of nudity. Its never been uncomfortable or sexual in nature when I spend time with other nudists. When it is socially agreed that nudity is accepted in a situation, as the doc showed, it really allows people to open up and show their vulnerabilities and in turn, acceptance. I am only afraid that the time is soon approaching when this pastime wont be a possibility. Every year the Yuba river seems to grow shallower and the water quality lowers. In time it wont be worth living here to be by the water. Until then, this experience is the most natural of any i have felt and I would encourage anyone to try it at some point.

  35. js

    many researches are subjective. and sometimes you can even prove it the way you want to.

    back in the ages, a blacksmith argued that iron cannot float in water. to prove his point he threw an iron bar in water... and proven iron does not float.

    but had he thrown a bucket in water he would have an emperical proof that metal can float water.

    many a times ignorance of all the factors involved lead to erroneous conclusion. there could be some benefits for nakedness, but the there will be definitely some major overriding damages.

    for instance, if we consider the theory of evolution to be true then man has evolved to start to wear clothes, for some functional reasons probably still unknown. hence, we were naked we evolved to wear cloth, then we now want to revert back. i would call this devolution. and could end up to be a failed species!!!!

    perhaps technology might compensate our need to wear cloth. but
    this could still be probably unfunctional. now we would need other means to prevent to subtitute for clothes, in the sense that other natural elements, like sun rays might cause more cancer in the caucassian race..... but man is very inventive and might look for some cream to block...but what could be the effect of these chemicals on our body skin... and the debate continues, probably ending with the cloth that natural selection has chosen for our species..

    would be frantic to see a naked man with an extra large genital walking and accidentally standing behind a woman in a queue an apologizing for accidentally having an erection.... probably this apology won't happen as we would get used to it but...

    this will lead to the inevitable competition of males for females and create chaos.sometimes not knowing who the father is to take cater for the children... but we will find out a means of knowing who the father was... but imagine the big male knowing that the fair small guy had a quickie with his partner... perhaps they could be doing swinging but on the scale of a whole society and knowing human

    moreover, over exposure to nudity can probably lead to frigidity, people don't get arouse and don't enjoy the normal pleasures of sex.

    probably we could evolve again by growing up hairs. but for people who bath once a year its not a problem.

    it would be fantic for people with diseases exposing rashes, pimpled body, birth marks and thus increasing the stigma... ok we do it on the beaches women having menses or bunch of adolescents at night naked seeing a lonely lady naked, what happen next is clear

    on a small scale nakedness can work, as with one's wife or in the forest but on a large scale it will definitely bring the inevitable breakdown of society.

    one must realize that man is more sophisticated than most animals and devise ingenuous way to achieve his goals. perhaps the animal kingdom don't suffer breakdown, because they are genetically programmed so. but man will definitely be impacient, except perhaps if we also follow the mating seasons as animals

    let's keep the gift that evolution has given us from the time people started civilisation- living in large group.

    those researches could ultimately prove 'the importance of using clothes' lol !!!!!

  36. Dave

    Yay! Let's deconstruct all culture. And onto the future we go!

  37. John

    So here I thought, we might have an interesting doco into the psychology/ philosophy of sexuality...

    But no. Here's where gay scientists are wasting tax payers money on.
    I'm surprised they didn't make the subjects engage in homosexual relations just to see what they're 'bio-evolutionary' reactions would be... - for scientific research, of course.
    Oh wait, it will probably be on in a few years time.
    We're just gradually being introduced to the matter, like the proverbial boiling of the frog, by slowly increasing the temperature.

    And what is it with the British producing these docos?

  38. Jason

    very slow!

  39. Vlatko

    No it's ok.

  40. Guest

    Is this documentary broken or something?