Are Germans really starting to feel uncomfortable naked?

Ironically in the country where nudism was born! Germans no longer like to be naked as they once did. Why is that?

You will find FKK (nudism) beaches, baths and clubs everywhere in Germany. So what is causing Germans to be a bit uncomfortable naked?

FKK Nudism Survey

Many love being naked, others find it repulsive. “In every wave there is a bare ass” is said to have said Romy Schneider after visiting Sylt in 1968. Today, nudism seems less popular than it did back then: A Yougov survey in cooperation with the Statista portal currently showed:

  • … that adults in Germany feel more uncomfortable (36 percent) than comfortable (28 percent) in places where you are naked, such as on the nudist beach or in the sauna . The rest generally avoid such places or do not provide any information.
  • Women in particular feel uncomfortable (39 percent); for men it is 34 percent.
  • According to the stereotype, East Germans (36 percent) state more often than West Germans (26 percent) that they feel comfortable in places like a nude beach.

And the corona pandemic also stands in the way of the love of being naked outdoors. At the Wannsee lido in Berlin, for example, it says: “Due to the current regulations, we unfortunately cannot offer a nudist area.” The 70-year-old Wannsee hit is more true than ever before when you book an appointment online: “Pack your swimming trunks. .. “

Germany as the cradle of nude culture

“Until the first nudist associations were founded in the German Empire at the end of the 19th century, there were hardly any differences in dealing with nudity in Europe,” says the historian Heiko Stoff from the Hanover Medical School. “The then new naturism movement had a message: It was about working systematically on the body, realizing the classical Greek model, a kind of ideal marble body.”

In the 1920s there was also a more socialist nudism in addition to folk nudism. “The enslaved proletarian body should become aware of itself in its nudity, shed the old morals of the empire. It was about joie de vivre. ”Nude culture magazines were booming at the kiosks. No porn, but often on the verge of legality. Bodies were staged frolicking on the beach instead of statues. And even during the Nazi era, many were less prudish than one might think. The nudist book “Mensch und Sonne” by Hans Surén – a bestseller – was teeming with naked people.

After 1945 nudists got their own beaches in many places in the east and west. From the 1960s and 1970s, nude bathing was a trend, with women at least “topless” hip.

What about nipple freedom today?

In Berlin of all places there was topless trouble this summer! At the Plansche in Plänterwald, a police operation over an allegedly nudist woman with a bare chest sparked a debate about equality. A security service had asked the visitor several times to dress, and finally the police even came!

Core of the discussion: Why are naked women’s breasts nudist, but naked men’s breasts are not? Under the motto “The same breast for everyone”, there is now a kind of movement for this too. She calls for a topless right for women in places where men show themselves with bare chests. The goal: to “normalize” breasts instead of sexualizing them. Motto: “No nipple is free until all nipples are free!” (No nipple is free until all nipples are free).

Is the internet to blame for the new shame?

However, the medical historian does not consider such debates about more bare facts to be representative. Rather, he sees the Internet as a driver of a certain kind of shame. In the self-portrayals on Instagram, for example, an idealization of the body with firm skin is always dominant. “Most of the pictures are post-processed. But on the beach we can’t pull ourselves through the filter again. In my opinion, this is more of a reason why there is a feeling of discomfort when it comes to nudity. The reality of their body scares many people and is therefore rejected. I think this is more crucial than there is repression or religious thinking is on the rise. “


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