There is currently a big discussion on nudity in a German internet forum which, admittedly, I started. Generally, it seems to me like people here don't mind being naked in front of others. East-Germans haveabit of a reputation in that direction, but generally, Germans don't seem to mind it, whether it is in public showers or in the sauna (usually mixed). Some people went as far as stating that it was rude to wrap yourself in a towel in the sauna because it would seem like that person thinks they are inferior,not wanting to show their rolls of fat. The code seems to be "I show you my fat belly, you show me your fat thighs/saggy breasts/wrinkly genitalia.
I have always found that odd because I am a very private person in that area. Even my sisters and I haven't seen each other naked in years, probably more than a decade by now. It's not even that I think I'm too fat to be naked, even though I am generally insecure about my body (I have seen plenty of people who are way fatter than me and don'tmind being naked), but that I just don't want to be naked in front of random people.
I'd like to know how people from other countries see that. Isit accepted to be naked in the sauna or public showes etc.? And if so, is it unacceptable for people to then wrap themselves in a towel or hide their nakedness otherwise?
Especially in the former East, Freikörperkultur, or free body culture, is an important part of German identity. Decades of oppression led to a particular appreciation for the experience of freedom and nudity without a direct relationship to sexuality.
This can sometimes be difficult for Americans to buy, particularly when your coworkers casually invite you to the office’s nude sauna or suggest a naked swim in a nearby lake. Adjusting to this culture without getting weird took some grit, finesse, and more than a few awkward encounters.
It is much the same as Germany here, people will think you odd and prudish if you insist on wearing a towel in a public sauna. You sit on a towel, but not wrap it around you.
But then I had a German in-law visiting once and she insisted on wearing a bathing suit in my sauna, it was just the two of us...
What Juju said I would feel uncomfortable even being in a bathing costume in some else's sauna and there's no way in the known universe I would go naked. That being said I am naked at the moment and usually don't wear clothes around the house
I heard a bird cry, sharp and free. My name is Jordan.
Under normal circumstances I have no problems with being naked. I wouldn't want to wear anything in a sauna or wrap a towel around me, it would make me feel as if I were trapping the sweat and dirt in and not getting rid of it. That having been said I'm not a big fan of saunas. I haven't had one for a good 20 years.
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And the towel thing? I find it strange anyone should criticise someone for wearing a towel.
Like Alan said, it is partially a hygiene thing, but also it is just more like... perhaps like seeing people wearing surgical masks in public. For us in Europe that is generally weird and a little insulting for some reason, whereas in Asia it is considered perfectly normal. You'd be unlikely to be openly chastised by most people for wearing a towel in the sauna, but they would secretly wonder what your problem is, and what on earth you are hiding that they haven't seen before.
My son is now 16 and comes to the sauna with me and his sister (when he has the time from his busy, busy super-social life, that is). Is that odd, weird? Not thought so in my culture, as just the fact of being naked has nothing to do with sexuality.
In the UK it would seem weird, as Joe has maybe said (I do not know; I have never raised the subject with him obviously ) but having spent years with a Finn I know that it is perfectly normal there and that Antti would have no problem saunaing with his mum or other females that he was not in a sexual relationship with. Maybe we're just too prudish.
I heard a bird cry, sharp and free. My name is Jordan.
My sons have grown up seeing lots of non sexual nudity in the form of life drawings and life model photos etc, but I can't imagine being naked with them in a sauna or something. They'd die of embarrassment.
We don't do nude here. We just do naked and nekkid. They are all very different things.
One time I was at art camp, and we were all shaking our heads because this weird lady would, every morning, step outside of her cabin nude, and get dressed just outside of the entrance. We thought she was crazy at first, but she was just German.
In my house, there's not much problem with nudity. One of my daughters regularly strips down to the buff whenever she gets home and the other is very casual about walking around naked. I take baths with the door open and my girls are fine with coming in. But when my son was living with me, I started closing the bathroom door when he was about 14. I wouldn't have any problem with a naked sauna, but don't have much opportunity to take them. I don't think I'd like to be naked with a mixed group of strangers, but then I was naked with about 4000 people in downtown Montreal about 15 years ago for a Spenser Tunick photo shoot.
That's one of the situations where it would be so much better to be body-comfortable. When people (old or otherwise) find it difficult to move, it would be so much less distressing if the thought of other people seeing you naked wasn't such an issue.
I've never had a problem with medical types or family seeing things, but I felt uncomfortable for a long time round the time I went to school because of the attitudes at that age.
I think the last time I saw my mum topless was when she was changing about 10 years ago. There was an "EEEK!" moment in my head, just because it was not directly expected, but I didn't feel like my eyeballs were going to bleed or anything!
Though I'm Swedish I don't like to show myself naked in front of strangers. Of course I've been to the sauna sometimes but I don't feel comfortable when there are other women there. But I certainly don't cover myself with a towel. I'm naked in the shower room.
But small children should not have to wear bating suits, they bathe au naturel. They should not be forced to use bating suits until they ask for it themselves.
I don't walk around naked in the house either. What if someone rang the door bell?
We are famous for "Stockholm syndrome": "Q: Hey, what's up with Matt? His Dad is on social security, his mom got laid off, his sister's kids get free school lunches, he collects federal financial aid for college, and he only makes minimum wage working at Walmarts. Yet he keeps talking about how we need to cut taxes for the wealthy and quit spending so much on social programs. A: Yeah, he thinks he's going to be a millionaire soon. He's got Economic Stockholm Syndrome." (Urban Dictionary)