All hail Chrissy Teigen. The social media rock star we all want to be friends with IRL, and John Legend’s lady love, took to Instagram recently to show off her salad-making skills while in the nude. Aware of how the Internet is overrun with haters, she wrote: “plz don’t shame me I am a strong proud salad making woman just being natural and trying to live my life.”
Thanks to some well-placed emoji, the Instagram police haven’t taken the photo down (as of press time, anyway). Her fans also applauded her effort at living her best life, calling the post “beautiful,” “amazing,” and “powerful.”
And why not, right? Being in the buff is completely natural, and we simply do not celebrate our raw goods enough.
Case in point: A recent totally unscientific survey organized by the team at Superdrug Online Doctor found that more than half of American women who were single said they were uncomfortable being naked. The report’s authors surveyed 1,000 Americans and Europeans in order to get a better understanding of their perspective on nudity, including how people feel about seeing naked people in the media, at what age they were first exposed to nudity, and how comfortable they are sans clothes.
Interestingly, the demographic that was the most comfortable naked was divorced men: 83 percent said they didn’t have any issues with wearing their birthday suit. Among women, those who were booed up—that is, married or in a relationship—were the most comfortable.
When it came time to strip in front of their partners, less than one in five American women and one in 10 men felt weird about it. And, despite what we think about Europeans and their carefree attitudes toward sex and nudity, the survey found that 44 percent of European women and 42 percent of European men said they were uncomfortable being naked in front of their partners.
“Regardless of age, shape, or size, some men and women can’t shake the vulnerability they feel when their clothes come off,” the report’s authors wrote. “Despite how it might make their partners feel, some women even prefer to avoid being seen naked during intercourse because of the shame or self-consciousness they feel when exposed.”
If you’re one of those people, here’s some encouraging research that may spur you to work on getting past this discomfort. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who participated in naturist activities—clothing-optional resorts, anyone?—reported more satisfaction with life. Although “seeing others naked was a stronger predictor of positive body image than was being seen naked by others,” the author writes, there was also evidence that participants who engaged in bare-all activities also reported more positive body image and higher self-esteem.
In short, it may be a little uncomfortable to let it all hang out, but clearly the benefits are worth it.