Is there anything better than taking your clothes off? Probably not.
In every friend group, there's at least one person who's always the first to suggest a trip to the clothing-optional beach, a pants-free sleepover or a midsummer skinny dip. These are the "naked people," or those among us who have discovered that there truly is nothing better than being nude.
But opting to wear only your birthday suit can sometimes get a bad rap. Nudists, who make a lifestyle of living in the buff, are often misunderstood or stigmatized as "hippies," creeps or, worse, perverts. In reality, the nudist credo is quite simple: Living comfortably in your body is the best way to live. In fact, going nude has tremendous psychological and physical benefits.
Because there are no better experts on going au naturel, Mic tapped young nudists and naturists to talk about the major perks of dropping trou and loving every inch of our skin. These are the incredible reasons to embrace being naked — straight from the mouths of people who rarely wear clothes.
1. You get the best night's sleep you ever had.
The thing separating you from a healthy eight hours of zzz's? Your pajamas. Sleeping in the buff helps cool down your body — a key component of deep sleep.
"I sleep nude 90% of the time. I toss and turn a lot and I find when I wear pajamas, it bunches up around me and I get overly hot," Beebs, 39, told Mic. "Your body is pretty good at regulating its own body temperature. You rarely need more than just a blanket."
Sweating underneath too much flannel might lead to more than just itchiness. Not getting a good night's sleep is associated with a higher risk of obesity, diabetes and irritable moods. Not to mention, airing out the family jewels can prevent bacterial and yeast infections as well as instill confidence in your body.
"I love being naked while I sleep and find it more restful. I always sleep well but feel I sink more deeply into my body during sleep when I'm naked," Isis, 34, a naked yoga instructor, told Mic. "I wake up more embodied."
2. You look at sex entirely differently — and it's fucking awesome.
Non-nudists are often only nude in front of someone else when it's definitively Sexy Time. But getting nude with a partner on the regular (i.e. when you're not just having sex) has benefits, too.
"When you and your partner both sleep naked, the skin-to-skin contact will release the feel-good hormone [oxytocin]," Dr. Fran Walfish, psychotherapist, told Medical Daily. In other words, being in the buff with someone makes everyone feel more relaxed.
Seeing your partner nude in more than just a sexual setting can really change the way you see your partner — not to mention sex itself. Studies have shown that how we feel about our bodies has a huge impact on our sexual satisfaction. When we're at home in our bodies, we're more open to exploring our body with someone else.
"I'm comfortable with my body, and I think that really contributes to a better sex life," Felicity, 27, an organizer of Young Naturists America, a young nude-focused group, told Mic. "How much can you enjoy sex if your mind is totally preoccupied by what you look like naked? If you're at ease with yourself, it frees up your mind to be totally in the moment."
3. Nudity can enhance your romantic and platonic relationships.
Lifetime nudists and naturists swear that their interpersonal relationships improved once they started regularly doing social activities (yes, everything from water sliding to bowling) in the buff. That's because they say being nude allows them to approach people in a more honest and open light.
"Naturism has been one of the best things that could have happened to our relationship," Matt, 29, who runs the Kingston-Frontenac Free Body Society and practices nudity with his wife, told Mic. "When you're both nude around the house and yard, you get to appreciate the beautiful physical details a lot more. You get to know your partner's body more intimately."
"My lifestyle and social life revolve around intimacy," Isis, 34, said. "Clothes-free living engages that life."
4. Being naked frees you from social expectations.
Try as we might to fight it, what we wear has an enormous impact on how we're perceived by others. Research suggests that how we dress can change how successful, smart and even trustworthy we may appear to outsiders. Getting naked can decrease the pressure we feel to act and appear a certain way.
"I think it's a great equalizer when we're all nude," Beebs, 39, said. "You cannot be judged by the quality or name-brand clothes. You don't know who is a doctor or who is a postal worker when you're naked. We're all just human beings."
To many, public nudity can feel more policed than freeing. It can be seen as a form of protest and public nudity laws vary state to state. For nudists, though, social nudity is the least restrictive and most natural way to be around others.
"Being [naked is] an antidote and counters the media, advertising and all the messages telling you what you're supposed to look like and how you should 'fix' your appearance," lifelong nudist Felicity, 27, said. "It's empowering to be looked at as a human being and not judged based on sex appeal or appearance."
5. Nudity teaches you how to truly unwind.
All of that oxytocin-inducing, skin-to-skin contact and restful sleep has a key benefit: stress release. Nudists all agree that taking their clothes off can be a huge psychological release.
"It's nice to have something consistent to fall back on: you get home, the clothes come off, whatever was stressful that day is left behind with them," Matt, 29, said. "It helps to give me a safe psychological space where I know that everything important is, in the end, going to be all right."
6. You come to appreciate your body in an entirely new, empowering way.
Hanging around sans underwear also means allowing yourself the freedom to feel good about your body, no matter how you look. Nakedness means being vulnerable, even if it's only around yourself.
"I have been overweight most of my adult life. And I will probably always struggle with my weight. [Nudity] has helped me become more accepting of myself," Beebs, 39, said. "Somehow when I'm nude with all my friends those insecurities seem to melt away. They hug me the same as when I'm dressed. They don't turn away or feel disgusted by my body and it made me realize that if they just see me as a human being I should see myself the same way."
Research shows that being self-compassionate — not being too hard on ourselves — leads to an overall healthier and less stressful lifestyle. Nudists say that coming to love your nude body is one huge way to learn that compassion.
"Since I see so many naked people on a regular basis, I understand that we are all unique and different," Jordan, 39, said. "At the end of the day, my body is mine and I am okay with that."
*All names used are real names. Last names were omitted upon request for privacy reasons.