Gymnophobia is a fear (phobia) of nudity. Gymnophobics experience anxiety from nudity, even if they realize their fear is irrational. They may worry about seeing others naked or being seen naked, or both. Their fear may stem from a general anxiety about sexuality, from a fear that they are physically inferior, or from a fear that their nakedness leaves them exposed and unprotected.


"Gymnophobia" is derived from the Greek "gymnos" (naked) and "phobos" (fear) (cf. the etymology of the word gymnasium).


Standards of modesty (also called demureness or reticence) generally prevent public nudity. Avoidance of nudity in private situations may be a continuation of modesty, or may extend to prudishness or body shame. Only an actual fear of nudity qualifies as gymnophobia. Only when the fear is beyond one's control or is interfering with daily life can an anxiety disorder diagnosis be made.

In popular culture

In the television show Arrested Development, the characters of Tobias Fünke and Philip Lit suffer from gymnophobia. In the world of the show, they are referred to as "never nudes", and they wear cut-off denim shorts at all times to avoid being completely naked.


See also

Search another word or see Gymnophobiaon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature