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What's the problem with nudity?

  • Fessler, Dan.
  • Videos

About this work


What is it about nudity that makes people feel uncomfortable? Eight volunteers, guided by a team of psychologists, confront their inhibitions and taboos while at the same time we hear from anthropologists and other experts about the deeper reasons for such inhibitions. Anthropologist Nina Jablonski is researching the evolution of human skin and the reasons why we lost our fur. Darwin believed less body hair was sexually preferable to early humans and it is now thought that because a less hairy human could run faster and sweat more freely they would be perceived as a better mate. Sweating without fur also gives humans the most efficient cooling system, allowing our larger brains to evolve without our bodies overheating. Furthermore by learning to stand upright we did not need hair all over to protect us from the sun - just the tops of our heads. Present day sexual attraction is under discussion - how do we find someone sexually attractive even when they are wearing clothes? Can we detect high fertility in another person by some kind of unconsciously recognised signals or subtle odours? Finally, is there any purpose to our being sensitive to nudity? Professor Dan Fessler thinks the shame of nudity encourages us to stay faithful to our partners and share responsibility for raising children.


UK : BBC 2, 2009.

Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL.


Broadcast on 3 March, 2009.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Paul King.

Copyright note




  • English

Where to find it

Permanent link