Disclaimer: This #UndressedThread is meant for open discussion and sharing personal experiences. It's not intended to substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. All views are personal and anecdotal.
A compelling theory has emerged on the r/nudism SubReddit, where at least two recent threads on the topic have provoked robust discussions that suggest, at least anecdotally, that nudism may resonate particularly with neurodivergent folks.1
The theory suggests areas of overlap where the principles of nudism—authenticity, simplicity, and freedom—align with the lived experiences of those with neurodiverse conditions. For clarity and in this discussion, the term “neurodiverse conditions” includes differences like Autism and ADHD, Dyslexia, and others, viewed as part of normal human diversity rather than deficits. These conditions often involve unique sensory experiences and ways of interacting with the world.
Some of the Reddit comments—many from people with diagnoses—posit that the absence of clothing can reduce sensory overload, a common issue with certain neurodiverse conditions. Additionally, the social dynamics within nudist communities may offer more direct and less performative interactions, allowing people to feel less “masked.” These factors could make nudism an attractive environment where neurodivergent individuals feel a sense of belonging and comfort which may be elusive in conventional clothed society.
In this week's #UndressedThread, I'd like to explore this concept, aiming to understand the allure of nudism for those with neurodiverse traits—myself included. As someone with family members diagnosed (and a few undiagnosed) with autism and ADHD, and having considered the likelihood of having ADHD myself given intense hyperfixation and other traits that resemble OCD, I have to admit this theory resonated with me. Could my nudism be a “stim”?
Or, does naturism just serve as a liberating platform for all people—neurodiverse and neurotypical alike—allowing for a more natural, unencumbered existence in general?
I don’t know. What do you think? Let’s undress it.
Join the conversation below and let's piece together this fascinating puzzle of nature, nurture, and nudity. 🪐
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THREAD #1: Neurodivergent nudistsTHREAD #2: Does nudism help anyone else “unmask”?
Interestingly, I’d already sort of hit on this idea in discussion with a nudist friend before I saw it discussed on Reddit, and I found it really striking how many people resonated with the idea. On the other hand, my wife, who has ADHD, experiences strong sensory issues with nudity that make many social scenarios less comfortable for her, although she still enjoys nudism under specific circumstances.
Another interesting consideration, I think, is that nudists spaces often include a significant population of older individuals. Generationally, these individuals may not have had with the tools or nuanced understanding about neurodiversity that we've come to learn just in the last ten years. As a “Geriatric Millennial” I myself have had to really try to educate myself about it, now that many of the adults I know are suddenly realizing they have these neurocognitive differences—and have had them undiscovered for their whole lives—and I want to understand them better. It leaves me wondering how experiences and perceptions on this topic may differ between generations.
I worked under an older guy once, in the field, during the summer in remote Alaska. And anyone who has been here during the hottest time knows we have mosquitoes! It was a requirement for my work for us to wear double-layered netting head to toe. I was okay with it (as I have very sweet blood apparently) but my field lead was not. He constantly tugged and pulled at the netting and his anxiety kept rising. I gave him a little snark over it but he told me in all seriousness that he has textile sensory issues and layers feel like a restraint to him. This was the first time I had ever heard of that and it sent me down a rabbit hole later. Turns out that's common among those with autism, though I never asked him about that as it wasn't really my business. Here's an interesting article regarding textile sensory, though: https://theautismguide.medium.com/autism-and-textile-sensory-challenges-503a10a00e05
Great thread idea, Evan! My work has been bananas lately and I have some catching up to do, but it tickled my brain enough on a Friday to want to check out the conversation.
I think it can be both - a unifying place for all and also a positive reinforcer for those who experience neurodivergence in a way that makes nudity a stim. My youngest was diagnosed as on the spectrum, both with autism and adhd last year. He's 14 and it was so interesting to see his reaction. A shrug and an "I yam who I yam" response. That strong amount of pragmatism is part of the description of behaviours, and I love him for who he is. Yet as his mom, I am thankful to have this diagnosis so I can understand him better and connect with him with this knowledge. I think that people naturally project themselves onto others until we are aware there is a difference, and the knowledge of this difference helps us then develop a relationship with them.
So, too, perhaps with nudism. There may be ways that nudism is more essential to one person than another, and perhaps that is tied to neurodivergence. Like they just cannot be themself fully when wearing clothes. And without that linkage, it might materialize in ways where they *need* set amounts of time spent nude without which, they feel irritable.
This might be something that someone who isn't neurodivergent but is a nudist may not understand. Or may blame on a "weak" characteristic, such as lack of patience or lack of self-control. Knowing that the other person isn't actually lacking anything but has their brain wired in a certain way that nudism supports could help them form stronger relationships that have new considerations for people.
Even in this small community, understanding each other with a neurodivergent lens and how that influences behaviours and also talents and gifts to the world can help us become closer and kinder to each other. Planet Nude would not exist without someone capable of driving something like it.
Anyways, thanks for tickling my brain in the right way for a Friday afternoon. I'll loop back on the other great posts once I've unburied myself in a few weeks. :)