Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: Is it okay for parents to walk around nude in front of their young children?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Yes. It is healthy for children to see their parents' nude bodies, because it teaches them that bodies are natural (not only sexual) and that not every body is perfect. This is assuming that the parents are nude in healthy ways (eg. when dressing and undressing, showering, doing things around the house prior to dressing, when only family is home, etc). It is never healthy -- and it is considered abusive -- if the parents' nudity is used to shock or entertain the child, or for the arousal of the adult.

When children notice changes in their own bodies (usually just prior to the onset of puberty, or around age 10, 11, 12) they often become modest, and also may become uncomfortable seeing their parents nude around their home. Children will usually say something when they want their parents to stop being nude -- such as, "Can you please put on some clothes!" Then parents should get dressed. It's most healthy for the child to see that their parents respect boundaries about nudity. Parents should be careful to pick up on cues from a child of any age if the nudity is making the child uncomfortable. If you sense that it is, then get dressed.

Copyright © Dr. Sari Locker