A Nation of Prudes?
A bit late, sorry.
Early in November, the opinion pollsters YouGov published Britain: still a nation of nude prudes, which has been taken by many to be a snapshot of the British public’s opinion of naturism. Far from it, it came about because the European Court of Human Rights rejected Steve Gough’s claim that his nudity was a human right and most of the questions make reference to nudity, not naturism.
It should also be noted that analysis of surveys, such as this one, is a matter of interpretation and what one person says about it is no better or worse than another person’s, but I would remind readers of the old adage: there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Lets get the ‘domestics’ out of the way first. The survey’s fieldwork was carried out on 28th and 29th October 2014 and there were 1,972 respondents of which 1,016 were female and 956 were male (weighted samples). The results are sub-divided into past and present political affiliation, age, social grade and English region or nation. Each question is also divided into those who had answered to first question if they were or were not comfortable naked.
The survey can be broken down into three parts:
- Personal attitude to nudity;
- The British public’s opinion on matters about sex and/or nudity, and;
- The public’s reaction to the treatment of Steve Gough (aka The Naked Rambler).
A look at the responses
Question 1 asks: ‘Generally speaking do you feel comfortable naked?’ 42 per cent of the respondents said, generally, they were compared to 50 per cent who said they were not. Looking at the results by age, surprisingly in the age group 18 to 24 the uncomfortable (52%) out numbered the comfortable (37%), while in the other age groups the advantage of the uncomfortable over the comfortable is less pronounced. Considering the same question by social group, in ABC1 the comfortable (45%) is just shaded out by the uncomfortable (47%), yet in the C2DE social groups, there is a distinct advantage to the uncomfortable (53%) when compared against the 37 per cent who are comfortable. [An for explanation of social groups used in marketing can be found here.]
Question 2 asks: ‘When no one is in, how often do you walk around your house naked?’ The answers ranged from very often to never, with the highest frequency being ‘not very often’ (41%). In total 22 per cent said either very often or fairly often (6% and 16% respectively), while 34 per cent said never. Analysing the replies by gender, not surprisingly, revealed more males would walk about the house naked when alone than females (26% against 17% respectively) but of those that replied ‘very often’ the gap is quite narrow (seven per cent male compared with four per cent female) and those who replied ‘fairly often’ 19 per cent were male compared to 13 per cent who were female. Interestingly, 48 per cent of those that had responded ‘not very often’ had also stated they were comfortable with their own naked bodies.
Question 5 asks: ‘Have you ever gone swimming nude or ‘skinny dipping’ at all?’ Unsurprisingly a thumping 73 per cent said no, compared to 27 per cent who had. Taking the results by age group again, in every group those who said no far outweighed those who said yes. The largest difference between the answers is in the age group 18 to 24, with 82 per cent saying no against 18 per cent who had swum naked. For this question, 60 per cent of those that had said no had also stated they were comfortable with their own naked bodies.
Question 4 asks are: ‘British people too easily offended by matters relating to sex or nudity?’ Overwhelmingly, the respondents agreed with the statement (65%) compared to 24 per cent who disagreed and 11 per cent who didn’t know. Breaking the replies down still further, only two per cent strongly disagreed with the statement, while those who agreed with it, most (51%) tended to agree and only 14 per cent strongly agreed. Looking at the results across the