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No, it’s NOT the fear of going to the gym. Instead, it’s the extreme anxiety some people have of being naked! And we’re not just talking about the normal discomfort of being nude around other people. With gymnophobia, people don’t even want to see themselves naked, alone, in a mirror. And their fear can be so extreme, they won’t even shower without wearing SOME clothing – like a bathing suit.
So, what causes gymnophobia? Psychologists say it usually boils down to a negative experience someone had while they were nude. For example: They may have been bullied while changing in the school locker room. Or someone may have made a comment about an unusual birthmark. That can cause people to obsess over their appearance, and worry that they’re too imperfect to be exposed. And their only solution is to “hide” their body – even from their own eyes.
The good news is that, like most phobias, having anxiety about being naked is something that can be overcome with therapy.