In this comment it was suggested that teaching in your underwear is a bad thing. While in general, I think academics are accepting of a wide range of dress (there are people in my department who teach in suits and others in ripped jeans), I am not sure a nudist or teaching in your boxers would be acceptable.

Part of me thinks there is the issue of sexual harassment, but I think if it is your style, it is not harassment. Can an academic really wear, or not wear, what they want? Let's assume that it is a state university and therefore not public nudity or that you are in a state/country that allows public nudity.

I am interested in the ethical/professional side of teaching in the nude. I am assuming that someone who wants to teach in the nude would understand the legal implications and how it affects their productivity.

  • 3
    Are you asking about legality? Ethics? Professionalism? Impact on your effectiveness as a teacher?
    – ff524
    Jul 14, 2015 at 16:36
  • 13
    As an ethical question, I don't think it's any different than being nude at any other workplace. I move to close as a "boat programming" question.
    – ff524
    Jul 14, 2015 at 16:53
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    Also, per the help center: "You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." This does not seem to qualify.
    – ff524
    Jul 14, 2015 at 16:54
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    @jakebeal I don't think it would be a bad question if it was given in the context of a specific scenario, like this one. As a general question, I still think it's terrible.
    – ff524
    Jul 14, 2015 at 17:06
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    @StrongBad You call it "edge conditions", I call it reductio ad absurdum.
    – xLeitix
    Jul 15, 2015 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


No, No, No, and also No!

Setting aside all aspects of legality, I see no way around the ethical problem of consent and harassment. Simply put: the teacher is in a position of significant power with respect to the students. A teacher choosing to be nude may place students in a position where they are compelled to either remain in a situation where they are uncomfortable or else may face significant penalties. There's no way to spin that where it's not an abuse of power, compounded further by the sexual and gender implications that nudity would have on most university campuses.

Maybe it could be made consensual if the class was optional and had instructor nudity as a clear expectation as part of the curriculum (so people would know what they were signing up for---like in this example), but we're getting pretty far out of the mainstream of university instruction with such a case. Even figure drawing classes in art school generally use neutral third parties for their nude models, rather than the instructor.


Let us be a bit rational here.

A) Is being in the nude helpful to students' understanding of the subject matter in any way? I have no preconceptions on this, but still fail to find a great many subject matters in which nudity may be pertinent. Art history, perhaps? Or a philosophical discussion on the perception of nudity through the ages? But not the vast majority of subjects taught in universities, by any means. For the situations that can objectively require a perception of the nude human body, perhaps substituting teaching materials for the corpus delicti would be sufficient.

B) Is being in the nude an interference to students' learning process? This seems likely, due to most cultures' taboos on public nudity. There are not many places in the world (except, perhaps, nudist beaches and one small island in France) where you can cross the street with your attributes on display and not attract people's attention.

Balancing A against B, I would tend to think nudism in the class is not constructive to an atmosphere of concentration on the subject in hand, in the vast majority of teaching situations.


This is probably the most interesting question I've seen so far and I can't completely tell if you're serious about the question but I'll give an honest and serious answer anyway.

A goal we would all like to see achieved is equality for all no matter your race, lifestyle, etc. But there are lines where things cross into the inappropriate.

Do you remember, a couple months ago, that med school which had students preform vaginal examinations on OTHER Students? Messed up, I think so. Illegal, no.

I mention the med school because while you should not teach a class naked for an immense amount of ethical and liability reasons @jakebeal mentioned consent but I don't think that works in practice. If you make it clear that you will be nude and that students must be okay with it:

1). A vast majority will think it's a joke.

2). Students may feel forced to consent if your class is required and they can't change their schedule to have full-time status.

Though the topic can get touchy when you talk about an art class. Are the students drawing you naked? Is being nude part of the curriculum? While models would be better for everyone I can see where there would be an argument in the context of art.

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