Interpreting the Symbolic Meaning of Nudity in Dreams

Updated on March 11, 2019
EsmeSanBona profile image

Aisling is the author of Dog Funeral Evangelism. Her articles on dream interpretation and Jungian psychology have over 1.7 million views.


What Does Being Naked in a Dream Mean?

Sooner or later, most dreamers will find themselves nude in a dream. For some, this may involve themes of running freely on a secluded island. For others, nudity will be before the prying eyes of everyone in a mall parking lot. There's also the classic dream where you're naked in front of a classroom full of your peers. You may also experience nudity in a sex dream. Naturally, the experiences will be perceived as either freeing or mortifying, depending on the individual.

Just as locales and feelings vary from dreamer to dreamer, so does the meaning of being naked in a dream. Nudity can be interpreted as an expression of:

  1. Vulnerability
  2. Exposure
  3. Rejection
  4. Humiliation
  5. Innocence and Freedom
  6. Sexual Liberation

How Do I Figure Out What My Dream Means?


The locale is a big clue to determining the dream's meaning. The symbolism of being nude in public versus being nude in private is much different. Focus on the location, and think about who else is in the dream.

Background Characters

Are you surrounded by strangers? By yourself? With close friends? The people surrounding you in your naked dream can indicate what it means.

Your Feelings

The way you feel is perhaps the most important factor in determining the symbolic meaning of your dream. Did being naked make you feel angry, embarrassed, ashamed, nervous, frightened, sexual, liberated, ambivilant—or did you perhaps experience a combination of these reactions?

While you dream, pay close attention to these three factors if you want to truly understand the symbolic meaning behind your nakedness.

1. Vulnerability and Being Exposed

Human beings are at the height of vulnerability when they are naked, thus nudity in a dream could represent feelings of helplessness in one's waking life.

Think of an emotionally distant person suddenly entering into a new relationship. This scenario may envoke nervous feelings about opening up to the new partner or anxiety about revealing aspects of oneself that are typically covered up.

New relationships are not the only activities that elicit nudity in dreams. Starting a new career, beginning an artistic endeavor, or taking any kind of risk can trigger dreams of being naked (especially naked in public).

Your location and surroundings in a dream can be strong indicators of its deeper meaning.
Your location and surroundings in a dream can be strong indicators of its deeper meaning. | Source

2. Nudity Triggered by a Fear of Exposure

Public dream nudity can occur when someone is engaged in an illicit activity such as accruing gambling debts, using illegal substances, or being involved in an extramarital affair. The fear that one will be found out may manifest as nightly visions of being publicly naked.

The exposure the dreamer fears is often more concentrated on a psychological level. Usually, the fear of being publicly exposed as a fraud, addict, or cheater bears a great weight on their conscience.

Many completely capable people engage in hyper-critical, self-judgmental thinking. Sadly, they fear that others see them in the same harsh light as they see themselves. You don't have to be harboring some huge secret to be afraid of feeling exposed, and thus experience nudity in a dream.

Ironically, when an individual decides to pursue a secret goal, particularly goals of an artistic nature, dreams of public nudity can manifest as a symbol of a fear that one will be exposed as a talentless hack.

Dreams of nakedness may make us feel vulnerable and unmasked.
Dreams of nakedness may make us feel vulnerable and unmasked. | Source

The dreamer must stop perceiving the self in piecemeal. Fulfillment is attained by accepting the self as one whole entity without fear or hesitation.

3. Rejection and Suppression of the True Self

Nothing is hidden when we are naked. Whereas in waking life clothing can serve a utilitarian function, it takes on a symbolic meaning in dreams of being that which covers something up. Normally, what we cover up is that which we are ashamed of, or fear others will find unacceptable.

Therefore, dreams of nudity can symbolize that the dreamer is hiding certain aspects of the self that they fear may lead to rejection if revealed. All too often, the authentic self is what ends up being hidden out of fear of rejection; lives are lived in pieces congruous to the places one inhabits rather than in total authenticity at all times in all circumstances.

The proclivity toward masking the authentic self for fear of rejection is commonly found in relationships, especially new ones. Instead of revealing who one truly is, the person in question attempts to hide that self in favor of creating what they believe their partner wants.

When an individual hides a part of themself in order to be the proper image, not only is a part of the self sacrificed, but they also create a relationship where the basis is an imaginary one founded solely on image conformity. Authentic relationships can occur only where there is complete acceptance of the whole person—where no part is hidden from view.

4. Public Nudity and Feelings of Humiliation

Many people have dreamt that they were naked in a public setting. The person who experiences the dream often feels mortified.

As previously discussed, dreams of nakedness are usually manifestations of feelings of vulnerability, exposure, or other fear-based emotions. Dreams of public nudity accompanied by feelings of shame, fear, guilt, or some other unpleasant emotion can symbolize fear of rejection, fear of exposure, fear of disapproval, etc.

The difference is that in dreams of public nudity, the fear is on a much greater scale. It isn't just that your friends and family or those close to you will find out something you'd rather keep hidden—it's that the "whole world" is going to find out.

When having these dreams, it is important to remember that most of the time, these are just feelings—that's it. They aren't portents of some future calamity or prophecies of your world coming apart.

However, it would be advantageous to look at your life and discover what is causing you to feel so distressed. Usually, these dreams pop up in the minds of those who are being terribly harsh on themselves.

Pay attention to your emotions while dreaming to determine the symbolic meaning behind your nudity.
Pay attention to your emotions while dreaming to determine the symbolic meaning behind your nudity. | Source

5. Nakedness Stemming From Self-Acceptance, Innocence, and Freedom

While most of the preceding interpretations of dream nudity seem less than positive, there are times when the experience can have uplifting associations. Sometimes, instead of embarrassment, fear, or panic, dreams of nudity are accompanied by feelings of elation, joy, or liberation.

Positive emotions can indicate that the dreamer is experiencing a time of total self-acceptance and is presenting the self, as is, to the world without shame or apology.

If the dreamer has recently undergone a period of persecution, this can mean that not only has the dreamer overcome the ordeal, but that his or her innocence has finally been restored.

The dreamer may feel, deservedly so, that the whole self has been bared before the world and not only has it remained intact, but it is now free to live a fearless life.

6. Nudity in the Context of Sexual Liberation

Naturally, one might imagine that there could be sexual connotations in a dream about nudity. Sometimes, you are with a sexual partner (it could be someone you've been with, someone you want to be with, or someone you've never thought about being with) in a dream and you find yourself naked.

Positive feelings during a dream with someone you've never thought of in a sexual manner before can indicate that you're interested in exploring your sexuality. Perhaps you feel sexually excited, curious, or simply happy—this represents sexual liberation.

If you experience negative emotions during sexual dreams while you're nude, this can represent traumatic sexual encounters you may have experienced in the past. It can also be indicative of sexual repression or frustration.

What if I dream about being topless or pantsless?

If you're only partially nude, it could represent a secret or burden you're carrying around. You could be worried your cover will be blown or your secret will be uncovered, thus you may be "pantsed" or suddenly lose your shirt in your dream.

What if everyone else is naked in my dream?

If everyone's naked but you're clothed, it could mean that you feel like you can't connect with others. Maybe you're hiding a secret and feel like it's holding you back from being open with others.

What if I'm naked and alone, or no one can see me?

This can mean that you don't really care what others think about you. Or, it could mean that you want to be yourself but are afraid that you will hold back, preventing others from being able to get to know the real you.

Dreams and the Individual Psyche

While most of the interpretations of dream nudity seem less than pleasant, it is important to keep in mind that most dreams are not prophetic omens. Dreams are indications of how the psyche is interpreting events in waking life. They reveal how one feels about one's life, and these perceptions are not always accurate.

According to sleep scientists, the continuity hypothesis of dreams suggests that dreams are an extension of our waking lives. Concerns and ideas you think about on a daily basis will often manifest themselves in your dreams. While the descriptions above may give you some idea of what being nude in a dream means, the best way to truly form an understanding of your dreamscape is to search within for the emotional and psychological context of your dreams.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • I dreamed I was going to meet my pastor and his wife, but I was naked. In this part of the dream, I was trying to hide my nakedness. Later, however, I dreamed I climbed a staircase, still naked, but this time I allowed a man on the staircase to see me naked. The man ran away because he didn't want to see me naked. I then asked my twin sister for clothes, and just as I was about to put them on, I woke. That is all I can remember from my dream. What does it mean?

    There is a lot going on in this dream. In the first part you are attempting to hide from your pastor and his wife, but later on, you allow someone else to see you naked. The person to whom you expose yourself then runs away, and you ask your sister to "cover" you. This dream sounds like you may be afraid to be vulnerable or open up to people your fear will abandon you if they see the "real you." That fear may be rooted in the memory of an incident wherein opening up to someone lead to abandonment. Does that sound accurate?

© 2011 Aisling Ireland


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      25 hours ago

      I gotta ask since I haven't found my answer what if its just two people in a dream and im clothed but the other one is naked?

    • profile image


      36 hours ago

      A few months ago I had a dream where me and this girl in my class (who isn't my friend) were in a changing room. Both of us were nearly naked but had our bras and underwear on, and we were both laughing and doing some poses in front of the mirror(from what I remember). Then I woke up and was like "what???". I don't know why we were doing that since we aren't close but we did talk to eachother when we first met (which was 2-3 years ago) and we both got along fine. But then we both stopped communicating with eachother. Don't know why I would show my body in front of her, but I was somehow comfortable with it.

    • profile image


      4 days ago

      Yes the whole dream is perplexing. Could you please give me interpretation of it?

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      6 days ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Hi Ayesha, thanks for writing. Is there something about your dream that you find perplexing?

    • profile image


      7 days ago

      Hi I have just saw a dream that Im in my school and it sounds like It's recess time because everyone is in the playground and while I'm seeing everyone playing I saw that a naked nascent baby has fallen on the floor and then a girl picks this baby up but baby is crying and this girl says i though he must have dead because he fall from a height. I take the baby from this girl and then there is an other little boy he tells me that he knows who this baby is. Upon asking this little boy tells me that his mother lives nearby in a housing scheme. So i say okay and start walking towards the main gate of school and there I call up a friend (who ive never met in real life) I tell her that I have this naked baby and she says she is leaning may be i can ask help from someone else and then I realize Im naked too. But at that time it does not like much concern me im concerned about baby more. But i rush in a nursey class room where my teacher is sitting I ask her to look after baby and I tell her that Im naked and im ashamed so i'll just put on clothes and get back to you. She agrees. But just as I exit from this room I see that I have a black te shirt on but im not wearing anything down. Si i just run and while im running on staircase I keep putting the shirt down so that my bum does not get visible from behid but as i reach upstair in a room i see that im wearing a paint but it sort of stuck in the middle neither its up neither its down on the legs so I slide this up and down and then I realize im wearing the opposite side of it. I then immediately pull it off and wear again. Because its in culture it says that wearing the clothes in opposite means you just have sex. And then i rush to my teacher's room she is righ there and the baby is now in the hands of little boy who i met in the start of dream so i sit with mam touches her hand and I tell her you have this warmth and positive energy and I can feel it now. She laughs and continue laughing until she starts coughing i offer her a glass of water and she drinks and says out while coughing you may hold my hands if you feel they are warm and will melt away negative things. So i hold them and then she says may be we should go for a tea and I say okay and then i woke up.

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      10 days ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Hi Demi, thanks for writing. Are you currently taking classes?

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      10 days ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Hi Marilize, thanks for writing. I'm sorry about your experience and your divorce. I always answer questions with questions, so please bear with me. How long have you been in your current relationship? How long has it been since you were divorced? Is this the first person you've seen since your divorce? What was it about this particular dream that prompted you to write, outside the obvious content? Was it an odd feeling or was it strictly limited to the content of the dream?

    • profile image


      10 days ago

      I dreamt that I was in school and I was sitting without a shirt or bra on. Nobody cared but my anxiety built up. I felt scared so I asked my friend for a sweater and got one.

    • profile image


      11 days ago

      Hi Aisling, last night I had a strange dream, it started as a memory of an intimate moment I had with my boyfriend over the weekend, but turned to horror when I found out afterwards that he recorded us and posted this on pornographic websites, my Logic says that it's because of the vulnerability he makes me feel as this is a new relationship and the first one after my divorce, and I am scared as my ex-husband was a Narcissist that he might be one as well? does this sound correct to you, or does it mean something different?

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      3 weeks ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Hi Marry, thanks for writing! Your dream sounds quite positive to me--and very similar to Layla's except that in your dream only those closest to you see you naked. Unless they reacted badly in the dream, and it doesn't sound like they did, your dream seems to symbolize having some very good friends who you can trust. Does this sound right?

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      3 weeks ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Hi Layla, thanks for writing. Oddly enough, your dream sounds quite positive. You're topless, but people are calm, no one is upset but you (understandably). You run into your church group, but it still sounds like no one was upset about seeing you topless. Since nakedness in dreams often symbolizes exposure, in your dream, you are exposed, even exposed around people who we typically want to look our best for (your church group) but no one is upset. This seems to indicate that your might fear exposure of some sort, but in reality, you've nothing to fear! I've had dreams of turning up naked in bizarre places and for me, the feeling that is most disconcerting is, "How did this happen?" Does that sound right to you?

    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      In my dream i was naked after i went into the water on beach..then i see myself at my boyfriends house he sees me as well...then i enter his bathroom to take a shower...while being naked i had went out as well..not many people saw me except my close people

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      I had a dream that I was topless running in the streets downtown looking for a shirt walking up to random people asking them for a T-shirt and no one had one. I was freaking out on the other hand everyone seemed calm as if I wasn’t topless. I was covering my breast and was panicking then I ran into my church group I grabbed on of my leaders hand and asked him if he had a shirt this went on for a while. I don’t understand what this means and it’s been driving me crazy for a minute please help!.

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      4 weeks ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Hi Kat, thanks for writing. That dream sounds wonderful. It sounds like you have the ability to transform what appear to be errors into positive life experiences that you are able to fully integrate into your life. It also sounds like in the dream any fear of "exposure" you might have had dissipated as you were given, and also offered in return, respect while in the most vulnerable of positions. Nice!

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      I had a dream about mistakenly shaving part of my hair (top front), and realizing I now had to shave the rest of my head. I then had a glimpse of myself sitting in meditation wearing white with a fully shaved head. Before or after the glimpse I found myself naked with partially shaved head, running into a bathroom, probably to hide. However a naked man was also running into the bathroom. We must have known each other. While both in the bathroom we noticed we were both naked (and not "looking" out of respect) and just burst into laughter at our predicament, making it a very pleasant fun experience.

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      I had two dreams about being naked recently. One I was walking with friends from some place, can't remember, and walking through town. One mentioned that I was naked in town, about being seen. I said "They are used to it" It didn't bother me.

      The other one I left work and took a shuttle to the employee parking lot. Got on my motorcycle into town. I rode into a store and into to an elevator where there was a person in a electric scooter. I complained about it being cold outside. Then I realized I was naked. I got a jacket only because it was cold. I then told a friend "Guess what, you can ride the shuttle naked".

    • EsmeSanBona profile imageAUTHOR

      Aisling Ireland 

      8 weeks ago from Bolingbroke, GA

      Thanks, Glenn! I LOVE writing about dreams, so I enjoy the research. And nakedness in dreams is so common I thought it deserved a lot of thought.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      8 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Aisling, you sure put a lot of research into this article. I think you covered every aspect of if. I found it interesting that I fit right in with the number 5 description—how I feel about myself with total self-acceptance, as you explained. Your article was very insightful.

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      4 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Such an interesting article. I too have a great deal of such dreams. Your article has given me a few ideas about why I am in such a vulnerable state in my dreams. It is not all the time, but very frequently. I never remember much about my dreams but maybe just the way I feel or something I was attempting to do.

      I've been tempted to cheat in my dreams and almost every time I am strong say noble things to the one laying the temptation at my feet. However, I think only once or twice in the last 30 years, I did give in, in my dream. I awoke both times with me wailing and crying in guilt. How could I have done such a thing? Isn't it in my nature, if I dreamed the scenario and then did it? I was bothered both times for days and days that I would do such a thing.

      The other kind of vulnerable dream is the ones I have very frequently. The ones where I have to get something done or go someplace but I can't seem to find my pants. No one seems to notice but I am going behind things and around things to try to see where they went. Like I said, I never remember too much of any dream I have.

      I relate to some of the reasons you have written. I constantly put a Christian face on my Facebook/public personality. I am not a squeaky clean man. I sin and my mind goes where it should not and I have to reel it in many times in a day. I never post things that are rude or crude, not because I don't think they are funny, but because I don't wish to make a new Christian stumble or get offended to say, "And he calls himself a Christian... if that is a Christian, I want nothing to do with it!" Maybe that cover up, that singleness of purpose in my public face is enough to make me feel vulnerable. (not sure)

      Another reason is that I am trying to learn to play music. There is so much about music I don't understand. I see these kids making music videos and doing things with technical gadgets that I can't understand. I try and I try to understand but I can't. I know I am not a musician but no one knows how very much I stumble when I play and how much I don't know when it comes to mechanics of blending with others to make a good sound. I think that maybe this too comes through as vulnerability.

      I certainly have known rejection so I can see many things that my dreams are telling me. Not sure how to make anything better but it is comforting on some level to see some areas to continue work and reasons for some fears to go away.

      This was a great article that I enjoyed very much. I voted up and interesting. Useful too. Bob.

    • Matt M. profile image

      Matt M. 

      6 years ago from Philly, PA

      Finally had my first "Naked Dream" the other night. My dream self was not too happy about it!! Good job.

    • solarcaptain profile image

      mike king 

      6 years ago from california

      Good. Intelligent and perceptive way to "see" into dreams. Certainly refreshing after reading

      supersticious and unintelligent feelings about dreams expressed in another blog I won't recommend or go back to. Thank you.

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image


      7 years ago

      I remember learning about this in a college course. Good hub, keep up the great work, voted Up, Useful, and Interesting :)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I've had my share of both types of naked dreams. Some are mortifying and others a freeing feeling. Love dream hubs as I find them so captivating :-)

    • Chatkath profile image


      7 years ago from California

      I love interpreting dreams, I do believe that it can be helpful in understanding our lives and how we feel about things - I totally agree that the dream is simply a reflection of how we feel about certain events and not confirmation that something is going to happen - good or bad...Interesting!

    • TheDailyMessenger profile image


      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      To EsmeSanBona,

      Again, incredible blog, and I have learned quite a bit. I have to ask though, when I was really young, I had a reoccurring dream. I would be in a gated backyard, and then the gate would open and a lion cub would walk in. It would then step in front of me and just look at me. I played with the cub for awhile, then a great lion would walk in the backyard and the cub would run to it. the lion would just stare at me for just a second, then he and the cub would leave the backyard and the gate remained open.

      Do you have any idea what the dream would mean?


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! I did not know that.

    • Stigma31 profile image


      7 years ago from Kingston, ON

      Excellent Article, voting up!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)