Clothing also expresses and symbolizes authority, and more general norms and values besides those of a sexual nature.While some European countries, such as Germany, are rather tolerant of public nudity, in many countries public nudity may meet social disapproval or even constitute a misdemeanor of indecent exposure.

wearing a bikini at a non-nude beach), terms such as nudity, partial or otherwise, are not normally used.

If however, the degree of exposure exceeds the cultural norms of the setting, or if the activity or setting includes nudity as an understood part of its function, such as a nude beach, terminology relating to nudity and degrees thereof are typically used.

The wearing of clothing is a predominantly human characteristic arising from functional needs such as protection from the elements and from cold temperatures, after the loss of body hair, and migration to colder regions.

The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations, such as a need for warmth, as well as social circumstances.

Outdoor nude recreation can take place in private or rural areas, though generally limited to warm weather. Topfree sunbathing is considered acceptable by many on the beaches of Finland, France, Spain, Italy and most of the rest of Europe (and even in some outdoor swimming pools); however, exposure of the genitals is restricted to nudist areas in most regions. to be barechested or shirtless when engaged in outdoor recreational activities.

In the United States, topfree sunbathing and wearing thongs are not common in many areas, but are limited to nude beaches in various locations. Where the social acceptability of nudity in certain places may be well understood, the legal position is often less clear cut.

Specifically, using nudity to "harass, alarm or distress" others is an offence against the Public Order Act of 1986.

Occasional attempts to prove this point by walking naked around the country therefore often result in periods of arrest, followed by release without charge, and inconsistencies in the approach between different police jurisdictions.

Humans are today the only naked primate in nature, that is, most of the body is not naturally covered by fur.