'Never Nude' Is Actually a Real ConditionS

Tobias Fünke, the analrapist-turned-out-of-work-actor, famously suffers—along with dozens of others—from the syndrome known as "Never Nude" in which he has a crippling fear of being naked. He deals with that anxiety by wearing denim cut-offs at all times, even in the shower. However, it's not a condition unique to Arrested Development. There really are people in the world who are pathologically afraid of nudity—they suffer from gymnophobia.

Gymnophobics have an extreme anxiety about nudity that stems "from fear that they are physically inferior, or from a fear that their nakedness leaves them exposed and unprotected." Isn't that basically everybody, though?

"Most people are not 'never-nudes,'" Martin Antony, professor of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, tells MSNBC, "but they are 'not-usually-nudes.' A lot of people would feel somewhat self-conscious about being naked."

The difference is that gymnophobics' fear is irrational and can be life-defining. It also frequently accompanies other anxiety disorders and body image issues. So how is it treated?

[Experts] encourage exposure to the feared item in a safe, controlled way. If someone were afraid of being naked in front of a partner, Antony would recommend that the patient try wearing only underwear (cut-offs — Funke's cover-up of choice — are also acceptable) and work his or her way to full nudity.

Gymnophobics are real-life 'never-nudes' [MSNBC]