Naked Selection

Steve Sailer recently pointed out that millennials are a lot shier about nudity than their parents and grandparents.

There are plenty of cultural explanations – less exposure to the military, more spacious accomodations, millennial whininess, etc. – but I get the impression that, as with Chinese underperformance in football, the inventor of HBD might have needlessly shied away from his own trademark framework.

Three big things to bear in mind:

  • Religiosity is heritable.
  • The religious have been having more surviving kids for more than a century.
  • Religiosity is also correlated with modesty and aversion to nudity.

Just take a look at a map of the world’s nudist resorts – both atheism and Germanic ancestry play roles at least comparable to that of the climate!


“Sexual Freedom League” protest in Berkeley, 1965. But of greater longterm relevance – what were their completed fertility rates? Berkeley has one of the lowest fertility rates in all California – lower than in crowded, uber-expensive SF. Berkeley student hippies??

In the culture wars of the past half century, many very good – or at least convincing – arguments have been brought in support of LGBT rights, personal sexual autonomy, and even atheism. Those arguments have objectively worked, at least in the sense that all of these positions have gained converts. In the case of homosexuality, we have gone from a situation where almost everyone regarded it as a criminal abnormality to one where a majority now supports gay marriage.

On the other hand, no particularly intelligent or influential voices have been arguing for the social justice virtues of nudity. With no countervailing cultural “push,” attitudes towards nudity are perhaps just going where they logically should, as the Germanic ancestry share of the US population declines, and those who remain become more religious (only genotypically, since Dawkins & Hitchens suppress their expression) with every generation.

As Sailer points out, the life of America’s biggest nudism promoter in sci-fi is rather illustrative:

Heinlein was an example of a socially liberal Old American with a German name who liked nudism. No kids.

Incidentally, this doesn’t appear to be an exclusively American development. Toplessness on French beaches has become rarer in the past decade.


Brigitte Bardot, 1960s. She had one child. The French average is two.

More generally, one frequent observation is that the people at the front of social progressivism today, the SJWs, are puritans, in contrast to the 1960s hippies, who were libertines. Could this be the religious genes making themselves felt, even if in this very distorted form?

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. E. Harding says

    Though it’s pretty clear culturally conservative Whites are outbreeding liberal ones, I do not think the process is fast enough to account for this. I suspect declining cultural collectivism is at the root of it.

    Japan was widely known as being unusually accepting of nudity in the mid-19th century; I wonder what’s going on there? It was certainly unusually culturally collectivist until the 1980s.

  2. So Germans have a gene for public nudity? Okay then…

  3. More trust towards strangers -> more cooperative behavior -> fewer attempts to steal other people’s girlfriends or wives -> less urgency to safeguard one’s girlfriend or wife -> less covering up of the female body. It’s a possibility.

  4. Germans were known for trust towards strangers?

  5. Yes.

  6. It’s not my impression Japanese are particularly high on the nudity acceptance-spectrum. There are very few nudist resorts like in Germany/Scandinavia and western Mediterranean Europe, and attitudes towards public baths seem similar to that of Eastern Europe (single sex, no mixed sex; unlike in Germany/Scandinavia/Finland).

  7. Well there’s a substantial chance that this is BS, this particular theory falls into the “speculative” bin, but there does seem to be a correlation with (1) religiosity and (2) as Glossy points out, trust levels which in turn are related to historical rates of outbreeding/Hajnal Line.

  8. jimmyriddle says

    France, especially the Medi, is a lot more North African than it used to be.

    Topless women and Arab men are an uncomfortable combination.

  9. Daniel Chieh says

    Its all because of climate change!

  10. Not the impression I get from looking at German medieval history. There is a reason Germany was split into multiple mini-states until fairly recently.

  11. One reason to think that Germanics in general and Germans in particular were as altruistic and trusting of strangers in the past as they are now is that they’ve always been good at war.

    They fought the Romans to a standstill on the Rhine 2,000 years ago and then overran the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. There was the Viking Age. The Varangian Guard. Italian city states always hired them as mercenaries. They were the best soldiers money could buy.

    Even ancient armies were much larger than extended families. The numbers often went up into the tens of thousands. The ability to trust and risk one’s life for people who are outside of one’s extended family is essential in large-scale warfare. The groups that have this ability tend to be good at war, the ones that lack it tend to be bad at it.

  12. Another reason to think that trust towards strangers was strong among them in the past is the abundance of people’s assemblies in their ancient history and of republics in their medieval and early modern history. A lot of German cities were virtually-independent republics for centuries on end. You can have disorder, autocratically-imposed order or non-autocratically-arrived-at order. I think that last system requires a certain level of voluntary cooperation between unrelated individuals.

  13. Plus there were all of those medieval guilds, 19th century singing clubs, etc. Voluntary associations formed by non-relatives. Trust towards strangers.

  14. Nudism is similar to religion and was part of a general trend in natural living and nature worship movements that started in Germany over a hundred years ago. A clue is it’s actually called Naturism .

    In 1902, a series of philosophical papers was published in Germany by Dr. Heinrich Pudor, under the pseudonym Heinrich Scham, who coined the term Nacktkultur. In 1906 he went on to write a three volume treatise with his new term as its title, which discussed the benefits of nudity in co-education and advocated participating in sports while being free of cumbersome clothing.[35] Richard Ungewitter (Nacktheit, 1906, Nackt, 1908, etc.) proposed that combining physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributed to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view

    Pudor criticised the Nazis for being too soft on Jews.

    The skin darkening hormone has an effect on stimulation sexual desire James Watson gave a lecture about it (;jsessionid=AF79E338EE5BFDBB4D1EBAF778998829 )and there is a tanning drug that has the =effect of viagra. I think darker skin also elicits ses=xual desire in the veiwer. Getting a tan like Bardot did is something done for the purpose of sexual attraction. Bardot as we can see got very heavily tanned. Look at the clubbing girls who slather themselves in bottle tan, they do that to look sexually desirable. Girls who tan usually beach their hair. The most sexual look for women is blue eyes, blonde hair and bronzed skin. What European hunter gatherers naturally looked like.

  15. Nudism was not big among Brits and WASPs, who were known for their prudishness.

  16. I remember in the series Shogun (ca 1980) they made a point of contrasting relaxed Japanese attitudes to nudity and unisex bathing to prudish Western mores. Is there anything to that?

  17. I guess the problem with this theory is that people in Germanic countries are getting less religious but more averse to nudity.

  18. Everything you said about the Germans can also be said about Italians of roughly the same era. And the French had much larger armies.

  19. Northern Italians had medieval guilds and republics, but haven’t been good at warfare since Roman times. I was looking at one variable, trust toward strangers, but these things are affected by many others. It’s a real variable though.

    Southern Italians never had any of those things. The French had a larger population (until relatively recently) and a biggest state, so they had bigger armies. I would guess that Germans were considered better soldiers per capita. Why else would they have been so prominent in the mercenary business?

  20. Perhaps northern Italians are an intermediate case between Germans and southern Italians. Enough trust for republics, but not enough to sacrifice for each other in war. Of course there are other variables. Everything cannot be explained by variation in one variable.

  21. The North Italians had the condottieri.

    Though only during the late Medieval and Renaissance, by the Early Modern it was mostly Germans.

  22. “I remember in the series Shogun (ca 1980) they made a point of contrasting relaxed Japanese attitudes to nudity and unisex bathing to prudish Western mores. Is there anything to that?”

    Yes, certainly. However, I get an impression that, now that they have been given a chance to have separate changing rooms, showers, and baths, some of them do not want to go back to the old ways. Overbearing Western moral pontification of yesteryear (of a qualitatively different sort than today, but quantitatively probably similar in degree of pompous conceit) seems to have empowered a certain segment of the native population who are not fond of mixed bathing (and perhaps never were, or some of whose recent ancestors never were, but who conformed in order not to be viewed as weirdoes or subversive elements).

  23. European-American says

    Wow, is there a link to my unscientific observation (from dozens of years of vacationing on the Spanish coast) that Germans tan brown while Brits turn pink/red?

    Tan nice brown: nudism is cool!
    Turn alarming red: better cover that up.

  24. This is late and semi off topic, but I just wanted to say that I don’t take Sailer’s or your posts about football seriously. I don’t think he’s seen more than 10 games in his life and I find your theories pretty contrived. The first thing to look at would be the number of kids training at ages 5 to 7 and the number in professional academies at age 10, not total population or not-actually-existing HBD traits.

  25. Obesity epidemic anyone? If everyone weighed 350 lbs by age 16 yo, I’m sure we wouldn’t have many teenage pregnancies or many nude people.

  26. reiner Tor says

    Blond/brown: tans nice brown
    Ginger: turns alarming red

    Though the majority of Brits have brown hair I think, but often with recessive redhead genes, so they don’t tan so well.

  27. Even the brown haired British are very pale to me.