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What Are Appropriate States of Undress?

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From Australia: My 40yr old wife thinks it perfectly normal to walk around completely naked in front of her 63yr old father. She says their family is very open. Yet she does not do this in front of strangers and her mother feels the need to cover up in front of me which suggests it’s not that open.

Is this appropriate and normal at this age??

What Are Appropriate States of Undress?

Answered by on -


It’s true that different families have different norms for behavior. What’s more important than the argument about what is appropriate is that you are not comfortable with your wife’s nudity in front of her father. Your mother-in-law apparently doesn’t have the same beliefs either. Your wife’s first concern should be with her relationship with you.

Rather than argue about what is normal, I suggest you talk about your level of discomfort. I am guessing that you want to be the only man in her life who has the kind of intimacy with her that nudity implies. Speak from the heart about your needs and desires for the closeness that, for you, goes with having exclusive access to her body. If you speak from need, rather than anger, you may have more success than your mother-in-law did.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What Are Appropriate States of Undress?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). What Are Appropriate States of Undress?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.