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Arousal is most evidently indicated by the sex organs and women's breasts, which are routinely covered, even when other parts of the body may be freely uncovered.
Yet the nudity taboo may have meanings deeper than the immediate possibility of sexual arousal, for example, in the cumulative weight of tradition and habit.
The term "partial nudity" is sometimes used to refer to exposure of skin beyond what the person using the expression considers to be within the limits of modesty.
If the exposure is within the standards of modesty of a given culture and setting (e.g.
In England, for example, the law does not actually prohibit simple public nudity, but does forbid indecent exposure.
In practice, this means that successful prosecution hangs on whether there is a demonstrable intention to shock others, rather than simply a desire to be nude in a public place.
wearing a bikini at a non-nude beach), terms such as nudity, partial or otherwise, are not normally used.
In general and across cultures, public indications of sexual arousal are commonly regarded as embarrassing, both to the person aroused and the onlooker, and for this reason those parts of the human body that would indicate arousal are normally covered.
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.
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.