How to Be Naked.

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on Feb 4, 2013
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Siren by Messina
Siren by Messina

True nakedness has nothing to do with sex.

It’s funny that for as many headlines as we have about how to be better in bed or how to have more orgasms, there are shockingly few that encourage us to open up, to risk our hearts, to be truly naked.

I love sex; it’s an amazing part of being alive. It’s a fleeting thing, in the best, melting ice cream cone, passing spring rain shower sort of way. To connect with another human being over pleasure like that is delicious—I’d never argue otherwise. But I know many people who will take off their clothes, and yet are afraid to be naked. There are many people who are willing to connect physically, yet never let anyone truly know them. There are people for whom sex is just one more way to disconnect, instead of becoming intimate in any kind of genuine way.

What happened? Where is this coming from? American culture is so sexually focused—either flaunting it or condemning it—yet there is this crucial ingredient missing.

We’ve stopped talking about what it means to be truly naked with each other.

Anyone can take off her clothes; the harder part is baring your soul.

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants.

But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever?

Nah. Too painful.

Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mate’s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life.”

~  Elizabeth Gilbert

How many people do you trust with your fears and dreams? Do you tell one person about the idea that’s been keeping you up at night? Five? Ten? Everyone has a comfortable number where sexual partners are concerned; some are conservative, some are looking for notches on their belts. Most of us are cautious when it comes to baring our hearts. And with good reason! Not every person we meet deserves to hear our innermost thoughts.

Social media has become a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it could allow us to genuinely connect with each other in a unique way. But more often, it becomes another layer of in-authenticity, one more way to keep ourselves at arm’s length from the world.

There are people in my life, and a few who have come and gone, who I consider soul mates. More than any physical connection or pleasure, I value the space a soul mate provides in my life to be truly seen, and validated, but also challenged.

If we want to know how to be naked with each other, the answer isn’t in the latest “how to have an orgasm” article.

We start with this:

1. We let go of cognitive dissonance.

In short, we let our insides and outsides match. We actively choose to do what we believe in. We participate in life in a way that matches our passions. If I sit here daydreaming of travel or making art and I don’t do it, how am I living an authentic life? Obviously, as adults we must be responsible in our choices, but there is always room to choose the things that bring us joy, to choose things that are meaningful to us. Most of us don’t quit our jobs and move abroad on a whim, but we need to actively participate in following our dreams if they are going to become our realities. How can we expect to connect with people in an intimate way if we aren’t even honest with ourselves?

2. We let go of our scripts.

No more, “How are you?” “I’m fine.” No more complaining about the weather, work or health just to have something to say. Get comfortable with uncomfortable silences and gaps in the conversation. We use our true voice in every setting: whether online or in person. This is not an excuse for constant dumping on other people. Honesty is more than just “telling the truth.” Honesty is a balance of authenticity and integrity. When we talk about the idea of satya, or honesty, there is the caveat that it should be the truth that is “pleasing to hear.” Intentionally hurting someone, even if it feels true for you, is not speaking with integrity. Having a match between our hearts and our words is the goal.

3. We cultivate friendships with people who desire intimacy.

I’m not talking about “friends with benefits.” I’m talking about the ultimate benefit we get from our relationships: truly being known by another person. If we only spend time with people who aren’t interested in taking a deeper look at life, we won’t experience this nakedness. This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way. Just as not every thought we have needs to be shared with the masses, there are some people in our lives who will never appreciate or reciprocate this kind of sharing. Not every relationship we have is in the deep end of the pool, and that’s okay. If we want to grow, to be challenged, to be known, we do need to dive in and find those who will swim with us there—unafraid

couple underwater

I’ve always loved the Anais Nin quote:

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”

It’s true. It resonates with me. I am cautious, at times, in my sharing of myself, but I am not afraid to be naked. I have no fear of the depths, but the idea of an unexamined, inauthentic life spent in the shallows horrifies me. We have a built-in need to be known: not our favorite movies or baseball teams, but our hopes, our dreams and our innermost selves.

So, the sex articles are going to keep coming, here and elsewhere. It’s good…it’s a good thing if we can talk about it in a mindful way and help people explore that area too. Unless we forget what it really means to be naked. If we don’t start revealing what’s inside, there’s no amount of physical intimacy that will satisfy us.

I would gladly trade a lifetime’s worth of meaningless orgasms for one long, genuinely naked conversation.

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About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.

Comments

33 Responses to “How to Be Naked.”

  1. Maru says:

    amazing

  2. Katie says:

    Kate, you always seem to post exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear it. You are a beautiful writer. It is becoming habit for me to read your articles with a feeling of "this is what I've been trying to find the words to say and she's expressed it so perfectly yet again." I like to think that I'd be a great writer if you didn't constantly beat me to it! Thank you for another inspiring article. Thank you.

  3. brianna says:

    Beautifully said, Kate!

  4. LynnBonelli says:

    I love it…this is the kind of writing that deserves all of the hits its' title will draw because the content is exceptional. And i love the Elizabeth Gilbert excerpt…my God, I have found that person but we were not meant to be together always. Still, he changed my life and that made it possible for me to have the amazing life I have now, full of love and nakedness. This is going in my favorites folder. Thank you.

  5. Judy says:

    I loved this, it truly resonated with me:)

  6. Thanks all for reading!

  7. Krissy says:

    Amazing. This was such a beautifully raw piece. Thank you for sharing your gift. You go, girl!

  8. Sion says:

    Really enjoyed this one Kate, especially #2 – the idea of really letting go to each other through intent and conversation – it gives your life a whole new meaning. Reminds me of this Kerouac quote: "Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious"

  9. […] we turn, people are crying out for authenticity, for genuine connections, for renewed empathy. As we move forward, we need to take this step away […]

  10. Kimmie says:

    Wow. . . I'm unsure how I stumbled upon this article written in February; however, the timing is impeccable. This is raw and strikes a chord in my soul. . . thank you!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you Kate!!
    The perfect time for me to read this Today, and it will be perfect Tomorrow or in 10 years from now.
    I love every single sentence on this piece, specially:
    "We cultivate friendships with people who desire intimacy", … for me the real intimacy of naked souls.
    Thank you!!!

  12. kedegruy says:

    I just adore you. As always, this is beautiful. Thank you.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful piece. This really resonated with me!

  14. Jennifer says:

    So True <3 Thank You for sharing

  15. Rana says:

    Felt some itchy fingers tips to share my view. Due respect to everyone else's.

    Sex in mind is different from sex with bodies. When we refer to sex with the word that it is we refer to mind which to maintain its own continuity keeps looping the memories of real sex in the past. Real sex that the body demands to procreate as part of its genetic code is always in the past for the human mind.

    Sex in the mind is an entertainment just like watching TV or writing an article or writing this "new comment" for that matter. The social behavior pertaining to sexual preferences will always depend on how that individual has been conditioned from early on.

    I say write something that sets the world free from everything that stops or even tries to stop free sex (without naming it). No rapes, no prostitution only soul mates 😀

    Attraction is the key and our mind does not have the competency to figure that real time. Let the body figure that out.

    The title sounds great to me: Nakedness has nothing to do with sex.

    At the end whatever sells well. Sex does. :-)

  16. Alexandra says:

    This is really nice, thank you so

    much. It is also a global issue I think, since Im experiencing the same thing in Europe…

  17. Thank you so much for this post. The intertwining of intimacy and personal authenticity is such an interesting and under discussed idea. True moments of intimacy, both with our selves and others, are rare and precious. Your reflections here are inspiring.

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed the undeniable rawness and authenticity of this article. This speaks to me in every area I keep gently tucked away. This article has lit a small fire inside of me and has forced me to want to get spiritually “naked” with someone who isn’t afraid to be naked in the same way with me and who won’t exploit my “private parts” to others.

  19. Alex Myles Alex Myles says:

    "But to live with a soul mate forever?

    Nah. Too painful."

    I one day wish to challenge this theory. I want to prove I am capable of living in ecstasy alongside my truest form of soul mate, my twin flame. I will have the courage, determination and love to ensure that when I meet this person, I will be ready for them. I feel prepared, warrior princess, sword by my side, dragon on my shoulder, I am prepared.

  20. @edemarco says:

    As usual Kate your words echo what I am thinking!

  21. Zolangel says:

    Wow Kate, reading your article totally encouraged me to start writing again. Thank you so much!

  22. vix says:

    Such a beautiful read :) I believe that all relationships and friendships help us grow and know ourselves better? And those few soul mates do this to a higher degree because they understand us…whether that emotional connection becomes sexual depends I think on timing. If the timing is right for you both, I feel it only natural to express that connection through physical contact. As for being with that person for life- I think it just depends how long you grow together for: could be a fleeting thing or your whole life. They have changed you and you them. It was real and that’s what actual matters.

  23. Kate,

    Beautifully written. Your ending sentence reminded me of this small film I saw recently. I think you will connect with it: https://vimeo.com/85125633

  24. Nicoleta says:

    Wow, this is deep. beautifully written indeed.

  25. Samantha says:

    As Malcolm Reynolds said to Yo-Saff-Bridge when she began to cry, "I seen you without your clothes on before. Never thought I'd see you naked."

  26. laportama says:

    We can agree to disagree, nakedly.

  27. Dhruva says:

    A beautiful piece of writing, raw and meaningful.

  28. Neena Smylee says:

    Kate,

    This is a really beautiful article and you have made me reflect on l my life, the things I did and mostly the things that I did not do. Well it seems it is true that people regret the things that I don't do in life. Thank you. And, I hope that I can be naked with the person I love. You also did make me feel that I have a few soulmates as my closest friends.

    Thank you very much

  29. Samuel says:

    Beautiful reflections – this is exactly what I needed to hear, and it was all presented in such a concise and articulate manner. Nakedness of the soul is to be truly vulnerable with another. What comes to mind is an excerpt from a poem by Khalil Gibran:

    When love beckons to you, follow him,

    Though his ways are hard and steep.

    And when his wings enfold you yield to him,

    Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

    And when he speaks to you believe in him,

    Though his voice may shatter your dreams

    as the north wind lays waste the garden.

    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.

    Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

    So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

    Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.

    He threshes you to make you naked.

    He sifts you to free you from your husks.

    He grinds you to whiteness.

    He kneads you until you are pliant;

    And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

    All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

    Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

    Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

    Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

    For love is sufficient unto love.

    When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

    And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

    To know the pain of too much tenderness.

    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

    To return home at eventide with gratitude;

    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

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