Fifty Shades of Anaïs Nin.

Via Kate Bartolotta
on May 23, 2012
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Photo: Richard Merkin

You can keep Anastasia and Christian.

I’m going back to my Anaïs Nin.

I noticed it came up over and over in our discussions on elephant about Fifty Shades of Grey: “skip that stuff and go for Anaïs Nin.”

So true. Such a powerful writer. And Waylon mentioned earlier when we were debating about Fifty Shades that media always seems to say, every decade or so, “here’s a book or television show that finally empowers women to talk about sexuality!”

Well, Anaïs Nin was so empowered, and empowering, a full century ago.

In her own words on love, sexuality and many things in between:

1. “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

2. “I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”

3. “I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”

4. “I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness. In reality those who satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ‘idea of them.’”

5. “Do not seek the because—in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.”

6. “Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”

7. “You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate, and what’s written in the stars.”

8. “I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”

9. “There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”

10. “Our love of each other was like two long shadows kissing without hope of reality.

11. “You cannot save people. You can only love them.”

12. “Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.”

13. “When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.”

14. “Passion gives me moments of wholeness.”

15. “I have decided that it is better not to love anyone, because when you love people, then you have to be separated from them, and that hurts too much.”

16. “The body is an instrument which only gives off music when it is used as a body. Always an orchestra, and just as music traverses walls, so sensuality traverses the body and reaches up to ecstasy.”

17. “It takes courage to push yourself to places you have never been before… to test your limits… to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

18. “Don’t wait for it,” I said. “Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. And then love will come to you, then it comes to you.”

19. “The enemy of a love is never outside, it’s not a man or a woman, it’s what we lack in ourselves.”

20. “Stories do not end.”

So, that’s only twenty. But stories do not end.

Keep writing.

Write it with your bones, with your sweat, with your kisses.

Write it with shoulders colliding and tangled knees.

Write it from thousands of miles apart.

Write it from the opposite sides of the room.

Write with a whisper, with sighs, with the words that are stuck in your throat.

Write from where you ache, where there used to be fingerprints, where it’s hollow.

Write with your fever, with loneliness, with ecstasy.

Write by yourself in the thin hours that stretch between too late and too early.

Write to a lover.

Write to a stranger.

Write to the one you just thought of when I said, “write to ‘the one.'”

All the “tie me up, tie me down, spank me” madness in the world can’t hold a candle to the raw beauty of two people, fearlessly baring themselves (and not just their bodies). Write your own story.

Like all fifty shades of elephant journal gets sexy on Facebook.



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 and Barnes & She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


28 Responses to “Fifty Shades of Anaïs Nin.”

  1. I <3 Anais Nin, her writing never fails to get me hot and bothered.

  2. darkorpheus says:

    Anais Nin rocks because she demonstrates how eroticism is truly in the mind. Get the mind tickled, everything follows.

  3. karlsaliter says:

    Good stuff, Kate.

  4. Ily says:

    Wow! I wanna read everything Anais Nin ever wrote now, thank you!

  5. Lori says:

    You know there's a perfume…Anais Anais…my personal favorite. : )

  6. Kimmi says:

    mine too!!

  7. Lauren says:

    Damn, woman. That was fantastic. All your words went straight to my heart. Thank you.

  8. Marci says:


  9. Black Dirt Goddess says:

    Man-fred is the man I am going to love. He may not yet be born. I have often loved men who are not yet born.

  10. I've seen it but can't think of what it smells like. Most perfumes make me sneezy!

  11. Merci Beaucoup. When will you be having Cocoa with Suzuki Roshi? I'm waiting for it!

  12. Yes…I think there's a quote about it being the biggest sexual organ.

  13. Yup. Marguerite Duras too.

  14. She is so amazing.

  15. emily says:

    LOVE this. I read the first chapter of 50 shades and made roughly the same comment about Anais Nin. Thanks.

  16. Shannon says:


  17. […] Personally I’d take some Anais Nin over E. L. James any day. […]

  18. […] Nin in her own words on love, sexuality and many things in […]

  19. godscoffeetable says:

    Thanks for expressing this sentiment. Mass culture has a short attention span, and memory.

  20. […] Write it like a love story, to the one who got away, the one you never met, the one sitting on the other side of the room. […]

  21. Madison Canary says:

    I have never read any of her books. Suggestions on where to start??

  22. Sherelle says:

    I love Anais Nin. Her writing is exquisite. Her work shouldn't even be included in the same discussion as Fifty Shades of Garbage