Naked. And Not Afraid.

My husband and I occasionally (and randomly) peruse late night reality shows, just to see what craziness is gracing the airwaves these days.

We need not look far, of course.

So we stumbled across the reality show “Naked and Afraid,” which we had never watched. Not gonna lie. It was like a bad car wreck from which I couldn’t turn away.

I imagine many of you are familiar with the show, but if you are not, here’s the premise:

The show producers take two complete strangers (a man and a woman) and plop them down in the middle of some remote and harsh area (like a mountainous region in Bolivia that is going through a drought).

Then they make them strip down to nothing, and essentially say to them, “Go try to survive for 21 days. In the wilderness. We’ll be filming you the entire time. Watch out for the poisonous snakes, fire ants, horrendous weather and the obvious hurdle that there’s not much food, water or shelter. Anyway. God speed.”

I’m paraphrasing, of course.

And, yes, I know. It’s reality TV, so there’s probably a fair amount of it that is not real.

A mere 20 minutes in and I don’t know whether to laugh hysterically. Or to feel sympathy for the woman who somehow managed to catch a turtle (they haven’t had protein in 4 or 5 days), went to the water to “rinse it off,” only to accidentally have it scramble out of her hands to freedom.

“No meat for you tonight random dude who I’m stuck with naked in the wilderness!”

My point? (Because you know I always have one).

It is baffling to me that there are people who are willing to get naked with a complete stranger in a remote harsh environment for 3 weeks, and yet countless other people who actually are married to each other who are so unwilling to get naked together.

I know. I’m simplifying.

These people on this show reach this crazy level of comfort being naked with each other. And all I am thinking is, “Why do a husband and wife often not have this same level of comfort being naked with each other?”

The show “Naked and Afraid” is just my tool for shedding light on the irony that where we should feel most comfortable with our bodies and being naked is within a marriage, yet that’s where comfort level is often guarded in this regard.

Think about this within your own marriage.

Are you and your spouse comfortable enough with each other’s bodies that within the exclusivity and privacy of your relationship, nakedness comes easily?

Or do you avoid letting your spouse see you naked? Do you always want sex with the room completely dark? Do you make sure you do not see each other dressing, undressing, showering?

I know. There’s a lot that plays into one’s comfort level, maybe even more so in a marriage, where trust and vulnerability are not always safe haven.

Marriage is wrought with complexities and wilderness that sometimes make exposure — literally or figuratively — a calculated risk. My heart grieves for situations where safety in a marriage has eroded because of betrayal, hurt, misunderstanding and maliciousness.

I also know, though, that in MANY MANY other marriages, there is no big trust struggle at the root of one or both people feeling inhibited.  My shout out in this post is mostly to these marriages — where a husband and wife could stretch their comfort level in being naked with each other.

Is there room for growth in your marriage in this area of nakedness? Could you indeed discover that in the wilderness of marriage, nakedness ushers you into renewed oneness?

For further reading on body image, check out these posts:

3 Ways to Like Sex (When You Hate Your Body)

3 Reasons It’s Sexy to Undress for Your Husband

The Secret to Stopping the Body Image War

A Body that Never Quits

Copyright 2017, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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10 thoughts on “Naked. And Not Afraid.

  1. John says:

    Sometimes the fear of nakedness has nothing to do with the actual nakedness, but with wanting to avoid sexuality with the spouse.

    In my near sexless marriage (< 10 times a year), we have never had "vacation sex", that is have sex while on vacation. Including some really beautiful romantic spots, like a cabin right on the beach. After a while, and given the problem with sex in general, I never really bothered to fight about it.

    Until the other night, when we were arguing about it, and it came up, and I asked, "why the heck not? I take most of the pressure of dealing with the kids off of you, I do basically everything to ensure you can do nothing and relax, you get plenty of sleep, and its gosh-darn pretty close to the most romantic place we can be!"

    Answer: "You never know if someone put a camera in there or not!"

    I just stood there gaping. Literally jaw dropping. I then asked, "Don't you change, naked, into your swimsuit, in the daylight, in the same room?" – Yes. "Do you change your clothes in the same way?" – Yes. "Then why, for all that is holy, are you worried about having sex with your husband IN THE DARK!!!" I literally shouted this at her.
    Complete silence, no answer, and an angry look – I knew I was right. It had NOTHING to do with being naked, being seen, or being "viewed" while naked. It had ALL do to with the sex.

    Sometimes, its just an excuse.

  2. mepharisee says:

    Thanks Julie. Even though I’m a guy, your blog has helped tremendously. I forward them to my wife, & others. I know the Lord has used them in our marriage. Thank you is not enough.

    Friends of ours went on a cruise one time. The biggest story they came back with was how some sculpted guys had commented about the wife’s weight. She was a big girl & she took it hard. I, myself, was a big kid growing up. Always sensitive about my weight. I didn’t date til my senior year in high school. By the time I married I had only dated a few girls. I was very self conscious & never thought anyone wanted to be with me. My wife, however, shares with me from time to time if a waitress, or someone, was interest in me, when I never saw it. Looking back on my life,now, I do see there was a different story playing out than I thought about myself. I did have my share of interested girls, my whole life, I just didn’t have the consciousness or courage to see it. I took people’s comments of my weight to heart and that became what I lived by. The hurt I felt led me to avoid relationships. Then when I got married I understood that my wife wanted me. I was so immersed in the hurt that I couldn’t see the signals others gave off that said they wanted me.

    I started realizing the hurt came from people that were really not worth it. I was listening to losers that didn’t know how to respect or love to save their life. Unfortunately, people marry those people. In the end I had to forgive & move on. I learned to confront, grow up, & let go because some people just won’t change. The book of Proverbs helped a lot. Yes, people are stupid, but I don’t live by their stupidity anymore. I live by facts. Marriage naked is the way it’s supposed to be.

    Problems of any kind will root & bear fruit. Like weeds. Taking time to tackle the problem & make the soil fertile will cause beautiful flowers & good fruit to grow. I feel for those whose past chokes the courage out. I know people can be heartless & hurtful with actions & words. Divorce, rage, & quitting aren’t the answers. They just add insult to injury. Make good on your vows. Dig in & fight to accomplish something that all existence is founded on. Marriage & family.

    This won’t make sense to the those panicked over trees so much that they don’t see the forest. But the path of Jesus works. Fight the way Jesus fights.


  3. H says:

    My wife has no problem parading around in front of me unclothed. I do have a problem with it now though. After nearly a decade of marriage which has been nearly celibate starting with refusal on the wedding night, I no longer want to see what I can’t have. I don’t take off my clothes in front of her anymore and leave the room when she does. What’s the point of looking when it leads nowhere?

  4. Debi Walter says:

    Your post reveals a deep need for us to connect on a skin-to-skin level. There was a time when Tom and I were not connecting in our communication, which was new for us. It felt so isolating and lonely. I didn’t know what to do to fix it, when the Lord encouraged me to cuddle with him naked. There was something about being that close, still and silent that drew our hearts together as well.
    I’ve read that there is a cuddle hormone (oxytocin) that is released when we do this. In the same way neglecting to do this prohibits the connection.
    Best marriage advice? Lean into each other when you feel the need to run or pull away. This is what covenant looks like.
    Blessings, friend.

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  7. Cassie from True Agape says:

    Sometimes the fear of being seen naked has something to do with shyness of showing some imperfections but this should be discussed and that each has to be assured of the love and that nothing needs to be ashamed of.

  8. Charles says:

    John just hit a grand slam home run with his comment. Sorry you’re in the same boat, brother. Hope your drought won’t last as long as mine (37 + years).

  9. GoodDad says:

    John, there is little anyone, including you, can do for your marriage. I’d like to say you’re in a rare situation but you’re not. Women, especially Christian women, feel no obligation to provide you with sex but BOY do they think they’re entitled to your faithfulness. They can say no a million times but if you even ONCE think or have sex elsewhere, YOU are the devil. You’re at a crossroad, pal, and you have a decision to make. No woman, by request alone, ever changed her sexual frequency. She had to be divorced or departed from before they ever consider the impact their sexual refusals have on the relationship. This means no matter what you say or do, it’s never going to get better for you than you have described. I’d say that if you can afford it, get out. Or tell her you need an agreement that you get sex from some other source since she clearly doesn’t want to supply it for you. Staying miserable serves no one, especially not you.

  10. Mark says:

    In the 26 and a half years my wife and i have been married i have never seen her naked. We make love in pitch black darkness. I have given up on it ever happening. I did actually accidentally walk in on her getting dressed, but it was accidental not on purpose. I feel like i did this to myself. It isn’t her fault. I have just accepted it and yes i do get angry sometimes but it is what it is.

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