the survey says: sex, naked and unashamed

Naked and unashamed.  That's what Adam and Eve were, back in the day.  

After God said, "Be blessed and have lots of sex."  Before they got tangled up with that Snake and that Fruit.  Before they found themselves hiding in the bushes.

Naked is all about being honest and real and nothing more.  

No covering up, no pretending, no faking it.

Unashamed is about acceptance and grace and celebration.  

No shoulding, no blaming, no judgment.

Naked and unashamed is so much more about our emotional and spiritual state than it is about our physical, sexual reality.

 photography:  Michael Bruner

photography:  Michael Bruner

Our sexuality is such a conundrum.  

Our sexuality is completely common and purely physical.

 Our sex organs, our hormones--those are all just a normal part of our physical selves.  Often the first thing said about us as humans is about our sex.  "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!"  Pretty quickly, we can all figure out how to have successful orgasms by ourselves.  That's all natural and normal, common and physical.

Our sexuality is also infinitely intimate and supremely spiritual.  

As a woman, I take my husband's body inside my body.  I set aside all my physical boundaries, and welcome another person literally inside me.  It's the most intimate thing I can imagine.  

And yet.

We can end up using our sexuality--the most intimate part of ourselves--to create barriers to intimacy.

All of us who have struggled with sex addiction or body image or gender identity know that obsessing over the more physical side of sex draws us away from the comfort of ONE and into that lonely place of ME.  

That's the stuff that Christians generally worry about, right?  In Puritan/purity culture, we don't want our kids to be aware, even, of their sexuality, because we're terrified of everything that might be problematic on the physical side.

In reaction, we have made a whole bunch of rules about how sex can be an acceptably "spiritual" activity.  How else did we wind up with this truly hilarious and horrifying term, "the missionary position?"  

Using the physical side of sex just for yourself is sad and lonely.  

But fake-spiritualizing sex is the polar opposite of "naked and unashamed."  It can be just as sad, just as lonely.  

Scott Peck said this:  "Mental health is a commitment to reality at all costs."

Even if the physical side of sex, with all its complications, is terrifying.  

Even if the spiritual-emotional side, with all its vulnerability, is terrifying.

All of this is so individual, so personal.  So scary!  Putting our real selves out there is a huge risk, but that's what naked and unashamed really is:  a huge, individual, personal risk, for the reward of true acceptance.

Here's the bottom line.

Physical "intimacy" is no guarantee of real intimacy.  

No matter how naked we are physically, if we're not also naked emotionally, we're going to be missing what we really need. 

Spiritual fakeness is a mess too.

Real spiritual and emotional vulnerability comes first, real mental health comes first.  

Don't think you're going to marry that mess out of yourself.  It will never work.  We can't make other people fix us.  

In the end, it comes back again to being real, being honest, owning our own junk, working on our stuff til the day we die, and finding a community that will love us through.  

Clothing, one way or another, is not the issue.

Naked and unashamed means putting our frail and fragile selves there in the presence of another person and saying, "This is me."

And finding ourselves, once again, beloved.

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