Naked, the Only Way to Be In Love

I launched this column 10 years ago as "Naked Relationships" to help you experience the ultimate in authentic, loving relationships -- something I had yet to get my arms around.
With the zeal of a diligent seeker, I researched love and interviewed the experts in order to deliver the goods on intimacy, passion and commitment. The fairy tale was real, but it was more than a happy ending. When we see Cinderella being swept away by the prince, we forget how many years she spent in self-therapy while cleaning her stepmother's house.
The relationship you want can only be had through hard work on (SET ITAL) yourself (END ITAL) … and that's the work we do our best to avoid. It's much easier to shell out money. Americans spend 35 billion dollars a year on unproven diet products because they find it too difficult to eat less.
And eating less is easy compared to getting naked. We're scared to death to strip away the family, the house, the degree, the job, the kids. We've defined ourselves by appearance, grades, athletic ability, good behavior or rebellion as far back as we can remember. You're not alone if you're thinking, "Who would I be without all that?" Most of us don't know.
Strip away what can be quantified, seen or touched, and you have your authentic self. You have that for which you want to be known and loved.
Yes, you want somebody to love every little toe and sweet spot, but you also want them to love what you're afraid to show and talk about. You want them to know that you were the last one picked for softball, that you had a speech impediment until you were 9 and that kids used to call you chubby knees. You want them to know that you've been dumped six times, fired once and that you're now broke!
You want them to know the emotional struggles behind all that and (SET ITAL) still (END ITAL) love you -- not in spite of who you are, but because of who you are.
And if you weren't so incredibly beautiful and precious stark-naked and vulnerable, that would be a tall order. My job, then, has been to help you find the courage to peek beneath your gold watch or muscle or perfect-parent image or whatever security blanket you clench. As I've faced the fear of not being good enough that drove me to weave my own security blanket, I've tried to help you face yours in order to find your authentic self.
There's a spark of divinity in there. It's what makes you perfect just the way you are. Perfect!
It's also what makes you deliciously attractive to the partner of your dreams, irresistible to your kids and priceless to an employer.
When I say naked is the only way to be in love, I don't just mean it's the only way to fall in love, so that somebody can know and love all of you. Naked is also the only way to be honest, the only way to keep the faith, the only way to be compassionate … the only way to love life, yourself and others.
You can't love somebody else any better than you love yourself. You are destined to love your neighbor (SET ITAL) as (END ITAL) you love yourself. And you can't really love yourself without getting to know who you are … naked.
This is my last shot -- unless you read my books or watch me on "Oprah" -- so I'm asking you please: Get naked to know the best of you -- life and love. Trust what's sacred.
The economy has already stripped us of much of what isn't … and the holiday season is shining a light on what is.


Author's Bio: 

Jan Denise is a journalist, whose nationally syndicated column "Inside Relationships" has been running in newspapers for the last ten years, author of the just released "Innately Good: Dispelling the Myth That You're Not" and "Naked Relationships: Sharing Your Authentic Self to Find the Partner of Your Dreams," speaker and relationship consultant based in McIntosh, Fla. Please e-mail her at, or visit her website at