It’s October and I’m talking about the scary stories and scary questions we ask ourselves……
Recently, my man Trent Nielsen, was featured on Discovery Channel’s hit show Naked and Afraid, the episode is titled “Fear the Unknown”, great title for today’s question. Hands down, the question I am asked the very most when people hear about this is “How do you feel about Trent going out in the jungle with another woman naked?”
Great question!! First of all if you have ever studied Psychology then you will know that the basic needs for survival are food, water, warmth, rest, security, safety and shelter. All of these needs must be met before intimacy is ever considered; this is Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. (Check out the pyramid picture above.) Trent and I watched countless episodes of Naked and Afraid together and I knew that the “naked” part of this challenge had nothing to do with sexuality and everything to do with Discovery wanting to put together the most extreme survival show on TV. Think about it, your first “shelter” is your clothing, it’s your security and safety so if you take that away then survival gets real and it gets extreme!
Now saying all that……. I also know that most guys like boobs, come on, it’s kind of a given fact. It’s the reason we spend so much money at Victoria Secret. We know men like boobs. So really, I’m not naïve to think that Trent is probably going to enjoy getting a glimpse of a stranger in the buff, especially Annie (his partner on Naked&Afraid), she’s got a rockin’ body and she’s worked hard for it. Trent even told me, “Ya. She came around the corner and that’s what I noticed.” He told me he was relieved when she showed up naked because now he knew that everyone was looking at her, not at him because NOBODY wants to see a naked dude! He also remembers that within the first few minutes after their meeting his “basic need” instincts kicked in and he forgot all about being naked. I knew this was exactly what would happen and that’s why the naked thing didn’t bother me.
When Trent asked me for advice before he left, I told him to take care of his partner and to be sweet to her. I have seen so many episodes where the partners get frustrated, they are hungry, they are tired and they lose their common decency and respect for another human being. Trent has always been the most amazingly respectful person and I knew that even under these extreme conditions that his true character would shine through. He is a man of honor and integrity and when I told him to take care of her it was my way of telling him that he had my permission to do what he needed to do to help his partner succeed in this challenge. We had a conversation before he left, I told him I wanted him to make her comfortable so she would stay for the full 21 days because I knew that his greatest survival tool out there would be his partner. I also told him that she was going to be cold because I’m a girl, I know what it’s like to be cold in the outdoors, IT SUCKS!!! I told him that it was not even a question that he could of course use body heat to keep her warm, in fact I told him he MUST cuddle up with her so that she could be warm at night and get some rest…. (I tell him all the time that I think when Bigfoot laid on him that it transferred some Bigfoot DNA to him in the area of body heat because he is always hot, he’s my heater throughout our cold mountain winters).
I also told Trent that I never wanted him to worry what I would think about what he was doing with her, even if they showed it on camera. I told him I trusted him to make whatever decisions were in both of THEIR best interest so they could both rock the challenge. In return I asked him to trust me to be able to handle my own emotions when I watched the show no matter what Discovery aired on his episode. I also knew that Trent respects and is committed to our relationship, knowing this made it easy to encourage, support and cheer him on doing whatever needed to be done for the team to succeed.
I know in another episode that the ‘cuddling’ became an issue but I know that if you were hiking to the top of Everest and one of your team had hypothermia, the first thing that would be done would be to strip the person of their clothing and get them in a sleeping bag with another stripped down person to start to generate body heat to bring the core temperature up. This type of body heat is about survival and is not sexual in the least. Trent and his partner were going to be in a survival situation, I knew that sharing body heat was nothing more than the basic need for warmth.
The question of “What do you think about Trent being out there with another woman naked?” never carried any fear for me. I attribute this to my confidence in myself, my trust in Trent and our commitment to our relationship. Surviving for 21 days was the greatest challenge Trent had ever set out to accomplish. As a cheerleader for the soul and his “partner” in life, if this was a challenge he wanted to attempt, I wanted to show up as his greatest support and best cheerleader.
And at the end of the day…. If a little a glimpse of “boobage” gave him a little shot of adrenaline he might need to make it through that day, then so be it. I knew that it wasn’t about intimacy or a betrayal of our relationship. I am secure enough in myself to be ok with a sneak peak.
The Discovery Channel created this series to be an extreme survival show and it is!!!
Does it help that the title is “Naked and Afraid” and that’s just juicy television fun?? You bet!!!
Does the naked part add to the drama and play into insecurities of our society that is somewhat lost in how to manage and maintain our own insecurities, self-esteem, confidence, respect of others, commitment and self worth? Of course.
Though Discovery doesn’t show a lot of the “survival” techniques anymore, they do a great job of showing people overcoming, persevering, transforming and facing their fears. This show is a great way to see human psychology play out and really see who you are when you are broken down to your core, this is when your true character shows. I am so proud of Trent and Annie for what they accomplished. I’ve watched both of them since they have been back and they are both champions in their own way. I love and respect them both for the fears they faced. I know that even I had to face a few demons on this Naked and Afraid journey….. it’s quite an experience to be the “partner” in the wings. But the experience in a whole has brought Trent and I closer than ever. I’m so thankful for his experience and so proud of the man that Annie calls her “Jungle Gladiator”…. Because I think he’s pretty bad ass too!
So the moral of the story??….. The scary stories we tell ourselves might not be what we think they are. Being naked with another women doesn’t mean a betrayal of trust in this situation. When you find yourself telling a scary story, ask yourself what is the insecurity behind the scary story, what are you afraid of? Find this insecurity in yourself that this scary story is thriving on and do your best to start shifting the way you are thinking about it. Turn this weakness into strength instead of living in the fear of insecurity. This is our challenge so that we too can be the change we want to see in the world!!
oh and….. #savetheboobies 🙂