Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The naked truth about The Naked Truth

Genesis 3: Adam says to God, "I hid from you because I was naked.                        auf deutsch
 God said, 'Who told you that you were naked?'"

An Interview

Earlier I reported on the Silent Milonga, an event in Heidelberg, Germany. The same organizer, Eric, invited me to come to yet another milonga that he was organizing, called The Naked Truth.  I have done the best next thing to actually going:  This post is a report on The Naked Truth through a candid conversation with a couple that went because I don't know if I will ever have the courage to go myself.

Photo Credit:  Ingre's Violin   
Miguel Di Genova from Otros Aires was there to perform; so I figured it would be well attended, but in spite of Otros Aires being there, it was a modestly attended milonga with many of those dancers who had already attended two earlier nude milongas.  Just as a silent milonga is not for everyone, even more so, a nude milonga is definitely not for everyone for many different reasons.  Would you go?

Something you need to understand first:
Germany leads all other European countries with nudist beaches, saunas and activities.  I asked about shoes, but Eric, told me:  "A person wearing shoes is no longer naked.  There are other events in which people dress up erotically or promote eroticism.  This event is simply 'the naked truth' and 'come as you truly are.'"  I understood Eric's intent that he wanted a milonga that promoted ex'ing out-inhibitions rather than promoting exhibitionism.  The Frei-Körper-Kultur "free-body-culture" in Germany is a movement of being in one's body--not eroticism.   It is rather hard for shame/guilt cultures to understand this mentality--at least, as an American it was for me when I first arrived in Germany in 1991.  My readers in all of the Americas will probably be amazed--maybe even shocked--that there would be such a milonga. But I want to remain open, and can easily do that since I have had some wonderful experiences with the natural freedom of this Kultur of no shame about one's body here in Germany. The interview below has some candid questions that perhaps many readers would naturally have. But remember, this couple is only a very small sample, of what The Naked Truth meant to two people who went. In the comment section in the next few days, you will see at least a few comments from others who may have had an entirely different experience.

The Interview with Adam & Eve
The couple was willing to give their real names, but for now, their names are "Adam" and "Eve."

Tango Therapist:  My biggest doubt about not wanting to go, to tell you the truth, was that I am not perfectly satisfied with my body.

Eve:  Perhaps nearly every woman is especially body-image aware, or 'hyper-aware,' but I felt more at ease when I personally knew a few others who were also going--especially since they felt at ease with their "imperfect" bodies.  That's perhaps the greatest thing about The Naked Truth:  People are just there as themselves, not hiding things about their body that they should feel ashamed of.  People have scars from operations, folds are simply just who they are without shame.

Adam:   It is not just women, my first concern was about presenting myself naked at being judged, not by those who might find out that I had gone, but those there at the naked milonga.  I have gone to nude saunas with my children.  Also, I enjoy the freedom of being at a FKK lake.  People that are there are just normal folks.  I wanted my children to grow up not thinking that being naked is "nasty" or automatically erotic, as it is in so many cultures, where people are arrested for being naked at their own swimming pool--seen only by a neighbor with binoculars who reports them.  I suppose that many might a nude milonga as extremely inappropriate.  My guess that the biggest negative reactions will come from cultures which also have the highest rate of sexual crimes.  Because there is no shame about nudity in my family, I mentioned The Naked Truth to my 15-year old son,  I told my son about the milonga, and he said, "So what!  There are naked bicycle races, naked horseback riding, naked everything.  Of course there should be a naked milonga!"  Out of the mouths of children often comes great wisdom.
Tango Therapist:  That is all good and well, but at saunas you do not dance around with the other guests, breast to breast.  I have to be honest here:  I would worry about getting an erection.  

Adam:  Okay, but think about it.  When you first came to Germany, were you afraid that you might get an erection at a naked sauna?

Tango Therapist:  Okay, yes.  I did worry about my first mixed naked sauna.  And it is true--the feeling was much different, and there has never been a problem.  But I am still skeptical.  Okay, intellectually, I believe you, but I still don't think I could go to The Naked Truth.

Eve:  I understand that feeling.  Really, I didn't want to go at a naked milonga either. I have no problem with being naked at a sauna.  But I thought I couldn't dance naked in a normal close embrace without some sort of "shell" of protection.  I asked myself how I could do the same thing with my bare breasts against a naked man when I only know this experience with my intimate partner.  I asked myself how this would not make me ill at ease.  I admit that the big draw for me, to be honest, is that I wanted to be there for Miguel Di Genova from Otros Aires.  There was a time in my life when my grandmother was dying, and I would cry after visiting with her at the hospital. During the one hour drive home after seeing her, I would listen to "Vivo en Otros Aires"--a compilation of live songs from Otros Aires, and the music restored my joy and ability to go on functioning like my normal self.  That was the real reason I went:  I really wanted to hear this voice live--the voice that helped me through those dark days. 

Adam:  Actually, I didn't even know that story until now, Eve.

Tango Therapist:  This is nothing that I expected in this interview about The Naked Truth, two people with tears in their eyes.  So this leads me to another question.  So were you ill at ease, Eve?

Eve:  Surprisingly not.  I find it very interesting that when I dance with clothes on, men tend to enjoy taking a few quick "snapshots" of my cleavage.  The funny thing is at The Naked Truth, I have never had so much eye contact in my life!   I actually felt more at ease than ever.

Tango Therapist:   Eve, that is amazing.  It puts a big smile on my face.  Okay, all three of us were at Eric's Silent Milonga together.  I think most of us at the Silent Milonga were NOT there to learn some spiritual truth, but it ended up being much more than just being silent.  One of the reasons I nearly went to The Naked Truth is that I don't think Eric would promote the event if there was not some psychological or spiritual lesson in the background.  So was this a good name for the event, "The Naked Truth"?  And was there a backdrop of a psychological lesson there?

Adam:  Yes, there are perhaps several psychological lessons here.  One for me was that before the milonga, I had a dream that I was naked in public and I was ashamed, but then I realized that I wasn't alone.  In the dream, I looked around and I was suddenly aware that we were all naked.  I understand that dream to be about feeling separated.  Hiding ourselves from Yahweh in the Garden of Eden because we are naked is rather foolish, don't you think?  Well, perhaps it is just as foolish that we are hiding who we truly are from each other.

Eve:  I learned the spiritual lesson that my dancing has nothing to do with the superficial touch.  The Naked Truth made it super, super clear to me that when I dance, I am touching another person's soul.  I was not conscious that we were naked.  The outward world of touch means "superficial."  My dancing is now clearly defined for me.  It was a revelation, an epiphany for me, and something I absolutely did not expect.  

Adam:  Yes, I can say the same.  Eve said it better than I could.  Perfect!

Tango Therapist:  Well, I know that you both are not really New Age nuts; so this seems really remarkable to me that you had the guts to go.  What about others who were there?  Did anyone talk to you about their experiences?

Eve:  Well, I think you can let them speak for themselves in your comment section with or without their names.

Tango Therapist:  Okay, one last question:  I changed your names to Adam and Eve to protect your identities.  You were willing to speak opening using your real names.  Am I being too controlling to hide your names?

Adam:  Honestly, you are.  Sure at first, I wanted to "hide myself," but why should I?  Should I be ashamed like Adam before God?  The answer is that The Naked Truth is about not worrying about who one is, not trying to "clothe" and hide who you are.  It's a return to innocence. 

Eve: It was so great to be myself, TT.  When I put on nice clothes, I try to accent myself and my femininity  as well as I can in order to have a better chance to dance.   But at The Naked Truth, I was open to show myself in the theater of life rather than to try to play the role of the Pretty Woman.  I never felt so free and satisfied with just the person I am.  The others at the milonga reassured each other with wonderful smiles that we are perfect just the way we are.  I am Sybille, and Tango Therapist is my fiancé in an interview with his own self-doubts before we both decided to take part in The Naked Truth. 

Photo Credit:  A special thanks to my older son, who upon hearing about The Naked Truth, sent me Ingre's Violin as an appropriate photo for the subject:  The Body as a divine instrument.

Otros Aires Album cover:  http://www.otrosaires.com/album/vivo-en-otros-aires/ 


  1. I love this interview and I can say it really made me cry… to be part of somebody’s life in the way Eve told is a very strong thing. Thank you for sharing this. I feel very proud about it.

    I think this experience was much more than any of us expected. To get rid of our armors and get into the place naked… MAMA MIA! for me was really hard at the beginning. I come from Argentina… it is not a popular thing to go naked on a sauna or a beach… and playing tango… can you imagine D´arienzo leading his orchestra naked???????????

    Anyway, my biggest surprise was that playing at Naked Truth was the easiest part. As a musician we have always some king of ¨nakedness¨ when we play, we are showing something hidden very deeply for an audience who is watching. This time everyone was watching and dancing but at the same time showing something hidden. Very strange but I didn’t feel the ¨nakedness¨ I used to feel when I play for a dressed audience. It was a very nice concert for me.

    But I think for me the highest (and funniest) part of the night was when after playing, dancing, talking, etc (as if I have not seen enough to be surprised for life) Eric proposed to dance a ¨Nakarera¨ (a Naked Chacarera) … When you are having a chacarera lesson in the middle of the night with a group of ¨ Naked Gauchos Alemanes¨ (with zapateo and sarandeo!!!) you realize that you are part of something that is happening for the very first time in your life, you start looking at what is happening with children´s eyes again. A group of little friends playing a new game, something that surprises you and make you laugh like in kindergarten. I don't think I had the fun I had with that since I was five years old.

  2. This Milonga was my third of naked truth. I have to say that I find it liberating and the sense of freedom is exhilarating. I love the openness and trust we offer each other. Cloths can be a defence a disguise from who we really are. The first time I went I took an Argentinian friend she was excited and nervous. It took her an hour to undress in the anti room, then half an hour to enter the Milonga and about 20 minutes before she accepted an offer to dance. Once she started to dance the look that came over her face was "FREEDOM" she was smiling the whole night and when we talked later she told me in no uncertain terms that she loved it. How do I feel now that I have been to three? I feel a sense of belonging. This group is open and accepting of who we are not how we may pretend to be at times in our lives. Would I recommend it to others. Yes, If I know them to be honest and open. Do I think every one should do this? No, its not for everyone. You need an accepting and open and non judgmental mind. There are lots of clothed Milongas and perhaps that is where most people feel comfortable. I am not preaching conversion but I think that there are many who would gain a new way of seeing the world if they did but try.

  3. Je rejoins les commentaires précédents… Lorsque l’enfant parait, il est nu, et n’aurait pas l’idée de cacher son corps, il ne connait pas la notion du beau ou du laid, il apprécie naturellement le contact d’une autre peau, il apprécie de toucher d’autres peaux… Il s’en nourrit….
    Et puis avec le temps, l’enfant apprend d’autres choses, et la plupart ont un véritable intérêt, mais peut-être pas toutes… .. ??
    Pourquoi à tout prix vouloir cacher nos corps ? Pourquoi ne montrer que des corps parfaits ou qui affichent des postures érotiques ? Pourquoi réserver le toucher d’autres peaux aux seules relations amoureuses ? Ou sexuelles ?
    Le tango nous permet de renouer avec les bienfaits du câlin, et certains ont eu l’idée (Merci Eric !!!!) de nous offrir la possibilité de danser sans la barrière de nos vêtements, aussi beaux soient-ils ;-)
    J’ai aimé ces câlins peaux contre peaux, entre hommes, entre femmes, entre hommes et femmes, sur la musique de Miguel ! Nous avons ri, nous avons profité de la douceur de ces instants où chacun peut profiter de ce que les autres ont à lui donner, où les échanges se font au moins autant à deux qu’en groupe, sans jugement. Malgré leurs quelques imperfections, nos corps étaient tous beaux à voir dans leurs émotions partagées !
    Encore merci à tous et merci à Mark et Sybille de leur écrit !

  4. Great Article! It's true that as a foreigner coming into Germany it was a bit hard to grasp the concept of it's wide acceptance of nudity. I remember the 1st time a group of friends invited me to a nude sauna. I was like "WHAT?! Are you kidding? No way! In America we don't do that!"

    It took some time to adapt to this concept and now that I feel comfortable to go to a nude sauna there's only one word that comes to my mind...Absolute Freedom.

    And that's exactly what people probably feel after experiencing the Naked Truth.

    I don't dance Tango (I dance Salsa) but I can imagine what the Naked Truth must feel like. It's a genius idea and Germany is probably the only country in the world that can do this right now.

    You probably have to go in with an open and mature mentality. And you'd probably have to take some deep breaths before getting out of the car but I'm sure you'd have an experience you'd never forget. Absolute Freedom...

    Keep up the good work Eric!

  5. Liebe Sybille,

    hm, nackt Tanzen kann ich mir, tortz dieses schönen, so offenen und berührenden Berichts, zwar immer noch nicht vorstellen, was du dort aber erlebt und gefunden hast wünsche ich mir in den Tanzbegegnungen auch.

    -"The funny thing is at The Naked Truth, I have never had so much eye contact in my life! I actually felt more at ease than ever."-
    - "The Naked Truth made it super, super clear to me that when I dance, I am touching another person's soul."-

    Und Bekleidung empfinde ich nicht grundsätzlich als hinderlich, um dies spüren und erleben zu dürfen.
    Letztendlich gehören zwei Menschen dazu die dies Suchen und offen dafür sind im Einklang mit der Musik. Und die Musik kann hier ein wunderschöner Türöffner sein, wenn sie zu Herzen geht.
    Euch beiden einen herzlichen Dank für das Teilhaben lassen an diesem besonderen Moment in eurem "Tango"-Leben.

  6. Why would anyone ever go to such an event? I never asked this question to myself until I was asked by my social environment mostly non-tanger@s: “Say what?! Tango and also naked?! Is that not too… um … you know....” My answer? No, I do NOT know.

    *First: Tango for me is not erotic; I know, some might have a different opinion, and I don’t mean it cannot be eroitic as it also can be sad, wild, funny etc., but it is not sexy/erotic per definition.
    *Second: Ok, let’s turn it around the logic. If FKK-members tell you, they would all take tango-lessons now, it seems quite less erotic than tango-people being naked. Why’s that?
    *Third: As far as I know, the FKK-movement also intended to reduce undirected sexual drives and promote pudicity by being undressed and thereby omitting the prude and evocative cultural shells. The connotation of sexiness and nakedness might appear trivial – but not necessarily true!

    Certainly the warm and friendly atmosphere was due to the participants. It’s common sense: Only people who have a relaxed relation to their own and other people’s bodies and nakedness would come. Others would not. So, by natural selection, everybody seemed so relaxed and so was I. What a funny logic of situation! And not surprisingly the evening’s discourses remained the same: The floor, the music, and the partners and well, and how normal nakedness feels after all!

  7. I find it rather strange nobody dares talking about biological chemistry.,
    Even if I am NOT ashamed of my body when being naked, I would not want to touch just any other person in nudity, be it just superficial or not.
    I may be able to dance with someone nicely when being dressed, but what if it doesn't feel good when being naked?
    What if that other person just doesn't feel right ??
    Nudity is something I share with my partner, and only with my partner.
    Comparing the Silent Milonga with Nude milonga is inappropriate, because there is nothing to compare.

    Btw. I am German, and do NOT go conform with the overly acted "Freikörperkultur". We all should have at least something that we keep for ourselves in private.
    If it is not our nudity, our very self, what else could that be?

    And Eric's saying, with shoes one is no longer naked, makes it even worse for me. How can Eric dare to expect people going naked on such a dirty and, even worse, cold floor, risking their health because one's feet are not used to that cold underground ...

    The next point, why does Eric call for 25 or even 30 Euros fee for entrance ... because we3 are all naked ???

    That so called "Naked Truth" is highly overrated and doesn't serve anything else than Eric's income.

  8. Ms. Anonymous: You clothe yourself well in anonymity to deliver your sermon, and it is a message that is fair, other than it appears that you have slipped over the line into self-righteousness.

    If you are in the tango community, surely you have seen couples come and go in tango because the close embrace dancing is, echoing your logic, "something one shares only with one's partner." Nudity, perhaps not close embrace, is that limit for you, and I respect that. There is no one demanding that you disrobe.

    You say you are German, and that to me is amazing. After running several marathons in Germany, and being in unisex showers, I am surprised that somehow you have missed out on the freedom from shame and prudery. You make the claim that only your partner can see your nakedness. I assume that you don't become intimate in a public shower just because other women see your unclothed body.

    I thought very much that most in the tango community would at the worst shrug their shoulders and say, "To each their own; that's not for me!" Yet, even the price was a contention. If it is too much, then don't come to an event that includes a world-known tango performer. Too much, really?

    Is it okay with you that we participate in something that you disapprove of? If you had the power to prohibit us, would you?

    Further discussion will not continue under the veil of anonymity.

  9. ...I'm just curious how to pivot in bare feet without flensing the soles of the feet?


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