It's kind of funny—in an ironic sort of way—that this article is coming right on the heels of us publishing some pearls of wisdom that Niecy Nash shared in a recent Essence feature. If you didn't catch our write-up on it, the title basically says it all: "Niecy Nash Says 'A BJ A Day Keeps The Divorce Lawyers Away' & We Believe You Sis".
If you think that Niecy is just "being Niecy" (because she's always pretty candid about her marriage which is something that I personally adore about her), I'll just say that I've had many a husband and wife co-sign on that very sentiment. Husbands have told me that morning sex that consists of fellatio is not only a big-time stress reliever, it also makes them think about their wife and her dopeness all throughout the day. And the wives? They say that everything about communicating with their man is easier to do—from kids to bills to them wanting to buy something that may not exactly be in the budget—once a BJ has been had. Well, given.
But here's the thing about all of this. I must admit that oftentimes, when the topic of marital coitus comes up, it does seem like the focus is placed on pleasing the man. Hmph. Like we as women don't have needs. Double hmph. Like a lot of wives don't have stronger libidos than their hubbies.
This sentiment was clearly expressed in the Facebook comments that popped up underneath our Niecy Nash post. Here are just a handful:
Sarai Pa: I feel this stuff can be fine and dandy and work but I wished there were more articles that talked about doing things for BOTH partners to help make a marriage work…I just want things to be equal and less one sided type of things.
Jay Millz: But I mean.... what about eating out a day too. Eating out a day can also keep the divorce away. What I'm saying is it should be 100/100 . If your spouse if you're not receiving the same effort from your spouse as much as you given to them, then what's the point of being with someone?
Kara Gershon: Wrong I have been married 12 years. I don't.
Victoria Pulley: So he ain't got to do nothing? She just suck his d*ck and boom successful marriage? Girl bye. It's a give and take.
Joy D. Byrd-Taylor: It goes both ways and we're real good over here.
Personally, one of my favorite comments was by Lisa-Renee Halliburton: "Well Damn reading these comments does anyone just want to please your spouse?? Of course, It's not only about him however.... you should want to cater to his every need and vice versa or someone else will with no Problem!" Right. And amen.
Since we peeped how passionate so many of you are about making sure that there was a level playing field on this particular topic, we figured that today was a perfect time to share what some couples—husbands and wives—have told me keeps it on-and-poppin' in their bedroom (oh, and because everyone agreed to be so forthcoming, their names have been changed for courtesy's sake; some did ask if they could pick the names, though. I wonder if they're pet names. Hmm.).
Eric and Evelyn. Married for Three Years. Have Sex About Twice a Week.
Eric: "I promise you, I don't know when my wife finds the time, but she's always coming up with something new—a new position, a new toy…something. I can't speak for all men, but I'll say for myself that it's a gross assumption that we get bored easily and want a new woman. We do get bored, but it's from doing the same thing, the same way, all of the time. If a woman has a creative mind, she can keep a man monogamous. Mine does."
Evelyn: "My husband is the best kisser. Everywhere. That's all I have to say. But isn't that enough?"
Marcus and Jasmine. Married for 10 Years. Have Sex About Three Times a Week.
Marcus: "I think what keeps our sex life so good is that I'm not the one who has to initiate all of the time. Men want to feel wanted just as much as women do. Real talk, sometimes I have to spend extra time in the gym to keep up with my wife's drive. I love that about her, though.
Jasmine: "My husband wants me to cum. A LOT. If I haven't had at least three orgasms, he doesn't feel like his job is done. A man like that will keep you coming back for more…for the rest of your life, in my book."
Michael and Rachel. Married Six Months. Have Sex Once a Week.
Michael: "Let me just put it on out there that the reason why we're newlyweds who only have sex once a week is because of our work schedules. Well, that and the fact that we're not fans of quickies. If it's not gonna last for a few hours, why do it? And my wife? That dirty mouth of hers alone is worth not rushing. It's funny because she doesn't even curse in real life. But behind closed doors, I've never seen anything like it. S—t."
Rachel: "I've been with selfish men before. The kind of guys who would wink at themselves in the mirror while they're doing you if one was around. My husband treats me like a full-course meal. He takes forever on my neck, forever on my breasts. My mama told me not to tell other women the specifics about your man, so I won't even get into what he can do with a clit. I ain't goin' nowhere. There's absolutely no need."
Anthony and Cynthia. Married for 13 Years. Have Sex Every Day.
Anthony: "I think it's funny whenever people think that we're exaggerating about having sex every day. You eat every day. You might work out every day. You probably sit in front of the TV every day. What's the big deal? We make time for what matters, and my wife and I look forward to connecting that way. Sometimes it's for 10 minutes. Sometimes it's three or four rounds. It's our quality time and what I love most is I never get tired of her. She's my masterpiece."
Cynthia: "My girlfriends ask me if I'm always in the mood to do it all of the time. The short answer is 'yes'. Remember in the movie Love Jones when Nia Long's character said that his dick talked to her? Girl, when your man has something good to say, you're always in the mood to listen."
Quinton and Allison. Married 16 Years. Have Sex a Few Times a Month.
Quinton: "I'm glad you're not using our real names in this, because we're the couple who doesn't have more sex because of my libido, not hers. It's not that I don't desire my wife. It's that I take medication for my blood pressure. Anyone who does knows what that can do. But what it has caused us to do is become foreplay experts. When I was single, foreplay didn't matter much. Now, it's something that I really look forward to."
Allison: "My husband and I had sex before marriage. His stroke was mean back then, but I felt really disconnected; like he was having sex with himself more than with me. I'd like to have more intercourse, but his mastering how to kiss my breasts and go down on me makes it worth it. It's not like we're not working to get him off of his meds, so I can only imagine what's in store. We're married. I can wait."
Chris and Donna. Married 11 Years. Have Sex Twice a Week.
Chris: "I read the Niecy interview. I'll just add that it's not the blow job that's effective; it's a good one. We don't want obligatory head. But a woman who acts like it's her favorite thing ever and sounds like she's gonna cum harder than you before it's over? That is the kind of head that is unforgettable. That right there is my wife. She's mad me cry and I'm a true groupie. I'm not ashamed to say it either!"
Donna: "My husband is a freak. He likes to go down just because, and he's everywhere down there. But what I really like about him is the five words that he says, almost every time, before we get started—'How can I please you?' So many men assume that if they've got a big dick or even that they can make us orgasm that that should be enough. One night, I might be in the mood for romantic missionary while another, all I might want is for him to eat me. A good lover doesn't tell you what you should want, they want to cater to you. My husband is the best lover I've ever had. 100."
David and Monica. Married 20 Years. Have Sex Every Day.
David: "When you've been married as long as I have, you qualify different things as 'having sex'. Do we have full-on intercourse every time? No. But I'm going to get head or she's gonna get it. I may wake her up with a nipplegasm or she might give me a hand job if we're riding in together to work. 20 years in, you want to make sure your spouse is satisfied, even if you don't need anything at the time. The sooner you young folks learn that, the better."
Monica: "Wow. This is awkward. Our names are changed, right? OK. My man is passionate. My man is unselfish. My man makes love to me like he's grateful for the opportunity. He is present. I know they say that all married people are tempted to cheat at some point, but I've never considered it since I've been married. When you get a partner who is, I think 'aggressive' is the right word, about your every need, you just don't think about stepping out. I know I don't."
Greg and LaToya. Married 10 Years. Have Sex 3-4 Times a Week.
Greg: "My baby and I were virgins when we got married. 10 years later, I think what makes the sex so good is because we've been working with a blank slate. To me, she's the best ever because I don't have anyone else to compare her to. I also like that we were virgins because we could customize our likes. We aren't trying to get the other to be like someone else. Even now, we're just taking our time to explore and when we find a new 'favorite', that makes the sex even better."
LaToya: "We were abstinent for religious reasons, but we don't have the church anywhere in our bedroom! Have you read the Scripture about a man drinking from his cistern? (Proverbs 5:15) That is an almost daily practice in our home. Amen."
Justin and Cheryl. Married 13 Years. Have Sex Once a Week.
Justin: "Y'all can call it weird or whatever but this is my marriage and it works. When my wife and I were still dating, we asked each other about our best—our best sex, our best oral, stuff like that. Then we asked what made it that way. No general s—t; details. Then we worked through how to top those individuals. And we have. Folks are only insecure about each other's sexual past when they don't think they measure up. You can easily fix that by having open discussions about what you liked and even miss about your past."
Cheryl: "My husband is competitive. Not just when it comes to my past sex life, but with himself. That's sexy to me because he's like, 'If you thought last night was good, wait and see what I come up with next time!' He is never satisfied with my satisfaction. What I mean is he always wants to exceed himself. I never know what to expect and I really like that."
William and Anastasia. Married Four Years. Have Sex 1-3 Times a Week.
William: "My wife is animalistic. She really is. Sometimes, I can't even get all the way in the door without her wanting to get it on right there. I'm glad that I'm getting to share this—and that she's letting me—because it's a poor assumption that all women are docile or passive. Sometimes, I feel a little emasculated because she's hard to keep up with. But what I love about that is she always wants me, she never gets tired of me. That does wonders for how I feel about myself as a man. As her man."
Anastasia: "I'm not sure if I've ever told my husband this before, but I will now. I do have a high sex drive, I always have. And I do tend to be the aggressor. But what makes me jump him all of the time is because I have never been treated so well. I honestly can't think of one need that has gone unmet since I agreed to marry him; not just monetarily but emotionally. He truly takes care of me…and since he does it every day, I basically want to f—k him every day. I don't know what else to tell you." #whew
There you have it, y'all. Straight from the mouth of married folks.
Personally, what I think is cool about all of these responses is it's a reminder that there is no "one right way" to have sex or please your partner—that a part of the fun of being a committed couple is figuring out what works for you.
As far as Niecy's stance, I honestly can't see how any man would want to turn down a daily BJ. But, I also think that a good husband can't feel right about himself if he's not tryin' to get his wife right too.
If I were on social media, that would've been my comment yesterday. I would've said that, as these husbands and wives shared, it's mutual pleasure that (hopefully) keeps the divorce lawyers away. And who can argue with that?
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important
Maintenance Sex Could Be The Key To A Successful Marriage
10 Sex Resolutions Every Married Couple Should Make
Who Knew Oral Sex Has An Official Time Limit?
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Better Off Braless: The Benefits Of Not Wearing A Bra More Often
Somewhere between the start of the pandemic and entering the late stages of my 20s, bras become less and less of a priority.
Within that span of time, I, like most of the world, spent my days inhabiting my small bubble, staying in the house with loose-fitting loungewear, and being on Zoom calls that only required me to be presentable from the neck up. So as the demand to have my breasts at their perkiest form, so did my commitment to wearing bras.
The relationship that most women have with their bras is… well, complicated. While society has led us to believe that they’re required for us to be deemed as “ladylike” and “neat,” many of us find the garment to be a bothersome (and optional) accessory at best.
From underwires that poke and dig at our sides to push-ups that spill over, the argument in support of bras has begun to wane over the last few decades, with women of all cup sizes asking themselves if it’s better to just go braless.
Courtesy of Harper Wilde
“Many years ago, I ditched wired bras and opted for going braless out of a desire for freedom and celebrating natural human form,” multi-hyphenate Alyson Stoner tells xoNecole. The movement activist best known for their fly dance moves with the likes of Missy Elliott and on Step Up 2: The Streets, shares that when it comes to their bra selection, comfort is key. “As someone who enjoys moving their body, I found that I do want an underlayer that provides some support without interfering with comfort and mobility.”
A source of concern when choosing to go braless is whether or not the lack of support from a bra will, in turn, affect the firmness of one’s breast, resulting in early sagging. However, Sabrina Sahni, M.D., an oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida, shares that breast sagging is a result of age, not whether you’ve ditched your bras.
“Sagging breasts – also called ptosis – generally occurs due to chronic aging,” she tells xoNecole. “The breast is made up of a combination of glandular and fibrous tissue and fat tissue. Over time, the glandular tissue may become replaced with fattier tissue, and that can lead to more sagging. Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra ultimately does not change that.”
"Wearing a bra or not wearing a bra ultimately does not change that."
Women with heavier breasts may find that going braless may have its set of drawbacks, but Dr. Sahni says that you should always pay attention to your comfort levels since bras are a garment designed to support your back and correct your posture. “Those with heavier or larger breasts who choose to go braless may actually have worsening back/neck/shoulder pain,” she says. “Wearing a bra may allow them to correct their posture and help alleviate tension on those muscle groups.”
“Women with larger breasts may benefit from wearing a well-fitted, supportive bra as it may alleviate things like upper back pain or neck pain,” she shares.
Listening to your body is key when choosing whether you want to toss out your bras forever or just for a day. The beauty in a woman’s body is that it will tell us what we need to know before we even have to ask. There are common misconceptions about tighter bras being linked to causing health issues like breast cancer.
And while studies do show that Black women are “twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer early when compared with Caucasian women,” the manifestation of this disease is predetermined by other varying factors.
“There are a lot of myths out there about going braless being better for breast cancer risk. It is completely false,” Dr. Sahni explains. “Whether or not you wear a bra does not have any bearing on your overall breast cancer risk. Ultimately, your risk is dependent on a variety of factors, including family history, your breast density, your lifestyle, and your reproductive history.”
If you’re looking for classic, weightless comfort that’s close to going braless, Alyson Stoner recommends Harper Wilde, a body-inclusive intimates brand on a mission to create a more comfortable world for womankind. They currently have a capsule collection with the intimates brand in partnership with their company, Movement Genius.
“Harper Wilde has been my go-to for years now because the materials are truly soothing on my sensitive skin, the amount of support feels like you're being gently hugged (not squeezed), and the styles are flattering and beautiful enough to wear as shirts or visible layers,” they say.
Courtesy of Harper Wilde
The brand offers super soft, breathable cotton fabric in their Triangle and Scoop Bralettes ($40 each) that will put the bliss and comfort back in your bosom.
Dr. Sahni says that choosing to opt out of bras or keep them close to your chest “truly depends on the individual” but it should be understood that “wearing or not wearing a bra won't significantly impact your overall health.”
“Ultimately, it comes down to comfort. There are some women with chronic breast pain where perhaps changing their bras to something more supportive and well-fitted may help,” she says. “Alternatively, some women find that going bra-less will alleviate their breast pain. I tell women that they should choose a bra that is comfortable for them, feels supportive, and one that they can wear regularly.”
So whether you choose to free the tatas or wear a bra that feels like it’s barely there, remember to listen to your body because ultimately, the choice is yours.
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