Just when you think you've heard it all, chile. I recently read an article with a title that truly needs no further explanation. Ready? "Why I Sometimes Wear My Vaginal Juice As Perfume". It's not that I'm not aware of the fact that all of us have a signature vaginal scent and, so long as we're healthy and it's not pungent, men are naturally attracted to it (which is one of the billions of reasons why douching is totally unnecessary). It's just that, the thought of reaching down in order to put some of my vaginal fluid on my neck? Maybe I'm more prudish than I thought I was (I'm a Gemini, so it couldn't be that), but it's gonna be a hard pass for me.
Still, sometimes you come across things because it ends up "connecting the dots" to other stuff, and that's just what that read did for me. As I did some digging around about the power of scent, as it specifically relates to attraction and sex, here are some of the things that I discovered.
- Scent-wise, did you know that we're attracted to people whose genes do not match our own?
- Did you know that women are naturally attracted to the smell of a man's shaved arm pits?
- Did you know that, as far as pheromones go, we actually are drawn to a little bit of funk?
- Or that there's solid research to support that foods like donuts, cinnamon buns, cheese pizza, chocolate and cola also turn us on? (Think about that the next time you have a craving for one of those things.)
- And yes, if you heard somewhere that the combination of pumpkin essential oil and lavender essential oil can increase the blood flow into a man's penis by 40 percent, that is absolutely true.
This is proof that we've been blessed with five senses—sight, hearing, touch, taste and yes, smell—and they even play a role in appeal, captivation and copulation too. So since our sense of smell matters just as much as the rest of 'em, I thought it would be a good idea to share some all-natural aphrodisiacs that men are all for—along with where to put them and how to make them last long past the first wink…or kiss…or well, you know.
I can see why vanilla would be an aphrodisiac. It's got a scent that is soft and sweet; "delicious" is another word that immediately comes to mind. And yes, men adore it. One study revealed that when they are close to a woman who has vanilla on, the smell is able to increase sexual arousal in them by as much as nine percent. Research also reveals that it has a powerful calming effect on anxiety and has an incredible ability to soothe and relax, both men and women, as well.
If you and/or your man would prefer a scent that isn't too feminine, sandalwood has totally got your back. It's got an earthy/woodsy smell that is very sexy and alluring at the same time. It's the kind of oil that's great for your skin (including acne and psoriasis), some people use it as a deodorant alternative and, it stimulates the pheromones in men and women. For women, it increases the libido and in men, it can prevent impotence from transpiring.
Back in the day, cinnamon oil used to be my complete and total jam! It smells good, it tastes great and—how do I PG this?—it makes oral sex that much more pleasurable (how'd I do?). This is one of the oils that will literally warm you and your partner up. It also increase blood circulation, treats erectile dysfunction and, if you add a little honey and sweet almond oil to it, well…kindly refer back to what I said about it and oral sex. Total. Game. Changer.
This might just qualify as your something new for the day.
I find this particular essential oil to be awesome because legend has it that men in certain parts of African used to chew on Carpolobia root an hour or so before sex in order to enhance their sexual performance (so it must be good!).
There are also studies to support that this is an herb that helps to heal male infertility while boosting the libido of men and women in the process.
As far as finding it goes, it's not nearly as easy as the rest of the oils on this list. But I did find a connect on Etsy if you're interested in giving it a shot.
5. Black Licorice
If you're not the biggest fan of black licorice, strictly from a taste standpoint, I'll just say this—it does have some pretty impressive health benefits. It's got the ability to cleanse your respiratory system, reduce stress, treat eczema, soothe the symptoms that are directly related to heartburn, stomach ulcers and food poisoning. So, if you'd prefer not to eat it, consider sipping on some black licorice tea. Or, putting it on your body. When men get a whiff of it, it increases sexual arousal in them by as much as 13 percent; that amount jumps all the way up to 32 percent if they smell licorice in combination with donuts.
An essential oil that has the ability to relieve depression-related symptoms, prevent nightmares (pretty crazy, huh?) and boost your self-confidence is the delicate feminine scent of rose. Rose is also able to help stabilize mood swings and regulate menstrual cycles. Plus, it has an uncanny way of "triggering" our body's natural sex hormones. It's another scent that increases blood circulation too. The more blood that's down below, the longer the erections and the more intense the orgasms are too.
7. Pink Grapefruit
I like to drink pink grapefruit juice. Good thing too because, on the health-tip, it's a fruit that boosts our immune system, helps to control our blood sugar levels, aids in weight loss, improves heart health and can even help to prevent asthma attacks. It makes this list because, along with increasing blood circulation and giving us more energy, interestingly enough, the smell of pink grapefruit makes us appear somewhere around 5-6 years younger. Like it or not, youth is a big turn on to a lot of guys so, there you go.
Jasmine is very sweet and romantic. It's one of my favorites, for sure. It's an oil that works as an antidepressant and sedative. It also encourages positive thoughts, and it's very sensual.
In fact, in certain parts of India, jasmine is the signature wedding flower because of its ability to enhance feelings of love and desire.
Use it as an oil to shave your legs (it reduces irritation) or a DIY massage oil ingredient. You won't regret it. He won't either.
Honorable Mention: Popcorn
Yep, you read that right. If you're someone who loves diving into a big bowl of popcorn, the fiber, whole grains, minerals and vitamins make it a healthy snack. Just make sure that you totally avoid the microwavable kind; the lining of the bag can actually decrease your libido (among other things).
And yes, if you're eating someone while sitting on the couch and watching a movie with your boo, there's a good chance that he won't be paying too much attention to what's on the screen. Popcorn is also an aphrodisiac scent. If there's butter on it, it can spike up a man's drive by nine percent (ain't that a trip?).
Where to Place Aphrodisiac Oils on Your Body
What a little trial and error (combined with some additional research) have taught me is knowing where to put an aphrodisiac scent is about as important as the one that you choose.
First, make sure that you pay attention to what is known as your "pulse points"; those are the areas of your body where your blood vessels are the closest to your skin; they produce more heat which can intensify the scent. Where exactly are some of your points? Places like your inner wrists, right where your elbow bends, the base of your neck, behind your earlobes and knees and in between your breasts are some good ones.
As far as your wrists go, just make sure to not do what a lot of us are guilty of doing—applying an oil or perfume and then rubbing our wrists together. What that ends up doing is activating too much of our natural body chemistry which could end up diluting or "crushing" the authenticity or potency of the smell.
Something else to keep in mind is, if you're using one of these oils as a way to heat up a night of passion, not all essential oils are edible (you can read more about that here). Plus, not all of them taste the best. Keep that in mind as you're contemplating where to place your favorite scent (cinnamon and vanilla taste great, by the way). One way to kinda get around the non-edible kind is to put those oils onto your hands and rub them over your lingerie; that way, your body will smell like the oil sans experiencing the bitter or icky taste of it.
How to Make Essential Oils Last for Hours on End
If you want to make an aphrodisiac scent last from the moment you put it on until the time you get it on, one way to do that is to create a mist with the essential oil in it and lightly mist your hair. Between the essential oil and your own hair's natural oils, the scent will remain on your tresses for hours.
Another cool tip is to put 10-15 drops of one of these oils into a fragrance-free moisturizer or carrier oil like grapeseed, almond, jojoba, sweet almond or avocado oil. The scent will be amazing, and your skin will be silky soft.
Something else that can make essential oils more potent is combining them. It may take a couple of tries to get exactly what you're looking for, but I'm a big fan of this too because it can create a signature scent that no one else has (and you don't have to tell anyone about).
Just one more thing. If your plan is to apply a little bit of the oil to your vaginal region, make sure to also dilute it with a carrier oil and to put it on your vulva, not in your vagina. If you want to be taken totally out of the mood, avoid this pearl of wisdom and see what happens (burn baby, burn!).
Well, there you have it. Whether it's for a hot date or a very sexy night, here's a cheat sheet on how to make you even more unforgettable—from the very moment he catches even a little whiff of your totally intoxicating scent.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
How To Eat Your Way To Better Sex
Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm
Want A More Intense Orgasm? These Tips Are Sure To Make You Cream
Married Couples: These 6 DIY Recipes Will Take Your Sex Life To The Next Level
Feature image by Giphy
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 (email@example.com) 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.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle