Whether you ever intended on watching Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too?, for better or for worse, BET doesn't really give you much of a choice. It seems like at least once a week, one or both films are airing on that channel. And, if there's a couple that is truly memorable, it's Marcus (played by Michael Jai White) and Angela (played by Tasha Smith).
To call them "dysfunctional" would be a major understatement. They have serious trust issues, their communication sucks, there's little to no respect given, they seem to find extreme pleasure in throwing each other under the bus in front of their friends (especially Angela) and they appear to get on each other's last nerve, more times than not.
I've seen clips of both movies so much that they both seem to run in together at this point. But I do know for sure that, in one of them, there's a scene where Marcus is asked why he keeps putting up with all of the crazy. His response? "The make-up sex is insane!" (or something along those lines).
That's not just a line from a movie. If you put "make-up sex" in any search engine, you're gonna see articles about why so many of us like—no, LOVE—it. From the research that I've done on the topic, a lot of us are super into make-up sex because it tends to be wilder, more exciting and more intense than so-called "regular sex" is. That's cool. But like most things in life, there is such a notion as too much of a good thing.
How can you tell the difference between make-up sex being a hot way to conclude a fight vs. something that is masking a layer of issues that sex alone really can't solve? I've got five points that can at least get you on the path of seeing what's really going on in your bedroom—and ultimately, your marriage.
Is Make-Up Sex How You Always “Resolve” Arguments?
Personally, whenever a couple tells me that they never argue, whether they say it directly on my face or not, I'm giving them the side-eye. While I don't think that every couple has ugly knockout drag-outs, I find it very hard to believe because if two people are being open and honest with one another, sometimes boats are gonna get rocked. And there's nothing wrong with that. We all have our own way of seeing things and oftentimes, looking at another's perspective is just what we need in order to grow as individuals.
The problem with arguing is when a couple has no idea how to resolve their issues when they arise. If there is a lot of grudge-holding, deflecting, hitting below the belt, yelling and screaming or even a ton of passive aggressiveness, not only does this reveal poor communication skills, it will only make matters worse over time.
What really needs to be addressed is the fact that some couples are either so used to arguing that they don't realize how unhealthy their communication is or they are so accustomed to having sex to "fix matters" that, ironically, nothing really ever gets fixed.
I'm big on saying that sex shouldn't be about "making love" so much as celebrating it.
Along these same lines, make-up sex shouldn't be about avoiding resolutions but the celebration of actually coming to one. Which is it for you and yours?
Is Make-Up Sex a Stress Coping Mechanism?
Life has its stress-filled moments. There's no doubt about that. And when it comes to the health benefits of sexual activity, the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol is a strong one. So yeah, I totally get why couples would resort to having sex in order to release a little anxiety and tension. That's not why I'm bringing this point up, though.
It's one thing to have a few days when your schedule has you feeling overwhelmed or to receive some news that's got you a little more than just irritated. It's another to be sick all of the time, an insomniac or noticing things like body aches and hair fall. If these things are transpiring, they're usually red flags that you are too stressed for your own good and all sex is doing is masking a deeper issue.
Sure, sex can distract you for a few minutes (or, if you're lucky, a couple of hours), but the problems are gonna still be there when you're done. If all you really do to handle your stress is having sex, that's something else to really look into; preferably with a therapist and/or physician.
Is Make-Up Sex the Only Time That You Truly Feel Connected?
So, there is such a thing as arousal transfer. What's that? In a nutshell, it's when our bodies go from one kind of stimuli to another and then we pass it on to someone else. In the context of make-up sex, it's basically going from an emotion like anger to another like excitement. Then, when pleasure is brought into it all, it can create the illusion that reconciliation has happened when really all that's gone down is you connected on a physical level (and the oxytocin calmed you down a bit).
Arousal transfer is normal, but if it's the only time you and your partner truly feel like you're on the same page, it's also an illusion. Healthy relationships have mental, emotional and spiritual connections not just physical ones. Healthy couples are able to feel close to one another, whether sex comes into play or not.
Is Make-Up Sex What You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?Giphy
A lot of us were not fortunate enough to grow up in a two-parent household and/or one that consisted of two people who loved and respected each other and communicated well. Because this was lacking, we didn't really get the foundational skills required to deal with conflict in a romantic relationship.
Two things typically happen because of this. One, we (internally) freak out whenever relational issues arise and/or two, we either think that running from the relationship or doing whatever makes our partner feel better is the solution. And oftentimes, that feel-good-remedy is sex.
The problem with that is even the best (and most realistic) sex only lasts a couple of hours. Once it's over, the problems still exist. If you and yours are always having sex during or immediately following a fight because you don't know what else to do, this is another reason to strongly consider getting into some marital counseling. Just so the two of you can learn how to hash things out and "fight fair" in the process.
Is Make-Up Sex How You “Handled” Relationships When You Were Dating Too?
There is a lot of baggage that many of us bring into our current relationship, oftentimes not realizing it until we get triggered or a particular pattern is brought to our attention. That said, if you can relate to all of what I shared here and a part of you is wondering where it came from, take a brief walk down memory lane to see if make-up sex is how you handled issues with your boyfriends as well.
A huge mistake that a lot of people make in relationships is assuming that what they did in their dating situations won't creep into their marriage. The only way you can be sure of that is by taking the time, as a single person, to do some self-evaluating and healing. If you're just now seeing that make-up sex has been your modus operandi all along, ask yourself two things—1) how did it work for you back then and 2) if it wasn't a big deal, why aren't you still with your exes? Hmm.
Again, make-up sex isn't a bad thing. Not at all. But if you're dependent on it in order to get through the hard/bad times in your marriage, be careful. You might look up and discover that it didn't fix anything. It just bought you more time to not deal with the inevitable—some real serious problems in your relationship.
You might discover that sex was more like icing on a garbage lid than anything. Sweet for a second but what was underneath? Eww.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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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.
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Viola Davis On Beauty Standards Changing In Hollywood: 'We Are Beyond Male Desirability'
Actress Viola Davis is shedding light on beauty standards and how it has transformed throughout the years.
The 57-year-old has touched on this topic numerous times throughout her career, which spans over three decades. In the past, Davis revealed that she felt inadequate because of her physical appearance due to constantly being told she wasn't beautiful or enough.
Since then, the EGOT winner has overcome those insecurities and used her platform to share a positive message to those who need them. In a recent interview withPEOPLE magazine while attending the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, Davis shared that the shift is because many now know that beauty is "beyond male desirability."
Viola On Beauty Standards
During the discussion, the How To Get Away with Murder star also mentioned that another factor contributing to the transformation is that people associate beauty with mental health, which she claimed inspired her partnership with makeup brand L'Oreal.
"I think beauty standards have changed. I think that what's shifted is that whole idea of mental health being associated with beauty [and] of understanding who we are beyond male desirability. It's really a huge part of why I decided to become a part of L'Oreal, that whole statement of 'I'm worth it,'" she said.
Further in the interview, Davis recounted her past experiences of being told she wasn't beautiful and mentioned how it destroyed her because, growing up, she knew that beauty was tied to worthiness.
"What destroyed me was people constantly telling me that I was not beautiful. [You might think] why would you be upset with that? Because beauty is attached with worth and value. And I refuse to believe that I'm not worth it just based on a sort of idea and perception of what people think classical beauty is," she stated.
The Woman King star added that since the shift in beauty standards, women are now being "encouraged to speak their truth a little bit more" in certain situations such as one's goals, sexual assault, mental illness, etc. With that, Davis explained that people are now seeing the beauty within others and applauding them for it.
"Now women are encouraged to speak their truth a little bit more. We see that with sexual assault, with mental illness, with being burnt-out mamas, with following our dreams and our hopes that we have for our lives," she said.
"Back in the day, we hid our pain behind perfectly applied lipstick and wax floors. Now we don't do that anymore. We're saying this is who we are, beyond the makeup and the hair. I see that. I see that with my daughter's generation."
Viola On The Message She Shares With Her Daughter
As the conversation shifted to the advice Davis gives her teenage daughter Genesis Tennon --whom she with her husband, Julius Tennon-- when it comes to beauty, the star disclosed that she motivates Tennon to become the "love" of her own life.
Davis said she shared these sentiments because she wants Tennon to advocate for herself in various situations when others disappoint her and cross her boundaries.
"I told my daughter this morning that she has to have a love affair with herself. That she is indeed the love of her life. I said, 'I love you, but it's not me, it's not some boy. At the end of the day, you can't disappoint yourself. You have to advocate for yourself," she stated. "You have to show up for her.' And it's not just spa treatments and a glass of wine. It's in showing up when someone hurts you. Creating boundaries and when someone crosses it."
Davis wrapped up her remarks by saying she spread positive messages like this to Tennon and the world because she was not "taught" that loving oneself meant being one's supporter.
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Feature image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images