A show that I checked in and out of, during its past season, was Married at First Sight. I shared before that the last official pastor I ever had is on the show; however, this time, it was the two featured Black couples who intrigued me…for a few reasons. One day, I might write a piece on how a lot of folks need to heal themselves before getting married, so they don't expect someone else to do the work for them and/or so their definition of what a spouse "should be" isn't based on brokenness or a tainted perception. But for now, I digress.
Anyway, the two Black couples I'm referring to are Miles and Karen and Woody and Amani. Woody and Amani have been pretty much smooth sailing from day one. Miles and Karen? Eh—not so much (although both couples did decide to stay together and seem to be doing well post-season). If you didn't catch any of the season, something else that I should mention is Miles and Woody are best friends. So, as Miles was sharing some of his concerns about his marriage, including the fact that close to zero amount of physical affection was transpiring, Woody said something that I thought was very fitting for the intro part of this article—"What if you have sex and it's completely trash?"
Bad sex. While I do think there is such a thing as bad orgasms (check out "Who Knew There Was Such A Thing As 'Bad Orgasms'?"), the more that I reflect on my own past sex life, the couples that I counsel and how much research that I do on both sex and relationships, I actually think that "trash sex" isn't really a "thing" as much as people try and make it out to be. Why? Because when it comes to having bad sex, oftentimes, there are things that can be done to quickly turn it from bad to good. Problem is, oftentimes folks chalk a poor experience up to the act itself when usually, there is far, far more to consider. The kinds of things that, if these were openly and honestly addressed, so-called bad sex probably wouldn't be an issue at all. Things like the 10 that I'm about to share with you now.
1. Your Motives Are Unclear
If you live on this planet long enough, you start to get that motives are pretty much the foundation for how things end up going. Motives can also reveal the outcome of many situations too. That's because a motive is either a goal or an incentive. That said, when it comes to sex specifically, it's important that when a situation is new that both people are clear—with each other and their prospective partner—about what their goal or incentive is. If it's just to "get some", it needs to be said. If it's in hopes of turning a relationship into something more serious, that needs to go on record too. That said, if you don't really know what your motive is, it's a pretty good idea to wait until you do. There are far too many people who are unhappy in their relationship and it's not really because they are sexually dissatisfied so much as they thought that sex was gonna automatically satisfy them in ways outside of the bedroom when it did any and everything…but.
2. The Energy Is Way Off
A simple way to define energy is power. A dictionary definition of energy that I like a lot is "capacity or tendency for intense activity; vigor". What is good sex? It's intense. Good sex? There's a healthy physical and mental energy that is present in both partners. That's why I say that another way that sex can come off as less-than-stellar is if the energy is off. If for, whatever the reason, one or both people don't feel physical chemistry or a mental connection, there's a pretty good chance that the sex itself is gonna be rather lackluster—and that's to put it mildly.
This is actually why many people in long-term relationships can have off-the-charts sex one day and horrific sex, the next. When their energy levels are not in sync, that will play out in how sexually satisfied they end up feeling. So yeah, make sure you're in a healthy physical and mental space before doing the do. And, if for some reason, you feel like your partner isn't also bringing good vibes, you might want to hold off until they actually are. For both of your sakes.
3. You’ve Always Gotta Be Inebriated
I've had sex when I was tipsy and when I was high. While some folks wholeheartedly believe that being inebriated makes sex so much better, the only thing it does for me is make me a little less anxious. As far as the sex itself, it doesn't really make a huge difference, one way or another. My point? While alcohol and weed are known to boost libidos and intensify orgasms and that's perfectly fine, it's a bit of a red flag if you can't seem to enjoy sex without participating in either activity beforehand.
I actually had a sex partner who could only have sex while close to being either drunk or high. I didn't think much about it at the time but, in hindsight, I get that it was because he was struggling with the pressure (mostly from his parents) of being expected to act one way in public when he really wanted to be a totally different kind of person. Both the substances and sex were ways of escape for him. While that is completely understandable, it's not a good idea to be dependent on something that alters you in order to participate in sexual activity. Definitely if you see yourself in this point, do some pondering. You can't be certain if the sex is as good as you think if you're never sober enough to make a wise and fair judgment call.
4. You’re Rushing
What. Is. The. Freakin'. Rush? Am I anti-quickies? Of course, not. Yet "fast sex" all of the time takes me back to my college days when a lot of the women I knew complained about how they barely got any foreplay (more on that in just a sec) before their partner, quite literally, hit it and quit it. Great lovers enjoy taking in each and every moment; they want to bring in all five senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch) to the sexual experience, and doing that takes time. If you just read that and it's foreign to you because every time you have sex, it's over in 15 minutes or less—don't blame that on the sex itself. Your partner has a lot more to do with this point than the act itself.
5. There Is No Foreplay (or Afterplay)
Intercourse is amazing. Lord knows that it is. But back in my sex-having days, the thing that made sex feel extra sweet and special, what made me feel like a true connection was being made, wasn't the act itself so much as the foreplay that came before and the afterplay that followed.
I think it's because foreplay is like putting all of the ingredients together to make a meal and intercourse is like having the meal after it's already prepared—if some ingredients are lacking, the meal isn't gonna taste just right. Meanwhile, afterplay is a moment of feeling very safe, appreciated, and valued. Because, c'mon. Many of us know what it's like to have sex with someone, have an orgasm, and then roll over and immediately be like, "Why did I just do that?" And "that" would be him.
8.5 times outta 10, when you want to experience afterplay with someone, what you're conveying is your desire to still be intimate with them, beyond sexual pleasure. And when two people share this sentiment, the sexual experience, from beginning to end, tends to be pretty damn good.
6. You’re Faking It
I'm not a fan of faking orgasms (check out "Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP"). The word "fake" in the phrase, pretty much gives away the reason why. To be fake is to be disingenuous, deceptive, and a fraud. And, even if those words aren't your intention when it comes to sex, being fake is also about pretending to be something that you're not. Y'all, I've had plenty of clients who've been faking sexual pleasure with their partner, for years now. Two things that always baffled me about that is 1) how their partner hasn't picked up on it and 2) how resentful "the faker" is when they are the ones who are choosing to live a lie. Only a peak ego maniac would prefer you acting like you've seen the mountaintop than actually getting there. Besides, if you're with someone like that, you are definitely engaging in what qualifies as being bad sex—and let's be real, a bad relationship too.
7. You or Your Partner Is Selfish AF
A selfish lover is a bad one. That's a sweeping generalization that you can bet on every time. The reason why I say that is because, the individuals who have a fulfilling sex life can 1000 percent vouch for the fact that, it's mostly because they are as into getting their partner off as their partner is into giving them pleasure in return. Neither is focused on self nearly as much as they are intentional about satisfying the one who they are with. So if, for whatever the reason, you are in a sexual relationship where you find that you are not getting your needs met—not some of the time but each and every time—you are engaging in a classic definition of bad sex. There are no ifs, ands or—pardon the pun—buts about it. Again, not because of the sex act but the mentality of the person who you're having sex with.
8. “Getting Yours” Isn’t a Top Priority
It might seem a little crazy that this would be a sign that you're participating in bad sex on the heels of what I just said about a good lover being a giver. Here's where I'm coming from. Although I stand by my point that good sex is when both people are giving their partner what they need, at the same time, it's ridiculous to think that your partner should be able to read your mind. If you're not clearly communicating what works and what doesn't (even if "it" switches up from time to time), you're not making your own pleasure a top priority, so I'm not sure how you could be in anything less than ho-hum sex.
Am I saying that you should have an orgasm all of the time? Whew, that's a loaded question. First, there are many ways to climax, so honestly, I don't see why you shouldn't. However, my follow-up statement would be, that you can still really enjoy yourself without always climbing the walls. But if full satisfaction isn't what's happening, at least 80 percent of the time, that's a problem. A serious one, if you ask me.
9. You’re Doing It FOR Your Partner Rather than WITH Your Partner
In order to get a good idea of where I'm coming from with this particular point, you might wanna first check out the article, "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?". Some people have yet to experience good sex because they are so focused on engaging in sexual activity because they either believe that is what will keep their partner happy or that is what their partner expects of them. I don't care if it's oral or intercourse, don't pressure yourself into doing something that you're not ready to do. Trust me, I've spoken with far too many women who have a really unhealthy view of sex and it's all because they didn't participate out of desire; it was more like what they deemed to be an obligation. Ain't nothin' good, wise or healthy about that. Ever.
10. There Is Constant Post-Coital Regret
Some people don't live with regrets. I've written an article on the platform before about why I don't trust that (check out "Why Regret Might Not Always Be A Bad Thing"). Regret is remorse and remorse is how we correct certain actions. And that's why this article is ending with post-coital regret being something else that could cause you to see sex in a negative light. The regret could be that you keep picking partners who don't deserve you (check out "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner"). The regret could be that you tend to use sex to "mask" or repress other emotional issues. The regret could be that you keep having sex, thinking that it will make your life better when it just…doesn't.
Again, I don't think anything is wrong with regretting things. I truly don't. Yet if that is the feeling that you have, pretty much every time you get out of a bed, that is not something you should ignore. Speak with a trusted friend, therapist, counselor, or life coach. Your mind, body, and spirit are alerting you that something isn't quite right and you need to tend to that…so that you can experience good sex in the future.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Deanna Robinson, a health and wellness advocate and professional based in the Washington D.C. area has been helping Black and brown women reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. And with her brand of self-love and faith, she's redefining just what "fitness" means when it comes to women of all shapes and sizes.
There's definitely a need for women like Robinson, especially since recent research shows that between 47% and 55% of Black consumers' needs "are not being met" in the wellness space, and the U.S. fitness industry hit $32 billion last year and that it's important for Black women to see themselves prominently in the space.
As a health and wellness programming expert, licensed nutritionist, mom, wife, and former all-women's gym owner, Robinson has built up a body of experience that has culminated into doing something she loves via the FabBody Retreat, an experience for women ages 30-60 to be enriched via group activities, good food, and connection in the backdrop of tropical peace and tranquility.
This year's retreat was held in Grenada, with special guest and TV host icon Free Marie (BET's 106 & Park). Next year's event will be held in St. Maarten with plenty of opportunities to enjoy beach vibes, authentic and healthy dishes, and all the pleasures of being among other fabulous Black women seeking holistic wellness in paradise.
"My God-given purpose is to help serve, connect, and heal Black and Brown women," she said, taking her experiences serving corporate and individual clients via projects like the NFL's "Fuel Up To Play 60" initiative and the Nike Training Club live experience, to do just that.
xoNecole caught up with her to talk about why she chose the fitness industry, her success in launching and running the FabBody Factory, and how she's pivoted to use her skills to build impact on a larger scale in health and wellness.
xoNecole: What sparked your interest in a career in health and wellness?
Deanna Robinson: I have always been involved in sports, always been active in cheerleading, dance, [and] gymnastics. In my college career, I was a competitive cheerleader at the University of Maryland, College Park, and I've just always been passionate about physical activity, health, and fitness. I double-majored in kinesiology and public and community health, and it's always been a passion for me about others being well.
Out of college, I wanted to be a personal trainer, and I interviewed at a big-chain gym. I was really excited about getting this job, but when I had the interview, they informed me of what the split was—what the client paid, what I'd get as a personal trainer, and what the gym got. And I just thought it was a ridiculous split. I've always been into entrepreneurship as well, and doing things on my own terms, so I actually opened up my own gym in the community I grew up in called the FabBody Factory, an all-female gym in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
I was able to hire several trainers, offer group classes and personal training, and one of the things I was always a big proponent of is making sure that they got a better cut than they would get at larger chains.
xoN: Talk a bit more about that in terms of starting a gym, especially one that caters to women. What was the process and motivation?
DR: I have worked out in big-box gyms before and just never felt comfortable. It was always really uncomfortable working out in a huge gym where men would be gawking at you or try to get your number when you're trying to focus on yourself in that moment. So I always wanted the FabBody Factory would be a safe haven where we didn't have to worry about our titties flopping when we're doing jumping jacks, it was just for us by us, and we could just [be] comfortable making ourselves a priority.
I was almost talked out of doing something like that because people would say, "You're cutting off half of your potential clientele," but I never had an issue. Women flocked to the gym, and I'd sometimes have to split classes. I might have to do part one of a class at one time and a second another time. It was majorly successful. Ladies loved it. And on top of this being all-women, it was all Black and brown women.
Culturally, we get each other, so it was a big social thing for us, too. We were able to fellowship with each other and get fit at the same time.
xoN: Your brand includes the concept of a 'Fab Body.' What does that mean for you---and just wellness---in general, for Black and brown women?
DR: FabBody in itself is not a look at all. It's more of a mindset and a willingness to invest in your mental, spiritual, and physical self. In promoting the FabBody Retreat, I actually had someone DM me and ask me, "Do you have to have a 'Fab Body' to come on the retreat?" and my response to her was that you do have a 'Fab Body.' Everyone has a Fab Body. It's more of a state of being—a sound, healthy mind, body, and spirit. It's not about aesthetics at all but about overall improvement.
xoN: You decided to pivot from owning a gym, which you ran successfully for more than a decade, to your current role in health and wellness programming and launching the FabBody Retreat. How did this come about?
DR: My gym closed last year, and the reason was because of where I saw myself going and where I wanted to be in the next 10 years. A lot of my time at the gym was selling and getting people to register for classes, and it wasn't as lucrative and fulfilling for me as it had been in the beginning.
Now I'm doing more consulting work with larger companies. One of my passions is programming, and that is where I see my future going. I'm moving more toward passive income, coming from my being able to use the knowledge I have from years in this industry and putting together programming that can reach the masses versus individuals.
xoN: What can people expect from the FabBody Retreat next year, and how does this venture continue your love for advocating for health and wellness among Black and brown women?
DR: One of the things that really sets this event apart from so many other retreats is that I have married everything that is important to me: wellness, my faith, and my community. God is a huge part of all of the events we do, and all are interwoven with faith-filled, intentional activities, and I think that's what makes it different. On Sunday, we do a service on the beach, and we always have a guest speaker—someone you can relate to where you don't feel like you're being preached to. It's an awesome experience, unlike any retreat I've seen.
It's definitely rooted in faith, but at the same time, there's a balance. We'll get on a boat and have a cocktail with an umbrella in it, and then we'll go back to wellness. There's a healthy balance.
Find out more about Deanna Robinson via Instagram @deannarobinsonfit and more on the FabBody Retreat via the website.
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