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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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.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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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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