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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Over 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's, and it is anticipated that by 2050, this number will almost double. With staggering rates of this disease impacting senior citizens and the families caring for them, the need to boost awareness around this neurological condition is greater now, more than ever.
November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, which presents an opportunity to educate the public about Alzheimer's disease and increase understanding of its causes, symptoms, and impact on individuals and families with loved ones who have or could develop the condition in the future.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to the CDC, Alzheimer's disease, the most prevalent form of dementia, is a progressive condition starting with mild memory loss and potentially advancing to an inability to engage in conversation and respond to the surroundings.
The disease impacts areas of the brain responsible for thought, memory, and language, significantly hindering a person's capacity to perform daily activities.
The exact cause of Alzheimer's is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The warning signs of Alzheimer's disease can differ among individuals and typically emerge gradually. While Alzheimer's is not a normal aspect of aging, age is the best-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Memory problems commonly represent one of the initial indicators of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, especially if they worsen over time.
In addition to this, Healthline notes that symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may show up as one or more of the following:
- Alterations in mood, personality, or behavior.
- Disruption of daily life due to memory loss, like becoming disoriented in familiar surroundings or repeating questions.
- Difficulty in accomplishing routine tasks at home, work, or during leisure activities.
- Diminished or impaired judgment.
- Misplacement of items with an inability to retrace steps to locate them.
Who Does Alzheimer's Affect?
The prevalence of Alzheimer's in the United States is rapidly increasing, with an estimated 6.7 million among those aged 65 and older in 2023. Approximately 73% of individuals with Alzheimer's are aged 75 or older, and the overall rate for those aged 65 and older is 1 in 9 (10.7%), according to the Alzheimer's Association.
One out of every three seniors passes away with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, surpassing the combined mortality of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Elderly Black Americans have approximately twice the likelihood of experiencing Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia compared to elderly white individuals.
Prevention and Support of Alzheimer's Disease
The exact cause of Alzheimer's disease remains unclear, and scientists believe it is likely influenced by multiple factors such as age and family history, but genetics do not determine one's fate or outcome.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's, and caring for a loved one with the disease can take a financial, mental, and emotional strain on the family as the disease progresses. Caregivers face daily challenges, adjusting to changing abilities and behaviors, and as the disease advances, more intensive care is often required.
As more research and awareness spreads around Alzheimer's, taking the proper measures to improve and manage brain cognition is essential. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, a nutritious diet, limited alcohol consumption, and not smoking, may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Raising awareness helps reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer's and related dementias and can foster a more supportive and compassionate community for individuals affected by the disease.
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