If you're anything like me, you probably have a pretty intense love/hate relationship with your period. On one hand, you know it's something that women do so, every time yours rolls around, it's a reminder that our bodies are working just as they should be. On the other, ugh—there's the bloating, the cramping, the semi-paranoia that you're leaking, and (what really gets on my last nerve), the period pimples that almost always leave some sort of mark behind.
Even though I'm almost 45, my periods are still something I can set my watch to—the 21st, sometime around noon. I'm gonna be bloated, there's gonna be a zit in the most inconvenient place on my face, and my first two days are gonna be so heavy that sticking close to home is wise. Lord.
The silver lining is, as I have figured out what to expect (and endure) about my cycle, I've also discovered that the following 10 hacks have a way of making everything about my period a lot more pleasant than they used to be. Thank goodness for that!
Download a Period App
While a lot of people are down for using a period app when they're trying to conceive, some folks sleep on also using them if they're not. Since most physicians agree that a woman can get pregnant five days a month (4-5 days going into ovulation and about a day afterward), if you're sexually-active, you need to keep up with when those days are. If your period is not regulated, your ovulation could be all over the place.
Just so you can actually smile when you see a plus sign on a pregnancy test,download a period app. That way, you can know when it's a good idea to take extra special precautions when it comes to gettin' some so that getting pregnant isn't something that catches you off guard in the not-so-good kind of way.
Buy Some Organic Tampons and Pads
Personally, I prefer pads. I'm pretty sure a lot of it has to do with being taught that blood is designed to flow out and pads make that possible. Not to say that I don't totally get the convenience of wearing tampons (especially as it relates to the non-squishy factor). Either way, it's best to go with organic brands for both. Not only are they hypoallergenic but since they're biodegradable, they're good for the environment too.
Try a Pair of Period Panties
This is how old I am. When I got my first period (at 12), sanitary napkins still came with the belt that you had to wear around your waist. I was a couple of years older before I started wearing the self-adhesive kind. My point? Every time something new comes out as it relates to our menstrual cycle, we're gonna be skeptics, at first. That's why I totally get that you might turn up your nose at any pair of underwear that professes to hold two tampons-worth of blood, but that's just what Thinx panties do.
Personally, I think they're best for light days or when you need some extra back-up for your tampons or pads on heavy ones or when you want to sleep overnight in peace. While they're not the cheapest drawers on the planet (between $24-38 based on the style of panties you want), to know that you can toss all of your period panties away and reuse your Thinx makes it well worth the price tag (to me).
Invest in a Menstrual Cup
Something that is proven to make menstrual cramps so much easier to bear is having sex; more specifically, having orgasms from sex. The oxytocin that's produced from them helps to relieve uterine pain and discomfort.
That said, if you and/or your partner cringe at the sight of blood, consider using a menstrual cup or, my personal favorite, menstrual disc. Someone convinced me to give the disc a try and I must say that it was remarkable to not see or even feel any blood the entire time it was in there. Well…that is until it's time to take the disc or cup out. Then it's a bit like a murder scene.
However, women have told me that they've had sex and not even told their man they were on their period, thanks to the cup/disc, so…that makes all of the blood fingers worth it. Right? (If you wanna figure out, which cup is best for you, take a quiz here.)
Pay Attention to Your Blood’s Color
Just like your vaginal discharge can tell you a lot about your health, so can the color of your menstrual blood. Bright red is the color of new blood. Dark red is the color of blood that comes out in the morning time. Brownish red is old blood (typically what you'll see towards the end of your cycle). Pinkish red is usually what happens when you're spotting (although it can also be a sign that you are vitamin deficient). Orange-red is somewhat OK, but if the texture and scent are also different, see your doctor. It could be a sign that you've got an STD. And finally, if your blood happens to have a blue or purple tint, that tends to mean that your estrogen levels are higher than normal and you need more fiber in your system to balance them out.
Take Some Evening Primrose Oil, Calcium and Vitamin E
Something that has totally changed my life is evening primrose oil. It's a gamma-linolenic acid that contains anti-inflammatory properties that decrease PMS symptoms and perimenopause and menopause symptoms too. Since I've added it to my daily diet, I've had very little breast tenderness and no cramping discomfort at all.
As far as calcium goes, a lot of women have PMS symptoms simply because they are low in it. But if you take around 500 mg a day, it can reduce fatigue, cravings, and even feelings of depression. Personally, I prefer taking a calcium, magnesium, and zinc blend because the combo also calms my nervous system and helps me to sleep more soundly.
Vitamin E is cool because it slows down prostaglandins (compounds in the body that create hormone-like effects). As a result, cramps decrease significantly so. Foods that are high in Vitamin E include almonds, spinach, sunflower seeds, avocados, and mangoes.
Just make sure to consume these things throughout the entire month. You need a while to get it totally into your system in order for them to be the most effective.
Use Geranium Essential Oil
Whether you're looking to regulate your period or to decrease the amount of cramping that you feel, it's well worth the money to pick up a bottle of geranium oil. It's great because it helps to balance out your hormones. This is also the kind of oil that regulates your blood flow by constricting your blood vessels. Plus, it contains anti-inflammatory properties to relieve cramping and discomfort.
Usage tip: It's most effective if you add 3-4 drops of it into a carrier oil like sweet almond, avocado, or grapeseed and then rub your abdomen area with it, 2-3 times per day, during your period.
Eat Toast and Melons. Don’t Eat Dairy and Sugar.
It's pretty common to experience cravings while you're on your period. Just keep in mind that what you eat will determine a lot about how good or bad you'll feel until your cycle is over.
Foods that make the thumbs up list include toast and melons. Whole grain toast, because your body needs carbs during this time and it's a complex one that's better for you than cake or cookies. Also, whole grains produce serotonin in the body which soothes and relaxes you (which is why whole grain popcorn is a great "period food" too). Melons are beneficial because they contain something known as Cucumis melo; that's relevant because, in the days leading up to your period, your body stores up salt and fluids. Cucumis melo is a compound that flushes unneeded water from your system so that you have less bloating.
Foods that get the thumbs down? One of them is dairy. That's because it contains arachidonic acids. What those end up doing is triggering your prostaglandins in your body and increasing the intensity of your cramps. Another no-no is sugar. Yes, you may crave it, but it's a substance that will send your blood sugar levels on the kind of roller coaster ride that will throw your testosterone and estrogen levels completely off. In fact, a lot of women's mood swings during PMS can be directly attributed to them giving into their sugar cravings.
Don’t Drink Coffee. Do Drink Peppermint Tea.
No matter how much you love a piping cup of java in the morning, in the days leading up to your period and until it ends, try your best to go without it (or, at the very least, drink some decaf). The caffeine that's in coffee naturally causes your blood vessels to constrict. When that happens, your cramps feel stronger and can even last longer.
Instead, opt for some herbal tea; preferably peppermint tea. The antioxidants in it will make PMS symptoms like bloating and fatigue less of an issue. Plus, the menthol and anti-spasmodic properties that are found in peppermint leaves will provide a cooling effect on your reproductive system while lessening your cramps simultaneously.
Take a Nap
If you're someone who feels severely sleep-deprived during your period, you are not alone. Reportedly, 23 percent of women claim to not get enough z-z-z's the week before their period and 30 percent claim to toss and turn during the week of their cycle.
Aside from the fact that power naps increase productivity and creativity, reduce stress, and betters your mood, it can also relax your reproductive system so that your period doesn't drain you quite so much.
You can take advantage of all of these benefits by laying your head down for 10-15 minutes. Definitely something to think about when you're trying to decide between taking a nap in your car or going to the closest drive-thru on your lunch break.
(Hint, the nap is your better bet!)
Take care of you; especially during that time of the month, OK?
Featured image by Megan Madden / Refinery29 for Getty Images
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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While I was in a session with a married couple semi-recently, I asked them to share one of the best things about being in a long-term, committed relationship. Believe it or not, it was the wife who quickly provided the answer that serves as inspiration for this article: “You have a locked-in-for-life quickie partner. People don’t realize how wonderful that is!”
Ah, yes, the quickie. It’s one of those things that pretty much all sexually active people have experienced before, and yet, I’m not so sure that quickies actually get all of the props and respect that they truly deserve. I mean, I get why because, since reportedly, a little under three minutes technically counts as one, some people think that they are automatically getting slighted whenever a quickie goes down.
Yet, if you give me a little bit of your time today, my plan is to show you that quickies are, by no means, a consolation prize or something to roll your eyes about. If you choose to take in all of what I’m about to say, you could up and realize that one of the best things about your day could be making sure that you either don’t start or end one without checking a quickie off of your to-do list.
I’m dead serious, too. Check out 12 reasons why the wife was right — quickies are indeed the ultimate short-yet-potent activity.
1. Quickies Can Help You to Get Out of the RIGHT Side of the Bed
I recently read an article that said sleep deprivation can take a real toll on romantic relationships. The method behind the madness is, when you’re not getting enough rest, it can put you in a bad mood, and that can alter how you engage with your significant other (hey, makes perfect sense to me). So, it would seem that being intentional about getting 6-8 hours of sleep would help to alleviate this problem. Okay, but what do you do on the days when you were tossing and turning all night, you had some bad dreams, and/or you’re just not in the best of moods when your alarm clock goes off (even if you don’t know why)? Have a quickie.
Dopamine, endorphins (which are neurotransmitters), oxytocin, and vasopressin (a hormone that helps with your emotional stability and with your circadian rhythms) are all natural chemicals that are released during sex, especially when you climax. Since all of these can help to put you in a better mood, that’s just one reason why a brief romp before rolling out of bed could get your day off to a great start (no matter how you initially felt when you first woke up).
2. Quickies Can Make Waking Up (and Falling Asleep) a Quicker Process
It’s kind of wild that the same act that can wake you up is the same one that can totally knock you out. Sex does have that super innate ability, though. If you want something better than your alarm, a quickie can get you up and going pretty fast; that’s because, when sex gets your heart racing and your blood pumping, it can get your adrenaline going to — especially if you’re say, riding cowgirl instead of just lying in the missionary position (yes, the more active, the better!).
As far as sleep goes, whenever you have an orgasm from sex, your body releases the hormones oxytocin and prolactin — both of these will help you to feel happy and satisfied. If you add to that the fact that cortisol (your stress hormone) level drops after having an orgasm too…yeah, there’s no cup of warm milk that will put you to sleep faster than a quickie will, chile.
3. Quickie Sex Is More Energizing (and Enjoyable) than a Cup of Coffee
If you always assumed that coffee gives you extra energy, the reality is…it doesn’t. What it does do is stimulate what is known as your adenosine (a system that regulates sleepiness and alertness); that’s the good news. The bad news is, just as quickly as the caffeine in coffee can give you a charge, it can also tank, leaving you to feel exhausted (which is a part of the reason why some people endlessly drink coffee throughout the day).
What’s more reliable than that? Yep — you guessed it. Since sex does everything from de-stressing you, stretching out your muscles and tendons, and increasing your heart rate — it’s an all-natural way to get your body going…without all of the side effects that can sometimes come with coffee consumption.
4. Quickies Give You the Same Health Benefits As Longer Sessions Do
Earlier this year, Men’s Health published an article entitled, “How Long Should Sex Last, Really? Experts Say Longer Isn't Always Better.” It actually said that when it comes to penetrative sex between heterosexual couples, the average was (you ready?) 5.4 minutes — yep, basically a quickie. And here’s the thing: whether you go that short or much longer, you’re gonna basically get the same health benefits either way.
Sex is gonna lower your blood pressure. Sex is gonna boost your immunity. Sex is gonna reduce any anxiety you may be feeling. Sex is gonna make you feel better about yourself (yep, it literally helps to boost your self-esteem). Sex is gonna reduce your pain levels. Sex is gonna improve your quality of sleep. The list goes on and on.
In fact, the only health benefit that longer sex probably provides is how many calories you can potentially burn. The reason why I say that is because you need to “engage” for about 30 minutes in order for you to lose 69 calories (“69” — the irony) and your partner (if he’s a man) to lose 101 of ‘em. In every other way? Even quickie sex can do your body a whole lot of good.
5. A Quickie Can Actually Make Sex More Adventurous
Especially as we age, it’s easier to automatically retreat to the bed when we plan on having longer sexual sessions; that’s because the bed is a comfortable place to have it. Okay, but what if you’ve been with your partner for a while, things kind of seem boring and routine, and you’re not really sure what to do about it? In walks the power of a quickie. ‘Cause let’s be real: there is some stuff that you’d probably never do for an hour that you’d be willing to try for 10 minutes.
For instance, if the thought of public sex has always intrigued you while also freaking you out, you might be down if it’s only gonna take five minutes — and the more spontaneous and creative sex is, the more it can breathe new life into any two people’s sex life!
6. Quickie Sex Significantly Reduces Stress Levels
Stress can kill you — yes, quite literally. I make sure to say that as often as I can because it’s the truth. Heart disease. Asthma. Obesity. Depression. Accelerated aging — these are just a few things that are oftentimes directly related to stress. Since it’s been scientifically proven that sex will trigger the neurotransmitters (dopamine) that help to make you feel good as it also decreases your cortisol (your stress hormone) levels — you are helping your mind, body, and spirit out by having sex…even if they are quickies.
7. Quickies Make Prioritizing Sex Way Easier
I’m gonna be honest — since more and more articles are coming out that sex doesn’t really “need” to be more than 7-13 minutes, I’m not sure the whole “we have no time for sex” thing flies (anymore). If you’ve got time to be on Instagram or TikTok for two hours a day, you’ve got a fraction of that time to get busy with your partner. At the end of the day, it’s all about prioritizing what’s important to you (now, if sex isn’t important, we’ll have to tackle that at another time).
However, if the issue is that one of you likes to “make love all night long” like 90s R&B songs talk about (chile) and the other is cool with sex that is less than half of a 30-minute sitcom, try to schedule “the 90s” in for once a week (or once every other week) while mutually committing to getting some quickies in a couple of times a week. If you haven’t already, I think that by the time this article is over, you’ll see all of the reasons why this can be the greatest — and most fulfilling — compromise that you and your partner have made in a really long time.
8. Having Quickies Can Take the Pressure of Sexual Performance Off
A platform that I used to write for, once upon a time, is Marriage. I kind of chuckled when I read an article that they published earlier this year entitled, “15 Signs You’re Bad in Bed and What to Do About It” because boy…I used to deal with a couple who both believed they were the absolute bomb in bed, even though neither of them agreed. Listen, just because someone from your past may have thought you were “the ultimate” — when it comes to great sex, truly one size DOES NOT fit all. Anyway, some of the reasons that the article listed was poor communication regarding needs and expectations, not having a good emotional connection, and (basically) sucking at foreplay.
That last one? If you and your partner are currently trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, please don’t forego sex altogether until you figure it out. HAVE. QUICKIES. It can help you both to get the physical release that you need as you work towards achieving the type of sex that you both desire. It’s a practical solution to a layered situation.
9. Quickies Bond You to Your Partner
Every time I see a TikTok post or read someone on Twitter (it’s always gonna be Twitter to me, chile) talk about sex is nothing more than a physical release, the first two things that come to mind are one, we are not animals; we have sex for more reasons than “being in heat” or even to procreate and two, how many people actually never learned about oxytocin in high school-level science class (like really…what in the world?). To be honest, there’s one more thought: don’t you want to see yourself as more than just “casual”? I say it often: casual means things like careless, apathetic, and unintentional. Regardless of what your personal feelings about sex (and who you should have sex with) are, I hope that we all can at least get on the same page that we should see ourselves as more than just…casual.
Back to the oxytocin thing, though — science is never gonna change. There is a hormone (that I’ve already mentioned) that is released during sexual activity (shoot, even just affectionate activities) that literally makes you feel closer to your partner. Oxytocin is its name, and that’s why it has “the love hormone” moniker.
Am I saying that quickies will prevent cheating? There are layers to why people are unfaithful, so to give a blanket “yes” or “no” would be irresponsible. What I will say is something that a husband of over 30 years once said to me, “When I’m having consistent sex at home, it’s the difference between seeing an attractive woman and saying, ‘She’s pretty’ vs. not having much sex at home and thinking, ‘I wonder what she’s like.’ Full people typically aren’t hungry…unless they’re just greedy.” All of that will preach. On a billion different levels too.
10. A Quickie Is a Great Sex Compromise (for When You’re Not in the Mood)
Relationships are all about compromise. And when you’re in a long-term committed relationship, it can’t be said enough that sex isn’t just a “perk”; it’s a responsibility (when it comes to marriage, even the Good Book cosigns on that in I Corinthians 7:5). Unfortunately because not enough people give quickies any type of real consideration, they don’t realize that it can be the ultimate “meet in the middle” move when their partner may be in the mood and they’re not totally…there (or vice versa). Yes, quickies are a solid way to “scratch the itch” without there being a need for an all-out performance.
Listen, I tell my married clients often that when it comes to being faithful to your vows, it’s pretty ridiculous to expect your partner to only be with you if you are rarely with them. After all, no one signs up for a sexless marriage. Bottom line, quickies can be a happy medium when you want to make sure that your partner is good without you having to…do the most (so to speak).
11. Quickies Can Make Sex…Later…Better
If you want to intensify your orgasms (or your sexual experiences overall), one way to do that is by edging. The best way to explain edging is you and your partner sexually stimulate each other to the brink of climaxing, stop for 30-45 seconds, and then start all over again. Why would anyone want to send themselves through that kind of sexually-induced torture? One reason I already mentioned (it makes the quality of your orgasm better); another is it can actually help your partner to last longer (if that’s something you’re ultimately after).
To me, quickies are a next-level form of edging. The way I see it is, it’s like having an appetizer or snack to hold you over until you can enjoy the meal that you’ve been waiting for all day long. For instance, if your quickie consists of morning sex or an afternoon delight during your lunch break, just think of how much that will consume your mind and build anticipation until you and your partner can get together again (especially if you throw some sexting into the mix!). Five-minute previews now can lead to a full-on main attraction later. Amen?
12. Quickies Can Teach Both of You How to “Push the Right Buttons”
Almost every couple, who’ve been together for over a decade, that I know personally, tells me that sex has only gotten better with time. There are a myriad of reasons why. One of them is because they have really learned each other’s bodies, which means they know what works and…what doesn’t. And when it comes to mastering a quickie, that’s the ultimate cheat code because there are going to be times when your mind wants to, your energy levels or your schedules are on the fence, and so you’ll want to “get what you need” without it taking forever.
And listen, if you let quickies teach you how to know just what to do in record time, this point alone can be a solid reason for why you’ll want to engage in one or more quickies a day — a guaranteed orgasm. DAILY? C’mon now.
Welp. On behalf of quickies, I’ve pleaded my case. If I’ve convinced even a handful of you to at least try to have one a day, I’ve done my part. Again, under seven minutes (give or take a couple of minutes) of pleasure that will give you all of what I just said? WHY NOT HAVE A QUICKIE? Damn.
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