Morocco is quickly becoming a must-see destination for many travelers. With its growing film and TV industries, the country is seeing a lot more tourism. Situated on the north-western coast of Africa, Morocco is home to one of the most unique and dynamic landscapes on the continent. It's mostly Arab but its people have a very diverse culture. Many people recognize Casablanca, which is the most populated city, but Marrakech, Fez, and Rabat should also be on your list of destinations to visit.
Long story short, Morocco checks every box for a destination that leaves you feeling vibrant and fulfilled. Here are a few of my suggestions on what to do while visiting:
1. Shop In Marrakech And Fez
Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods
I'm not really a big shopper when I go on vacation, but I do love picking up small trinkets or things that remind me of the place that I am visiting. You can cure your shopping needs at the souks inside the medinas of Marrakech and Fez.
Let's start with the basics: What is a souk? It's an Arab marketplace also known as a bazaar. You can find lots of unique gifts there made by local merchants. And who doesn't like handcrafted one of a kind souvenirs? They have everything from rugs, incense, oils, jewelry, clothes, toys, lamps, and more. The shops go on and on for miles through complex maze-like streets, so be careful to either stick to a few streets you recognize or get a guide. It is very easy to get lost.
Pro tip: Take photos of where you are staying or the path you are following so it is easier to retrace your steps to where you started. It is also good to have photos to show if you get lost so someone local can point you in the right direction.
Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods
Something unique to the Fez souks are the tanneries which are located on the interior of the maze-like streets. You may not be able to see them right away but you can for sure smell them. The tanneries are where camel skins are processed into leather goods. The process of tanning animal skins is one that's been around since the 11th century, and the smell is very strong the closer you get, so the shop owners give you a handful of mint to offset the pungent odor. If there is anywhere I would buy leather goods, it would be here.
Something important to note about the souks, you must learn to haggle. It is an offense to the shop owners if you do not go back and forth with them over price. So choose an item and tell the shop owner how much you will pay.
Allow him to tell you how much he will take for the item. Begin to haggle here, going back and forth on the price. Stay firm, and if the shop owner does not like it, walk away. More times than not, the shop owner will concede and give you what you want. Keep an open mind when haggling and have fun---it is all apart of the experience.
2. Visit 'The Blue Pearl,' Chefchaouen
Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods
One of the most iconic places and probably the most photographed places in Morocco is Chefchaouen. The city is also known as the "blue city" because all the buildings are painted in the hue. There is a bit of speculation as to why the whole city is blue, but before we get there, here's a little history lesson: Chefchauoen is nestled in the hills of the mountains and means "look at the horns" referring to the two peaks that are high above the city.
There is more to this city than just the blue buildings. As in many of the other cities in Morocco, Chefchaouen has some of the best shopping. I highly recommend purchasing the handmade Berber rugs here. The Berber peoples are the native peoples to Morocco. Outside of shopping, Chefchaouen has some historical landmarks to visit such as Ras El Ma (waterfall), Grand Mosque, and the Place Outa el Hammam.
In recent years, the affinity for blue in this area has been called into question by many. Some say it is to reflect the blue sky and others say it is to attract tourists to come to the city to buy goods. Either way, the blue winding streets against the mountain backdrop is enough reason to add this city to your itinerary.
3. Go Glamping in the Desert
Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods
Whether traveling with a group or on my own itinerary, I like to do unique things to further the experience. For this particular trip, I decided to go glamping in the desert with my friends. This activity fell right in the middle of our trip and was perfectly timed because it was a planned stop on our way from Marrakech to Fez. I wasn't sure what to expect when we pulled up to our stop in Merzouga. We were greeted by the camping site staff, and after they loaded our bags into cars, they escorted us to our transportation to the campsite: Camels.
In all honesty, the camel ride was not an easy one, but it was through the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert at sunset. Breathtaking would be a gross understatement.
Once we reached the camp, we were escorted to a village of beautifully colored tents equipped with beds and our own personal washrooms. The campsite staff treated us to a traditional Moroccan dinner and then to a live music concert under the stars. The best part was meeting our campsite neighbors who were from France. They spoke no English and we spoke no French, but we drank and danced the night away together---small perks of traveling that make for great stories. Some other fun activities to add to your desert excursion are dune buggy or ATV riding and sand surfing. Desert glamping is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city and unlike any other experience.
4. Enjoy a Tranquil Hammam
Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods
This was not an experience that I was able to have on my trip, but it is a noteworthy experience nonetheless. One of my itinerary tips is to include a spa day or some time to treat yourself. It can be just the cure for jet lag or fatigue from an active vacation before going home.
So, what is a hammam exactly? It's a Turkish bath in which you go through a series of steam rooms and receive a rubdown or massage and a cold shower. The first element in the hammam is heat and increases as you travel through the rooms. The heat helps increase and activate blood circulation, and the colder rooms facilitate respiration by helping to release the sinus and nasal cavities. The baths can also help soothe muscle pain, and as you go through the hammam, it is recommended that you take showers regularly to stimulate your immune system. There are so many added health benefits that it is a worthwhile experience. Before you go, be sure to research the rules and understand what will happen during your time there.
5. Get Authentic 'Liquid Gold': Argan Oil
Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods
At this point, argan oil is literally in every beauty product these days. Even more common is the claim that most beauty products have the real thing. Luckily in Morocco, real argan oil is everywhere in its most pure form. This is one souvenir I absolutely recommend purchasing. Argan oil is made from nuts that are harvested from argan trees. The oil is extracted from the seeds and yield different amounts depending on the extraction method.
There are two traditional ways to harvest the nuts: by collecting those that drop from trees or those that have been deposited by tree-climbing goats. The latter is done by digging through goat poop to find the seeds for extraction. As awful as this sounds, the goats are an important part of the process because the nut shells are very hard to crack. Goats can chew away that shell, making it easier to get to the seed. Despite the gross poop-digging, Moroccan argan oil is worth the purchase simply for all its beauty benefits.
Take On A Few Bonuses!
There are a few honorable mentions that should also be considered for your trip. Take a tour of the many film studios in Morocco. There are several that have produced recent films and TV series including Men in Black III and Game of Thrones.
If I could do the Morocco trip again, I would split my time between a standard hotel and a riad, a traditional Moroccan house that has an interior garden and courtyard. They're really beautiful and the staff is typically incredibly helpful.
One hotel I suggest visiting is the La Mamounia in Marrakech which features a courtyard pool and green-and-white tile decor. It is a little pricey per night but worth a visit to walk around and pause for a fresh cocktail at one of the bars on the property.
This wraps up Morocco but as always there is a lot to see and do, take your time, plan in advance, and have the time of your life!
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Featured Image Courtesy of Amer-Marie Woods.
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At this point, I’ve been talking to couples for so long that I’m pretty much able to conduct my own surveys. And when it comes to one of the main reasons why a lot of them see a dip when it comes to intimacy in their relationship, it’s because of life’s demands, sleep deprivation, (sometimes) being stressed out, oftentimes not having the best diet, and, quite frankly, not prioritizing sex as much as they used to all play a direct role. Yet, if you review those reasons one more time, you’ll notice that it’s not so much that people don’t want to have sex — they just need some help getting into the mood.
If you share those sentiments, look no further. Here are 12 things that you can do to get into the mood for getting super up close and personal with your bae, as soon as tonight. (Thank me later!)
1. Stop OverthinkingGiphy
It’s kind of wild how many people overthink when you (pardon the pun) think about all of the unnecessary drama that it causes. Hmph, let me tell it, at the end of the day, overthinking is just a less stress-filled word for worrying because it definitely has a way of inviting stress, creating problems that don’t exist, and taking you out of staying mindful and in the moment — and none of this is good for your sex life.
That’s why I decided to start here. If not being in the mood is something that is a regular event (or has been increasing lately), consider doing some sex journaling and/or setting an appointment with your doctor to see if there are some underlying health-related reasons. However, if it’s not a consistent thing yet, it just seems like you and your partner have not exactly been on the same page the past few times that he has initiated, share with him how you’re feeling and what you think you need to get into the mood more easily rather than internalizing thoughts to the point where you create movies in your mind that is full of fiction, not facts.
Oftentimes, just communicating your thoughts will make you feel closer to your partner — and that can automatically cultivate a level of closeness that can lead to physical intimacy.
2. Do Some SextingGiphy
While checking out some statistics on texting not too long ago, although it didn’t surprise me that 80 percent of people do it, I was caught a little off guard at the fact that people between the ages of 35-44 seem to text the most and that folks receive a whopping five times more texts than calls (on average).
Chalk it up to the counselor in me, yet I prefer calls because you can’t read tone in texts, no matter how much you may have mastered emoji speech. However, if texting is your thing, something that can get you in the mood is sexting back and forth with your partner. Sometimes, just putting your mind in an erotic/sensual space can do wonders; plus, you never know what kind of response you will get back. #wink
If a part of you is totally down, yet you’re cautious about sensitive content somehow getting hacked and/or exposed, you might want to consider a platform like Telegram. Not only is it heavily encrypted and has a “self-destruct” feature, but it also keeps third parties from using your intel for marketing and advertising purposes too. A win all the way around if you ask me.
3. Go “Sex Shopping”Giphy
While doing some online perusing, a pretty Black woman modeling what Victoria’s Secret calls its Bombshell Apron Teddy. I liked it because it was sexy and, because there is an “apron feature,” it can look really good on all body types (you can take a look for yourself here; also, check out “Lingerie Hacks: How To Choose The Best Kind For Your Body Type” while you’re at it). Yeah, I don’t get how anyone can see lingerie (or anything that is sex-themed/sex-related) and not get at least a little hot ‘n bothered.
So, why not treat yourself to a bit of sex shopping? As far as lingerie goes, it has trends like pretty much everything else. This year, be on the lookout for bright colors, satin blows, super sheer pieces, and lots of lace. As far as sex stuff, in general, massage candles, sex games, or even a sex swing (that isn’t as expensive as you would think and is pretty easy to assemble) is a great starting point when it comes to getting your creative juices flowing.
4. Or on a Sex DateGiphy
When you take a vacation, it helps you to get off of the grid, relax and get some much-needed quality time in with whoever you’re on vacation with. A romantic vacation is about doing this with your significant other while a sexcation is about doing this, with the sole purpose of manifesting sexual fulfillment being on top of the to-do list.
Okay, so when you think about a date being about spending quality time with someone you truly care about, what do you think a sex date would be for? EXACTLY. And here’s the thing — one fairly large and popular study revealed that the key to a couple having a successful relationship (as far as their dating life goes) is to go on a date once a month. At the same time, couples who have sex no less than once a week reportedly are in a healthy relational space.
So, how do you merge the two of these? My two cents would be, if you’re like some of my clients who need to be romanced in order to get into the mood (meaning things like quickies rarely work for them), plan a sex date and then another kind of date once a month; that way, you’ll be able to get both kinds of quality time in. For tips on how to do that, check out “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?”
5. Put on Some Vanilla, Patchouli, Peppermint or JasmineGiphy
USA Today once published an article that said people with a heightened sensitivity to smell tend to have a better sex life (no joke). According to a particular study, “The perception of certain body odors may contribute to the concept of sexual pleasure by enhanced recruitment of reward areas.”
If that truly is the case, it’s important that you also surround yourself with scents that have a reputation for stimulating the senses in every way. Some of those include vanilla, patchouli, peppermint, and jasmine. Whether you put them on your body, spray them on your bedding, or get some scented soy candles (soy burns longer and cleaner) — or you do all three, it appears that your olfactory input will be oh so very glad that you did (also check out “8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last”).
6. Listen to Some of Your Favorite “Sex Nostalgia” MusicGiphy
Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some people about throwback R&B songs that talked about sex yet weren’t as graphic as a lot of the current tunes are. Two that immediately came to my mind were Usher’s “Nice & Slow” and Intro’s “Come Inside” (especially the extended version, lawd.)
Anyway, there is scientific evidence to support that not only does music increase creativity and trigger past memories, but it can also reduce anxiety, increase endurance and put you into a better mood. And don’t all of these things help to set the stage for an impressive round or two? Shoot, I even read an article on Well+Good’s site (here) that said if you really want your sex playlist to be effective, lust-heavy music should come first, absolute faves should be in the middle, and cuddle music should come last (you know, during afterplay).
So…where’s your sex music mix at?
7. Cultivate a Sex Prep Self-Care RoutineGiphy
When you do things that make you feel calm, relaxed, and sexy, it’s so much easier to get into the mood for sex. Not to mention the fact that the cleaner you are, the more comfortable you will feel. That’s why, you should start off with a sensual bath (check out “Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?”) or shower (check out “How To Turn Your Showers Into A Tranquil DIY Spa”) with the help of a DIY vaginal wash (check out “Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes”).
Then “seal your skin” by applying an aphrodisiac essential oil with a sex-stimulating carrier oil (check out “So, Here Are The Carrier Oils That Will Take Your Sex Life To A Whole 'Nother Level”), so that it feels soft and extra moisturized for longer. Personally, I’m a huge fan of fresh rose petals, whether it’s for making homemade rose water or for rolling around on the bed in them (they are soft, fragrant, and a proven aphrodisiac as well).
Also, don’t forget to bring a flavored lubricant, lip gloss, and even body oil (if you’d like) into the mix. An Etsy merchant by the name of Diamond Kutt Kisses has a great all-natural oil blend called Edible Yoni Oil that comes in flavors like Panty Snatcher, Pina Cum Latte, and 1 Night Stand. Choose one bottle or several by going here. Oh, and don’t forget to put your (or his) favorite scent in your hair — it’s a tip that many forget goes a REALLY long way.
8. Touch Each Other’s Sexual Pressure PointsGiphy
When you get a chance, click on “Feelin' On These Pressure Points Will Give You The Best Sex Of Your Life,” read it all the way through, and then send it over to your partner. The reality is there are parts of our body, ones that are outside of the obvious, that can help to get (and keep) us in the mood once they are stimulated too.
Take your calves and feet, for example. Rubbing on your calves well before sex transpires can reduce the chances of experiencing a Charley horse, and since your feet are loaded with nerve endings, massaging them can help to soothe body organs and reduce stress levels. And the best thing is you can touch on these yourself during your lunch break and/or with your partner’s help after dinner. You will get amazing results either way.
9. Get into Some Orgasmic BreathingGiphy
It was close to this time last year that Teen Vogue published an article entitled, “Hands Free Orgasm? It's Totally Possible Through Orgasmic Breathing.” I’m sharing it because some of you who lean more into the more skeptical (or is it cynical?) side of things might want some proof regarding what I’m about to say — and here it is: the reality is that a lot of people struggle with climaxing and it’s not really due to having a lower level of arousal or being in the “wrong” sex position; it’s all about not breathing correctly. And the truth of the matter is that orgasmic breathing can effectively help to resolve that.
At the end of the day, orgasmic breathing is about slowing down, de-stressing, and focusing on you and your partner’s body. For example, if you intentionally inhale for a count of four and then exhale for the same count, it can bring more oxygen into your body, increase blood circulation (including to your genital region) and remove energy blockages that could be making getting into sexual sync with your partner difficult.
While we’re on this topic, something else that could help you out is orgasmic meditation. No need to look on another site for deets on that. I penned a piece a while back on it here.
10. Have a Kissing ContestGiphy
Damn, I wish I could remember where I heard what I’m about to say, but some movie or television show said that the reason why sex can oftentimes seem more intimate for women (even when it’s casual) than for men is because it’s more vulnerable for someone to put their finger into your mouth than for you to put your finger into theirs (I’m sure you catch the sex comparison here). Interesting, right? Well, maybe that’s why kissing (especially tongue kissing) is such a turn-on for both people (well, most people; also check out “Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?”) because tongues are going into each other’s mouths simultaneously.
Not only that, but because lips are reportedly 200 times more sensitive than even our fingertips are, it’s really difficult to kiss for a long time and not want things to go further. So, if you’re still struggling to get into the mood, have an unofficial contest to see how long you and your partner can kiss — tongue ‘n all — each other. Bet some moods will shift after that, chile.
11. Drink a Sex-Themed Cocktail (or a Couple of Mocktails)Giphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “8 Summer-Themed Alcoholic Drinks That Can Boost Your Libido.” Believe it or not, there are ingredients in certain kinds of alcohol that can “get you there”…if you let ‘em.
Although red wine is gonna probably be your best bet due to how the antioxidants are able to affect your system as far as increasing blood flow and heightening sensitivity in your genitalia region, beer increases phytoestrogen levels (which can balance hormones for women and make me want to get extra close), champagne increases blood flow and increases arousal and tequila can bring health to your gut, strengthen your immunity and reduce pain levels. So, why not turn up a bit with a cocktail, glass, or shot?
And what if alcohol isn’t really your thing? Mocktails have their own perks considering the fact that certain fruits are aphrodisiacs. Some include watermelon (whose nickname is “natural Viagra”), strawberries (thanks to their high amount of antioxidants), and peaches (due to the vitamin C that helps to keep your blood vessels dilated and your hormone levels balanced). So, do your body good with a Watermelon Mocktail (recipe here), a virgin Strawberry Mojito, or a Sparkling Peace Sunrise (recipe here). See how those are able to stimulate you too.
12. Take a Nap Together. Spooning. Naked.Giphy
There are plenty of health experts who will vouch for the fact that some people struggle with achieving an orgasm because they are too fatigued to do so. And since, reportedly, 1 in 3 people say that they don’t feel like they get enough rest, well, you do the math.
Something that can help is a nap. Even taking a power nap of 30 minutes (those particular kinds aren’t supposed to last any longer than that) can make you more alert, put you into a better mood, and improve your concentration levels. And shoot, if you’re able to convince your partner to take a nap with you and get into the spoon position while doing it, that can trigger feel-good hormones as well as make you feel safer and closer to your partner.
And if the two of you do it naked, not only does that make it easier to transition into sex after waking up, but you significantly increase your chances of getting an orgasm out of the deal since spooning is a great position to be penetrated by his penis and he also stimulates your clitoris with his finger. Wheee-wheee.
If you’re not starting to get into the mood after reading all of this, I don’t know what to tell you, sis. Other than: Rinse. Repeat. Report back. (If you build it...eventually you will cum!)
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Featured image by Giphy