You would think that with all of the researching that I do on the topic, I would've known years ago that June 9 is a very (VERY) special day. But, for whatever the reason, I just discovered a few months ago that it's National Sex Day (not to be confused with National Orgasm Day which is July 31)!
I must admit that when I first found that out, I smiled…for two reasons. Well, actually three. The first reason is I find it to be both fitting and an honor that this kind of day would go down during the month of Gemini, the month that I was born. Second, how cute (I'm not sure if that's exactly the right word but let's roll with it) that the ninth day of the sixth month of the year would create a 69—and we all know what sexual position that is. Then—and if this is TMI, let me just say that I apologize in advance—I thought about how, I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or not, but some of the best sex I've ever had in my entire life came from a man who was born on (what?!) June 9! So yeah, if anyone is especially fond and supportive of this day, it would be me.
But you don't need to be a Gemini—or sexually active with one—to get hype about it. Let me tell it, any occasion when sex can be the focal point is something worth celebrating. So, in honor of 6/9, find your partner, then use some of the following ways to let them know just how much you love sex—and having sex with them!
1.Go Totally Off the Grid
Whenever I ask the couples I work with to share with me the main reason why their sex life isn't as good as it used to be (or they want it to be), it never fails; the thing that I hear the most is a lack of quality time due to schedules and children.
Luckily, this year, National Sex Day is on a Sunday which makes it easier to book a hotel room, go on a staycation or hire a babysitter. Whatever it is that you decide to do, be intentional about "disconnecting" from the rest of the world for as many hours as you can. This means no phone, no computers, no company—nothing that will take your mind of you, yours and getting as up close and personal as possible.
2.Download Some Sex-Specific Apps
Technology is something else, boy. Just when I think it can't top itself, it does. Take if you're in a long-distance relationship and you want to observe National Sex Day but neither of you can catch a last-minute flight? In walks OhMiBod; it's an app that connects vibrators to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi so that you can get each other all hot 'n bothered on screen, even if you can't be together in person. The Pleasure Machine is an app that boils down to being a sexy slot machine game that you and yours can play; different wheels provide different levels of stimulation. Honi is a dope app because it's a cool way for you and your partner to explore sexual fantasies, dares and Kama Sutra positions from the privacy of your smartphones. All of these are ways to get excited before physically being in one another's space.
3.Listen to a Sex-Themed Podcast
Some of us are "audible lovers". We're the ones who get off by sexy sounds and dirty talk. If you fit this bill, something that might help you to get into the mood is to listen to a few podcasts that are all about sex.
Ones that feature "our own" voices includeThe Savage Life (which is definitely not PG-13 rated);You Did What?! (which is pretty self-explanatory);Millennial Lov3: Sex, Love & I'm Selfish AF! (featuring two girls and one guy from the South);Bonnets & Durags: A Pillow Talk Podcast (how can you not love the name?!);Broken P—y Podcast (cue in the first episode of the first season of Insecure, plus I always dig Black folks with British accents);Just the Tip (I mean…) andThe VagEsteem, a podcast that focuses on cultivating the kind of sex that is both good and healthy (not either or).
Related: WOC-Hosted Podcasts Guaranteed to Make You More Sex Positive
4.Make a Fantasy Jar, Hotel Jar and Sex Jar
Three jars that I think every married couple should have posted up somewhere in their house is a fantasy jar, a hotel jar and a sex jar.
A fantasy jar is a jar that has both you and your partner's fantasies in it. For the sake of spontaneity, you shouldn't know what your partner wrote and they shouldn't know what you wrote. However, so that no one is caught completely off guard, put the things that you already know your partner would be down to try on a green (green for "go") sheet of paper and what you think they might be open to negotiating on a yellow (yellow for "caution" or "pause") sheet of paper. Then, on special occasions (like this one) or even just the times when you want to be a little adventurous, each of you draw something from the jar and strive to make a fantasy come true.
The hotel jar. I don't know what it is, but there is something that is so damn hot about hotel sex! Make National Sex day extra sexy (and kinky) by booking a hotel room, a bed and breakfast, a vacation house or even an Airbnb. The catch is to choose a place that you and yours have already researched and put into your hotel jar. That takes all of the research and guesswork out of figuring out where to go. The less time you're looking up online, the more time you'll have to go and well, you know.
The sex jar, I've actually written about before. I found the idea a few years ago on Pinterest. Basically, you put some money into the jar every time you do-the-do. Then, after six months to a year, you take the money out and splurge on something couples-related. Just as a heads up, whether that ends up being a kid's meal at your local fast food drive-thru or a cruise to an island all depends on how much sex you and your partner are willing to invest in.
5.DIY Some Edible Lubeaccelerate GIF by Christina AguileraGiphy
The wetter, the better. If that lil' phrase was invented in the context of sex, they ain't ever lied! Anyway, maybe National Sex Day falls right before or right after your cycle and you're not as wet as you usually are. Maybe you're perimenopausal or even in menopause and your hormones have your vaginal fluids running on low. Or maybe, you're simply more in the mood for some of "that funk, that sweet, that nasty, that gushy stuff" (quick—who rapped about that?).
One way to achieve this is with longer rounds of foreplay (hopefully with some oral sex included). Another is to make your own lubrication; preferably the kind that tastes as good as it feels. If you want to take a stab at making a batch of your own, click here to learn how.
6.Add Some Sexy Touches to Your Bedroom
If you want to do something real quick, you're not gonna be able to pull off totally renovating your bedroom. What you can do is add a few touches in a few spots. If you prefer to have sex at night, but you don't want to wait that long, hang up some blackout curtains. Or, if your man wishes you'd have sex with the lights on more often, but you need to ease into the idea of it, hang some white Christmas lights from your headboard. Also, stop by Walmart or Target and pick up some red or purple sheets (they're considered to be really sexy bedding colors). Light some soy-scented candles in vanilla, jasmine, sandalwood, rose or a blend of pumpkin and lavender (they're all scents that will boost your libido). And, while you're at it, hang up a mirror across from your bed or get a new throw rug for your bedroom floor. Mirrors can give you a better view (wink) and a fluffy rug will significantly decrease your chances of ending up with any carpet burns (wink, wink).
7.Invest in a Sex Pillow
Why not use National Sex Day as a time to try out a different sex position for the first time? If you think that you already know them all, test that theory out by checking out these sex positions that are in our sex section right here? If some of them seem a little more anatomically-challenging than others, something that can probably make achieving them easier is a sex pillow. The ones you already have on your bed are cool too, but a pillow that's specifically-designed for sex is…well, a pillow that's specifically designed for sex. Amazon has a slew of them, by the way.
8.Do a Sexy Photo Shoot (at Home)
I have a male friend who, not one week goes by when some girl in his life isn't sending him a nude or half-nude photo. I don't know what trips me out more—that they are unsolicited or that folks are bold enough to send their coochie through the phone. Not to say that I don't have some naked pics out in the world somewhere, but I took mine back in 1995. These days, there are clouds and hackers…so yeah, no thanks.
What I would be down to do in present time (if I had a hubby) is use an old-fashioned camera to take some risqué shots. I actually read that putting up this form of erotica in your bedroom is one way to significantly improve your sex life. So, why not take a moment or two to go into your own bedroom, close the door and take a few sexy pics with your partner? Oh, and if you must use your phone, click here for privacy tips on an Android and here for privacy tips on an iPhone.
9.Create a Sex Gift Basket
Gift baskets are the best, ain't they? Surprise your partner with one that is loaded with nothing but sex-related items. You can stop by a lingerie store and get something in his favorite color (or you can make a pair of lace undies; it's easier than you think). Then stop by a liquor store for a bottle of wine (it'll make you hornier than most other forms of alcohol, especially if it's got a cherry or earthy scent) and maybe a lil' bit of Guinness beer too; word on the street is it helps men to last longer in bed. You can never go wrong with some chocolate-covered strawberries. I've also been hearing a lot about something called the Oh! Cherry Orgasm Balm (that stimulates your nipples and clitoris). Oh, and if you want to give some extra TLC by making some additional items with your own two hands, some of my faves are DIY chocolate body paint, DIY edible body butter, DIY massage candles, some DIY shaving cream (to give him a sensual shave) or (get this!) a pair of panties made entirely out of Starburst and Twizzlers candy!
10. Celebrate “69” Annually
It's been over 12 years since I've gotten some, but I'll tell you what—if I was in the position to be able to observe National Sex Day, I'd treat every year like it was my birthday or something! I ain't playin' either. I'd get decorations for the house, I'd bring my man a present home…shoot, I might even bake a sex cake (there is such a thing; it's called a "better than sex" cake and it's actually pretty good)!
If you're not in my position and you are able to actually get it in, but you just found out about today, do what you can tonight but plan on going big next year and then topping yourself every year after that. Life is too short and sex is too good to be overlooking moments like National Sex Day. Please, if for no other reason than I can live vicariously through you, make it a day worth celebrating—over and over…and over again. Have fun!
Featured image by Getty Images
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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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The Unhealthy 'Unconscious Contracts' We Make With Our Parents (And How To Break Them)
I’m a quotes kind of girl. Unapologetically so. I think I like them so much because they’re a way of packing in a lot of wisdom and insight without giving an entire speech (or writing an entire article). And if there’s one quote that I know I use at least three times a week, it’s “Adulthood is surviving childhood.”
It’s not a good thing either because, basically, what the quote is saying is a lot of us experience so much trauma as children that many of our adult years are actually spent trying to figure out how to survive it all. In fact, I recently read a Guardian article entitled, “Survivors of childhood trauma often grow up believing they are unworthy,” which had a line in it that summarizes a lot of why I do what I do for a living: “Jane now understands that she was conditioned as a child to see toxic relationships as almost normal.” I’m here to reprogram a lot of counterproductive stuff that a lot of us don’t realize we are doing…as best as I possibly can.
And yes, believe it or not, a part of the reason why we get into then tolerate then endure the oftentimes pure suffering of unhealthy relationships with other people — personal and professional, romantic, platonic and familial — is due to something known as unconscious contracts. Boy, when I first learned about unconscious contracts and what they entail, it was like I had a new way of helping to free up so many people from their hamster wheels of dysfunction with other individuals.
Okay, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. If you already feel drawn to or even triggered by the intro of this article alone, please set aside some time tonight or this weekend to dive into what it means to sign an unconscious contract, how it typically ends up working against you, and what you can do to change it ASAP.
What Is an Unconscious Contract?
I like giving credit where credit's due, and when it comes to the entire concept of unconscious contracts, one of my instructors taught it to me. She said she learned it from a neuroscience educator by the name of Sarah Peyton.
The gist of an "unconscious contract" is it's an agreement that you made, oftentimes in order to get through living with your toxic parent (or parents), that ended up being an unhealthy habit or approach to dealing with other people as you grow and develop into adulthood (you can watch an intro video about it here that is pretty damn enlightening if I do say so myself).
According to Sarah and her findings, a lot of our full dependence on our parents (especially our mother since she's usually the primary caregiver), as far as communication goes, happens around four months of age and, without us even noticing it, we find ourselves figuring out what needs to be done in order to get along with them — even if it's ultimately to our detriment.
An article that dives deeper into all of this is "When Relationships Fall Apart: Conscious and Unconscious Agreements in Relationship." The authors speak on the fact that a conscious contract is an agreement where both parties know the commitment that they are getting into, while an unconscious contract is usually unspoken, although what transpires is one person decides to suppress their thoughts, feelings, and needs in order to make another person happy (or it at least makes getting along with them easier to do).
Now I'll already tell you that if you read this and thought, "Isn't that just compromising?" you just revealed that you are someone who definitely needs to continue on with this piece because, no, suppression is not compromise; suppression is you denying a part of who you are in order to keep the peace — or avoid abuse — and there is nothing compromising about that. It is destructive and definitely the kind of "unconscious contract" that you need to break…immediately if you can.
Before I break down how to do that, let's go a bit deeper into all of this.
How an Unconscious Contract Affected Your Childhood Development
Last fall, Newsweek published an article entitled "Why Adult Children Are Cutting Off Their Parents More Than Ever." Now for the record, no parent is perfect, and since some people like to throw around words like "toxic" as if they are confetti, let's look into some signs that you definitely had a toxic parent as a child/teenager — and that you may still have one now:
- They didn't respect your privacy/boundaries
- They pressured you to agree with them even when you didn't
- They were harder on you than they were on other children (especially outside of the home)
- They found a way to make everything about them
- They wouldn't let you ask questions for clarity (and/or they lashed out when you did)
- They were controlling
- They didn't shield you from trauma (and they oftentimes caused it)
- They used religion to justify their toxic behavior
- They used you as a makeshift therapist/counselor (told you too much information)
- They were verbally and/or emotionally and/or physically and/or sexually abusive
- They were emotionally unpredictable
- They weren't supportive (or you felt like they were competing with you)
- They kept you walking on eggshells
- They deflected from taking accountability for their mistakes (or poor choices)
- They either used guilt or withheld love in order to get their way
If any of this resonated with you, yes, on some level, you are a survivor of a toxic parent — again, not an imperfect parent; more like someone who put you in a position where you dealt with some level of trauma on a consistent basis. And because it's a parent's job to help you to become a holistically healthy individual, when the opposite happens, it can stifle you on some level.
For instance, I grew up with parents who didn't know how to respect a boundary or take accountability if it hit them square in the face. I don't even have the time to get into how deep it all went. For now, I'll just give one example of how it played out in my adult years — recent ones. One parent was so toxic that they really should be in prison. Because they're not, they had the nerve to email me acting like they were doing me some favor by leaving me alone…like I had told them to do for almost two decades now, that they still had moments when they would disrespect the boundary. And where did they get my contact information? From the other parent. WILD. Not you out here enabling my abuser.
Boundaries are limits, and limits (when they are not used to weaponize or manipulate) are put into place to keep us safe. People who don't respect your boundaries are unsafe individuals.
When I think about how my boundaries were constantly being dishonored as I was growing up affected me all through those years. One way is I didn't know how to set healthy boundaries with other people. As a result, I had some of the most toxic female friendships known to man (no joke). Another result is I had a tendency to be controlling to certain other people too. Control is what was modeled to me (suffocatingly so), all the while being told that it was love, and so… that's what I thought it was.
I had written an "unconscious contract" with my parents that allowed them to railroad my space, my body, and my feelings. My needs were basically the "rent" that I had to pay to live in their home and have my basic material needs met. And so, I thought that's what relationships looked like — that I had to go above and beyond while overlooking what I deserved in order to keep people around, OR I had to control the narrative in some way as a way of expressing my "love" to them. And I lived just like this for many years.
How an Unconscious Contract Affects Your Relationships Now
Before the end of the year is out, I'll be finishing my third book. One of the things that it's going to touch on is just how emotionally abusive one dynamic with a certain guy was. I'll give you an example. One time, I helped him put on an event. I got him the venue for free. I made the programs. I set up the slideshow. I ran the slideshow. He didn't pay me a dime. Because the venue was about an hour away and we left unbelievably late (in separate cars), I asked him if he would stay on the phone with me because I was sleepy. He yelled at me, told me that I needed to find someone else, and hung up. And the next day, what did I do? I texted him to make sure that he was okay. AMAZING. He never apologized, even when I brought it up. Instead, he deflected and justified his behavior. Also AMAZING.
In hindsight, I know this is the fallout from unconscious contracts that I had "signed" with my parents, several of them. Something in me thought that if I just loved that man enough, eventually, he would stop mistreating me. Yet, I know him well enough to know that he has his own unconscious contracts that need to be broken, so while I was over-giving, he was over-hustling. He also was being ungrateful and narcissistic (and narcissism is also oftentimes the result of a traumatic childhood; it's a cryptic way of protecting oneself). Yeah, because I still had some "live contracts" going on, folks were able to get away with all kinds of stuff.
I'll give you another example. I have a girlfriend who keeps picking materialistic and shallow women as friends (check out "7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One"). Her mother was exactly that way. It's wearing her out now because she feels like all she has in common with her circle is shopping and, inconsequentially, debt. Yet, until I introduced the concept of unconscious contracts to her, she didn't realize that all she really had in common with her mom — and the only time her mom ever really spent quality time with her — was when money was involved (including her mom feeling entitled to her money in present time).
Again, adulthood is surviving childhood. So, take a moment and think about the list that I provided as it relates to whether or not you had a toxic parent. Where the points apply, ponder what your adult relationships look like these days. Where are there patterns? Where are there mirror reflections of the relationship that you had with your mother and/or father and/or caregiver? Where do you see the same kind of unhealthiness…even now?
When we're children, we are innocent and a blank slate. We rely on our parents to show us how we are to see ourselves, along with how we are to live out our lives. So yeah, without some serious inner work (and oftentimes therapy), the contracts that we became a part of as children will continue in our adult world — that is, until we break them.
What Can You Do to Break an Unconscious Contact
I already know — this is some pretty heavy stuff (which is why I implied at the beginning that it's not exactly lunchtime reading). Yet you know how the saying goes, knowledge is power, and if you could relate to any of this, how freeing is it to get to some of the roots, to receive confirmation that you're not crazy (sis, you're not) and then be provided with tips on how to get up out of these, what seem like lifelong binding agreements, that are not serving you (and never really were)?
Okay, so now that you know what an unconscious contract is, how you found yourself being a part of one, and how much damage they ended up doing, what can be done to break the contract? Good question.
A PDF that I was given (via Sarah Peyton's site) is what my instructor shared with me. I have edited it a bit so that it can make a bit more sense (if this is your first time hearing about unconscious contracts):
Step 1. Determine what the contract initially was.
“I (your name), ________________ , solemnly swear to you (parent/caregiver),___________________
to (whatever the self-defeating behavior was) ________________________ in order to protect you/honor you/survive, no matter the cost to myself. “
Step 2. Was the vow heard? (In order to feel validated in this exercise, you should get someone you trust to serve as a representative to act as the parent/caregiver you are speaking to.)
“Parent or caregiver, did you hear this vow?”
“Parent or caregiver, do you like this vow?”
Step 3. Can the vow be released? If so, release it.
If yes, the representative says, “I release you from this vow and I revoke this contract.”
(If the vow cannot be released, like your parent lives with you and they are still doing the behavior, you may want to seek therapy to figure out what boundaries need to be set up, especially if your parent tends to go full gaslight or full denial whenever you bring trauma or their past mistakes up.)
Step 4. Create a blessing to break the unconscious contract.
The representative says, “And instead of this vow, I give you my blessing to...(create the blessing)”
In a perfect world, you could talk to your parent about all of this, and no representative would be needed — yet honestly if that were the case and your parent was truly self-aware, apologetic, and willing to make amends, they would probably approach you first about the harm that they caused. That's why a representative can be helpful. They are symbolic, and while you may never get this kind of release from your actual parent, the validation and affirmation that comes from the exercise may be enough for you to fast-track your way to healing and to feel stronger in saying "no," setting limits and requiring that your needs be met from your parents — and to offer up consequences when that is not the case.
This is an exercise that can reduce fear and stagnation so that you can start to get on with how to have healthier relationships with others moving forward.
The Benefits of Ending Unconscious Contracts…and Creating New Ones
A wise man once said, "My word is my bond." That said, to tell you the truth, the only way that breaking an unconscious contract is going to work is if there is integrity behind your words. You need to identify them, vocally acknowledge them, and have your representative acknowledge you/them. You need to receive the blessing, and then, what I recommend is setting up a new contract — this time between you and yourself.
For instance, if your childhood unconscious contract was all about you walking on eggshells, the new contract needs to say something along the lines of, "I will no longer put my own feelings and needs aside whenever I feel bullied or even dismissed. My voice matters, especially when it comes to what directly affects me, so I will speak up when necessary." Whew. Can you see how empowering that is?
It can't be said enough that there is plenty of data out here to support the fact that at the age we are traumatized, oftentimes we remain right there emotionally until we heal — and healing can include breaking our unconscious contracts. Only, in my opinion, it's not enough to break one…you need to then replace it with another; otherwise, you could find yourself slipping back into what's familiar…even if you know it's not what's better/best for you.
This really is something that I could go on for days about because it’s the kind of topic that is so freeing once people are able to apply it in their own world. For now, I’ll just say that contracts are binding agreements. Yet, the good thing about unconscious contracts is you can let yourself off of the hook, knowing that you, as an adult, now have the space to live as you wish. You don’t have to “go along to get along” in the midst of super crazy, super counterproductive, super toxic ways.
You can write new contracts — ones that will strengthen you, validate you, and give you the kind of life that YOU want to live. Not the one that your toxic parent(s) made you think you had to settle for.
So, what unconscious contracts are you going to break today?
What new ones are you going to put into motion?
There’s no time like the present to start fully living YOUR life.
Amen? Hallelujah. For real.
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