I know. This one might sound a little weird off top but trust me when I say that it comes from very up close and personal experience. Where to begin. Hmm. While I didn't really discover my true bra size until my 40s (damn shame; it's a 36H, by the way), when it came to sexual activity, my breasts were a spot that was almost always my sex partners' immediate go-to. Looking back, I think their logic was, since my breasts are so big, surely caressing them, kissing them and whatever-else-ing them would automatically get me off, right? WRONG. Although a few guys were the exception, for the most part, focusing a lot on my breasts during foreplay was semi-irritating, if not straight up annoying AF (more on that in a sec).
That fact is what inspired me to write this all out. We've all got erogenous zones, so true, so true. Yet if you happen to be someone who semi-suffers in silence because the areas that you need tending to oftentimes go overlooked while "the obvious ones" get more attention than what you'd actually prefer, you are not alone, sis. From personal experience and empathy, here's what you can do about it.
What Is an Erogenous Zone Exactly?
Let's start off with what an erogenous zone is and what some of the more common ones are. The really basic explanation of an erogenous zone is it's a place on you or your partner's body that is or can be easily sexually aroused; it's the go-to spots during foreplay.
Here's the thing, though. Oftentimes, when the topic of erogenous zones comes up, it's the popular places that get a ton of the focus. Those would be places like the ears, neck, breasts (or even just the nipples), naval, genital region, and, of course, the mouth. Since these are the "zones" that get so much clout (in the media, especially), it's common for partners to automatically go to these spots because they assume that their partner wants them to.
Here's the thing about that. There are tons of other places that get people "ready to go" that have nothing to do with the areas that I just mentioned. Other spots that are turn-ons for some people include their scalp; inner wrists; hands (and/or fingers); armpits (no, for real); thighs; lower back; buttocks; in between their shoulder blades, and even their feet. While fondling someone's armpits or making sure to kiss them behind their knees would be the last thing you would consider, you could be missing out on turning your partner on, on a whole 'nother level, if you don't at least be open to the fact that they might really like it.
So, stop and think about it. Do you actually know what your partner's erogenous zones are? Come to think of it, are you even 100 percent sure what yours are? Because, the reality is, if your partner hasn't totally explored your body, there could be some uncharted territory that neither of you have ever considered; areas that could turn light bulbs on in a whole new way, chile. Here's why.
Always Remember That Erogenous Zones Are DEFINITELY Individually Based
According to science, when it comes to us (meaning women) specifically, word on the street is that our neck, forearms, vulva (including your clitoris and clitoral hood), and vagina are the most sensitive parts of our body while our areola (the darker part of breasts that surrounds our nipples) are the least. Science also says that when pressure is applied to our body, our clitoris and nipples are the most sensitive while the sides of our breasts and our abdomen are the least. Again, that's what science says.
For me, though, my forearms aren't sensitive at all. Meanwhile, my fingers are—big time. And while my nipples are sensitive, it's only during the act of penetration itself that I actually don't mind them being played with; prior to that, like during foreplay, playing with them is typically more irritating than anything else. Sharing this actually reminds me of a past sex partner who was the opposite of me. He really enjoyed his nipples being played with during foreplay but during sex, he said it was the equivalent of fingernails on the chalkboard.
What all of this points to is the fact that we're each an individual. Just because, at the end of the day, we basically have the same parts, that doesn't mean that we're stimulated or aroused in the same way. This is why I'm such a huge fan of foreplay—and afterplay. By taking out the time to relish in your partner, you get to learn what parts of their body truly turns them on—and what parts don't.
It can help you to get away from assuming that it "should" be their breasts or their neck or even the genitalia all of the time (some people reserve that area for intercourse while preferring other spots to be explored before penetration transpires).And why are we all so different? I mean, we were made uniquely. Plus, we've all had different experiences too. Something else that is worth keeping mind is different spots might be turn offs due to past sexual abuse or trauma; someone who is still working through healing from a past relationship; there even being a bit of a phobia if they had a less-than-satisfying sexual experience with a former partner; a person having body image issues, or even someone having sex for the first time. This is why verbal communication can be super beneficial prior to having sex in the first place; it can teach you to not have a one-size-fits all (so to speak) approach with your partner (and vice versa).
What If Your Erogenous Zones Aren’t Where Your Partner Gravitates to Most?
So, what if all of this makes perfect sense to you and you do indeed have a partner who goes to the "common spots" while leaving uncharted territory alone far too often? One of the things that I advise married couples that I work with is to not have deep sexual conversations…during sex. Outside of dirty talk and offering up some clarification (not barking orders but letting your partner know what turns you on the most), it's best to share what your heartfelt sexual needs are when you're enjoying dinner alone or even just hanging out on the couch together. Waiting until times like these can help your partner to feel less critiqued or self-conscious.
Another tip is to play show and tell. During the act of foreplay, take your partner's hands and direct them to the places where you like to receive the most attention. And when he hits that spot—with whatever you both like for you to be "hit" with—make sure he knows with a word, a moan or even an affirmation (I don't know one man who doesn't know to be verbally affirmed in bed, chile). Far too often, a person can be pleased in bed, but they don't get as much pleasure as they would like because their partner has no clue what they really like or would like to receive more. Even if you're not super verbal, there are other ways to send cues…if you know what I mean.
And what if your least favorite zones are the ones that your partner seems to like most? Yeah, that's another dilemma that isn't discussed as much as it should be. Some of the men I've been with are breasts men, so they wanna be all over them for their own sake. I get that. Since it's not so much my breasts as it is my nipples that I'm annoyed by during foreplay, I try and keep them occupied in other ways during foreplay, since I am much less guarded with my nipples during intercourse. I've also learned that I do like to be kissed in between my breasts at any time, so I'm pretty sure you can just guess how much men like to put their face between two huge breasts, at pretty much any time. It really is all about patience and communication. Besides, the more at ease I feel with my partner, the more I'm willing to make some compromises because I want him to be turned on as much as I want him to turn me on too.
Some of this really is all about trial and error. The bottom line is you shouldn't feel self-conscious, high-maintenance, or "weird" because you might not get sexually stimulated in the same places that your favorite website says or even one of your girlfriends does. You also shouldn't hesitate to speak up and let it be known with your partner about what works for you—no matter how atypical or uncommon those areas may be (remember to grant him the same courtesy).
At the end of the day, erogenous zones are supposed to make you want to have sex. Enjoy exploring where those places are for you and be OK with the fact that they may be super exclusive. After all, you are, so that would make absolutely perfect sense, sis.
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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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Dating a water sign is full of love and intensity. Water signs are often known to be more emotional than the rest of the zodiac, but what does this mean for their love life and for dating a water sign yourself? Well, it means experiencing a love that is refreshing at its best, consuming at its worst, but more importantly, a love that is deeply felt. See, water signs often find power in expressing their emotions, and being so vulnerable with their inner world creates partners who don’t just tell you how much they love and feel for you, but they want to show you so that you can feel it as well.
Water signs that are evolved and aligned with their highest selves are some of the most loving, romantic, and compassionate partners to have. You don’t have to guess with a water sign. If they like you, they will tell you, and if they don’t, they will tell you that as well. Even though water signs can be a little mysterious sometimes, they aren’t ones to hold back when it comes to expressing how they are feeling, which leads to a sense of transparency when dating them. Water signs at their worst, however, can be controlling and moody, and it depends on the person at hand. Water signs feel everything so deeply, and they can often attract negative energy into their life and let it consume them.
When it comes down to it, water signs put their relationships and loved ones first in life. So much of their time and day-to-day life is wrapped up in whom they love and care for, so they make a dedicated partner, to say the least. Sexually, water signs tend to be some of the most sensual as they need to feel the connection of the relationship on every level, and they crave this type of intimacy with their partners. They are sincere lovers who can intuitively feel how you feel and often read your mind because of it. They want to be known as a good partner, and although there are some water signs notoriously known for their toxic behavior, when you get a good one, you are loved by them for life.
Dating a Cancer
Cancers are known for their nurturing energy, though those close to them know there is a lot more to it than that. Cancers have a deep yearning for stability and safety and create their relationships around this part of themselves. Family and close loved ones are everything to a Cancer, and this is a partner that is perfect to bring home to the parents, and one whom you can build a strong family foundation with yourself as well. Cancers are the type of partners to treat you to something special that you mentioned once in passing and to make you feel like you are the center of their world.
At their best, Cancers are nurturing and protective, at their worst they are moody and restrictive.
The perfect types of date nights for a Cancer are ones where there aren't too many people around, and preferably a romantic date at home or somewhere they have already been and love. Many Cancers are known for their homemaking skills as well so don’t be shocked if they try to take rein here and surprise you with a homemade meal of your favorite dish. Cancers are homebodies, so if they invite you into their home, then that is a good sign they feel safe and comfortable with you which they need as a basis for the relationship. Dating a Cancer is a nostalgic type of love.
Learn how a Cancer pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Scorpio
Scorpios are passionate lovers and will go to the ends of the earth for you. Dating a Scorpio is like entering the depths of love, as they only form bonds with those they feel they have a strong connection with. Every Scorpio is different, and this is a sign that if you dated a few of them, you would see some similarities, but the experience you have of them will be completely different. Scorpios are masters at mirroring energy, and if they feel the love they are looking to give to another, then you can be assured they will give their all to the relationship.
At their best, Scorpios are loyal and magnetic, and at their worst, they are jealous and resentful.
Scorpio is another private sign, as most water signs are, and a perfect date night for them is one with moody lighting, minimal people or interruptions, and an intimate sort of environment. Scorpio is an intrigued lover and will want to know absolutely everything about you right away, but will take some time divulging any information about themselves. Dating a Scorpio is sexy, and you can feel their love and attraction towards you strongly when they are interested.
Learn how a Scorpio pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Pisces
Pisces is the hopeless romantic of the zodiac, and dreams of a fairytale type of love. This is the type of lover who wants to immerse themselves in art, fun events, music, and movies. They cherish every moment they spend with their partners, and love is never a dull experience for them. Pisces has a habit of being all over the place so this is a relationship that will sure to be a whirlwind, but one where you feel like you are dancing together rather than alone. Pisces are givers that want to make their partners feel loved the way they wish to. They tend to attract people who are more organized or “put together” than them, as they love to grow and learn more through their partnerships. This is the type of partner who wants to be led more than lead.
At their best, they are creative and compassionate, at their worst they are confused and co-dependent.
The perfect date night for a Pisces is one where you take the lead and plan something. They love to be thought of sincerely, and they will be swooned if you take them to their special places or do something that brings out their more extroverted side. Organizing something for them, not being flaky, and also taking your time when developing the relationship are all favored by Pisces. Dating a Pisces is like entering a dream of their own making.
Learn how a Pisces pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
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