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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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