Self-deprecating. Afraid to take risks. Never really satisfied. Constantly comparing yourself to other people. Worrying. Not stating your real needs and desires. Can't accept compliments. Super defensive. Overthinking. Unforgiving (including when it comes to self). Do you know what all of these things have in common? They're all telltale signs that someone is way too critical of themselves, that they judge themselves too often and/or too harshly. Now take a moment and think about how these 10 things translate in the bedroom?
If you know that you are more self-deprecating than you ever should be, if your partner has brought up to you that you don't take enough risks, if you can pinpoint several times when you have overthought yourself out of an orgasm, if your partner is getting more and more frustrated because you don't tell him how to meet your needs or because you shoot down every compliment that he gives you — chile, this was written with you totally in mind. Because the reality is, a lot of people aren't satisfied in bed and it has nothing to do with the person who is on top, underneath or beside them. It's all about the one who is staring at them in the mirror before they get in bed to begin with.
If you know that's you, it's time to make the self-judging madness stop. Here are seven suggestions on how to get onto the path to doing just that.
First Up: Where Did You Get Your Body Image From?
Once upon a time, I was a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national non-profit. That's a long way of saying that I would go into public high schools and help young women (sometimes young men too) to understand the power of their sexuality from a mental and emotional standpoint. One of the things that I shared with them is adolescence is such a fragile time and teen hormones are so rampant (and borderline reckless) that it's important to really learn how to love your individuality on your own before sharing your body with someone else. It's sad how many of them — and us — have to learn this lesson the hard way by allowing others to affect how we view our bodies because we share ourselves with them before we understand our true value.
That's why I think it's important to start right here. If you know that you are hypercritical of yourself during sex, first explore how you define body image, how you feel about your own body, and where you got the ideas that you currently have. Because the reality is if you've not a negative view of your body, it didn't come out of nowhere. Something or someone (usually several "things" and "ones") got you to feeling the way that you do and once you get to the root cause of these kinds of things, the easier it is to do some self-love journaling and mental reprogramming (check out "Self-Love Journaling & Why You Should Be Doing It" and "These 10 Hacks Will Help You Love Your Body More") so that your body image isn't from childhood brokenness, wacked out messages in adolescence or some sort of fear or trauma.
You can cultivate your body image from a much healthier space which will definitely help you to be less judgmental — both in and out of the bedroom.
Secondly: Stop Comparing Yourself to IG Models. Men Aren’t As into Them As You Think They Are.
I watch a lot of YouTube Black manosphere content and if there's one thing that the majority of them do not sing the praises of, it's IG models. Hey, I'm not knocking them. I'm just saying that I see video after video after video of men saying that they feel like between the photoshopping, filters, and agendas in the bios, they aren't really impressed beyond those ladies being something pretty to look at before they move on to something else. I think this is important to put on record because if there's a part of you who is too hard on yourself because you think that being sexy means you should have perfect skin, a tiny waist, and the biggest ass on the planet — please free yourself of that illusion and delusion. All of this reminds me of my favorite scene from the movie500 Days of Summer where one of the characters describes the woman of his dreams, then he explains what his girlfriend doesn't have that his dream girl does and then he ends with how his girlfriend is so much better at the end of the day because she's real — most importantly, they've got something real…together.
Listen, we've all got people who we think are fine and some mo' fine. I'm also willing to bet that you've come across some hotties on your socials. Yet how ridiculous would it be for your partner to withhold sex from you or not give his all in bed because he feels bad that he doesn't look like some random in a picture? Social media has its pros. It's also got its cons. Causing people to constantly critique themselves, especially to the point where they project their negative thoughts onto their partner, is definitely a downside. No doubt about it.
Third: Men Are Not Nearly As Critical of Us As We Are: Sex or Body-Wise
Speaking of what men think — take this how you want but I really do think it's interesting how much a lot of us spend time, resources, blood, sweat, and tears on stuff that men aren't all that drawn to. And before you blow a gasket, if you are honestly and sincerely getting BBLs, extensions, long eyelashes, breast augmentations, and whatever else you're interested in for yourself — do that. I mean that. All I'm saying is I talk to men, every day, on some level, for a living. And something that about 80 percent of them tell me is they like natural beauty — natural hair, natural bodies, not a ton of make-up. And the fact that hearing that triggers a lot of women fascinates me because how would you feel if men tried to tell you that what you prefer is wrong?
Anyway, where I'm going with this is a lot of times overthinking leads to being hypercritical, and being hypercritical leads to us creating movies in our minds where we think men have a problem with breasts that don't sit up underneath our necks, hair that isn't down to our butt or skin that doesn't have one stretch mark on or dimple in it. As a husband of 15-plus years once said to me, "All of this 'I don't think you're attracted to me' stuff that my wife sends me through is unnecessary. If you don't feel good about yourself, let's get you there but don't put your insecurities on me as if I have the problems with you that you have. I chose you. I'm still choosing you. I'm not thinking about the changes your body has gone through nearly as much as you are. Hell, I just wanna enjoy the body I've been blessed with." I hope the people in the back heard that.
Oh, and if you need some help with feeling better about yourself, outside of what your partner thinks, check out "10 Sensuous Ways To Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem".
Fourth: Turn the Light on Sometimes. No, Really!
How about I know a woman who has been with a man for almost five years now and he's still never seen her fully naked. What in the world? She prefers to have sex at night, in pitch-black darkness. Even then, she finds some sort of reason to keep a T-shirt or bra on because she doesn't look how her breasts look during sex. Recently, she told me that it's starting to take a toll on her relationship (gee…ya think?) because her partner is finding her hiding herself to be somewhat juvenile and borderline ridiculous.
"What you need to do is have sex with the lights on," I told her. Yes, she looked at me like I was crazy, but I meant what I said. For one thing, no one said that you had to have bright overhead lighting going on. A blue, red, or purple light bulb or some lit candles can create a really beautiful and romantic setting. Secondly, men are stimulated visually, so while feeling your body is definitely a turn-on, seeing it can take his entire experience to another level. Third, I find that sex with the lights on can help to cultivate intimacy in a more profound kind of way because it's easier to maintain eye contact that way. And last, if you're someone who constantly judges yourself during sex, you're not gonna get past that by always hiding in the dark.
Once you "bring things into the light", it'll be easier for you to come to the realization that the fear that you had wasn't as big of a deal as you initially thought. That will help you to become more confident which will make you feel sexier which will make sex that much better — for you and for him.
Fifth: Be Intentional About Not Seeing Sex As a Competition
If you've read my content on this site long enough, something that you've definitely heard me say before is, "If I said that you were cute, I just judged you. That's how I know that people don't have a problem with being 'judged'; they have a problem with being criticized and/or held accountable for their words and actions." Just think — beauty pageants have judges. Dancing with the Stars has judges. You get where I am going with this. And judges are there to decide who did something the best.
OK, but why would you or your partner be in this kind of headspace during sex? What I mean by that is the two of you shouldn't be "judging each other", you should be enjoying each other. And if there's a part of you that's like, "I hear you, Shellie but I can't help but wonder how much prettier, sexier or better skilled the women who came before me were" — again, he's with you now and you didn't have to twist his arm (right?). Besides, every single sexual experience is different. Therefore, whatever you bring to the table — bed, shower…wherever — is gonna be unique all on its own because you are. So, while it may be human to have those kinds of thoughts, try not to dwell on them too much because since there's only one you, there is chemistry, energy, and a dynamic that only you can bring into his life and set of memories. This brings me to my sixth point.
Sixth: Treat Yourself As an Honor and a Privilege. BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE.
One of the reasons why casual sex, on many levels, triggers me, is because it causes people to treat their partners like a literal definition of the word — apathetic. When you're apathetic, you're indifferent. When you're apathetic, you show little emotion. When you're apathetic, honestly, at the end of the day, you don't really care all that much. And when you're actually allowing someone to enter inside of your body while they have this kind of attitude and energy, do you see how that word (and frame of mind) can be problematic as hell?
Not everyone thinks that sex is solely for marriage or a long-term serious relationship. Understood. At the same time, there is no way that you're going to improve your self-confidence, as far as sex is concerned, if you don't go into each and every experience as seeing yourself as an honor and privilege for someone else to experience. And in order for that to happen — you've got to vet your partners more thoroughly, set standards for what are clear sexual deal-breakers (check out "These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom"), and make sure that you are treated with a level of respect before ever disrobing.
You know, a "con" to casual sex that isn't discussed enough is the fact that sometimes being in a casual experience with someone who sees you casually is that you can start to see yourself that way too. And here's the thing — you should never allow words like careless, offhand, shallow, superficial, and yes, apathetic to be how you allow others to treat you or to define how you choose to see yourself. When it comes to the sexual decisions that you make, please always keep this in mind.
Seventh and Final Point: Stay in the Moment. Let Go. Enjoy the Ride. Yes, Literally.
I can already tell you — shoot, almost guarantee you — that if you go into sex already looking down on yourself or overthinking every little detail, you're not going to have all that much of a good time. Your partner isn't going to either. Something that I tell my clients often is if there is a time and space when you should just chill out, let go and have as much fun as you possibly can, it's when you're having sex with someone.
So, as difficult as it might initially be, please take all of what I just said to heart and try and just be in the moment with your partner. Verbalize your secret desires. Add some ambiance. Let him show you what he adores most about your body from head to toe (trust me, he's got some favorite spots). STOP THINKING SO HARD. Again, stop judging and do more enjoying. The more you make that your sex mantra, the easier it will be to replace judging yourself and sex with loving yourself and sex. Feel me? Somehow, I bet you do.
Featured image by Getty Images
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. ;)
Whether it was your group chat, social media feed, or your favorite media outlet covering the spectacle, I’m pretty sure you’ve come across the viral Black wedding between actress KJ Smith (Sistas, Raising Kanan) and actor Skyh Black (All the Queen’s Men, Sistas). From their grand entrance to Jay-Z, Kayne West, and Beyoncé’s song “Lift Off” to KJ’s standout dance routine and the endless celebrity appearances, it’s an addictive TikTok scroll you can’t help but delve into.
But what many people would be surprised to know is that the couple’s original wedding plan was nothing like what it grew to be. What started as her simply scrolling through posts to get ideas eventually transformed into what the internet knows now as #TheBlackExperience. In an exclusive conversation with xoNecole, KJ walked us through her planning process, the morning of her wedding, and what she thinks of the online response.
Some women have their whole wedding planned out, from the bridal gown and venue to the bridal party and playlist. However, KJ was not one of those people. “I didn’t foresee a wedding in my future,” she reveals. “I was just gonna be the boss chick, rich auntie. I didn’t force love in my life until recently. I never had an idea of what a dream wedding would look like, it was easier for me to elope.”
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
And to many people’s surprise, that was their original plan – until Skyh brought up a valid concern. He was raised by his grandmother and thought she should be at the wedding, and naturally, that led to KJ wanting her grandmother to be there as well – then her mom – and later her sister – and, you’ve gotta invite the besties too, right? From there, the guest list continued to blossom. Much like the updo and pop of color bold red lip, she wore on her special day, which was initially on her Pinterest board as a soft glam look with her hair hanging on her shoulders, KJ is okay with changing her plan if it brings her and her loved ones happiness.
So let’s get into the wedding, which took place in Malibu, CA. The first thing you should know about the celebrity couple is that they’re non-traditional. They know, and they don’t care. So, in true unconventional fashion, they shared the morning of the wedding together.
“I woke up with Skyh, we walked our dog, had black coffee, and said good morning to the people who stayed at the venue with us,” she says.
Now, it was time for hair and makeup. While she was getting glammed up, she had Black-owned McBride Sisters wine and champagne (which ties into The Black Experience theme) on deck with her mom and friends, had her besties help rework her vows, retried on every outfit (sis is very Type-A), took photos, and ended the early-celebration with prayer and meditation. It seems very non-Bridezilla, I said.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company,” she explains. “The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
Things moved quickly, and before she knew it, it was time to line up to walk down the aisle.
“Yeah, I was the most unbothered bride ever. Everyone was just so supportive. As entertainers, we go on red carpets all the time. We actually have a production company. The get-ready process was like a day at work, but with people we love the most. Being entertainers, we didn’t feel stressed at all, but my excitement was so high.”
KJ Smith and her bridal party
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
Since everything started with their grandmothers, the couple wanted to ensure they honored them and planned to keep an element of their wedding traditional. Although we’ve all seen the reception videos and photos online, you may have noticed visuals from the wedding itself are harder to find.
“We planned for it to be traditional, but we’re not like that, so we tried to create those moments. We jumped the broom and had a salt ceremony (where the bride and groom individually pour salt into a glass container, symbolizing their lives becoming one.) But honestly, still, nothing was traditional about it.”
She goes on to explain that her mom caught the holy ghost coming down the aisle, her glam team was on deck, and she became so nervous with excitement that she had an anxiety attack – something she struggled with for years, she explains tearfully. Her friends had to literally cheer her down the aisle because of how overwhelmed she felt until she eventually calmed down.
“Skyh was standing there with his hand on his heart; we have our own little language, and I could feel the support,” she shares.
It was surprising to hear all these emotional moments happened before the party we saw online. That is until she once again got into the backstory.
“As a Black woman actress, for so long, it was popular to be mysterious and secretive, but that’s not who I am or what I like. Plus, we both wanted to create an experience for everyone there. We are the people who always host family and friends,” she says. “Like for me, the first order of business was getting sandals for the women so they can dance all night long. We had oxtail, D'ussé, and a coffee and sativa lounge – which is part of Skyh and I’s lifestyle and routine. We wanted to bring them into our world.”
Skyh Black (L) and KJ Smith (R)
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
She went on to discuss the dance routine she did for her husband at the reception, which has taken over the internet. Apparently, that’s another thing that didn’t go according to plan. According to KJ, she had promised a performance at their joint bachelor/ bachelorette party, but her outfit got stolen from her car. So, Skyh ended up performing for her – complete with a strip tease. Still, she never forgot her promise to dance for him.
So, she hired her friend as a choreographer, learned the routine, made friends and family watch it endless times, and attended Beyoncé’s Renaissance show a few days before for a confidence boost. It ended up being a show to remember. But that wasn’t all the night offered. Lil Mo performed, and the guests received special goody bags featuring their favorite Black-owned products like journals, hair care, and more.
“We made sure everyone was taken care of all night. That kind of stuff makes us happy. I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives,” she says.
But naturally, the internet is going to internet, and while there were countless people praising the event and applauding the newlyweds, some thought it was too over the top. I was curious to know her thoughts on some of the criticism.
“It’s cool. We did what we wanted to do. I’ve decided to share my world with people. Just how I went on social media platforms and found inspiration, I want people to do the same,” she explains. “I don’t think it's fair to my supporters not to give that out. There’s so much I wanna share with brides, specifically Black brides. I love that people are adding it to their Pinterest boards."
"I wanted everyone there to experience the joy and love I have for myself, my partner, and for them. I wanted them to feel full and whole, and they had the time of their lives."
Photo by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
“I’m happy with it because we did what we wanted to do. They can do what they wanna do. Don’t be cruel, though, because you will get blocked,” she said, laughing.
The more I spoke with her, the more her sense of freedom shined through. People are always going to have their opinions, but at the end of the day, it’s you who has to live your life, and it seems like the couple realizes that and embraces that power. She also stressed the importance of not living for others and the lessons life has taught her.
“I’ve been to countless weddings, and I’ve been in countless weddings. I’m a generally older bride. So when women in my demographic get married, and you and your husband are busy working people like us, you deserve to have the one you want to have,” she shares.
“This is what we wanted to do. Our loved ones love and support us. We did so much to honor them, but we also wanted to start our own tradition, legacy, and creation. I'm not going to be pulled back into ideas of the past when I’m trying to create a future with my partner. “
If you’d like to see more of the couple, you probably won’t have to wait long. Although no content is planned yet, she admits to being an oversharer. “Me being open and transparent about my experiences lets people know it’s okay to have flaws; it makes you human, and for many years, I didn’t believe that was okay. I had pressure to be perfect, and I’d crumble every time,” she explains to xoNecole.
Now, she owns her flaws and uses them as a superpower to connect with her community and feel and express her love.
“Some people give us [Skyh and KJ] a hard time because they say we just seem too perfect. I’m like, why is that a bad thing? I love the people I love. From my man to my mama, to my friends - unabashedly. We move through time and space how we want to move. If we did it another way, we’d let ourselves and our union down.”
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Stanley Babb/ Stanlo Photography
So, back when I was a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national nonprofit because a lot of the girls (at the time) were at the age that some of my children would’ve been (read “Why I Named The Children I Aborted” for context), I would call them my daughters. And boy, the closer I got to some of them and the more they revealed, the combination of their relationships and lifestyle sounded a lot like a twisted hybrid between soap operas and Lifetime Television, especially when they would get into all of the stuff they were doing for “their man”…especially after I would inquire what caused a guy to earn that title and they would draw a blank.
“I mean, has he ever even taken you out on a date before?” would be a pretty common question for me to ask. And when they would respond with, “I mean, we sleep together” and/or “He comes over sometimes” and/or “Ms. Shellie, what do you mean — a date?!” — I…tell…you…what.
What’s really wild is they are not an anomaly. Meaning, there are a lot of women in college, in their 20s — shoot, some I’ve spoken to who are in their 30s and 40s who profess to also be in a relationship (which is probably more like a situationship-in-denial) with a guy where, when I ask the same question, they come up with variations of the responses I just provided — and that is unfortunate. Tragic even.
That’s why I think it’s important to tackle this topic. For the record, by no means am I gonna be on some unless-a-man-spends-his-rent-money-to-date-you-he’s-not-worthy-of-your-time ish. I’ve already stated my opinion about transactional dating (you can read it here), and y’all, I am so not a fan. At the same time, though, there is a reason why, when it comes to romantic relationships, there are “levels” to this thing, and despite how all over the place things seem to be these days, a foundational one should definitely be going out on dates. And that definitely should happen before you start using the term “dating.” Let’s get into it.
What’s the Purpose of a Date? What Qualifies As an Actual Date?
Purpose is something that I am really big about. I dig it because of what it literally means: “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.” And yes, like pretty much everything that exists, dating does indeed serve a purpose. The problem is, because a lot of people have no clue what its purpose is (anymore), they end up doing what I believe, across the board, when it comes to the ignorance of a purpose: “When you don’t know the purpose of something, you are almost guaranteed to abuse it.”
So, why does dating exist? It’s so that you can get to know someone better. Simple. Where things get a bit complex is far too many folks think that you can do that anywhere — and while, to a certain extent, that would be true, the issue is that there used to be a time when “getting to know” had stages.
Getting someone’s number was a big deal. Holding a conversation that was longer than 10 minutes on the phone was a big deal. Getting asked out (OUT being the operative word) and someone accepting was a big freaking deal. And the reason why going out was wise is because you got to see how much someone was willing to invest in you. Again, I’m not talking about how many coins they were willing to drop. What I mean is, that when someone is truly interested in you, they enjoy putting some thought and effort into actually showing you so.
Not only that, but it helps them to get to know you when it comes to likes and dislikes and shared interests while being able to hold conversations that will reveal if you are a good fit on a billion different levels— or not. For instance, going to a live concert — you can learn about what they think about certain types of music, and that could lead to conversations about playing instruments as a kid, being in talent shows, or what their favorite artists were back in the day. Or if you went on a date that consisted of a hike and a picnic, you both could learn about how much you like — or don’t like — spending time in nature, what kind of foods you enjoy, and what your idea of romance may be.
Yeah, dating can reveal so much about someone, and the cool thing about it is it’s designed to do it in a way that takes a lot of pressure off. The reason why I say that is because, if after the first or fourth date, things aren’t working out…no harm, no foul. Everyone can go their separate ways without a lot of damage to clean up afterward. I mean, why would there be any if you’ve spent most of your time out of each other’s private and personal space doing things, being careful about how much of yourself you offer up and focusing on how to ease, ever so gently, into getting close to someone?
That said, even though I’ve already offered up some examples, if a part of you is like, “All of this can happen at his place or mine” — you would be correct. However, remember how I said that there are levels to this thing?
There used to be a time when someone being in another person’s home was seen as a huge honor and privilege…not just something to do. Your home is your sanctuary. Your home is your place of refuge. Your home is where so many intimate things about you can be learned and discovered — and I’m not just talking about in the bedroom. The way you decorate. How you keep a house. How you are when no one else is around. Where you’re able to really and truly just BE is featured in your house. Yes, someone should do things that show themselves to be worthy of accessing that type of information.
So definitely, if someone wants to be more than a friend in your life, you deserve to go on dates — you deserve for someone to plan something to do, that is not at either place of residence that happens more than once. You deserve this because, again, a date is about someone getting to know you, and you are worthy of being invested in.
A date requires a plan. A date requires effort. A date requires intentionality. A date requires creativity. A date requires wanting to woo a person. And so, if someone is claiming to “date” you, you should be able to provide evidence, via clearly articulated examples, of this transpiring to anyone who would inquire about your dating dynamic.
What Does It Mean to Be “Dating” Someone?
Okay, so all of that brings us to can — or more like should — you actually consider yourself “dating” if you’ve never been on a date with the person you’re giving that relational status to. I mean, if we’re going by what I just stated a date is and is for, the answer would be “no”…damn near a HELL NO. Because, well, let’s go back to elementary school for just a second. When you add “ing” to a word, that is verbalizing that some sort of action is taking place. And so, if a man is dating you, this means that he is actively taking you on dates. Therefore, if you’ve never been on a date with him before, how can the two of you be, well, DATING?
Again, I am not overlooking the fact that, eventually, dating can include things like him cooking for you at his place or you having him over to watch some throwback movies at yours. Yet it truly can’t be said enough that dating should be transpiring in levels, and so, if things start off that way, it’s really challenging to go backward, especially if you’ve let him know that he can just hang out at your house, pretty much from day one, and to you, that is dating (even though it’s actually not).
Now, I’m not saying that a man who never dates you isn’t “something-ing” you (LOL). I’m just saying that the word you are using, you probably shouldn’t. You need to open up a dictionary and look up another one that more accurately defines what is going on. Bonding? Maybe. Evolving? Perhaps. Shoot, before even finding other words, let’s get down to what may really be going on: SEXING. And no, sexing is not the same as dating.
SEX. IS. NOT. DATING.
Whenever guys tell me that they are so over women who think that sex should be a substitute for an actual birthday present or Christmas gift, I am totally on their side. It really can’t be said enough that sex is an even exchange of pleasure (and if it’s not, no one is making you stay; state your case or know that you can always leave), and so no, it’s not fair to think that on Valentine’s Day, you deserve the world of tangibles while he gets what he just got from you last Tuesday. Lawd, the manipulation of sex really needs to come to an end…and swiftly.
The same thing applies to sexing someone being put in the same category as dating them. While sex is definitely a way of getting to know another person on a profound level, I don’t care what pop culture says: it’s still an honor and a privilege for someone to experience you like that. It’s also achieving a different goal than dating does. What I mean is, that dating is about getting to know someone better, while sex is more about two people doing something that gives them physical pleasure.
Please take what I said into context because, if you’ve read enough of my articles on sex, you know that I think that it ultimately holds more value than merely a climax. However, what I’m saying when it comes to what we’re talking about today is, on a very basic and carnal level, you don’t have to be intimate with someone you have sex with — not mentally or emotionally. You can be as self-absorbed as you want to be by looking at the activity as a way to get something that you want…without really knowing much about who helped you to achieve that particular goal at all.
On a date, you want to know someone else. During sex, you can totally put up that wall, still get a need met, and go on about your business. And you can do this for weeks, months, even years if someone allows it. Because if you’ve already decided that sex is all you want, sex is all that you will give.
And that’s why I had to tell my “daughters,” damn near on repeat, that if you’ve never seen anything with him beyond his bedspread and bedroom ceiling, sweeties, you’re not dating that man. You’re having sex with him (and as teens, I don’t even know how good that is). The reason why he’s letting you use the word “dating” is so he can get what he wants without giving you what you actually deserve. Unfortunately, I’ve had to share that revelation with some grown women, too.
Yes, you can have sex with someone you are dating. At the same time, sex is not a date.
Even “sex dates” require planning beforehand and oftentimes aren’t the cheapest dates on the planet (when’s the last time that you’ve booked a hotel reservation?) One more time for the stubborn ones in denial in the back: for a man to be dating you, HE NEEDS TO TAKE YOU OUT ON ACTUAL DATES.
Is Not (Officially) Dating a Deal-Breaker?
As I was having this conversation with a 20-something woman not too long ago, I saw the light bulb come on. She asked me if, after almost a year of un-dating-while-sexing, should she end the relationship. If you can relate and you’re wondering the same thing — I can’t tell you what your deal-breakers should be. What I will say is if you realize that you want more, you should have it. What I will say is if that guy truly cares about you beyond being glad that he can just plop on your couch or get you in his bed without much effort on his part, and you bring all of this up, he will take note. What I will say is no woman should look back on her life and realize that she never experienced real, true, and actual dating before. What I will say is if you feel like you’re settling, you probably are. What I will say is what people value, they will invest in.
Listen, I’ve been with guys who I’ve been on dates with. I’ve been with guys who I was sexing. I’ve been with guys who we spent a lot of time together doing neither (translation: we hung out a lot and never really went out or made it to the intercourse stage of things). And while I’ve had some great sex and cool memories with Door B and Door C, by far, my fondest memories are the men who I dated and who dated me (because I don’t mind taking men out on dates sometimes; another article, another time). Because I felt cherished. I felt appreciated. I felt seen — with no strings attached. And that’s another thing that actually and literally dating someone does.
So, I’ll just say for me, that I won’t lie to myself and say I’m dating someone if I’ve not been on an official date with said person. I won’t let a guy get away with saying that he’s dating me either (I actually know a man who used to say that he was dating multiple women because, to him, if he ever took you out at all, that constituted dating….NAH).
Through trial and error, observation, and emotional evolution, I get that when someone is for real dating me, they have plans for us — short and long-term — in a way that someone who isn’t dating me (even if he’s sexing me) probably doesn’t. Because if they did, we’d be on dates due to the purpose that they serve. But hey…again, that’s just me.
As I wrap this up, if you’re on the fence about where your dynamic stands, forward this to the guy in question. Let his response/reaction influence what you should do. Because if you get an Elmo shrug, I’m not sure if there’s going to be much in your future beyond whatever you’re currently doing and accepting. If he wants to discuss it — good. Looks like you might get a date in your future. And once you’ve had a real one, it’s hard to go back to not.
Life is short. Bedrooms aren’t going anywhere. GO. ON. SOME. ACTUAL. DATES.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by FG Trade/Getty Images