I must admit that there's an irony here. What I mean by that is it is fascinating that, since one of my passions is reconciling divorced married couples, it's a little weird that I would even be open to penning a piece about friends who may need to get a "divorce". I think a part of the reason why I somewhat support the latter kind of break-up is because, I actually tend to see more people put up with toxicity in their friendships than in their marriages. It really is interesting—at least it is to me—that someone can vow "until death parts us" to their spouse and be out in two years flat, but an individual they did not make a formal commitment to? That person can talk about them, disregard their needs and ultimately prove to be more of a foe than an ally and somehow, there's all kinds of tolerance and second chances offered up in their direction.
I could pen an entire piece on how a lot of folks are more loyal to their friends than their spouses because they aren't actual friends with their life partner and probably never were…but we'll save that for another day. What I'll say for now is this—because I know, firsthand, all of the good that a healthy friendship can do and all of the bad that a toxic one can bring into your life, I do think that sometimes friendships need to end in their own version of a divorce; divorce in the sense of experiencing "total separation; disunion"—for the ultimate well-being of both individuals. And just what are some of the indicators that you've experienced enough to let a particular friend go?
6 Signs It's Time To Let A Friend Go
1.Does Communication Suck?
If you were to ask a divorced person you know about what led to the ending of their marriage, one of the things that they would probably mention is there was a breakdown in communication. Communication is what helps two people to mentally and emotionally connect to one another, so yeah, if that isn't happening effectively, couples end up feeling misunderstood, ignored and end up growing apart.
Same thing with friendships. If you and one of your friends aren't hearing each other out, respecting each other's feelings and perspectives, are ignoring each other's vocalized needs (and triggers), are impatient while dealing with one another, and/or aren't making the time to emotionally connect, these are clear signs of poor communication. And while it doesn't automatically mean that the friendship is doomed, what it does mean is you two aren't in a good space and, if you leave things where they are, the relationship isn't going to get better…over time, it's only going to get worse.
2.Is Any Form of Abuse Transpiring?
I've been through some stuff. Believe you me. But if I were to think about some of the most emotionally abusive situations that I've been in, it would have to be with people I considered to be my friends. How do you know if one of your friends falls under this category? Manipulation is a form of emotional abuse. Users are emotionally abusive. People who make you feel like you constantly have to walk on eggshells in their presence are emotionally abusive. Individuals who aren't open to negotiating, ones who take the "It's my way or the highway" approach, they are emotionally abusive. Ghosting in and out is a form of emotional abuse. Giving the silent treatment when things don't go their way is emotional abuse. Expecting you to be there for them when they aren't there for you is a form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting you is a form of emotional abuse. I'm sure you get this gist now.
And why do so many of us put up with this type of treatment? From my own personal experiences, 1) I think a lot of us don't realize that it is abuse in the first place and/or 2) we feel like friendship is about standing by our friend, even when they are being assholes. But here's the thing about the second point—an author by the name of Darlene Quimet once said, "Controllers, abusers and manipulators don't question themselves. They don't ask themselves if the problem is them…they always say the problem is someone else." So while you're out here thinking that you're "loving your friend through their abusive tendencies", if they are textbook abusers, they're probably not even thinking about, let alone caring about, how they're acting or how it's affecting you. And when someone isn't self-aware or respectful enough of others to make necessary changes…nothing changes.
Most of us wouldn't stand for physical or perhaps even verbal abuse from a friend. But if you're constantly being taken on an emotional roller coaster ride, that's a form of abuse too. And if you bring this to your friend's attention and, frankly, they don't give a damn, this is a really good reason to strongly consider initiating a friendship divorce. Stat.
3.Is Your Friend Disloyal?
Another reason why a lot of married couples end their union is due to infidelity; you know, one or both people being unfaithful. On the friendship tip, unfaithfulness tends to come in the form of being disloyal. Disloyalty can be someone who talks about you behind your back. Disloyalty can also be someone who breaks "the codes" that are between the two of you. Some other ways that a person can be disloyal include—telling your business, not having your back when times are difficult, being competitive over being supportive (which is oftentimes a clear indication of envy), acknowledging your friendship in different ways based on who they are around (you're their bestie unless someone they think is "more important" is in their presence, then they downplay the relationship), and/or them saying or doing things that prove to be deceptive or untrustworthy in any way.
Sometimes, we'll put up with someone like this because we met them this way. What I mean by that is they treated other folks like this, charmed their way into our lives, and somehow, we thought things would be different when it came to us. But like another author by the name of Chobir Dokan once said, "If they disrespect you to your face, imagine what they are doing behind your back." You are no exception to a point like this.
It's hard to be in a relationship with anyone who is disloyal. So, if you read this part of the article and someone immediately came to mind, just keep in mind that some definitions of disloyal include treacherous, dangerous and insecure. If you want to try and maintain something with someone based on those traits, all I've got to say is good luck. Oh, and be careful too.
4.Are You the Only One Who’s Working on the Relationship?
I think it's hilarious how much Divorce Court pops up in my YouTube feed. Sometimes I watch, sometimes I don't. But when it came to a particular episode where a woman was basically being a man's wife while he was being her boyfriend, I appreciated what Judge Lynn Toler had to say about it—"Never do wife duties at girlfriend prices…the first meal I ever cooked my husband was a week after we were married…you're not giving me a ring and some security, clean your own stuff. I ain't got time for that; I've got things to do. You think I'm good enough to share your body, you think I'm good enough to have your baby—you think that he thinks you're good enough that he can trust you with his clothes and his business but he can't give you his last name? Ugh."
Ugh is right. It's commentary like this that inspired me to pen pieces like "Why I'll Never Call Someone A 'Boyfriend' Again" and "Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife". And, on the friendship tip, it inspired me to also write "Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone 'Friend'". Trust me, I know what it's like to care for someone, both on a romantic and purely friendship level, and then move on those feelings without getting clarity on whether the person that I'm devoting so much of what I have to is on the same page as I am. When you don't take the time out to see if they see the relationship in the same way that you do, that is how you can end up doing most of the work to maintain it. Why? Because you value it more than they do. Plain and simple.
Coming to this realization isn't an automatic friendship deal-breaker. What should be is once you come to this realization, and bring it to their attention, nothing changes. Now we've got a real problem because, if your friend is cool with you doing 80 percent of what it takes for the relationship to remain intact, not only do they not care very much about the friendship itself, but they don't care as much about you as they should either.
And please tell me why you should remain friends with anyone who would disrespect you in this manner? Like Judge Toler said, "Ugh." Just ugh.
5.Do Things Seem to Be Getting Progressively Worse?
Some friendships, unfortunately, end up dying a very slow and painful death. The reason why is because, although we see the writing that is on the wall, we try and act like the relationship isn't getting to the point where it's proving to be unhelpful or non-beneficial to both individuals. When I think about this particular point, a former friend who stayed at least three years longer than they should have comes to mind. I knew there was a hard conversation that needed to be had, but I kept avoiding it because, since they were so arrogant and entitled, I knew that they would play the victim if I brought my concerns up.
In hindsight, I wish I had though, because if we had ended things sooner, I still would've had some level of respect for them. But because I kept allowing matters to get worse and worse, by the time I did officially dip out, I didn't even really like them anymore. I still don't. A big part of that is because I kept trying to be a friend while they kept being anything but. As a result, it made me resentful, then angry…and then abruptly done. The problem with that is it's a poor assumption that friendship divorces have to be ugly and messy. But if a relationship lasts way past its time, that's exactly how it could end up. A big ole' emotional mess.
Moral to the story—if you see your friendship is on life support, opt for quality more than quantity. End it sooner than later because the sooner that you do, the faster you can heal and open your heart to those who will be good friends in your life.
6.Have “Seasons of Separation” Never Worked Out for the Better?
One more. Whenever a married couple asks me what I think about them separating, the first thing I always say is, "If you're doing it because you need space in order to come back together and work harder at your relationship, I'm all for it." Then I recommend that they invest in the bookHope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed by Dr. Gary Chapman (the same guy who came up with the love languages theory that many of us apply to our relationships). The reason why I think it's so important to put this on record with troubled couples is because a lot of people just see separation as a step away from divorce. But really, what it needs to be is a time when two people can get the space that they need to see if and how to make their marriage work.
I think that sometimes friendships need the same thing. Several years ago, a former friend of mine and I kept butting heads so much that we took a break for several months. During that time, I really did evaluate the good, the bad and the counterproductive about us. By the time we had a chat about where things stood, I came to the conclusion that, although I would always love her, we really did need to part ways—to "divorce". It was years later before I saw her again, but when I did, there was hugging, there was catching up…there was peace. Then there was walking away from one another so that we could continue on with our lives—separately.
In hindsight, I think that our divorce is the reason why there was no bitterness and drama when we did finally see each other again. When two people choose not to communicate their feelings and needs, when ghosting transpires, that can leave real scars because, there's like an element of disregard and disrespect that's left behind. But as I oftentimes say, when two people come into a relationship together, they really should come to an agreement together if it should end as well. More times than not, this approach results in a "clean break" that still might be painful, but it also can make it easier to heal and move on as well.
Just like marriages, I strongly doubt that a lot of people go into their friendships with an ending in mind. But also, just like marriage, friendships should be healthy, fruitful and mutually beneficial. If you read all of this and that's something that you can't say is transpiring in one of your friendships, it may be time for a total separation—a friendship divorce. Think it over. Pray about it. Discuss it with your friend. If you discover that it is time to move on, there is a poetic irony here—coming to a place of accepting that you both need something different and perhaps better actually is being each other's friend. Even if that means not actually being friends with one another…anymore.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
10 Signs You've Got A Close (TOXIC) Friend
8 Signs That You Might Be The Toxic Friend Of The Group
Breaking Up With Toxic Friends Won't Be Easy, But It's So Necessary
5 Signs Of A Toxic Friendship That Is Secretly Poisoning Your Life
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Did you know that xoNecole has a new podcast? Join founder Necole Kane, and co-hosts Sheriden Chanel and Amer Woods, for conversations over cocktails each and every week by subscribing to xoNecole Happy Hour podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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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.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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15 Women Share Their Personal Hacks For Better Orgasms (And Sex Overall)
I’m pretty sure that I’m basically being redundant when I say that I write about sex quite a bit which means that I spend quite a bit of time doing research when it comes to sex-related intel, tips, and hacks. Yet I have to say that when it comes to getting some much-needed information in the realm of coitus, it’s been my clients (along with random interviews that I do with people because I don’t mind talking to complete strangers about intimate ish) who have garnered me some of the best takeaways.
Take orgasms, for example. Since I’m well aware of the fact that vaginal orgasms (especially) can be a real challenge for a lot of women, I’m constantly on the hunt for what can help to “bridge the gap” in that arena.
And that’s why I decided, this time, to forego science articles, vlogs, and online data and instead ask some women for myself about some of the things that they do to make having an orgasm, improving their orgasms, and their sexual experience overall something that is so much better for themselves.
So, grab yourself a light aphrodisiac snack (check out “Eat Your Way To Better Sex With Aphrodisiacs”) and dig into what 15 Black women told me gets them off, in a mighty big way, just about every time.
*As always, middle names have been used so that everyone can feel comfortable giving up the goods…umm, so to speak*
1. Rochelle. 37. Married for 11 Years.Giphy
“While y’all be out here talking about some kegels, what I’m into is my man giving me a hip massage. The key is to make sure you use some sort of massage oil that has menthol in it. Between the tingling of the menthol and him rubbing on your hips, not only is it really relaxing, but the ‘minty feel’ opens your body up so that once intercourse begins, you’re less tense, and that makes having an orgasm so much easier to do.”
2. Karmyn. 27. Single.
“Kiss him the way you want him to penetrate you. Literally, use your tongue as if it were a penis and move it in his mouth like you want him to move inside of you. The kissing will turn you both on, and if he follows your instructions, you should be able to orgasm with no problem."
"I learned this trick when I asked an ex of mine to explain what p — sy feels like, and he said the best way to explain it is what a tongue feels like inside of [the] mouth. He should’ve never told me that, boy! It’s been hell in these streets ever since!”
3. LaChelle. 43. In a Serious Relationship for Two Years.
“If you’re self-conscious about your body, get some lingerie that has cutouts in them. There is a lot of sexy stuff out here that can have you covering up the parts you’re not comfortable with while still giving him access to the ‘main events.’ My man loves one of my lace one-piece teddies that has no crotch, and it’s easier for me to orgasm because I’m not overthinking the entire time.”
4. Trinitee. 27. Married for One Year.Giphy
“We’ve only been married a year, but we weren’t exactly abstinent when we were just dating. So, we like to find ways to keep it fresh. One thing that we do is go ‘hotel hopping’ once a month. We find a new hotel and meet each other there. We try and do different hours of the day and come with a surprise in hand. Like he might bring a new sex toy, and I might have on some lingerie that he’s never seen before. Then we text each other beforehand to talk about the best part of the sex we had from the last hotel we visited. The anticipation is foreplay.”
5. Wren. 33. In a Serious Relationship for Six Years.
“What works for me is doing afterplay as foreplay. What I mean by that is, taking a nap naked with my boo before any sexual activity is one of my favorite things. Being up under him, especially if he’s spooning me, feels really good, sleeping together is very intimate, and — there’s something about being awakened outta my sleep with kisses on my neck and back that almost makes me want to cum right then and there.”
6. Bevalyn. 40. Living with Her Partner for Four Years.
“Get on your back and have him kneel in front of you."
"Put your legs over his, and when he penetrates you, ask him to use one of his hands to apply pressure on your pubic bone — the area right above your clitoris."
"As he’s gently pushing down while he’s inside of you…if you don’t cum from that, I don’t know what else to tell you, sis.”
7. Sophia. 38. In a Serious Relationship for Two Years.Giphy
“Shower sex can be a bit much, and I don’t trust a used jacuzzi. What we do is fill up our own inflatable pool and get it on inside of it. It’s perfect during the summer, late at night, because we have a tall fence. Just make sure that you bring some silicone lube to keep things slippery down there. An inflatable pool has been one of the best sex investments that we have ever made!”
8. Averie. 35. Single.
“Wanna know if your man is as into giving you head as he claims? Right after he goes down on you, ask him to immediately penetrate you. If he’s hard, he’s totally into it, and if he catches you soon enough, you’ll be in the perfect position to have a multiple orgasm. Don’t say I didn’t give you the ultimate cheat code.”
9. Victoria. 40. Married for 11 Years.
“Shellie, you actually got me on the cinnamon kick when I read one of your articles that talked about applying cinnamon oil to my clit before oral sex. Since [then], I’ve been doing some research, and it says that cinnamon is also an aphrodisiac because it stimulates blood flow. So, I’ll also drink cinnamon tea throughout the day or share a cinnamon cocktail with my husband. Works like a charm.”
Shellie here: She’s right. I did say that. LOL. You can read for yourself: “Here's How To Have Some Really Great Fall-Themed Sex.”
10. Daniela. 28. Engaged for Six Months.Giphy
“Ever been fingered backward? What I mean is, get on all fours and have him insert a finger or two from behind with his palm being flat. That way, the space in between your anus and your vagina will get a massage while your vagina gets penetrated. There’s nothing quite like it.”
11. Saven. 32. Single.
“Ice. Have him rub a little bit of ice on your clitoris and then immediately warm it up with his tongue. There is something about the drastic changes in temperature that gets me every time. And I mean, EVERY time.”
12. Ferynn. 30. Living with Her Partner for Five Years.
“I don’t know about you, but my man loves to put my legs up in the air. It was never really my favorite move until I read that behind the knees are an unsung erogenous zone. Whoever found that out was onto something because if he rubs back there while talking real crazy to me in a deep voice? Here I come…HERE I COME!”
13. Vivienne. 30. Engaged for One Year.Giphy
“Never underestimate the power of a foot massage. Just make sure that he applies pressure in the middle of your foot where your arch is. It instantly makes me wet. I asked my doctor why and he said that it’s probably because foot massages tend to increase blood flow, including where the vagina is. Either way, it’s always a good night if I get a foot massage first.”
14. Michelle. 24. Single.
“I’m a doula who owns my own exercise ball…for sex. When I first started showing couples the positions that women can get into to make labor easier, it got me to thinking that some of those positions could work for sex too — and they do."
"Something about the movement of the ball takes the pressure off of the back for both men and women. It also makes getting into certain positions a lot easier so that you can enjoy sex for a lot longer.”
15. Carol. 31. Married for Five Years.
“My husband and I have bets. If he wants me to make some of his favorite meals five days in a row, he’s gotta make me cum five times in a row. If I want him to get me something that’s not in our budget, I’ve gotta attempt one of his sex fantasies. We’re both competitive as hell, so it works for us because honestly, even when we ‘lose’…we win!”
Listen, I don’t know about y’all, but this was definitely worth my while. After all, ain’t nothin’ like some Black women who can speak from very-personal-and-up-close experience about what makes them happy — especially if it can increase the odds of bringing some sexual satisfaction your way too.
Speaking of, if you want to share the wealth, drop some of your own orgasm-related tips in the comment section. The more of us who can woosah on the regular, the better, chile. Straight up. #havefun #lotsofit
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Featured image by Giphy