Sometimes, I'll happen upon some data that, while it doesn't surprise me one bit, I'm grateful to share it because it helps to confirm something that I find myself saying a lot. Today, what I'm referring to is what I hear, nonstop, from husbands when I'm in a lot of my sessions. I'm pretty sure that you can tell from the title that this is in the lane of sex specifically. And y'all, if there are two things that at least 70 percent of the men I speak with say that they wish they got more of, it's — pretty sure you're not shocked by this first one — sex followed by what I don't want to give away in this intro.
You know, there are a billion articles out here that touch on things like sexual technique, toys and positions. Yet the reality is, if you really want to be considered a great lover, there is something that trumps all of this. According to men, anyway. I'll get into it now.
What Does a Man Desire More than an Orgasm?
Recently, I read an article about a study that said there is something in particular that 95 percent of men (who participated) said that they wanted more than even the pleasure that they experience from sex itself. Can you guess what it is? Drum roll, please. It's to feel sexually desired. For that to happen, they really wanted their partner to initiate sex more often.
Instantly, when I read that, I thought about another article that was published on Fatherly's site not too long ago. It's entitled, "Why Am I Always the One Initiating Sex?". It gets into some of the reasons why wives oftentimes don't take the lead in this area including men having higher testosterone levels (which can make them more "aggressive" on the sexual tip); women being conditioned to let a man make the first move; women (especially mothers) being too tired to initiate sex and, women sometimes having lower libidos, in part, because they feel exhausted (those are just some of the leading factors, by the way).
Most of y'all know that I work with married couples for a living, so yes — all of these reasons are quite viable. However, another reason that I think needs to go on record is, a lot of us don't make sexually affirming men a top priority. It's like we've got this wack mentality that, so long as we're giving him some, that should be all that he requires; when, the reality is, contrary to popular belief (or is it assumption?), men have feelings, men want to feel wanted, men don't always want to take the lead in the bedroom.
So, why don't a lot of us realize this? A point that the article I read made is, while there are plenty of studies on what women desire sexually, there hasn't always been much published data on men. Now that things are changing, we're getting to understand men more on a mental and emotional level in this lane. And according to the study, feeling desired by their partner was "very important" to 58 percent of them, "extremely important" to 20 percent and "paramount" to eight percent. Yes y'all, it's a really big deal.
To confirm what, again, I already believe to be true, I decided to ask some men who I personally know about their thoughts on all of this. If you're curious, I'll share with you what five of them said.
5 Men Tell Me How Being the “Main Initiator” for Sex Makes Them Feel
Alex. 26. Single. "I'm gonna speak freely and say that if I have to initiate all of the time, that makes me think that the woman has a sense of entitlement. Like I should be so grateful that she's willing to have sex with me that I should be willing to do all of the work. Plus, women like that tend to not do a lot in bed overall. They'll just lay there. It's a turn-off."
Zachary. 34. Married. "When my wife and I were dating, she initiated a lot. It was about two years into our marriage that it started to change. I think it's because, since we were long-distance [while dating], there was a lot of thrill and excitement. After marriage, you can easily take each other for granted. That about sums it up. When women refuse to initiate, we feel taken for granted."
Josh. 30. Single. "I thought y'all hated patriarchy? OK, so where does all of this 'it's a man's job to seduce' come in? Lawd, pick a team and stay there. Just like you want to feel like we can't wait to tear your clothes off, we want to feel the same way."
Victor. 41. Divorced. "There's never one reason why a couple calls it quits. A big part of what caused my marriage to end is my wife had the philosophy that we could have sex whenever I initiated it but if I didn't, she could easily go weeks or months without it."
"One time, I waited to see how long she could go without bringing sex up. Eight months. And even then, I had to ask her what the deal was. She just said that sex wasn't that much of a priority to her, which meant that intimacy with us wasn't, which meant that I wasn't. If you're never initiating, don't assume that your man is cool with it. I can guarantee that he's not."
Donovan. 37. Single. "How are we supposed to know how you feel about us if you never initiate? If you are fine not having sex unless we make the first move, that sends the message that either sex isn't a priority for you or that you've got someone else on the side. People initiate sex because they enjoy it. If you're in a relationship and you're not doing that, you're sending a message that you might not be aware of — but we're taking note of."
Whew. All of this loudly expresses that if you thought that not initiating wasn't all of that big of a deal, clearly it is. So, what if you're someone who knows that you're not the best at initiating sex and therefore, you're not as consistent as you could — and probably should — be about making your partner feel more desirable? What should you do?
5 Ways to Make Your Partner Feel More Desirable in the Bedroom
1. Tell Your Man What You Adore About Him. Sexually.
Question. When's the last time that you gave your man a compliment? I'm not talking about saying something just to butter him up (so that you can get something out of him) or offering an affirmation in response to something positive that he just said to you. I mean, hitting him up out of the blue, just to tell him how amazing that you think he is. OK, now when have you done that as it relates to him sexually? You know — telling him what you love about his body, what your favorite thing is about him sexually or what you enjoy the most when the two of you are intimate. Even when life gets a little hectic and the two of you aren't able to have sex right then and there, taking the initiative to verbally affirm your partner is a very powerful way to make him feel desired. It also lets him know that sex is on your mind which, oftentimes, for men, is more than enough (for a while, anyway).
2. Plan Some Sex Dates
When you get a chance, check out "When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?" and "Tonight's The Night For A Really Romantic Sexual Experience". After you do, did you know that it's been cited that 45 percent of couples don't go on dates on a consistent basis? So, you already know that a sex date is like a rainbow unicorn for a lot of these folks. Listen, I can't think of one man who wouldn't be absolutely thrilled — and maybe even a little bit shocked — by a partner planning a date that has strictly sex on the menu. It definitely lets them know that you want some alone time with them, not to have dinner and watch a movie either. It's to have sex. And then some more sex. Sex dates are a male fan favorite. Yes, I have polled.
3. Sext More Often
If your man, out of the blue, shot you a text that said, "Damn. You're so good in bed" or "I can't ever get enough of you", how would it make you feel? Exactly.
Sexting is definitely a form of foreplay; however, it goes a bit deeper than that. It helps to boost your partner's self-esteem. It makes him feel sexually appreciated. It lets him know that you've got him on your mind, on a sexual level, even when you're apart.
How can someone not feel desired after a few sexts have been exchanged?
4. Give Him a “Sex” Gift
Another way to make your partner feel like he is sexually wanted is to by him a sex-themed gift. Some lingerie (for you) that's in his favorite color. Some massage oil that comes with a sexy lil' note. A hotel reservation. A sex-themed board game. A sex toy. A sex pillow. You get the idea. Put it on his pillow. On the desk in his (home) office. Even better, mail it. All of us feel special when we receive a present. It goes up a notch when the present has a sex-theme attached to it.
5. When’s the Last Time You Had a Quickie?
The five men who I spoke with in this piece? Something else I asked them was how they felt about quickies. It was interesting because, while you might assume that they all were down, 4 out of 5 said that they definitely prefer longer sessions. However, when it comes to feeling more desired by their partner, what they did like about them is it sent the message of "Even if I can only have you for a moment, I'll take it. That's how much I lust you right now." Listen, I'm all about quickie sessions from time to time because it can still connect you with your partner and create a release that will help to relax you. So, whether it's as soon as you get home tonight or first thing in the morning tomorrow, initiate one of those. Your man will feel wanted, you will feel less stressed and the combo can help to make things seem so much better in the world. For real, doe.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Dating a water sign is full of love and intensity. Water signs are often known to be more emotional than the rest of the zodiac, but what does this mean for their love life and for dating a water sign yourself? Well, it means experiencing a love that is refreshing at its best, consuming at its worst, but more importantly, a love that is deeply felt. See, water signs often find power in expressing their emotions, and being so vulnerable with their inner world creates partners who don’t just tell you how much they love and feel for you, but they want to show you so that you can feel it as well.
Water signs that are evolved and aligned with their highest selves are some of the most loving, romantic, and compassionate partners to have. You don’t have to guess with a water sign. If they like you, they will tell you, and if they don’t, they will tell you that as well. Even though water signs can be a little mysterious sometimes, they aren’t ones to hold back when it comes to expressing how they are feeling, which leads to a sense of transparency when dating them. Water signs at their worst, however, can be controlling and moody, and it depends on the person at hand. Water signs feel everything so deeply, and they can often attract negative energy into their life and let it consume them.
When it comes down to it, water signs put their relationships and loved ones first in life. So much of their time and day-to-day life is wrapped up in whom they love and care for, so they make a dedicated partner, to say the least. Sexually, water signs tend to be some of the most sensual as they need to feel the connection of the relationship on every level, and they crave this type of intimacy with their partners. They are sincere lovers who can intuitively feel how you feel and often read your mind because of it. They want to be known as a good partner, and although there are some water signs notoriously known for their toxic behavior, when you get a good one, you are loved by them for life.
Dating a Cancer
Cancers are known for their nurturing energy, though those close to them know there is a lot more to it than that. Cancers have a deep yearning for stability and safety and create their relationships around this part of themselves. Family and close loved ones are everything to a Cancer, and this is a partner that is perfect to bring home to the parents, and one whom you can build a strong family foundation with yourself as well. Cancers are the type of partners to treat you to something special that you mentioned once in passing and to make you feel like you are the center of their world.
At their best, Cancers are nurturing and protective, at their worst they are moody and restrictive.
The perfect types of date nights for a Cancer are ones where there aren't too many people around, and preferably a romantic date at home or somewhere they have already been and love. Many Cancers are known for their homemaking skills as well so don’t be shocked if they try to take rein here and surprise you with a homemade meal of your favorite dish. Cancers are homebodies, so if they invite you into their home, then that is a good sign they feel safe and comfortable with you which they need as a basis for the relationship. Dating a Cancer is a nostalgic type of love.
Learn how a Cancer pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Scorpio
Scorpios are passionate lovers and will go to the ends of the earth for you. Dating a Scorpio is like entering the depths of love, as they only form bonds with those they feel they have a strong connection with. Every Scorpio is different, and this is a sign that if you dated a few of them, you would see some similarities, but the experience you have of them will be completely different. Scorpios are masters at mirroring energy, and if they feel the love they are looking to give to another, then you can be assured they will give their all to the relationship.
At their best, Scorpios are loyal and magnetic, and at their worst, they are jealous and resentful.
Scorpio is another private sign, as most water signs are, and a perfect date night for them is one with moody lighting, minimal people or interruptions, and an intimate sort of environment. Scorpio is an intrigued lover and will want to know absolutely everything about you right away, but will take some time divulging any information about themselves. Dating a Scorpio is sexy, and you can feel their love and attraction towards you strongly when they are interested.
Learn how a Scorpio pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Pisces
Pisces is the hopeless romantic of the zodiac, and dreams of a fairytale type of love. This is the type of lover who wants to immerse themselves in art, fun events, music, and movies. They cherish every moment they spend with their partners, and love is never a dull experience for them. Pisces has a habit of being all over the place so this is a relationship that will sure to be a whirlwind, but one where you feel like you are dancing together rather than alone. Pisces are givers that want to make their partners feel loved the way they wish to. They tend to attract people who are more organized or “put together” than them, as they love to grow and learn more through their partnerships. This is the type of partner who wants to be led more than lead.
At their best, they are creative and compassionate, at their worst they are confused and co-dependent.
The perfect date night for a Pisces is one where you take the lead and plan something. They love to be thought of sincerely, and they will be swooned if you take them to their special places or do something that brings out their more extroverted side. Organizing something for them, not being flaky, and also taking your time when developing the relationship are all favored by Pisces. Dating a Pisces is like entering a dream of their own making.
Learn how a Pisces pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
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