Life is a funny thing. As I came to the close of my first premarital session with a male friend of mine and his fiancée, my thoughts went back to the first day that I met her. Her side-eyes. Her flippant attitude. Her overall dismissive energy. I mean, to an extent I get it. It's no secret that her man is fine. Anyway, I guess it was an indirect shout-out to my genes that, once she found out my age (her man will be 30 this year; I'll be 46. She assumed I was younger than that), she toned down a bit. But, it still took about six months before she made real eye contact and even longer before I stopped getting "the church hug" (you know, that to-the-side stuff that pastors and deacons do) and her embrace was more heartfelt and genuine.
Now? Now she trusts me enough to, not only remain friends with her man, but provide counsel for their future union. That's how I know that it is indeed possible for a man, who is in a relationship, to be able to keep his female friends around; at least, the truly platonic ones (check out "The Word 'Platonic' Is Sacred. Literally."). At the same time, that doesn't mean it doesn't require some finessing and big-time maturity on everyone's part in order to make it work.
But what if you've tried to be nice—I mean, genuinely nice, not nice-nasty or, as Michel'le used to put it, "Nicety"—and it still doesn't seem to break the ice with ole' girl? Is that a precursor to you throwing your entire relationship with your male friend away? Nah. I wouldn't do that just yet. First, take a moment to process the following questions. If you do that—and perhaps run a few of them by your friend as well—you might discover that there is a way for all three of you to co-exist in harmony. At least, to some extent.
How Long Have They Been Together?
At this point and stage in my life, I try and avoid as much drama as possible. That said, while it might sound a little "well damn", one way I do that is I don't do a ton of emotional investing in my friends' relationships unless they think that it's going to become serious. And since a fair share of my male friends are casual daters, there's no point in trying to get close to women who may or may not be around in the next couple of months.
If you're already at the point of meeting a male friend's "new interest", then it's too late to apply this rule (and boundary). But what I will say is if they've only been seeing each other for three months or less and she's giving you the cold shoulder, I wouldn't put too much time or energy into it.
Chances are, it's not so much about you as the fact that she knows that you and the man she is seeing have something that they don't yet—the foundation of time and intimacy. She's probably more uncomfortable and insecure more than anything else.
On the other hand, if it's been a hot minute and she's not a fan, it's important to figure out what you want. Do you want to be besties with her? Do you simply want to be treated with respect? Do you want to kind of "agree to disagree" but her not push your male friend to the point of having to choose between you and her? Whatever it is that you desire, what I will say is this—don't let the tension linger. If it remains and he does decide to marry her, it could come to the point where he will have to make a choice. And if he's going to be a responsible husband, I bet you can guess who will get "cut". Not because he doesn't love you but because his wife takes top rank. As she should. (If you put yourself in her shoes, I think you would totally agree.)
What Do You Think the Issues Are?
Some women are just petty. They don't even know why they don't like someone; they simply choose not to and there's nothing that you can do about people like that other than pray for them. But if she's not feelin' you because you and her guy have a past; the first (or second or third) interaction was hella awkward; he's told her some things that you've said about her or their relationship; she knows that he once had feelings for you and/or she feels like the two of you are too close for her comfort—well, to a certain extent, that is understandable.
The only way to know for sure is to ask her. What? You thought I was gonna say ask him? He may or may not know. Besides, even if he does, I wouldn't be shocked in the least if, the way he relays it ends up making matters worse instead of better. So yeah, the only way to get to the root of the issue is to go to the horse's mouth, so to speak. Not to "confront" her (that will put her on the defensive) but to address her feelings as well as yours. Just make sure that you do it in a productive way. This brings us to the next point.
Have You and Her Spent Any Time Together?
It's amazing, the kind of potential issues that can be put to rest when two people spend time alone. I can personally attest to this because, pretty much every time that I've spent time with a male friend's significant other, without him present, she's been more relaxed, we've gotten to know each other better, and it's been all good.
Pretty much all of us are designed to respond to energy; therefore, I totally get it if your friend's girlfriend's bad vibes cause you to put up a bit of a wall. But a sign of being a self-assured woman is when you don't let someone else's issues determine if you have the same ones.
What I mean by that is, you are making boss moves if, your male friend's lady is cuttin' up and you're still like, "Hey, let's meet for lunch or drinks after work. I'd like to get to know you better." Giving both of you time to feel each other out will bring some sort of clarity so that either you can 1) get along, moving forward; 2) figure out how both of you can peacefully co-exist in his life (even if you don't really want to be in each other's) or 3) come to the conclusion that a discussion does need to be had with him. Perhaps with all three of you.
How Does He Feel About It?
How your male friend feels is definitely valid. The reason why I say that is because, if he values having both of you in his life, he's not gonna leave you out here trying to figure out a solution alone. Matter of fact, most of the mature men that I know tend to find it to be a red flag when their girl can't get along with his friends because it can indicate some not-so-subtle signs of jealousy, control or some other toxic emotion or agenda.
Now, I will say that he may not be as sensitive to what's happening as you are. In other words, he might be like, "So long as the two of you are cordial and I don't have to hear either one of you insult the other, I'm fine." But if the vibes that she's sending you are making you feel some type of way to the point where it is putting stress on your relationship with your male friend, you are well within your rights to bring that to his attention. The venting about ole' girl? Save that for a friend who has absolutely no ties to your lil' "threesome". But the bottom line of you wanting to feel more at peace about the situation? Like I said, a mature man who wants to keep you in his life is going to find the best possible way to handle that.
Is the Issue “Dislike” or DISRESPECT?
I was once really close to a guy whose wife turned out to be pretty cray-cray. I'd like to say I was shocked, but when he told me that he was going to propose and I asked him what her flaws were, he said, "I mean, she's got a jealous streak but…" Fast forward to pretty much the first couple of months of them being husband and wife, and—surprise, surprise—she was driving him crazy with her jealousy and control issues. Who did he call about it, often? Me. Matter of fact, for a while there, our friendship turned into more of a coach/client kind of thing. That is, until one day, she hacked into his email account, saw some of my friend and I's correspondence and decided to confront me directly, even though we had never formally met and without her husband's knowledge. She did that, even though the emails were really all about trying to help him figure out how to make his marriage work.
My friend? He gets credit for addressing us both (in an email; he lived out of state) and actually correcting her in some areas where she came at me. But once I knew that his wife was an online hacker, I pretty much knew that he and I's relationships was a wrap. When you love someone, sometimes you've got to let them go. And me? I fully get that once a friend gets married, their spouse is their top priority. Besides, for several years following that, I only heard about more drama that she was bringing into his life; so much that there really wasn't much time or space for he and I to remain friends. Besides 2.0—what she did was about more than disliking me. We all don't have to like each other in this world. How she came at me was straight up disrespectful, she seemed like she had no plans on stopping and, to tolerate a lot of that was only going to piss me off and put strain on my friend and I's friendship…possibly to the point of us falling out too. (He and I don't really talk anymore but things faded out pretty peacefully.)
That's why, it is also important to ponder if you and your guy friend's girlfriend (or even wife) don't like each other (in the sense of you simply have no desire to be homies) or if she is disrespecting you or even you are disrespecting her. If the latter is the case, there is probably an expiration date on your friendship. You should probably brace yourself for that.
What Boundaries Are Your Friend Prepared to Put into Place?
If your male friend's significant other is mature in her own right, I'm thinking that she will be on the tip of, "Your homegirl ain't really my cup of tea but I trust you. So, as long as you both are on the up and up with your friendship and she treats me with courtesy and respect whenever we do run into each other, I'm fine." Basically, what I just displayed is a boundary and honestly, if you were going to try and keep your friendship going while he has a lady in his life, boundaries were going to be needed anyway; even if she absolutely adored you (because then you would have to be careful to not overshare or violate the sacredness of your relationship with your male friend).
Boundaries are limits and when our friends of the opposite sex are in relationship, those are needed, just so everyone can be at peace. Again, if your male friend's girlfriend ain't thrilled about you, she doesn't really have to be. Just so long as you respect what they've got goin' on and she does the same for your friendship, everyone can co-exist. Everyone doesn't have to be friends. Everyone just needs to honor the connections. Grown folks know this. Hopefully your male friend wouldn't settle for anything less than a grown ass woman. Real talk.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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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I didn’t think much could get better about the blissful high that comes with oral. That was until I came across the Kivin Method.
As someone who was never a huge fan of oral sex and could largely take it or leave it, I must admit that I have started to come around in recent years. With my head thrown back, hands gripping sheets and hair, and toes curling from the intense sensations of the work my partner is putting in at my center, I now give myself over to the pleasurable act wholly and unapologetically.
When I came across a way to maximize the pleasure I receive from cunnilingus (already), I had no choice but to tap in. Who knew the key to taking oral sex to new heights was giving it a sideways twist? For those of you who might also be interested in ways to spice up the way you do oral, experience faster and stronger orgasms, or simply want to indulge in something new with your partner, the Kivin Method could definitely be the oral sex technique for you, too.
Keep reading to learn about the method that is sure to have you writhing in ecstasy in no time at all.
What Is The Kivin Method?
For the uninitiated, the Kivin Method is an oral sex technique that focuses on stimulating the clitoris from a different angle. Dubbed “sideways oral” by some, this method involves the action of giving head from a side-to-side movement as opposed to the up-and-down motion that people typically perform when giving head. (If you need a visual, this illustration is helpful.)
The difference in approach as you’re receiving head can be a game-changer in how you receive pleasure. Not only does the giving partner have access to the clitoris, but they can also access more easily the vulva and the labia, which are objectively a bigger focus in this version of cunnilingus. More access means wider coverage, and that, plus the new sensation of oral from a different angle, can heighten the way you experience oral sex that much more.
Where more pleasure flows, intense orgasms are sure to follow.
How To Do The Kivin Method
If you want to know how to do the Kivin Method, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The receiver lays on their back while the giver positions themselves perpendicular to the receiver. Their head will be facing the vulva, but instead of vertical, their face will be horizontal to the vulva.
From there, the giver can get to business, ensuring that they keep their head perpendicular to the receiver’s vulva while working on their craft. Because this technique can be more intense for some receivers, start slowly by stroking the vulva and clitoris sideways with the tongue, and allow sensations and communication from the receiver to be a guide of what you need more or less of with the Kivin Method.
Ultimately, the Kivin Method allows experimentation and unlocking what pressure, rhythm, and tricks work best for the giver and the receiver. Try implementing a finger or two, or adding a sex toy to the mix to intensify the act even further.
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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images