I'm in my 40s. Therefore, I remember mixtapes very well. I'm also a really big fan of music which is why, when it came to some of the guys I slept with, I preferred for there to be no music playing in the background at all. Not because music doesn't set the mood; it's actually because it does it far too well. To this day, if I hear R. Kelly's "Seems Like You're Ready", D'Angelo's "Lady" or "So Anxious" by Ginuwine, my mind immediately goes back to particular people and, umm, activities. And since I actually do want to listen to R&B for the rest of my life, I had to be careful about how songs were able to—pardon the pun—penetrate my mind and heart space during the act.
I thought about all of this as I was talking to a couple who absolutely adores the super sensual and sex-triggering slow jam "Breathe" by Raheem DeVaughn. As they shared with me some of the things that makes each time feel about as good as the first time, even 12 years later—yeah, talk about relationship goals—they told me that they create a new playlist for sex every season. That's right—four times a year. They said that putting the tracks together gets them extra hype. Then, when they play them, it feels like each song was written just for them and their love life—and that makes the intimacy that much more intense. As a bonus, whenever they listen to old playlists, it will take them back to a certain experience, position or technique and that inspires them to replay the moment all over again.
Just so I could put Raheem's song into better perspective, I went home to re-listen to it after having that convo. Apparently he agrees with where they were coming from because, peep this line—"I know your favorite love song and how you like it on repeat/I was born a patient lover, so I'll start with your feet." Wheeeeew…wheeeee.
It's one thing to have great sex moments. Hopefully, we've all had that. But after taking in the pearls of wisdom from the couple who seemed to get so hot discussing their sex life that I wondered if they were gonna strip right in front of me—again, relationship goals—it inspired me to share some of what takes for two individuals to go from having good sex every once in a while to having unbelievable sex, pretty much every single time that they do it.
1. They Really Like Sex. Like REALLY Like It.
Something that I don't think gets talked about nearly enough is how many people actually like sex. I don't mean they're attracted to their partner or that they can get into it once the right spot is touched or kissed. What I mean is, they have a really hard time, even going a week without experiencing the act itself. That it's something they find to be enjoyable, it's something they are super fond of, and it's something that they prefer doing over…a billion other things. These are the kind of individuals who really like sex—and when you like something, you want to do it as often as you can. You also want to get better and better at it so that you can grow to like it that much more.
I can't tell you how many sessions I've sat in where a woman has said to me, "I can go months without sex and I'm good." If you mean "good" in the sense of being a single woman who isn't going to settle when it comes to choosing a partner, I'm with you. If you're a wife telling me this, that is anything but good. What many conversations have revealed is, oftentimes, it has little to do with their relationship and more to do with their views on sex overall. This why, I had to lead off with, if you want to have a consistently awesome sex life, first ask yourself how "into sex" you are to begin with. People who have great sex on a regular basis already know the answer to that question.
2. They See Sex As Being Necessary. VERY NECESSARY.
For the past few years, something that I've been trying to make a regular part of my daily practice is the art of minimalism—figuring out what I actually need while not feeling like all of my wants are something that automatically should be pursued. Since doing this, my finances have stabilized, I have less debt and honestly, I feel lighter because I'm not clouded with so much excess…so much stuff. Where exactly am I going with this? Unfortunately, if a lot of people were asked if sex was a need or not, many of them would say "no". They would probably say something along the lines of it being something that's fun to do and, with the right person, a beautiful experience. But at the same time, if someone were to ask them if they found sex to be a very necessary part of their lifestyle, they might just say "Eh" and shrug their shoulders.
This isn't the case for couples who have consistently great sex. There's food, water, shelter—and sex. And here's the thing about when you see something as being a need—you make provisions for it, you make time for it, you rely on it to provide for some aspect of your life.
The things that I want, I'll get around to those at some point. The things that I need, those are top priorities, no matter what. See the difference? Couples who have the best sex treat their sex life like Column B not Column A.
3. They Practice Sexual Mindfulness
One of the worst things that someone can be during sex is mentally preoccupied. In other words, they aren't completely present or fully in the moment. While their body is doing one thing, their mind is thinking about the project they've got to finish, the bill that needs to be paid or even, someone other than their partner. Meanwhile, couples who have great sex on a consistent basis? Something that is important to them is practicing mindfulness.
"Mindful" is such a trendy self-help word these days but one of my favorite definitions is found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary—"the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis." Two people who are intentional about being non-judgmental of one another's bodies or performance while sharing each other's thoughts and remaining aware of one another's emotions? Shoot, that's getting me all hot 'n bothered just thinking about it. Yep, sexual mindfulness is the dopest of the dope.
4. They Are Mad Adventurous
While checking out an article that said most women "go off of sex" at some point in a long-term relationship, guess the reason that was given? Boredom. Sheer boredom. I get why too because when we're bored, we're uninspired, creativity has gone totally out of the window and everything is pretty predictable. Hmph. When you apply all of this to sex, the phrase "tedious repetition" (a definition for being bored) comes to mind. Boring sex sometimes isn't bad…it's just…boring. It pretty much comes down to going through the motions, and when sex is like that, checking out a movie you've never seen or even painting your nails a new color can be more compelling.
For couples who have an incredible sex life, they absolutely can't relate to wanting to substitute something for sex…especially while they are having it. A part of the reason why is because of how adventurous they are. They like having sex in new places. They enjoy testing out new positions. Some even have sex-themed vision boards or bucket lists. To them, the key to improving their sex life is figuring out how to top themselves as often as possible. Yeah, their sex life is never boring. More than that, their sex life is always satisfying.
5. They Make Sure They Are Emotionally Connected
Oftentimes, when someone hears the phrase "emotional connection", love or even being in love is what comes to mind. While this tends to be the case for a lot of sexually active couples, there are some individuals who have great sex, even if love isn't exactly on the radar (or on the radar yet). How is that possible? They listen to each other. They esteem each other. They make sure that they both feel safe in one another's presence. They feel close even when there is no physical interaction taking place. When it comes to their personal dynamic, they don't question if the other values them or appreciates having them in their lives. There is peace without drama. This is what a healthy emotional connection looks like. And when you feel secure and comfortable with your partner, it's the foundation for the kind of sexual relationship that only gets better and better with time.
6. They’ve Got a “Nasty Meter”
OK so, y'all. Our managing editor is someone that I communicate with, at least a couple of times a week. If you check for her article byline (Sheriden Chanel), you'll notice that most of her content is sex-related, so it's not like it's a secret that she's a free spirit. But after listening to the xoHappyHour Podcast episode "What My Parents Never Told Me About Sex"? Let me just say this—if you're still trying to figure out the differences in the three voices, Sheriden is going to be the one who says the most "Umm…wow" stuff when it comes to sex and sexuality. Truly, her nastiness meter knows no bounds. NO. BOUNDS. I'm willing to bet that she has had some pretty phenomenal experiences because of it too.
And why am I using the word "nasty" instead of uninhibited? Whenever I think of intense, sweaty, no holds barred sex, for some reason Janet Jackson's track to "Nasty" plays in my mind—"I don't like no nasty car, I don't like a nasty food/The only nasty thing I like is the nasty groove/Huh, will this one do?/Uh-huh, I know".
Nasty grooves. No inhibitions. Let's. Do. This…FOR REAL. If there are a list of rules for folks who consistently have great sex, those phrases would about sum it up.
7. They Are Open, Honest and Real
Anyone who is in a healthy relationship, they are going to say that communication is a main component to a satisfying and lasting connection with someone. When you're truly able to communicate, you are able to be open, honest and real. Well, when it comes to sexual activity, this means being open about what your desires are, honest about what is and isn't working for you and real—really real—about what you want your overall sexual experience to be like.
While we're on the word "open", folks who have great sex on a regular basis also tend to be open-minded. Certain things that they naturally might not have been willing to try before, because they trust their partner, they are willing to explore more than usual. This doesn't mean that they allow themselves to be forced or even manipulated into doing what they don't want to do. But what it does mean is because their relationship is so safe and authentic, certain things are definitely up for negotiation.
8. They Don’t Overthink Everything
Does my body look good with the lights on? Will she think I'm big enough? Is my vagina ugly? What if I cum too quick? What if I can't climax at all?? Is she excited? Am I wet enough? Goodness. If there is a super underrated reason for why more couples aren't having consistently fulfilling sexual experiences, it's that one or both individuals are thinking way too hard—and for the life of me, I don't know why. The more research I do on overthinking, the more toxic I see the habit actually is. Overthinking brings forth anxiety. Overthinking tends to create negative hypothetical situations that will probably never manifest. On the sexual tip, overthinking can prevent us from relaxing, letting loose and totally enjoying our partner.
Couples who have amazing sex on a constant basis know this. That's why they don't spend a lot of time worrying about body image or even their performance. As the late great Luke Perry, as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, said on the night he and Brenda had sex for the first time, "We're not going to be judging each other. We're going to be enjoying each other." Words to live by. Very much so.
9. They Are More Focused on Giving than Receiving
If someone were to ask me what my favorite sex-related word was, in this season of my life, the answer would probably surprise them. Generous. There is nothing like experiencing copulation with someone who is a generous individual. When you're generous, you're liberal in how you give. When you are generous, you're unselfish. Generous people are also considerate, thoughtful, willing, ungrudging and totally free. They are the kind of lovers who enjoy giving oral sex because they like to see their partner happy. They are the type of partner who doesn't feel like sex is complete unless their partner climaxes.
Individuals who only give to get deserve all kinds of side-eye because, not only does that represent having a self-centered mentality, but it also reveals a lack of sexual maturity too. However, couples who are happiest when their partner is happy—how can the sex not totally be off-of-the-chain?
10. They Seek to Affirm and Heal with Every Experience
This one right here is probably my favorite. The reason why I say that is because, there are some sex partners and experiences that I've had that, as far as the act itself, things were pretty cool. But when it came to the actual person, in hindsight, they ended up doing me more harm than good.
Since sex is the kind of act that involves our mind, body and spirit, it's important to share the experience with someone who affirms every aspect of your being. It's even better when you are able to walk away feeling like some part of you was even healed in some way.
This is what I try and convey with the married couples that I work with. When they took vows to commit to the "becoming one process", a part of what should come with that is using sexual intimacy as a conduit to uphold and support their partner, to remind their partner of their beauty and worth—to make them feel like if there is anyplace where they can truly be "naked and not ashamed", it's with them.
And when you know that you know…that you know that you're sharing a bed with someone who wants to even use the act of sex to improve your quality of life as well as to soothe and restore you—whew! Why wouldn't you want to be in the presence of that kind of greatness, just as much as you possibly can? Anyone reading this who has great sex on a regular basis, I am confident that they are nodding their head in total agreement because this is exactly how they feel about their partner. And you know what, y'all? It doesn't get much better than that. Do it. (Pun totally intended.)
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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. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
BDB in Dating #datingtips #datingadvice #singleblackfemale #singleblackwoman #blackfemininity #femininityforblackwomen #blackdatingadvice #blackdating #singlelatina #singlelatinas
Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
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