You know it and I know it. There is a ton of information, both online and off, about sex. That's why I do my best to try and conduct some of my own unofficial polls to get insight that isn't typically discussed. Recently I asked some people I know, "What can make sex a not-so-great experience, even if the sex itself is good?" It might seem like seem like an odd question initially, but when you see what most people said, I think it'll make more sense to you. What they said was "predictability".
One man said to me, "The sex that I have with my partner is amazing, except for the fact that she's not very creative. When I recommend things that are a little 'off the cuff' or 'outside of the box', she usually politely declines because she claims that knowing what to expect is what relaxes her enough to have the kind of sex that we do."
Hmph. When you really stop to think about that, to a certain extent, that makes sense. So, how can two people find a happy medium when one wants to try new things and the other—well, not so much? I say ease into newness slowly.
Take this beautiful season that we're currently in, for example. If you are the actual partner who wants to switch things up in the bedroom, how about incorporating some things that scream "fall's here!", are uber romantic, but can still spice things up a bit at the same time. If you're down to try—and you think you can convince your partner to be down as well—I've got a few fall-themed tricks up my sleeve.
1. Make Out in a Maze, While Apple Picking or in Some Leaves—First
Maybe it's because autumn is absolutely my favorite season that I also find it to be the most romantic. It's definitely the time of year when you and yours can walk through a corn maze together, do some apple picking, attend a harvest festival or simply rake up a pile of leaves in your front yard. Then, while you're at it, like they used to say in the 80s—make out.
Sometimes, the best sex is all about building anticipation before the act. Going out on a date together and doing a lot of hand holding and kissing while you're all caught up in the autumn atmosphere is a great "appetizer" before the main course (if you know what I mean).
2. Get Some Velvet Bedding
If you don't own any velvet bedding, do yourself (and your sex life) a favor and cop some this year. Not only is it super soft and luxurious, it's an opulent way to keep warm this fall and winter season. Just think about how plush and pampering this type of material is; how sensual you and yours will feel as you're rolling all around in it.
If a part of you is hesitant about making this type of purchase because you think that velvet fabric leans on the side of being high-maintenance, it's actually not. For the most part, you can treat it just like you would any of your other sheets or bedding; just make sure to turn everything inside out so that the part that you lay on doesn't attract a lot of lint (you can read more about all of this here).
3. Light Some Fall-Scented Soy Candles
Apple-Cinnamon. Vanilla. Amber. Cranberry. Pumpkin. Pine. Butterscotch. Patchouli. Caramel. Fig. These are just some of the signature scents of fall; something that most of them have in common is they are aphrodisiacs too. Since it's been scientifically-proven that the better our sense of smell is, the greater our sexual experiences tend to be, why wouldn't you want to fill your sexual space with smells that will only heighten your sensuality?
Plus, the glow of candles flickering in a dark room is really sexy. And, if you go with soy ones, they last longer and burn cleaner. A great "fall sex addition" all the way around, if you ask me.
4. Turn on Some “Fall Sounding” ASMR
I don't care what y'all's president thinks, climate change is real and I'm proud of all of the young people who've been protesting around the world about it. So, what does this even remotely have to do with what we've been talking about? Well, even though it's officially fall, as I'm sitting here and typing this, it's in the high 80s with plenty of sunshine in Nashville; not even close to being classic autumn weather—cool, cloudy, rainy with harsh winds.
Thanks to ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), via sound machines and even YouTube, you don't need to wait for a perfect fall day in order to set the mood. To make your room extra dark, hang up some blackout curtains. Then play sounds of rain or wind. On the YouTube tip, all you need to do is go the search field and put "rain sounds" or "wind sounds" and you're all set.
5. Play the “Fall Game” with Each Other
Sex isn't all about physically connecting. It's about emotionally connecting too. One way to feel emotionally close to your partner is to play a sentimental "fall game". Share some memories of the first time you fell for each other's looks or fell for each other's personality orfell in love overall. Based on what each of you recall and the circumstances surrounding everything, it can bring a lot of laughs as well as sentimentality into the atmosphere.
6. Do a Little of Your Own Version of “Trick-or-Treat”
Have you ever checked out the true origin of Halloween? It's creepier than a lot of people realize. But if you want to lighten up the mood a bit, put your own twist on trick-or-treat indoors this year. You and your man can dress up in costumes (or roleplay) or you can simply get candies that have a bit of a sexy theme to them. Some that I saw on Etsy include Sex on the Beach fudge and real-sized chocolate penises. You could make some cookies with a Kama Sutra rolling pin (that literally has sexual positions on it) or a sex position cookie cutter. Or how about some chocolate that's infused with the aphrodisiac damiana? Talk about candy (or cookies) that's sweet to the lips…on a few levels.
7. Dip Various Body Parts in Apple Cider or Cocoa
Our inner thighs. Our fingers. Our palms. Behind our knees. His nipples. His inner wrists. His navel. The small of his back. These are some of the erogenous zones that don't get talked about—or explored—as much as they should on women and men. The way I see it, there's no time like the present. So, as you're in the process of getting a little foreplay action going on, bring in some signature fall drinks—warm apple cider and cocoa—to pour onto these parts of the body, so that you both can lick them off. It's something that everyone involved will richly enjoy. I'll bet good money on that.
8. Give Your Man a Ginger Oil Massage
I'll give you two dollars if you can tell me what "figging" is without looking it up first. I'll tell you what, it was definitely my something new for the day when I happened upon it on the 'net. Figging is what it's called when you put a piece of fresh raw and peeled ginger either into your vagina or anus or your partner's anus in order to create a tingling sensation.
Please hear me when I say this—I am an avid ginger user, so when I think of a raw form of it going into any orifice of my body, it's a hard pass (ginger is pretty strong). But what I do recommend is giving your man a nice ginger oil massage.
Ginger is in season right now; it's a natural way to increase blood circulation to his lower region and heighten the sensitivity of his erogenous zones.
If a ginger oil massage is something you've never tried before, there's a great recipe for the oil here. (By the way, it's also a great oil for sore muscles after a workout too.)
9. Use Cinnamon Oil on Each Other’s Genitalia
Me? I'm always gonna be a cinnamon oil fan! It's a true fall season scent, it tastes good and the warming sensation that it provides is perfect for fellatio and cunnilingus. All you need to do is put a little bit of it into your mouth and, well, go to town!
A word of caution—if one or both of you have sensitive skin, put a dab on the back of each other's hand, just to make sure it's not too strong for either one of you. As far as the kind of oil you should try, the one that I recommend, across the board, is Sun Essentials Oils. No need to warm it up; cinnamon is naturally hot, sensation-wise, all on its own. It'll quickly become a fan favorite.
10. Cuddle Before. Cuddle After.
Maybe it's because it's colder outside than during the spring or summer season, but when I think of having sex in the fall, cuddling definitely comes to mind. Whether it's before or after sex, after checking out Health's "5 Sex Positions to Heat Up Chilly Fall Nights", turn on (or up) some of your favorite slow jams and—snuggle face-to-face, let him lay on top of you while you wrap your legs around him, do some extra tight and long spooning, or hold hands while one of your heads is on the other's stomach.
Cuddling is a wonderfully sweet and sentimental way to emotionally connect, feel safe and relax yourself after all of the mind-blowing sex you're about to have. It's one of the best things, I think, about "fall sex". Here's to three months full of PLENTY of it, sis.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Married Couples: These 6 DIY Recipes Will Take Your Sex Life To The Next Level
The 70 Sex Position, Vegan Condoms & Other Current Sex Trends
The 6 Sex Toys & Pleasure Accessories Every Couple Needs
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Feature image by Giphy
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 (email@example.com) 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.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Exclusive: Teyana Taylor And Director A.V Rockwell Explore Black Motherhood In New Film, 'A Thousand And One'
“This was a match made in denim and door-knocker heaven!” Actress Teyana Taylor jokingly said after letting out a laugh. She was referring to her relationship with the main character Inez De La Paz, in the film A Thousand and One, approaching theaters nationwide this Friday.
Set against the backdrop of 90s - early 2000s Harlem at the inception of gentrification, A Thousand and One chronicles the life of a 20-something-year-old mother of color raising her son. The film captures the realness and relatability of motherhood, family, and marriage. The movie stars multi-talented actress/entertainer Teyana Taylor, William Cartlett, Aaron Kingsley, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Terri Abney. It was executive produced by Lena Waithe and was written and directed by A.V. Rockwell.
This film was written through the lens of the often complicated relationship between mothers and sons. However, it isn't your typical movie about urban Black motherhood. No one gets shot, has a drug addiction, and if you ask me, Inez De La Paz (Teyana Taylor’s character) is a ‘shero’; she saves the day, or at least Terry’s life (her son).
This multilayered film touches on the challenges faced while establishing a life following a prison sentence, the flawed NYC foster care system, motherhood, marriage, love, the relationship between a father and son, and Black NYC neighborhoods at the onset of gentrification.
"There's a lot of pain in it, and in order to express pain, there has to be a love that comes with it. So I felt like the movie was a love letter to Black women but a heartbreak letter to New York City…. We contributed so much to the city and made it the special place that it is," said Rockwell. I asked myself, 'How do I reconcile the fact that this place that I love and that is home to me never loved me?'
Teyana Taylor and Aaron Kingsley Adetola.
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
Both Rockwell and Taylor are New York natives, Rockwell is from Queens, and Taylor is from Harlem. The pair agreed they directly related to the lead character, Inez. During our conversation, Taylor explained how we could all connect with Inez. "Inez is within us from being judged or considered difficult for your strength, for your voice, for your tone, no matter how right you are, you're wrong because you're too loud… When you minimize yourself, it's an issue. You're not enough, and when you maximize yourself, it's too much," she said.
According to Rockwell, Taylor auditioned for the role and earned it fair and square, "Nobody can take away from the fact that she earned this role in all the right ways. I think it's great to have that cherry on top. The fact that she's a Harlem girl and that this is a movie about protecting her neighborhood not only what it means to us New Yorkers but what it means to black identity and history in general," she said. "Not only are we honoring Harlem, [but] she is [also] a part of that history that we are trying to protect. I'm really proud of that as well. This person who is a part of this historic neighborhood gets to be the one leading the torch of this role."
We all know Taylor as the uber-talented singer, dancer, actress, fashionista, entrepreneur, artist, wife, and mother. She seems to do it all so effortlessly, but Taylor described the role as therapeutic. It allowed her to put down that superwoman persona while filming on set. "The easy part about this role was that I'm already a mom, so I'm naturally nurturing… In some ways, Inez became very therapeutic for me because it was the only time that I could actually be weak and turn off my strength, and cry and let out all of the things I was battling," the "Rose in Harlem" singer revealed.
Director A.V. Rockwell
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
After watching Taylor master the leading role of this complicated story, it's not absurd to think she may be awarded extensively for her portrayal of Inez. Taylor told me she's ready for everything to come but isn't looking to get too comfortable while soaking up the likely inflow of accolades, "I'm ready. I think it's everything that I prayed for. I think this is God saying ok, here you go… I'm blessed, and I'm grateful, and I just want to continue to just keep working hard and not get too comfortable. Stay hungry, stay the hustler that I am…this is really only just the beginning."
It's not every day we get to see a film with a Black woman starring in a leading role. Furthermore, it's not common to see a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning movie directed by a Black woman. It's no secret that diversity in Hollywood is uncommon, and the aforementioned are all the more reasons we should visit theaters this Friday to see A Thousand and One.
Not only is this film amazing storytelling, but the production of this film helps to move the needle of diversifying Hollywood and creating spaces for Black women in the film industry forward.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Focus Features