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:
Feature image by Giphy
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 was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image courtesy
When Megan Thee Stallion dropped “Hiss,” a shift happened. From the audacious lyrics to the striking visuals, there was no doubt that the song and video would go viral. The opening of the video shows the H-town hottie rocking a barely there Shibari red dress, showing off her voluptuous frame. It was a sexy moment created by Timeekah Murphy of Alani Taylor. The designer exclusively tells us how the opportunity came about and what it was like seeing her design on Megan for the first time.
xoNecole: How did the opportunity to create such an iconic look for Megan Thee Stallion's "Hiss" video come about?
Timeekah Murphy: The opportunity came from a DM from celebrity stylist Zerina Akers. She asked for a unique Shibari piece for Megan, and I needed to get it done in two days. So, of course, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I've always wanted to design for Megan, so this was an awesome opportunity for me.
xoN: What was that initial feeling of seeing the dress on her for the first time?
TM: I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Did you meet her? If so, how was that moment?
TM: I didn't meet Megan during the shoot, but during my time in LA, I got the opportunity to meet her at LA Pride with Tiffany Haddish, Common, and EJ King (stylist). Megan is such an amazing person, so it made it even better to know that my designs were going to be worn by her.
I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Walk us through the creation of the dress. How did you come up with the look, and how long did it take to make it?
TM: I was the co-designer for a brand called Deviant in 2018-2020, and we used to make custom Shibari pieces. That's how Zerina knew me. So I'm very familiar with making these types of pieces. We made plenty for Beyoncé, Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, and so many others. So Zerina knew exactly what she wanted.
To get it done, it took me a day and a half. It's very intricate and time-consuming, so I spent about six hours making it then I sent an image of it to Zerina, and she didn't approve the first one, so I had to start from scratch again after getting my guidance and understanding of what was needed. The next day, I went to The Lab and created another version, and she approved it. I had to get it shipped overnight so that she would get it in time and fast forward to seeing it on the big screen.
xoN: What's next for you?
TM: Everything. The sky is not my limit, so the Alani Taylor brand is expanding into so many different avenues. We are getting involved in the community more, offering sewing classes to the youth. I've opened up a store for my brand in Atlanta and now preparing for fall/winter Fashion Week.
Megan Thee Stallion "Hiss" video/ YouTube