Typically, this is the time of year when a lot of us would be focused on spring cleaning. Yet, with the coronavirus requiring so many of us to be at home, virtually all day, every day, it can be hard to make that a priority when 1) your house is now your office (and if you have kids, also a school) and 2) you are so over looking at your place that you're not even all that inspired to give it the TLC that it needs and deserves.
If that about sums up how you feel right about now, this article was written with you in mind. I know that times are tough and money is tight. But since you've gotta be in your crib most of the time, why not use this as an opportunity to do a little remodeling? To create the kind of oasis that makes you feel less bored, more relaxed and like, no matter what is going on outside of your front door, you totally adore the space that you are living, 24/7, in.
What do you need to do to bring you to this kind of resolve?
1. Get Some (More) Plants
When it comes to this first tip, I'm actually preaching to the choir because, although I am an ambivert who works from home, I don't have one plant in my house (don't judge me). That's pretty weird considering I grew up in a home that has plenty of 'em. I think it's because I'm very aware of the care and attention that they deserve (even the low-maintenance ones) and I just haven't become intentional about adding them to my daily routine. That doesn't mean I shouldn't, though; especially right through here because plants can make your living space much more calm and serene. Tranquil even.
One more thing while we're on this topic. It's been proven that indoor air pollution is 2-5 times higher than outdoor air pollution and can be far more deadly. Why am I bringing this up? Well, if you've read somewhere that plants can also reduce indoor air pollution, I hate to break the news to you, but nowadays, they are saying that is a myth (check out "A Popular Benefit of Houseplants Is a Myth" and "Which houseplants should you buy to purify air? None of them."). So, just what can you do to remove some of those extra toxins that you're currently taking in? Declutter. Get a humidifier. Remove your shoes as soon as you walk into your house (so you're not tracking dirt and dander throughout your home). Dust and vacuum. Open up your windows sometimes and, once you are done using your candles, put the lid back on them; that decreases the amount of smoke that goes out into your room once you blow the candle out.
2. Make It Smell Good
In a nutshell, aromatherapy is all about using plant extracts in order to improve your overall health and well-being. It can decrease stress, reduce pain, treat headaches, boost your immune system, improve your quality of sleep, ease depression symptoms and even fight off bacteria and fungus—all things that we need on a whole 'nother level these days.
So, whether it's via a soy candle, diffuser, DIY spritzers or draping something like eucalyptus vines on your bedroom wall, it's well worth your time and money to get some "smell goods" for your house. As far as aromatherapy scents that are wonderful de-stressers, some of those include lavender, jasmine, lemon, bergamot and rose.
3. Pick Up a Blackout Curtain
Although I make sure to get 8-9 hours of sleep each day, I must admit that it's not always consecutive. Sometimes I'll sleep for five or so hours at night and then take a nap in the daytime. If you're not used to being at home during day hours and the at-home demands and stress are pushing you to your limit, taking a nap might be just what you need. If, like me, it's hard for you to rest in a bright room, you can trick your body into thinking that it's nighttime if you put up a blackout curtain. Just make sure to set an alarm. For a nap to be truly effective, you only need about 20-30 minutes in order to give yourself a real energy boost.
4. Wallpaper Some Stuff
Something that you can do to totally change the appearance of a bookshelf or any shelves in your house is to put some peel 'n stick wallpaper (which you can buy at Walmart or home improvement stores) on it/them. It's the kind of wallpaper that's also cool on breakfast trays or even a backdoor of your home office or your bedroom. Click here and here for a few tips and other ideas on how to make peel 'n stick wallpaper can totally upgrade your home.
5. Invest in a Slipcover for Your Couch
I'm willing to bet some pretty good money that you and your couch are about to break records thanks to how much time you'll be sitting on it. One way to keep the appearance of your sofa from boring you to tears is to get a couple of slipcovers to put over it. Sites like Sofa Lush, Jane Closet and The Décor Home Store have them for under thirty bucks. You also can typically find them in stores like Target and Walmart too. While you're at it, pick up some (extra) throw pillows. A simple addition like those can change your living room's appearance. As a bonus, they're super comfy as well.
6. DIY a Bed Canopy
While we're on the subject of upgrading your living space, if you want to do something different with your bed, how about making your own bed canopy? All you really need are some sheer curtains and copper rods and you can create a whimsical getaway in your very own bedroom. If you'd like to learn how, click here.
7. Buy a Whiteboard
Whether you're working from home or homeschooling your kids (or both), you definitely need a couple of whiteboards. When it comes to your work, whiteboards are affordable ways to jot down ideas, keep up with goals and to organize your thoughts. On the homeschooling tip, they make it possible to put together lesson plans and keep your kids engaged with what you are teaching them. You can usually find them at office supply stores for less than $10.
8. Make Your Own Clothing Rack
Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who was feeling guilty about wanting to purchase a few new clothes that were on sale. "I mean, with all that is going on in the world right now, am I being insensitive?" they asked. My response was, "Shoot, with all that is going on in the world right now, if a new outfit will make you feel better, I say cop it. Plus, it's 40 percent off, so you're saving money."
Listen, no one is suggesting that you should be out here whilin'. But if you are also using this time of quarantining to toss out the old and bring in a little new, why not take out a weekend to make a clothing rack? Something that's great about this idea is a rack can provide you with extra space to hang up clothes, plus you can move it to anywhere in your house that you want. Some copper pipes, glue, a tape measure, a Sharpie and nail polish remover (basically a quick run to Home Depot or Lowe's) are all you really need. Click here for instructions if you want to take this suggestion on.
9. Change the Frames of Your Artwork
If you're sick and tired of looking at the same art that's on your walls but your budget won't let you purchase any new prints, you can totally change the appearance of the art that you currently have by simply putting them into some other frames. While that might sound a little too Martha Stewart for you at first, articles like "DIY Picture Frame Tutorials (How to Make a Picture Frame)" will show you that it's easier to do than you probably thought. Plus, if you hit up a family member or friend on Skype, Google Hangout or Zoom, y'all can hold a virtual arts and crafts party which could be a lot of fun.
10. Order a Laptop Stand
It's been years since I've had a desktop computer; I have a couple of laptops instead. Something that I know I need to stay on top of is maintaining my posture. One way to do that is to invest in a laptop stand. Not only does it make things easier on your neck, shoulders and back while you're typing away, a laptop stand help to keep your laptop cool, makes it easier for you to read whatever is on your monitor and, it can help to decrease the chances of it getting damaged due to dropping it or spilling something on it. Just prop the stand on your desk, put your laptop on top of that and your all set. Target has some that are less than $15 that are great for if you want to work in bed or while sitting on your sofa. Or, if you want to get one for your home office desk, "10 Best Laptop Stands (Review) in 2020".
BONUS: Make a Rug Out of Your Old T-Shirts
I think it's like once a day these days when I find myself triggered about something that is being overlooked at the expense of the Rona. For example, did you know that the EPA has currently relaxed its regulations in direct response to the pandemic (SMDH)? One way to do your part to care for the environment during all of this upheaval is to upcycle. And one way to do that is to repurpose old clothing. If you've got some old T-shirts that you don't know what to do with, you can even update one of your floors by making a rug out of 'em. Basically, you cut your T-shirts into strips to turn them into "yarn". Then you crochet them into a circle and voila! You've got your very own area rug (you can get all of the instructions here). It's a creative way to pass the time, to not be wasteful, and to have something decorative to show for it after you're done. It's just one more way to beautify your place and enjoy your space until this quarantine passes. #verycool
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
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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.
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15 Hot Tips Giving The Missionary Position The Upgrade You Crave
Ah, yes, the missionary position. If there’s one sex position that pretty much everyone off top knows what it consists of, the missionary would have to be it. So, where does the name exactly come from? Oddly enough, even though it’s probably the most common sex position there is, there’s conflicting information about how its name actually came to be.
Some say that the Catholic church deemed it to be the only “non-sinful” position, and folks followed suit. Others believe that it’s tied into “patriarchy” since a man being on top puts a woman into a submissive receiving position (I mean, the Bible does tell wives to submit to their husbands, and sex is referenced for married couples, so that tracks — Ephesians 5, Colossians 3:18, I Peter 3:1-7, Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 6:16-20). There are even stories about missionaries teaching people of African, Native American, and Chinese ethnicities that any other position is wrong and so those people came up with the term “missionary position” to make fun of the missionaries (chile).
Whatever the actual backstory is, what we know for sure is the missionary position continues to be super popular (although leave it to millennials to knock it out of first position and replace it with doggystyle these days), a great way to cultivate emotional intimacy (more on that in just a sec) — and it is oftentimes perceived as hella boring.
That last point is what I’m gonna address today. Because since it is indeed a great way to connect with your partner, it makes it easier to hit “your spot” (the G-spot, to be exact), and it’s also easy on your body (you know, if the desire is there but your limbs are not exactly cooperating), in my eyes, the missionary position needs to receive the proper respect that it deserves — and the best way to do that is to give it a few, perhaps much-needed, “upgrades.” Here are 15 of ‘em.
1. Do Some Eye Gazing Before Anything Else
Recently, I was talking to a male friend of mine who told me that he doesn’t do casual sex in the missionary position. After asking him how he is subtly able to even pull that off (another article, another time), I then wanted to know the method behind his madness: “It’s too intimate and vulnerable. I need to be in something serious with you to be that…into you.”
One might say that literally putting your member into a woman’s vagina is “into her,” yet I digress. Instead, I’ll just focus on the fact that when they say that eyes are the windows to the soul, there is definitely some truth to that. And when it comes to cultivating intimacy with your partner, there is a practice known as eye gazing that can help to connect the two of you in a very special way.
In fact, there are studies to support that you can analyze how someone feels about you by looking into their eyes, you can increase your level of attraction to them by looking into their eyes, and you and your partner can go up a new level in trust if you look into each other’s eyes as well.
How long should the eye gazing last? Some experts say that the goal should be for five minutes while taking deep breaths in between. While doing that might feel awkward at first, look at it this way — y’all are gonna be face to face for a while anyway, right? Why not take the exchange of energy to another level while you’re doing it? And why not get into this mind of headspace by eye gazing as a form of emotional foreplay?
2. Bring Some Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang or Lavender and Vanilla
One of the best things about the missionary position is it encourages you to shut out the rest of the world, ignore any distractions and really focus on your partner. Matter of fact, a sex therapist once told me that one of the perks of this particular position is it significantly decreases your chances of you and/or your partner fantasizing about other people during coitus (hey, it happens…way more than people care to admit too).
Something that can help to keep you and your partner centered on one another only is the scent of jasmine, ylang-ylang, and a combo of lavender and vanilla. As a bonus, all are also sensual, calming, and relaxing too. You can add a few drops to a carrier oil (like sweet almond or grapeseed) and create a DIY massage oil. You can sprinkle some of them onto your bedding. You can also add a few drops into your sexual pressure points for a nice surprise as far as your partner’s sense of smell goes.
3. Pull in (More) Pillows
For some reason, I can’t find it now (sorry!), but a few weeks ago, I was cracking up at a video of a guy who was challenging his girlfriend to get into the position of being on top like a man and pushing for more than a minute straight. She failed miserably (it really was hilarious!). After I sent it to a few male friends, one wrote back and said, “Y’all have no idea what being on top can do to a brotha’s back sometimes.”
A workaround that will make everyone happy? Bring in some more pillows. It will elevate your body so that he won’t have to bend over quite so low. Plus, it will help him to penetrate you more deeply, which is almost always a good thing.
You can use the pillows that you already have (they should work just fine). Or you can invest in a sex pillow. They tend to be a bit firmer so that you don’t have to be slippin’ and slidin’ all over the place. Glamour did you a solid by providing a list of some of their favorite sex pillows here; Self did the same by providing their best-of-the-best list here.
4. Light Some Candles
Back to the eye thing real quick. Yeah, I don’t know how y’all are gonna be able to stare deeply into each other’s eyes if it’s pitch black in the room. And here’s the thing about letting some light shine in; there was a study conducted that said when a light box (like the kind that’s used to treat depression) is brought into a man’s space, it can increase his levels of sexual desire. The reason why is it has a way of boosting his testosterone levels.
However, if you don’t want to feel like you’re standing — well, lying — in a room that has the ridiculous lighting that is in department store dressing rooms, go with candlelight instead. A soft glow can still help him to see your shapes and curves and the two of you to look at each other yet because everything with candles is way more subtle, it can help you to feel less self-conscious if you’re not as confident in the sex department as you would like to be (check out “10 Sensuous Ways To Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem”).
5. Add Some Flavored Lube
Although pretty much all of us have heard the saying, “The wetter, the better,” at this point, this tip is a shout-out to the safe sex crowd (since reportedly, only one-third of men and one-quarter of women actually use condoms. SMDH). If you want to make bringing rubbers into a mix a much more pleasurable experience, go with some flavored lubricant. Although you might only think of its use in the context of oral sex (more on that in a bit), dabbing some on your neck (so that he can taste something sweet-er when he kisses you there) or on your wrists or forearm (so that he can lick them while your hands are pinned back) can be a truly welcome surprise.
And what are some of the best-tasting ones on the market these days? No worries. I got you:
6. Modify the Position…a Bit
As we continue, I will be — no pun intended — deep diving into some tweaks that can be made to the standard missionary position in order to intensify sexual pleasure. For now, I’ll just say that spooning face to face, allowing your partner to pin your legs back, having sex while standing up, letting him ride cowboy (which means he’s literally in the position that you are typically in during the cowgirl) and your partner lying horizontally over your body instead of vertically — these all are twists to the missionary that could cause you to hear “missionary position” with new levels of excitement.
7. Apply the Coital Alignment Technique (CAT)
Speaking of modifying positions, what do y’all know about the Coital Alignment Technique (CAT)? If you’re staring at your screen like, “What in the world is that?” it’s when your partner gets into the downward-facing dog yoga position while you’re on your back in the missionary one. This causes your partner’s penis to stimulate your clitoris as they are entering you and sometimes as they are going in and out. The (main) benefit is if you’re someone who finds experiencing a vaginal orgasm challenging, you significantly increase your chances of experiencing one since your clitoris will be stimulated during the act of intercourse.
Another bonus is “doing the CAT” can help a man to last longer if premature ejaculation is something that he is prone to experiencing.
8. Get Out of the Bed/Bedroom
The older we get, the more bedroom sex makes sense. After all, beds were specifically designed to support our bodies. Still, if you’ve been in a long-term relationship for quite some time, just like approaching the missionary position the same way every time can get old, so can always being in your bed — or bedroom.
You’re paying good money to utilize more than just one room in your home, so why not maximize each one’s potential? And as far as the best room in the house to get busy, I recently read an article that said bathrooms and balconies are fan favorites, followed by closets and utility rooms. Personally, I’m with what a Men’s Health article stated, which is the living room is probably the most comfortable (and common) — yet whatever you do, just try and think outside of the box sometimes. In this case, think outside of your bed and bedroom to see what other places are comfortable for you both.
9. Or…Get on the Edge of the Bed
So, what if you're like, "I hear you, but it's gonna be the bed for me, more times than not?" I hear you. There's a way to upgrade the missionary position and how you use your bed at the same time — have him pull you to the edge of the bed and either penetrate you by lifting your legs over his shoulders, or the two of you can just have "regular sex" that way (so long as he's good at maintaining his balance and keeping you from falling off at the same time).
The perks? For one, if his penis is more on the average side (check out "Sex Hacks For Different Kinds Of Penises (You Heard Me Right)"), he will be able to penetrate you more deeply. Another benefit is if you like to bring vibrators into the mix, it will be easier to do (especially if your legs are up). Another is this is one way to get your clitoris, vagina, and cervix all stimulated all at the same time — in fact, this is why another name for the edge of the bed is "the edge of heaven" (makes sense).
10. Keep Your Bra on — Kinda
As a doula, whenever new moms talk to me about easing back into sex, it's very common for them to talk about how "conflicted" they are when it comes to their breasts, especially if they are breastfeeding. It makes complete and total sense when you think about the fact that first, our breasts are ours alone, then men come in and use them as foreplay, and then here comes a baby who uses them as a food source. A top suggestion that I give is that moms invest in some super sexy nursing bras. That way, if they want to still keep their breasts covered up, there is something pretty for their partner to look at.
Along these same lines (kinda sorta), consider keeping your own bra on during missionary — well, kind of. Either get one that is extremely sheer or pull your breasts out so that they are hanging out over the front of your bra. Why? Well, a lot of men have told me over the years that while nothing really tops a woman in her birthday suit, the peek-a-boo effect of breasts over bras and crotchless panties turns them on in a way that they can't fully articulate. Plus, if you're a bit insecure, this can help you out like it can a new mom (believe it or not), especially if you're going to bring some lighting in (like I suggested earlier).
11. Enjoy His Nipples
Speaking of breasts…although not everyone finds their nipples to be the ultimate erogenous zone (check out “So, What If ‘Typical Erogenous Zones’ Annoy TF Outta You?”), don’t automatically assume that your partner is one of them. The reality is men have the same glands and nerve endings that we do when it comes to their nipples which means a lot of them find their nipples getting some TLC to be super erotic and enjoyable.
A husband client of mine once told me in a session that he wished that his wife would lick on his nipples more, especially during intercourse, because it takes his orgasms to a completely different level. When his wife heard that, she asked, since she’s not a contortionist, how could she possibly pull that off in a comfortable way? This actually brings us to the next point.
12. Try Some Kama Sutra Piercing
On the heels of what I just said, what do you know about the Kama Sutra approach known as piercing? It’s kind of similar to CAT, only with a twist. This time, a man should position his shoulders to where they are directly over your head — that way, as he is moving in and out, you can get direct clitoral stimulation.
How is this any different from the CAT? Well, with that position, his arch is backed farther away from you. Plus, it tends to feel the most amazing upon entry only. On the other hand, piercing makes it possible for you to do the whole nipple thing that we just talked about while he’s able to stimulate your clitoris more intentionally the entire time. A win/win for everyone, wouldn’t you say?
13. Engage in (Some or More) Edging
Another way to almost guarantee that your orgasms will be next level is to engage in a bit of edging. If you're familiar with the word, yet you've never exactly researched and/or tried it before — let's just say that it's the kind of act that requires some stamina (on his part) and some self-discipline (for you both). The reason why I say that is because edging is all about having intercourse, your partner stopping for 15-30 seconds, and then you both starting back up all over again.
And why would someone want to send themselves through this mind of, in a way, mind f-ck? It builds anticipation and excitement, which can actually make your orgasms super intense. Hell, it could even lead to multiple orgasms if y'all play your cards right. Anyway, you can learn more about edging by reading "All About Edging: The Ways Prolonging Pleasure Makes For Mind-Blowing Orgasms" on our platform.
14. Stop. And Switch.
As I was in the process of penning this piece, I asked a few people to share why they felt that some people take a ho-hum attitude about the missionary position. The general consensus was if that’s all you do the entire time, things can get old really quick.
Good point. That’s why it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that, just because you start off in missionary, no rule says that you have to stay there (unless you happen to live in Florida because, apparently, only the missionary is legal there; Florida stays wilin’ out). No rule says that once you start having sex that you can’t do some other, eh hem, activities in between positions too.
My vote? Be down to get into some oral, especially if you want to increase your chances of having an orgasm. A “good giver” is gonna get off so much on pleasuring you that you probably won’t have to worry about him needing to maintain an erection even if he spends a few moments downtown (cue SWV’s song). Oral sex intermissions are so unsung. Whew, chile.
15. Moan ‘N Whisper
The last and final point. "Dirty talk" is always gonna be a winner when it comes to sex, period; however, when you're in the missionary position, it's really amazin' considering you're both right next to each other's ears.
And what if dirty talk isn't something that you've exactly mastered (yet)? The key is to not overthink it. Moan. Whisper the things that you like being done to you (or that you want him to try). Ask him what he likes (or wants more of). When he's got it right, praise him. If he's got a pet name, use it. If you want to go with his government name, he probably won't mind that either.
The main point here is to remember that great sex incorporates all of the senses — touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. And since words are our most effective form of communication, you can't go wrong with using some in the bedroom…especially when you're giving it all that you've got in the missionary position…especially as you're adding in some of these upgrades that I just shared.
Enjoy, sis. EN-freakin’-JOY!
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