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Could Your Home Decor Be Totally Wrecking Your Sex Life?

Here are 15 things in your house that could be standing between you and your best sex yet!

Home Improvement

On the sex tip, I'm a huge supporter of couples gettin' theirs whenever and wherever they want. But let's be real—most people are going to opt to "engage" inside of their house and, more specifically, inside of their bedroom. And that's what got me to thinking.

In my sessions, I hear couples talk all of the time about how they wish their partner came to bed looking like sex might be on the menu rather than like they are on a sex fast—or worse, a sex strike. But when it comes to creating the right kind of ambiance, shouldn't it be about more than lingerie and sexy boxer shorts? Why is it that, when it comes to being at home, some of us really aren't in the mood to get down, but then when we're at a hotel, it's on and poppin'? Some of it, I think, is because there are certain things in our home that aren't sensual, exciting, alluring, epicurean—sexy.

This coming weekend, do you, your partner and your sex life a favor by conducting a quick inventory of your house. See if the following 15 things could be what's keeping you from treating your home like the hot and passionate love den that it should be. Shoot, with all that you're paying in mortgage or rent, you should be getting as much out of your home—especially your bedroom—as possible. And sometimes, just a little tweaking is all that you need to take your sex life up a notch or two. And what exactly are some overlooked household sexual turn-offs?

1. Poor Curb Appeal

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This point might sound really weird, but first impressions are important. If it's your first time bringing someone over to your place, you might be surprised by how much they'll appreciate a well-manicured lawn, a porch that's been swept and fingerprints not being on your glass screen door. A good lover is totally into the details. Well, if you care about what your curb appeal looks like, you're quietly conveying the message that you have the tendency to be quite meticulous in some of the best ways possible.

2. A Messy House

OK, hopefully we all know the difference between "messy" and "nasty". But whether it's your first time bringing someone over to your place or you've been married for five years now, something that can be a real libido-killer is a messy house. Dishes in the sink. Clothes on the bed. Clutter all over the place. A home that is clean—or at the very least, straightened up—makes it easier for people to relax in. The more relaxed someone is, the more willing they are to have sex. So yeah, if your place is a total wreck, that is definitely working against your sex life.

3. An Old Mattress

Off top, if your mattress is more than seven years old, it's probably time to replace it (definitely don't wait past year 10). Also, if you've not been able to have the best sex of your life because you've had to worry about things like your mattress squeaking or it not being able to absorb the "shock" from all of the positions that you and your partner want to try, make sure that you select a mattress that is great for doin' the do. Ones with gel memory foam are able to offer a lot of support. Natural latex ones are made out of hypoallergenic and antimicrobial material that not only keeps stored-up bacteria at bay, but it's basically noise-resistant too. Finally, hybrids mattresses offer a cooling layer. If you're curious about how certain mattresses rate in the sex department, check out "Best Mattress For Sex 2019", "The 6 Best Beds for Sexually Active People – 2019 Reviews" and "Best Mattress For Sex: 39 Sex Therapists Share Their Tips". A great mattress is one of the most underrated tools for an awesome sex life.

4. A Bed That’s Too Big

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I was just having a conversation with a wife who shares a king-sized bed with her husband. She was telling me that, whenever she tries to cuddle with him, it's like she has to reach all the way over to get to him; sometimes, she's too tired to do it. There are a ton of interior decorators and even some marriage therapists who will say that, if you want your bedroom to be a haven of intimacy, you need to have a queen-sized bed. Anything bigger than that and well, I just gave you an example of why that could end up being a really bad idea and intimacy enemy of yours.

5. Family Photos Near Your Bed

This point is something that you might have not given a lot of thought to before, but really—who wants to be in the doggy-style position, look over to their right and see their grandma and auntie staring at them from their nightstand?

Who wants to be in the middle of cunnilingus or fellatio and see their little brother or young child giggling on the dresser? Yes, everyone knows that people have sex. That doesn't mean your family is who you want to be thinking about while you're doing it, though.

Interior decorators have said for years that bedrooms should be used for sex and sleep only. Anything in your bedroom that doesn't foster those kinds of feelings and actions, they really should go someplace else.

6. Not Having a “Kink Drawer”

Massage oil. Vibrators. Handcuffs. Satin ties. Blindfolds. Edible body butter. Cockrings. Condoms. Whatever else and your partner's little hearts' desire. It's a lot easier to roll over and pull something out of a drawer that's next to you than to get up and have to walk someplace to get your sex toys 'n things. So, if you don't already have nightstands, having access to kink drawer or two is a great reason to get some.

7. Unsexy Sheets

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When it comes to old-school jams, a lot of us would put "In Between the Sheets" by the Isley Brothers on the top of our sexy song list. Unfortunately, our bedding doesn't express how much we agree with its lyrics, though. While organic cotton sheets are typically the best idea overall, when you want to feel like the sexiest woman ever as you're rolling around all over your bed, opt for sheets that a 100 percent Egyptian/Prima cotton that comes with a 600-thread count. Oftentimes, they'll run you between $150-200, but they'll also keep you from getting too hot or two cold. Plus, they're super comfortable and really durable. If you happen to be on a tight budget, the next best thing are some cotton-polyester blends; they're cheaper and they don't wrinkle.

As far as colors go, a fun fact is whenever there's a linen sale, 90 percent of the sheets are white, ivory, light brown or beige. That's because a lot of people associate light neutrals with feeling fresh and luxurious (which is why most hotel sheets are white). But, as far as color psychology goes, shades of red will make you feel passionate; shades of pink will make you feel loving, and shades of purple will make you feel warm and elegant—especially if it's (pardon the pun) the color of eggplant.

8. Non-Aphrodisiac Scents

The best sex will appeal to all five of our senses—sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. I don't know about you, but there have been times when I've walked into a man's place and, if it smelled really good, I was already "down". Yeah, when it comes to setting the scene, scent is as important and relevant as anything else.

That said, sometimes, no matter how clean a house may be, it can still smell stale if windows aren't opened up every once in a while; so, make sure you do that. Also, if you want to set the mood, get an oil diffuser or buy some soy candles that come in aphrodisiac scents like—vanilla, jasmine, rose, cinnamon, sandalwood, patchouli, orange, pumpkin, lily of the valley and/or ginger. It'll get you and your partner in the mood every time.

9. No Mirrors

Mirrors are sexy—and functional. On the functional tip, if you place them on a wall that is directly across from a door, it can make your rooms look bigger. On the sensual side, while mirrors on the ceiling can seem a bit corny, a well-placed full-length mirror against a wall can be really hot if you're a visual person who likes to watch you and your partner without actually putting anything on video.

10. Bright Light Bulbs

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Something else that interior decorators tend to frown upon is bright light bulbs and overhead lighting, in general; especially in the bedroom. In order to create a romantic atmosphere, go with dimmers or, at the very least, three-way light bulbs. Or, if you want to add a little color to your place, another option is to get some remote-controlled and color-changing LED RGB light bulbs. They're affordable and, a lot of them can change up to 12 different hues.

11. A Nasty Bathroom

I remember, back in my college days, there was a guy who I kicked it with for a couple of years. While he was still in school, he was an athlete, so he stayed in one of those quad dorms. Now that I've got some "love nephews" who are college athletes, some of them talk about bringing girls to their place. Whenever they tell me about it, one of the first things I say to them is, "Ugh. I remember those days. I hope you clean that nasty bathroom first."

When it comes to sexual activity, there's a pretty good chance that someone is going to need to use the bathroom and/or take a shower. That's why, aside from the bedroom, the next room that needs to be clean is the bathroom; especially when it comes to the sink and the toilet. And ladies, if you think that this is something that only guys should keep in mind, there is a scene (at around the 18:58 mark) from a great Black web series Mind of a Single Male where a woman leaves her make-up all over a guy's bathroom counter. And yes, it totally turns him off.

I once heard a comedian explain sex to her young daughter as being an amusement park and toxic waste dump all rolled into one. No one wants to think about that when they are in the mood. Oh, but they will if they happen to walk into a nasty ass bathroom.

12. Loveseats 

I know. It's kind of ironic that something called a "loveseat" is a no-no for sex. But if you've got one, you know that while they are cute and save up space, they aren't the most comfortable or durable piece of furniture on the planet. That's why, if you like to have sex in your living room, den, office or man cave, you should invest in a couch instead. Make sure it's one that is—eh hem—deep and long, and that it doesn't have those thin little arms on the side. Oh, and avoid leather. It's just gonna make things slippery and/or sticky.

By the way, if you're tempted to overlook this tip, check out GQ's "Couch Sex Is the Best Sex" and Women's Health Mag's "The 18 Best Sex Positions For Doing It On The Couch". Then you'll get why I had to bring this whole couch thing up.

13. No Plants and/or Flowers

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Who doesn't like Quincy Jones' throwback joint "The Secret Garden" featuring Barry White, James Ingram, Al B. Sure, El DeBarge? Now that is a sexy song right there. Speaking of sexy, there is an entire book in the Bible that has all sorts of sexual references in it as well; that book is the Song of Solomon and one of my absolute favorite lines in it is, "Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also, our bed is green." (Song of Solomon 1:6—NKJV)

Green is a color that symbolizes life, energy, safety, nature, fertility, harmony and growth. So yeah, why wouldn't you want some plants and flowers, not just in your bedroom, but all over your home?

If you've got a green thumb, why not have a Hooker's Lips plant next to your bed (it really does bloom red lips, y'all)? Or, if you want to go the sexy flower route—passion flowers, roses, dahlias, orchids, roses and lavender top the sexy list. There really is something about walking into a "green space" that is very sensual and alluring. Plus, plants can calm you down and pull pollution out of the air which makes them a "win", all the way around.

14. Electronics in the Bedroom

Again, the bedroom is for sex and sleep, so no, your bedroom does not need to look like your personal office or even an entertainment center for that matter. In fact, if you've got a television in your bedroom, there's a study (of four million people) that says it will reduce the amount of sex that you have by around six percent. Another study that I checked out cited that the use of smartphones is the reason why 25 percent of women have lower libidos. So, if your sex isn't as turnt up as you'd like, there's a chance that it could be because you need to unplug more often.

15. An Empty Fridge

I can't count how many times I've given my all to a sex partner, felt famished and all they had in their fridge was a box of baking soda and some Gatorade. Listen, if you want to go a couple of rounds, it always works in your favor to have some food in your kitchen. Ones that work in you and your partner's libido's favor include watermelon, avocado, pesto, dark chocolate, potatoes, bananas, red meat, blueberries, spinach and red wine. Foods that are a no-no include canned soup, cheese, fried foods, microwave popcorn, shrimp, asparagus, deli meats, anything made out of white flour or soy and, if you're trying to make a baby, bottled water. So basically, opt for snacking on something fresh rather than ordering a pizza on Postmates and you should be good…to go. Just one more reason to go grocery shopping this week…right? #yourewelcome

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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