If you’ve read enough content with my byline on here, you already know that I am definitely all about people having healthy, thriving, and consistent sex lives. One example of this is an article that I wrote a couple of years back entitled “10 Irrefutable Reasons To Have An Orgasm A Day.” When you get a chance, check it out because it serves as a pretty solid reminder that, although sex feels absolutely amazing, there are some practical benefits that should convince you to partake as much as possible too.
Today, though, we’re gonna dive into what happens specifically to your body while you’re in the process of climbing walls and hanging off of chandeliers. Because although you may get in theory that quite a few things are transpiring during coitus, you might be surprised at just how involved different parts of your body are in the act — not just how but also why.
1. Your Breasts Get BiggerGiphy
Although you probably don’t usually give it much thought, the next time you’re getting in or out of the shower, look at your breasts. Do you notice that they contain a significant amount of veins? Well, when you become sexually aroused, those veins fill up with blood, and that can cause your breasts to increase in size by as much as 25 percent. Not only that, but some medical professionals say that your areolas (the darker-colored skin that surrounds your nipples) also produce pheromones; these substances can help to improve one’s mood and heighten one’s attraction to their partner.
2. Your Vagina Gets Larger and Darker
Although the exact length can vary a bit when it comes to the size of your vagina, it tends to be somewhere around 3” when you’re not aroused and between 4”-5” when you are. This makes a lot of sense considering the fact that the average size of a penis when it’s erect is 5.5”. However, it should go on record that no amount of sex or no size of a penis can permanently “stretch you out.” So, if there’s some man in your world who believes that, send him this article ASAP.
Another thing that happens to your vagina (the inner tube that goes from your outer opening to your cervix) is it gets darker due to all of the vessels in it that also fill up with blood. As far as your vulva (the outer part of your vagina) goes, while it might look a little flushed after climaxing, for the most part, it remains the same in appearance.
3. Your Clitoris “Leaves” YouGiphy
You know the saying, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it? Believe it or not, this actually can apply when it comes to your clitoris (check out “10 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Your Clitoris”). That’s because if you go long periods without sexual activity, that can cause your clitoral skin to become thin and dry and even shrink (crazy, right?). This can also happen during menopause as your hormone levels go through a significant shift.
And while it does usually get larger during foreplay, another time when your clitoris will probably get smaller is when you’re on the brink of climaxing. For whatever the reason, when you’re about to orgasm, it prefers to disappear inside of your clitoral hood (check out “7 Reasons You Should TOTALLY Be In Love With Your Clitoral Hood”) and snuggle up next to your pubic bone. This actually may be why your partner becomes a bit more aggressive (in a good way) during cunnilingus. He might not say it, but he very well could be looking for your clit — which would make total sense.
4. Your Cervix Tilts
One kind of orgasm that some women are able to have during penetrative sex is a cervical orgasm. Although your cervix (the tube/canal that connects your uterus to your vagina) can’t exactly be penetrated, it can be stimulated. It should go on record that while one woman may find cervical stimulation pleasurable, others actually find it to be close to painful. So, if you happen to fall into category B, aim for another kind of climax; there are plenty of others to choose from (check out “U-Spot Orgasm, Fantasy Orgasm & 6 Other Orgasms You Should Try Tonight”).
That said, when you’re aroused, it’s pretty common for your cervix to pull back closer to your uterus in order to accommodate a penis (or sex toy). It’s also normal for it to tilt — in other words, to rock back and forth. If you’re wondering if you’ll notice…eh, probably not.
5. Your Body Temperature IncreasesGiphy
This one is probably the least surprising of all when you stop to think about the fact that sex is a form of exercise and cardio tends to cause your temperature to go up. In fact, this is probably why so many say that wearing socks during sex can improve your chances of experiencing the Big O.
Some studies claim having socks on can increase your chances of climaxing by as much as 30 percent. Why? Well, one reason is due to the fact that wearing socks increases one’s blood flow and body temperature. Not only that, but it can help you to feel cozier when it comes to being intimate with your partner.
Personally, I hate wearing socks to bed (for any reason), and I hate feeling hot even more. But if you’re just the opposite, here’s a hack that could make sex even better for you. Report back if it does.
6. Your Brain “Lights Up”
When it comes to this one, I am absolutely not exaggerating. When you’re having sex (and especially when you’re on the brink of having an orgasm), there are different parts of your brain that light up, just like a Christmas tree — the genital sensory cortex, hypothalamus, thalamus, motor areas, and the substantia nigra. All of these parts work together to send information to different body parts, trigger the production of various hormones (that work to make sex more pleasurable) and help you to focus on what’s happening in the moment.
7. Your Brain Also “Turns Off”Giphy
LAWD. If you don’t get anything else from this lil’ read, please take this point in. While on the one hand, there are parts of your brain that become more active, there is another part that actually decreases during sex. It’s called your lateral orbitofrontal cortex, and it’s responsible for things like your reasoning capabilities, your judgment calls, and your decision-making process(es).
This is DEFINITELY reason one billion why you shouldn’t rely on sex to help you decide if someone is a good fit for you or not. Hmph, let your lateral orbitofrontal cortex tell it, it doesn’t have a clue (check out “What If The Sex Is Great? But The Relationship Sucks.”).
8. Your Pain Threshold Increases
If you really stop and think about how it can sometimes take a bit of maneuvering and finessing to get a tampon or a menstrual cup into your body, doesn’t it make sense that your threshold for pain would increase during sex? I mean, a penis is a lot larger than either of those, and between the penetration and all of the thrusting — yeah, like I said, it makes all of the sense in the world.
So, exactly how much does your threshold tolerance go up? I once read a science-based study that said the threshold skyrockets to almost 40 percent more while pain detection is somewhere around 53 percent. (This might explain why BDSM engagers experience pleasure when you really stop to think about it, huh?)
9. Your Immunity StrengthensGiphy
Well, here's a solid reason to ramp up your sexual activity. Did you know that people who have sex more than three times a month have a significantly stronger immunity than those who engage less than that? That's because something else that sex does is increase your body's ability to fight off pathogens. In case you're wondering, pathogens are organisms that literally cause disease.
Speaking of immunity, something else that can help you out is giving fellatio. Hey, roll your eyes if you want to, but there's plenty of data out there on that, too (check out "Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm").
10. Your Skin Looks Younger
To be honest with you, during copulation, there really isn’t one part of your body where blood flow doesn't increase. When it comes to your skin, specifically, the more blood it gets means the more oxygen that it receives. This is a real win because oxygen helps to increase the production of collagen in the body — and collagen is something that we all need to keep our skin clear, supple, and younger-looking. That’s why it’s actually not just a saying that sex can get rid of blemishes and give you great-looking skin. There is science to totally back those claims up — as you just read.
11. Your Desire to Bond with Your Partner Significantly GrowsGiphy
Until the cows come home, I’m gonna stay on-repeat about the fact that oxytocin is one hell of a drug (well, hormone) when it comes to sex. And since the late philosopher Thomas Hobbes once described hell as truth being seen too late, this is something else to keep in mind when it comes to using solid discernment as it relates to sex.
I say that because a huge part of the reason why oxytocin has earned the nickname “the love hormone” is it has the amazing ability to make people feel very close to their partner during things like kissing and cuddling — and especially during sex.
This can be a good thing when a secure relationship is already established. It can also put you on quite the emotional roller coaster ride if you’re not sure where things stand, yet oxytocin is somewhere in your body yelling, “Don’t worry about it! If it feels right, it must be right.”
Yeah, don’t fall for that. It’s another article for another time, yet there is something to be said for things like logic, common sense, emotional intelligence, and paying attention to patterns — no matter how good a man can make you feel in the bedroom. In other words, please make sure that once oxytocin boosts have calmed down that you notice what’s happening outside of the bedroom too. And then act accordingly.
12. Your Vagina “Bounces Back”
Even if your vagina appears a bit larger right after sex, that’s nothing to be concerned about. After all of that back-blowing (wink), the friction can lead to a bit of swelling initially. However, what you can be absolutely sure of is things will return to their normal/regular size after a few moments. Listen, we’re capable of pushing out baby heads. Ain’t no penis in the world gonna cause you to lose your elasticity. Always remember that.
Let Your Partner Know: Your Vagina ContractsGiphy
Whenever women brag to me about how good they are at faking orgasms (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP” and “So, 10 Women Sat Down And Told Me Why They Fake Orgasms...More Times Than Not”), I’ll usually say something along the lines of, “Then your partner isn’t paying close attention to what’s going on” because, unless you’re pulling off hella kegels as you’re acting like you’re seeing the mountaintop, he should notice that your vaginal walls aren’t contracting.
Yep — it doesn’t matter how much screaming and hollering you might be doing, something that transpires for a woman during an orgasm is the muscles in her pelvic region start to involuntarily contract (this happens to your anal muscles during anal sex as well).
So when it comes to concluding this article and debunking the myth that faking it is hard to detect — unless some wall-shaking is going on, the jig is up.
The good news on that is now you both need to figure out how to make your body do all of this stuff — without you having to try and act like it’s happening. Feel me?
Something tells me that you absolutely do.
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Featured 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 article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood