It really is comedy that, right when I sat down to pen this piece, the music that played in my head came from a song that I literally haven't heard in at least 10 years. Tell me something—where were you back in 1999 when Ludacris featuring Shawnna's song "What's Your Fantasy?" came out? Wow, y'all. That was—count 'em—21 freakin' years ago. I get why it played in my psyche, though. If you pay close attention to it, it's basically a sex bucket list. Luda was talking about going from jets to cars, having sex in kitchens and jacuzzis, making home movies and laying on a bedful of cash—the list went on and on until the song faded out. Basically, he was rapping about his sexual fantasies. And that's something that all of us have.
In a nutshell, a fantasy is what transpires when our imagination is totally uninhibited. And just where do our fantasies come from? Good question. From what I've read and researched, it can be anything from our imagination to something we've read in a book or discussed with friend. Or, it could be tied to something deeper like a childhood experience, some porn that we've watched or a sexual opportunity that we felt we let get away. Or, it could even be about wanting to relive—or add onto—a really great experience that we've already had. What you can know for sure is fantasies don't come out of nowhere; there is indeed a source. That's why it's a good idea to reflect on that fact before you actually put your sexual bucket list together. That way, you can know what you are picking out of possible trauma, habit or pure eroticism. That way, you can also know what fantasies should actually be explored and, which ones should be filed away in the back of your own mind.
Once you are clear on what belongs where, you can put together an I-want-to-do-this-before-my-libido-dies list that will bring you pleasure, will only benefit your relationship, and will cause very little drama once your fantasy becomes an actual reality. Here's how to make all of this happen for you and yours.
The Fantasizing That You Should Do Alone
Reflect on every sexual fantasy you've ever had. We all know what a bucket list is; it's a list of things that we want to accomplish either before a certain time or season in our lives, or before we take our final breath on this earth. A sex bucket list would be all of the sexual things that fall under this definition. Clearly, I'm all about creating sex bucket lists or I wouldn't be writing this article. However, what I will also say is, just because you have a fantasy of some sort, that doesn't automatically mean that you and your partner should make it come true. Because we are all individuals with unique imaginations, it really is best to take out some time to do your own sexual journaling where, not only do you write down what your sexual fantasies are but where you think they came from. Not to get super deep here, but it bears mentioning that if you've always wanted to have sex with an older man while someone is watching, you might want to ponder if something similar happened to you in your childhood or adolescence. Or, if you want to do some of the things that you and an ex did, is it about the sex itself or more about you wanting to use your current partner to relive what you haven't let go in your past?
It's a poor assumption that every sexual fantasy should be fulfilled or that all of them come from a pure and healthy space. Some are tied to unresolved past issues. Some are cool, but you really should keep them to yourself. The only way to know for sure is to jot down all of your sexual fantasies and try and find the source of where they came from (if you can). After that, you're ready for the next step.
Then think about the ones that will—and won't—benefit your relationship. When it comes to healthy decision-making, hands down, one of my favorite words to apply to the decision-making process is "beneficial". When something is beneficial, it is both advantageous and good. Another great definition of the word is "make improvement". You get what this means, right? Before embarking on making a sexual fantasy come true, it's important to ask yourself if and how it will be advantageous for your relationship beyond merely scratching some itch. Also ask yourself if it will be good for the both of you to partake in it. And finally, will it ultimately improve the relationship on any level?
There's someone I know whose husband wants to check a threesome off of his sex bucket list. He doesn't pressure his wife to have one, but he does bring it up, at least a couple of times a year. Whenever his wife brings it up to me and I ask her how she feels about it, she's like, "I have no interest in being with another woman, he is absolutely against being with another man and, I feel like after it would be over, I'd be totally mortified." Yeah, sex and mortified are not like peanut butter and jelly; they are absolutely not supposed to go together.
Only a selfish lover would expect their partner to do something that might satisfy them but won't benefit the relationship overall. It really is important to ask yourself what, on your sex bucket list, would really only make you happy as opposed to help the relationship that you are in overall.
(By the way, when it comes to both of these points, it's a good idea to recommend that your partner do these two steps before the two of you put a list together too.)
The Fantasizing You Should Do with Your Partner
Figure out which sexual fantasies will actually take your relationship to the next level. Once you've got what should, and shouldn't, actually go onto your couple's bucket list, the next thing you need to decide is which fantasies will push your sex life—and ultimately, your relationship—forward. Like, if you've always wanted to have sex in an elevator, is that because you both are natural risk-takers and you want to bring more spontaneity into the relationship? Or, if you want to read erotica to one another, is that a way of making quality time extra sexy?
Something that both of you may have always wanted to do is go on a date at a strip or swinger's club, but have you really thought that through? It's one thing to look at hot women or men alone or to watch people having sex on a monitor, but when things are up close and personal and you're watching your partner's reaction to who and what they are only a few feet away from, that can trigger the green-eyed monster or cause you to activate feelings that you might not have known were there before.
Having sex in your childhood bed. Engaging in oral sex in a public place. Getting it in at your offices after hours. Making your own sex tape. Having sex in the rain. Creating your own multiple orgasms competition to see who can give the other more of 'em. Whatever your sex fantasies are, before putting them down on your actual sex bucket list, it's a good idea for both of you to discuss which ones would be great for the relationship and why. (Trust me, you'll thank me later if you do.)
Prioritize the desire and timing of each one. Once you've got a random list together, another good idea is to rank, on a scale of 1-5, which fantasies take top priority. There's a simple reason for this recommendation—tomorrow is not promised and so, if the goal is to check off as many fantasies as possible, you need to figure out which ones are the most important to you. Like, if you've never had sex in a parking lot, what are you waiting on? You could pretty much knock that one down today (relatively-speaking). On the other hand, if you've always wanted to have sex in a particular ocean or in a certain country, it's time to pull your sex jar out and do some planning. By putting your sex list in the order of what you want to do ASAP vs. what is worth waiting for, not only can it spice up your sex life in the present, but it can also give you and yours something to look forward to in the future. Both can keep sexual boredom down to a minimum, and that's always a good thing where your relationship is concerned.
Finally, Set the Right Ambiance for Creating Your Sex Bucket List
Get a fresh journal for your bucket list. Sex is important. So, don't just scribble your sex bucket list on some random sheet of paper and toss it into a drawer. Pick up a fresh journal, one that you will devote solely to it and it alone. Then put it in one of your nightstands so that the two of you can refer back to it often. Or, if you're super bold and daring, design your list and have it framed to hang up somewhere in your bedroom. Make it a literal piece of art (because it is).
Create a sexy atmosphere while making it. Whenever you and yours decide to put your sex bucket list together, avoid doing it while you're watching a show on television or as you're both scrolling through your Instagram accounts before going to sleep. Create an atmosphere that will put both of you in a sensual mood. Dim the lights. Light some scented candles. Throw on a sex-inducing streaming playlist. Make clothing optional. Nothing about what you're about to do should feel like work. It's needs to be as erotic, intriguing and fun as possible.
Have some aphrodisiacs on deck. Something else that can be cool is you can turn your sex bucket list time into a bit of an indoor picnic; one that has nothing but aphrodisiacs on the menu. As you agree to what should go on the list, celebrate with some chocolate-flavored strawberries or honey-coated almonds. As your sex bucket list is feeding your sense of hearing, let some aphrodisiac foods feed your sense of taste.
Agree to check something off of the list, after making your list, ASAP. Whether you've got 25 or 150 things on your sex bucket list (remember, this can always be a build-as-you-go sort of thing), once you're done and you both review it, I'm sure that there is something that you can make happen sooner than later. Make the effort of putting the list together totally worth your while by checking something off, just as soon as you can. You'll both feel a sense of achievement…and what a way to reward yourselves for putting the list together in the first place. Feel me? Somehow, I know that you do. #wink
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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 email@example.com. 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.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports