Foreplay: sexual stimulation of one's partner, usually as a prelude to sexual intercourse
Prelude: a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance
Off top, this might seem like a really strange topic to tackle, but just hear me out on why I think it's super relevant. Did you know that, in the United States alone, somewhere between 14-15 million people consider themselves to be in a long-distance relationship? Not only that, but out of those, only around four million folks are married (close to 33 percent are college-aged individuals), even though a whopping 75 percent of engaged couples admit to being long-distance during some part of their engagement?
Now do you see why I thought this was an issue that needed to be addressed? Just because two people may be apart, that doesn't mean that they still don't have needs. And, what I adore about the definition of foreplay, is it doesn't just lend to what a couple should be doing 15 minutes before penetration transpires. Foreplay is all about stimulating one's partner,, period and since the brain is actually the largest sexual organ that any of us have, incitement really should begin with what's going on between our ears, not our legs.
Hmph. The more I think about it, as challenging as being miles away from one's lover may be, perhaps one of the best parts about a long-distance relationship is how creative you can get when it comes to the fine art of foreplay (and it is indeed an art form, y'all).
Want some help with stoking the fires? I've got a few ideas.
Exchange Sexy Letters
As a writer who got my start as a poet, I've fallen for my fair share of writers—spoken word artists, rappers and singers—in my day. It's not just because of what I do for a living, but because words of affirmation is my primary love language too. And let me tell you—a well-placed and timed letter, poem or song could hit me in all the right places. That's why it totally resonated with me when I read an article that said that handwritten notes are quite powerful. So much in fact that increases positivity and an overall sense of well-being in both the writer and recipient.
So tell me something—when's the last time you went to a local office supply store (or a Hallmark), picked up some fly stationery and penned a sexy letter to your man, complete with some of your signature perfume on it, and mailed it?
A text or email are aight, but making the time to write about the way you love how he makes you feel will resonate on an entirely different level; especially if you both make it a mutual practice from time to time.
Create a Sex Bucket List
Speaking of writing things down, another way to get your creative sexual juices flowing is by creating a sex bucket list. Think of it as being a couples' vision board only, everything that is on it has something to do with sexual fantasies and desires that you both would like to try someday (hopefully sooner than later).
You could exchange ideas back and forth in an email. Or, you can both download an electronic vision board and swap thoughts that way. You can get a few leads on apps here.
Download the Kindu App
It wouldn't seem right to discuss how to better navigate through a long-distance relationship without bringing up some (other) apps since basically they are designed to make life—including your relationship—easier. Along these lines, one that you should definitely have on your phone is the Kindu app. The long short of it is, once you and yours download the app, you can go through thousands of sexual suggestions that the app provides. Then you both can discuss what you're willing to try, what's up for negotiation and what's totally off limits. If your relationship is relatively new or you've always been shy about discussing sexual intimacy, this is one way to broach the topic without feeling insecure or totally put on the spot. (Get it from the App Store here or Google Play here.)
Download the iKamasutra App TooGiphy
Another "benefit" of being apart is it can give you both some time to learn and/or brush up on your sex knowledge. Take sexual positions, for example. Did you know that there are technically around 230 different ones? With the iKamasutra app (App Store), you can learn about 110 of 'em via the free version and all of the rest for $2.99. They even have a feature that will help you to recreate some of the most memorable sex scenes from movies. Just think of how much you'll be able to, umm, demonstrate the next time the two of you are together!
Design a Sex Calendar
Something that one of my friend's husbands did for one of her birthdays was give her a calendar. If that sounds like he was leaning a little on the cheap side, just wait until I tell you what he did with it. He literally planned out dates with his wife, a year in advance. He didn't just write "date" on random days either; he had ideas, places and times too. Who said that romance is dead?
A cool twist to this is to design a sex calendar. You and yours can divvy the 12 months up and either come up with ideas on your Google calendar or mail the calendar back and forth. (Personally, I like the second idea; it gives you both something to look forward to!)
Mail Each Other SleepwearGiphy
Something that both husbands and wives tell me is a major pet peeve (and libido downer) is how their spouse decides to come to bed. Between the Fort Knox pajamas that a lot of women wear and T-shirts and boxers that should've been burned years ago that men have on, it's enough to turn anybody off.
Make this less of an issue for you and your sweetheart by coming up with your own Sleepwear of the Month Club. During a phone call, discuss things like one another's favorite colors, fabrics and lingerie looks. Then, commit to mailing each other what you'd like to see your partner in once a month for a year. Not only will you both end up with a new collection of sexy stuff to put on but imagine what an impromptu modeling session will be like!
Keep a Sex Journal
When a relationship is new, sex is pretty much always hot (here's hoping, anyway). But if you've been together for a while now and the distance is taking its toll to the point that it's actually wreaking havoc on the intimacy that the two of you share, something that you might want to do is keep a sex journal between the two of you. It can consist of anything that you want it to—the best sex memories you both have, the needs and wants that are important to you, even when you felt that sex was at its peak and when it seemed to take a bit of a dive, so that you both can pinpoint when things started to go left—just so long as the focus is sex and ways to make it better.
Sometimes, just the documentation and communication alone can help to put a spark back into the relationship.
Plan a Mini Hotel TourGiphy
Foreplay is all about building anticipation. Even if money is a little tight right now, that doesn't mean that the two of you can't dream.
Well, dream and save money. That said, I don't know one person (myself included) who isn't a HUGE fan of hotel sex. So, why not put together your own mini hotel tour?
First, research the sexiest hotel in the city where you both live and plan to spend at least one night there when you travel to see one another. As far as a tour goes, the Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, CA); Salamander Resort & Spa (Middleburg, VA); Amangiri (Canyon Point, UT); Inn at the Market (Seattle, WA); Bryant Park Hotel (Manhattan, NY); The Standard Spa (Miami Beach, FL) and The Hermitage Hotel (Nashville, TN) are just a few other sexy hotels that can inspire you to meet in another location for a little extra excitement.
Come Up with Your Own Sex-Themed Emoji Language
A part of what makes a long-distance relationship challenging is, not only do you have to deal with being apart from the one you love, you also have to juggle your day-to-day demands. Although I'm sure the intention is to talk at least once a day, something that you can do to remind your partner that you are thinking of them is to text. Or sext. If you want to make it fun and a little more private, you can check out some private texting apps here (or you can try out Wickr or Confide). Then, come up with your own sex-themed emoji language.
Why emojis? Well, not only are they a faster way to communicate but, according to some pretty widespread research, people who use emojis have sex more than folks who don't. Oh, and if you want to nix deciphering between water splashes, eggplants and whatnot, there's a "naughty" emoji keyboard that you can download directly to your smartphone.
Emotionally Connect. Daily.
An actor by the name of Zara Barrie once said something about foreplay that is so on point— "Conversation is the sexiest foreplay, the perfect prelude to sex, the fiery banter that gets you heated, the stimulation of the mind that transmits to the body. Conversation is a give and take. Just like sex itself. And the best give and takes — the best conversations — lead to the best sex."
The married couples I know who have lasted the longest all have said that, when it comes to foreplay, it's about cultivating an emotional connection, most of all. It's a reminder that building true intimacy isn't just about sex; it's about making sure your partner feels wanted, heard and safe.
I could give a ton of tips on this too, but you know what's even better? Ask your partner. By simply saying, "What can I do to make you feel more loved by me?" will be sure to make them feel so much closer to you—no matter how far apart, physically, you may be. As a bonus, it will make coming together again, that much better too. Emotional connecting truly is the best kind of foreplay around. Hands down.
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Featured image by Getty Images.
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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 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.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images