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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images