Damn time flies. It was about this time last year when I wrote "10 Things You Should DEFINITELY Know About Condoms" for the site. Well, now I'm back and it's pretty much due to two convos I recently had with two male friends of mine. One just had a pregnancy scare with a sex partner. The other is a guy with herpes who, although he tells his partners that he has it beforehand, he goes without wearing a condom more times than not — and his partners are fine with it. What the hell, y'all?
Both discussions inspired me to check certain data to see if anything had changed when it comes to men and condom use, in general. Nope. That said, did you know that only around one-third of people actually put a rubber on during sex? Have mercy. Even with all of these STI/STDs (reportedly, 1 in 5 Americans have one) and the fact that a lot of people (including my friend who had the scare) profess they are not ready for kids (or they don't want any at all), folks are still raw-dogging it. And a top reason continues to be, "I don't like how condoms feel."
So, in the effort to get more folks (including my friends because I am going to forward this to them) to wrap it up more often, here are a few hacks that are proven to make condom use a much more pleasurable experience than simply buying one at Walgreens or CVS and just putting it on.
1. Get Out of Drugstores
Say that you only bought your clothes at Target. Not that there's anything wrong with that particular store but man — when you actually explore department stores, boutiques and fashion websites, it's like it's a whole new world out here, right? Same thing goes for condoms. A part of the reason why a lot of people don't like them very much is because they only really think about them the day they plan on gettin' some which means that they've got to rush to some drugstore (or gas station) up the street to pick something up real quick.
Listen, not all condoms are made the same and to say that there are levels in quality is a major understatement! One of the keys to enjoying condoms more is to purchase them from a place that has a wide variety. A cool online shop is Condoms Undercover. The options are vast. The prices are good. And it ships to you confidentially. Awesome.
2. The Thinner, The Better
As a marriage life coach and a doula, I find myself talking about birth control options quite a bit. Because some of the couples I work with would prefer to avoid the hormones that come with a lot of birth control options, some wear condoms. While the mere thought of that can suck when you're in an exclusive long-term relationship, what several husbands have been able to personally vouch for is the fact that the technology of condoms are continuing to evolve and there are some thinner ones that make protected sex a lot more bearable — pleasurable even.
So, be intentional about finding ones that are as thin (and yet still effective) as possible; the kind that seem almost like a second skin. One that gets a lot of praise in this department is Kimono MicroThin Condoms. As far as thin latex condoms go, they are some of the most popular ones on the market.
3. Make Sure He Wears One That Actually Fits
While going raw (not wearing a rubber) would usually be preferred by both the giver and receiver (because, I mean, come on), whether they realize it or not, a big part of the reason why a lot of men don't enjoy condoms is because they don't fit well. And that's because it seems like every man in the world thinks he needs a Magnum…when that absolutely is not the case. There's no telling how many times I've said that most penises are around 5-5.5" erect. This means that a lot of men can go without a rubber that comes in an extra-large. Anyway, as far as general sizes go, condoms tend to be classified as snug, standard, large or XL.
For your partner to know what will work for him, he should measure his penis when it is erect and go from there. For tips on how to do that, so that condoms can end up being a comfy fit, check out Medical News Today's article "How to Find the Right Condom Size".
4. Nix the Spermicide
Although some people are allergic to latex itself (if that's you or your partner, there are latex-free options), oftentimes, when it comes to discomfort, the bigger culprit is the spermicide that's inside of many of them. While spermicide is pretty effective when it comes to killing sperm, it can also irritate genitalia if you're not careful. That's why you should probably go with a condom that doesn't have any spermicide in/on it. Will that make it less effective? So long as your partner puts the condom on correctly and it remains on during intercourse, most health professionals agree that you should be just fine. Besides, a lot of brands don't even use spermicide anymore. #themoreyouknow
5. Put Some Lube Inside of It
Hey, the wetter, the better…right? I'm pretty sure that's a point that isn't up for debate. It's also a reason why some people give the thumbs down when it comes to condom use because, even if you give off a sensation of wetness, since there is a condom on your partner, it's not like he can feel it feel it.
One way to work around this lil' bit of frustration is to put some lubrication inside of the condom itself, even if you're planning on using a pre-lubricated one. If your partner puts some on the tip of his penis before putting the condom on or within the tip of the condom before unrolling it, that can help to provide a more intense sensation. Water or silicone-based is fine.
Prevention's got a list of some of the best water-based lubes here. My Toy for Joy has a list of some of the best silicone ones here.
6. Get One with “Bumps” on It
You don't even have to tell me. The thought of anything sexually related having "bumps" on it doesn't seem very appealing. However, it did make you look and the reality is a lot of textured condoms have exactly that — raised dots on them. And why should you consider going with those if you haven't before? It's because they have a way of creating extra friction (in the best way possible) which ultimately creates more intense orgasms for you. No one is saying that you have to use these. Still, if you've never given them a shot before, there's no time like the present to knock something else off of your "never have I ever" list. Right?
7. Put It on Orally
If your partner hates wearing a condom with everything in him, even if he knows that it really is a very responsible thing to do, warm him up to the idea by opting to put the condom on for him — with your mouth. It's sexy. It's seductive. And, if you apply the following tip that I'm about to make, it could actually cause you to become a really big fan of condoms. At least when it comes to oral activity.
8. Have You Tried the Flavored Kind?
It really does trip me out how, some people will be quick to say that they use condoms for intercourse but then will turn around and say that they never use 'em when it comes to oral sex. What in the world? Pretty much any STI/STD that can be transmitted during intercourse can also be passed on during fellatio and/or cunnilingus too. That's why you should definitely make sure that you and your partner are tested before ANY kind of sexual activity goes down. Oh, and if you want to be extra safe, you should use condoms during oral sex as well.
Listen, I'll be the first one to say that back in my "oral fulfillment days", I wasn't the biggest condom-user; especially when it came to head. Part of the reason was because I loathe the way that regular condoms taste (kinda like a rubber tire from the way it smells alone). Yet I wasn't really on to flavored condoms either.
I've tasted a few, so that I can give my honest opinion for pieces like this (and to prepare for when I return to them). And while they aren't exactly a hot fudge sundae, what I will say is they can make oral safe sex way more enjoyable for you and your partner. For you because they taste pretty good and him because, the more you enjoy giving fellatio, the more he will enjoy receiving it. Sex Toy Helper is a site that can point you in the direction of some of the best flavored rubbers on the market right now. Read about it right here.
9. Close Your Legs (Kinda)
Remember how I said that textured condoms can provide a good kind of friction feeling? So can keeping your legs somewhat closed when you're having sex. I mean, of course they can't be kept all the way closed. But if you're on top and you put your legs inside of his (rather than traditionally kneeling outside of them) or you put both of your legs over his shoulder while he's penetrating you, these are the kinds of sexual positions that can also take the sensation up a few notches when he's got a condom on (especially if the lube trick that I talked about earlier is added).
10. Think Positive
If you go in saying something along the lines of "I hate condoms", there's not too much wiggle room to change your mind, hacks or not. Listen, again, having sex without a rubber feels better (especially for the guys). Still, when you think about the fact that it can prevent you from getting sick or having a baby when you don't want one, how can you not have a little bit of love for it? The right one. The right hacks. The right position. The right partner. This combo can make condom-wearing (and feeling) better than you think. Just try the hacks and see.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
This New Scalp Care Line Is Exactly What Your Wash Days Need
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
When it comes to healthy hair care, there are a few things that will help you achieve healthy strands: a healthy hair care regime, hydration, consistent treatments, and scalp care. While scalp care is one of the most neglected practices, it is also one of the most important. Why? Because it helps promote healthy hair growth, clear hair follicles, and remove build-up.
When it comes to creating a healthy scalp routine, it helps to know exactly what you’re up against so you know how to specifically treat it. Two of the most common concerns are dandruff and dry scalp. It can be tough to decipher which is which, but here’s a quick breakdown: dry scalp is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, while dandruff is caused by an excess of oil and yeast buildup on the scalp. Knowing that both of these are big concerns, SheaMoisture released two separate product lines to address both issues: the Scalp Moisture collection and the Anti-Dandruff collection.
Needless to say, if you tend to experience dandruff then I’d recommend you try the Anti-Dandruff collection. However, my biggest concern has always been dry scalp. A lack of moisture on the scalp can be caused by several factors like weather, age, and hair products to name a few. I’ve noticed that when I use certain gels or skip out on a deep scalp cleanse, my roots feel itchy and dry nonstop, which is uncomfortable.
The only way to relieve the discomfort is to properly wash and moisturize my roots, so I tried the Scalp Moisture collection and this is what I thought.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
First, What’s In The Collection?
The Scalp Moisture collection is a four-product line that includes a pre-wash masque, a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a moisturizing scalp cream. Each product uses moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like aloe butter and vitamin B3 as active ingredients to provide eight times the moisture. Together, aloe butter and vitamin B3 work to restore dry and brittle hair, as well as add relief to the scalp.
Now, let’s break down each product…
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Pre-Wash Masque may actually be the all-star of the collection. Using this deep conditioning masque is one of the best ways to target your dry scalp, restore hydration, and nourish your strands before shampooing.
I started by completely saturating my hair and scalp with water, then making small sections to apply the masque directly to the root. For my girls who have experience with relaxers and perms, it helps to apply the masque to your roots just like you would do with a relaxer. This way you can make sure you’ve covered as much of your scalp as possible while minimizing any breakage.
Pro tip: you can also use a color application brush to make this step easier.
After I completely covered my scalp, I massaged the product into my roots, used any excess on my strands, then left the masque in for 30 minutes. I was shocked by how moisturizing and clarifying my scalp and hair felt. One of the things that I love about the masque is the slip and how much softer it made my hair. While this is marketed as a scalp care product, it can completely transform your hair from dry and parched to completely hydrated.
In my opinion, the downside of this masque is that the quantity is too small for my liking. Truth be told, naturals go through deep conditioners faster than any other product (especially when it’s this good.) So SheaMoisture, if you’re reading this, we’d love a bigger jar.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Shampoo
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Shampoo is a gentle cleanser packed with the same moisture as the masque. The pearl-colored shampoo is lightweight with a serum-like consistency and a light and clean scent. The smell is pleasant, subtle, and not overbearing. When I applied the shampoo, I noticed immediately that it foams and lathers up very quickly, so less is more.
After applying the shampoo, I parted my hair and started at the roots to target as much of my scalp as possible. I recommend really taking the time to work the product and massage your scalp as much as possible.
Pro tip: using a scalp massager makes it easier and it feels amazing.
Once you start to massage your hair you’ll feel the product start to work. There’s a tingling sensation that might catch you off guard if you’re not used to it, but it’s not nearly as strong as other scalp products I’ve tried. I know some may not appreciate the sensation, but I loved it! My scalp felt clean, light, and breathable.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Conditioner
Like the shampoo, the SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Conditioner shares that pearly color and serum-like feel. It applies very easily while softening and moisturizing your hair. When I applied it to my hand, it gave my hands a lotion-like feel, which speaks volumes about its hydration capabilities. I also loved that the conditioner comes with a pump, instead of having to squeeze the product out – to me, it makes application easier.
I typically apply my conditioner to the ends first but because this is a scalp care product I started at the root and worked my way down to my ends. I did leave the conditioner in for ten minutes, although the bottle recommends leaving it in for three. The conditioner also provides that same breathable feel to your scalp. I honestly loved the relief.
Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Scalp Moisture Cream
The SheaMoisture Scalp Moisture Cream is more of a daily relief product for your roots rather than your overall hair. It’s great for providing moisture and immediate relief to a dry and itchy scalp. Just like most of the collection, it gives a light and breathable feel – without the tingle. The applicator bottle targets specific parts of your scalp and makes applying easier.
Pro tip: I typically just squeeze the bottle to wherever I need the relief and use the tip to massage it into my scalp so it doesn’t mess up the hairstyle.
Overall, SheaMoisture’s scalp care line lives up to its claims – it moisturizes, strengthens, and provides immediate scalp relief. I definitely recommend trying the Scalp Moisture collection for an affordable way to treat itchy and dry scalp.
Featured image by Krissy Lewis for xoNecole
Chilli's Reason For Severing All Ties With Usher In 2019 Is A Lesson We All Can Learn
Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas, a member of the iconic girl group TLC, exemplifies the importance of cutting all ties with an ex in order to find true love as she shares valuable insights about her past relationship with R&B singer Usher.
For context, the pair dated for three years, from 2001 to 2004, despite meeting nearly a decade before when Usher joined LaFace Records, the same label Chilli and her group were signed to. During that period, Usher and Chilli's union was widely admired by fans because of the couple's attractiveness and chemistry, which was shown in various music videos.
In 2004, following their split, limited details about why Usher and Chilli broke up were released to the public. But as the years progressed, social media users developed their own assumptions because, coincidently, around the time Usher and Chilli went their separate ways, he had released his hit album Confessions, and the lead single with the same name talks about a man admitting to possibly fathering a child outside of his relationship.
Due to conflicting reports from past interviews and Usher's song, many believed that infidelity on the "Yeah" singer's part could have led to the demise of his union with Chilli. In a recent interview with People magazine, Chilli --who is currently dating actor Matthew Lawrence-- opened up about her ex, how their relationship didn't necessarily end in 2004 despite it being announced to the public, and why she officially severed ties with him in 2019.
Chilli (L) and Usher (R)
Photo by KMazur/WireImage
Chilli On Her Past Relationship With Usher
During the discussion that took place earlier this month, the 52-year-old revealed that she and Usher were initially attracted to each other because of their intense chemistry.
But over the years, as their union evolved, Chilli realized that the pair was "different" and that the initial chemistry they once shared only occurred when they were working.
"We definitely had some chemistry. But working chemistry does not mean it works in your personal life. If we were working, it was great. But outside of that, we're so different," she said.
Chilli would add that even though her relationship with Usher looked great to the public, it didn't work the first time around because the "Burn" vocalist failed to meet certain requirements.
"It looked great, but in real life ... he knew he had to be a certain way with me, and he couldn't," she continued.
Chilli also disclosed that Usher's album Confessions wasn't about her and that their split in 2004 was due to opposing values and trust issues.
Still, Usher and Chilli would rekindle their union privately on and off for years when they weren't exclusively seeing other people. The "Unpretty" songstress explained the reason behind it was because they couldn't "get over" each other.
"I love hard. I was like, 'God, why can't I get over this?' He couldn't either," she stated.
Chilli On Why She Cut Contact With Usher In 2019
But all that would change in 2019 when Chilli, guided by her faith, cut off all contact with Usher because she wanted to "focus on" herself.
In addition to no longer speaking to the "Glu" singer, the mother of one decided not to date temporarily because she didn't want her past relationship with Usher to ruin her chances with a potential suitor.
"I even stopped dating. Because before that I thought if I met the right guy during that time that I wasn't over [Usher] it wouldn't work. I would never want to straddle the fence, " she said.
Toward the end of the conversation, Chilli shares that she had "no hard feelings" against Usher, who is now with Jenn Goicoechea, a senior vice president of A&R and Epic Records.
Chilli's recent admission about Usher and having to cut ties with an ex to find her significant other could motivate others to follow the same steps or at least re-evaluate the situation.
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