Oral sex. While it's kind of the activity that everyone (or at least, almost everyone) does and yet doesn't openly talk about it all of the time, I feel like it's important that I provide as much information as possible on the topic. After all, knowledge is power, and the more you know about sex—all kinds of sex—the better. Well, when it comes to fellatio specifically, a couple of years back, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm". It touched on sperm from the angle of all of the ways that it can benefit your system—and chile, there are many.
Yet it's hard to take advantage of all that sperm (and semen; the fluid that holds sperm) has to offer if you can't stand that taste of it. You know it. I know it. Well, a way to take better control of how it resonates with your taste buds is to make sure your partner applies certain foods to his diet while avoiding certain others. If you'd like a quick cheat sheet of how to improve the taste of sperm, I've included five foods he should eat and five that he should eat less of. If he wants to get some, that is. (By the way, I'm gonna say sperm all throughout this; just know that semen is included in my thoughts.)
For sperm to taste better, he should eat: Celery
Celery doesn't taste like much of anything. That's why it trips me out that it has so many health benefits to it. Celery is good for you because it's a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, along with folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, and antioxidants. Consuming it can help to reduce bodily inflammation, and improve digestion and it can even help to lower your cholesterol levels. Plus, celery contains properties that can help to prevent cancer.
The reason why it tops the list of things that your man should eat is because, for one thing, the Vitamin C and phytonutrients in it will actually help to increase his sperm count and motility. Not only that but the Vitamin C in celery can also help to take some of the salty taste out of sperm. As a bonus, celery is also known to be an aphrodisiac food, thanks to the pheromones that it produces. Yep, celery can actually make you enjoy the scent of sperm more. Imagine that.
For sperm to taste better, he shouldn't eat: Dairy
Dairy is a bit of a controversial topic, although there is more and more data coming out that it's really not the best for us overall. As far as the belief that dairy strengthens our bones, it's actually more effective to up your Vitamin D dosage instead. Because dairy increases an insulin growth factor in our body called IGF-1, it actually has the ability to increase the cancer risk in our system. While studies have revealed the dairy doesn't actually produce more mucus, what it does do is make it thicker and more irritating. Dairy consumption also increases the risk of breakouts, prostate cancer in your man and ovarian cancer in you.
There are a couple of reasons why dairy is a no-no as far as sperm goes. First, it has the ability to decrease motility in men and even cause sperm to end up having an abnormal shape. Also, dairy has a tendency to alter to taste of semen (and not in a good way), not to mention that it can make your man gassy and…who wants to deal with that during sex. Uh-uh.
To improve the taste of sperm, he should eat: Mint
I don't know a ton of people who just chew on sprigs of mint. Still, fresh mint is something that you can put into your drinking water, smoothie or in some of the dishes that you prepare—and, of course, there is always herbal mint tea. It's well worth the effort because mint contains a fair amount of fiber, Vitamin A and iron. It can help to relieve indigestion ,irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even improve brain function. Did you know that mint can even relieve cold-related symptoms (due to the menthol that's in it) and decrease breastfeeding discomfort? And, of course, it's one of the most effective ways to get rid of bad breath.
While there are some studies that spearmint and peppermint can slight decrease testosterone levels in women, when men consume it a couple of times a week, it does have a way of making sperm less acidic which can give it a bit of a sweeter, umm, aftertaste. So yeah, pick some up, the next time you're in the produce section.
To improve the taste of sperm, he shouldn't eat: Sulfur-Based Foods
Sulfur is an interesting mineral in the sense that our bodies aren't able to produce it; we have to consume it in order to get it into our system. Foods that are high in sulfur include garlic, onions, eggs, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, parmesan cheese and scallops—just to name a few. All of these foods are beneficial because sulfur can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, can lessen joint and muscle pain, can definitely clear up acne (I am a big-time sulfur soap fan) and it can also help to keep you from developing things like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease up the road.
I'm pretty sure it takes no guessing why sulfur-based foods are the wackest when it comes to fellatio, though. Sulfur stinks—point blank and period. And it tends to pass along a bit of its odor while also intensifying sperm's somewhat naturally bitter taste. Yeah, hard pass.
For sperm to taste better, he should eat: Fresh Fruit
Fresh fruit tastes so good. If you've ever wondered which ones are the healthiest, some that top the list are grapefruit, avocado, pineapple, berries (basically all berries), watermelon, olives, oranges, bananas, papayas and cherries. All are high in antioxidants. All are loaded with fiber. All contain vitamins A, C, folate and phytochemicals (plant compounds). All are filled with water and low in calories.
Your man eating fruit is a good idea because the micronutrients in it will improve his sperm concentration. Plus, fruit can help to take the "bite" off of sperm (you know, the copper/sour taste that it sometimes has). Also, fruit has a way of making sperm taste better too; a little sweeter, even.
For sperm to taste better, he shouldn't eat: Red Meat
Red meat could really get its own article because there are so many pros and cons to it. For the sake of time and space, a pro is that it's really high in iron. Meanwhile, a con is it typically contains a lot of saturated fat which can lead to high cholesterol levels and heart disease overall.
The reason why your man may need to push the plate back more often on the sperm tip is because red meat can make sperm taste really salty (poultry makes it less this way). So, unless you totally dig that idea, a black bean burger might be what he should have leading up to, well, you know.
He should eat: Spices
Ginger. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Cocoa. Rosemary. These are just a handful of spices that are really good for your health because they are rich in antioxidants, are able to reduce bodily inflammation, can help to lower blood sugar levels and so much more.
And why should you encourage your man to sprinkle some of these on his food? They are just one more thing that can help to pull some of the acid out of sperm so that it tastes a little sweeter. Not sweet like cake but definitely less tart and easier to…take in.
He shouldn't eat: Caffeine
I've said before that caffeine comes with its ups and downs as far as health benefits go. Today, let's just stick to the upswing. If you consume it in moderation (because it is a stimulant that is a drug that could lead to an addiction, if you're not careful), caffeine has the ability to (temporarily) increase your energy levels, burn fat, lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, protect your liver and can also put you into a better mood.
The reason why you should discourage your man from having more than a cup of java or scoop of coffee ice cream on a daily basis is because it can cause his sperm to taste pretty bitter. Kinda like licking a penny. And unless that's your thing, it's not.
He should drink: Wheatgrass
I'm not really sure if a lot of folks are thrilled with the idea of taking in shots of wheatgrass. Still, it does top the list of superfoods and when you see the benefits that it provides, it's easy to see why. Wheatgrass is a type of grass that is loaded with chlorophyll, antioxidants, and all kinds of nutrients. It's great for your health because it works to boost your metabolism; purify your blood; detox your system of metals; cleanse your liver; treat body odor; naturally heal symptoms related to eczema and psoriasis and boost your immunity—and so much more.
And how does it help out in the sperm department? Thanks to the high amount of chlorophyll that's in it, it can help to keep the pH level of sperm in check (which should be somewhere between 7.2 and 8.0) which makes it less acidic and more pleasurable to your taste buds.
He shouldn't drink: Alcohol
Last one. If you check out my article, "Liquors That Are Gluten-Free (& Beneficial In Other Ways)", you'll find that there are some health benefits to alcohol—and not just red wine. Shoot, the antioxidants that are in a lot of alcoholic drinks are enough of a reason to pour yourself a glass of somethin' a couple of times a week.
Just make sure that your man isn't tippin' a few bottles back before it's time to put some work in. For some reason, it has a way of causing sperm to taste sour. So, unless you enjoy sucking on lemons (no pun intended, of course), alcohol should be consumed right before "the act", not hours prior. Enjoy!
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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 (email@example.com) 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.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic’, though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let’s do first things first — let’s define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of “What does platonic mean?”, the first thing that you’re (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of “of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex” (Merriam-Webster), “designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity” (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, “purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes” (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I’ll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word “platonic” actually come from? From what I’ve researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled “Symposium.” In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire; one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: “Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry.” A write-up on Merriam-Webster’s site stated that, “The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships.” Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that’s another article for another time, though (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”).
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word “platonic” is kind of used in “broad strokes” these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be “just friends,” I’m going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I’m pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally, even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I’ll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He’s super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often and some have told us that they assume that we’ve had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: “I told him, ‘He’s my brother. We would never mess around.'”
My Friend: “Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it.”
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: “Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives.” (That reminds me: check out, “Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?” when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: “Girl, yeah. If I didn’t want to keep you in my life long-term, I would’ve tried to holla a long time ago!” And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these “for real?!” exchanges is, even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a “dormant seed” lying around somewhere…whether it’s one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life, we’ve had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren’t exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you’re not sure about “his”…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you’ve got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you’ve never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he’s someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it’s one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who’s been together for more than five years and I’ll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out “Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?”).
Yeah, just because you’ve filed someone in the “I see him as a good guy” category, that doesn’t automatically mean that y’all’s friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don’t get it twisted — I’ve considered him because, on so many levels, we “fit.” So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are “good friends” yet it’s not exactly platonic.
I’m not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would’ve been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn’t make you want to throw up in your mouth, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there’s a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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