Five years in, and in most ways, there was not much to complain about while working for my company. I had flexibility, work-life balance, and a manager who was committed to my professional development. In the wake of COVID-19, I had grown to love our leadership and my team a bit more. Thoroughly impressed with the empathy, understanding, and accommodations made for its employees, I bragged to friends that I might retire with the company after all.
One hit after another, each death was a blow that left me breathless and afraid. As a daughter, mother, wife, and sister, I had never more clearly related to Fannie Lou Hamer's well-quoted notion of being so tired of being sick and tired.
Tears streamed down my face as I worked out to keep from punching a wall, collapsing or doing both. "He called for his mama," I said. Shock to my core by the one-second thought that this might one day be my son. Thoughts of Trayvon came next. I wondered if he too had thought of his mother in his last moments here. It was too much to bear. I let out a grunt, hurting for them and for all the black women that carried the burden of loving black men and black boys.
Helpless – the word that best describes what went unsaid between each pant I released to catch my breath.
Thankful – the sentiment that overtook me when I realized I still had the ability to catch my breath as did my husband and my son.
Furious – the rush of anger that overtook me as I realized how often I cried because we wanted to live.
Rest eventually found me, and I slept, but the feelings followed me into the next day, calling me to action. I logged into work, acting as expected while hurting within. I thought about how strange it was that everyone else seemed to be in a silo, unaffected by the happenings of the outside world. No one said anything to acknowledge how it must feel, how I must be coping with it all. No one uttered a word.
As if God knew I needed it, the CEO sent out an email blast acknowledging the slaying of George Floyd, imposing a call for empathy, and noting the mental health of black employees. I felt a bit seen in that moment, taking a full exhale to release the tension that had built between conference calls, emails, and chats. His message would have been enough had I not thought more about my hurt and my experiences.
A few years prior, I cried at my desk. I was mad at a racial comment made by a colleague and mad that I did not say anything for fear of being shamed because of my legitimate anger and being dubbed an angry black woman.
Those tears had been the last straw. I vowed that I would never again shrink myself or be silent in moments that mattered.
These thoughts in mind, I wrote an open letter to my CEO expressing my experiences and asking for his help activating change. In it, I petitioned for increased diversity and inclusion efforts resulting in a better show of African-American leadership throughout the company.
Before pondering too long, I hit send with conviction in my spirit and confidence in my value-add. I was not sure what the outcome would be, but I knew I had to do my part. A part for which I am still committed to do.
In preparation for a response or an invitation to meet, I was sure to jot down instances that clearly spoke to my experience as a black employee and why it mattered. Next, I brainstormed key ideas and solutions for improving diversity and inclusion. Finally, I crafted a detailed explanation of how I could personally help with diversity efforts. It was important that I intelligently speak, not only to the issues, but the solution. Where I was unsure, I surveyed friends in the HR industry and reached out to leaders of more diverse organizations. Equipped with an action plan, I waited for a response.
"I know you are not the only person to feel this way, but you are the only person that took the time to express these concerns to me directly." These are words from my CEO that keep replaying in my mind.
Absent these set of circumstances, he would probably never know me by name. Yet today, he has a clear view of my company experiences, my suggestions for change, and my willingness to help steer this change. For more than an hour, we discussed ways to effectuate measurable outcomes for the benefit of African-Americans. I walked away with insight into his proposed next steps and reassurance that my black voice matters.
A day later, he shared action steps with the entire company. I beamed, feeling proud that I had beat fear and experienced a small victory. In addition to his email, the CEO connected me to the VP of Human Resources, recommending me for the diversity and inclusion team.
Some are afraid that change will die out as the hot topic of social injustice and diversity dies down. What I know for certain is that advocacy is a lifestyle for those who truly believe in a cause.
In my case, I will continue to fight for increased diversity and inclusion at work. I will not quit, give in, or get comfortable. Wherever I am in my life, I will stand up for what is right.
My challenge to you is to stand in your power and be bold in your approach. Take up space, trusting that regardless of the outcome God will honor your faith. If you are feeling inspired to initiate change in your workplace or perspective organizations, I have created an email template to help. I have also crafted an example list of ideas and solutions. Click here to get them. You can also follow my journey to initiate change on Instagram @kandiceguice, DM questions, concerns, and fears.
Know that I am willing and ready to put my hand to the plow by being a part of conversations, committees, and think tanks that address diversity and social justice concerns. Call on me. We are in the fight of our lives, but together we will win.
Featured image courtesy of Kandice Guice
Kandice Guice is a lifestyle and beauty writer who doubles as an attorney and entrepreneur. She prides herself on helping multidimensional women discover personal and professional fulfillment by encouraging them to live with ambition, sass, and a whole lot of pizzazz. When Kandice isn't closing corporate transactions or writing blog posts, she is usually cheering on her husband as a football coach or looking for new travel adventures with friends and family. Check her out at kandiceguice.com and follow her on all things social @kandiceguice.
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Sex is a big deal. In fact, the clients I have who try to convince me otherwise, I essentially tell them that all they are doing is showing me that the state of their own sex life is not up to par because, if it was, they would agree that…again…sex is a big deal. No, it’s not everything. And no, it shouldn’t be solely relied on to keep a relationship together (check out “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good”). However, when you stop to really let it sink in that sex is one of the main things that makes, say, a marriage different from all other relationships husbands and wives may have — say it with me, folks: SEX IS A BIG DEAL.
That’s why, whenever I read articles that state things like (currently) only 23 percent of (American) people would rate their sex life as being “excellent” (what in the world?!), I feel that it is basically my duty and mission to do all that I can to significantly increase those numbers. One way to do that is to offer some not-so-obvious tips that can make climaxing faster and easier for you.
So, if you fall into the “other than 23 percent category,” just know that I totally penned this with you in mind. Here are 12 things (plus a couple of bonus points) that could very well change and put some of your own sex odds in your favor…quite possibly, as soon as tonight.
1. Have a Sex DateGiphy
Okay, so “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?” If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a date that has nothing but a sex theme in mind. It can be a dinner that features nothing but aphrodisiacs. A sleepover at a local hotel that you’ve always wanted to try. A sexcation that literally consists of nothing (much) more than sex, food, and sleep. Aside from the fact that planning a sexcation can help to build sexual anticipation for both you and your partner, it can also remind you that quality time together should, at least sometimes, evoke feelings of eroticism, lust, and profound sexual longing too. Yeah, something that can definitely help to put you in the mood is a well-thought-out sex date (if you need a bit of help financing one, do you own a sex jar…yet?).
2. Drink Lots of WaterGiphy
It doesn’t matter what the (physical) issue may be, it seems like water is always going to be one of the remedies for it. That makes sense, being that our bodies are made up of somewhere around 60 percent of it. When it comes to having an orgasm, consuming lots of water can help when it comes to getting you to produce more natural lubrication (the wetter you are, the less friction you’ll feel, and that can make climaxing so much easier to do). As a bonus, it can also reduce your chances of experiencing a Charley horse (you know, a random muscle spasm) that can sometimes pop up when you’re in sex positions that can help you to achieve an orgasm, yet you’re so dehydrated that a “horse” gets in the way.
3. Give Each Other a Scalp MassageGiphy
If you’ve got a lot on your mind, you’re totally stressed out, or you’re so focused on having an orgasm that you can’t seem to calm your mind or body down — how about getting a scalp massage (or giving yourself one)? Since scalp massages are able to produce feel-good hormones in your body and put you into a better mood, it’s the kind of unsung foreplay that should be factored in a helluva lot more than it tends to be. Also, since scalp massages can bring relief to headaches and migraines — well, if that’s been your reason (or is it a low-key excuse?) for not having sex, you might want to keep your partner from reading this. #Elmoshrug
4. Listen to Binaural BeatsGiphy
If you’ve never heard of binaural beat therapy, probably the best way to explain it is, it’s a type of sound wave therapy that is designed to reduce anxiety and stress, improve focus and concentration, and even improve your level of confidence. Since it’s also characterized as a form of self-help, all you need is some headphones and some beats that are on a specific kind of frequency to make this effective.
And what does this have to do with having an orgasm? Some people are huge fans of binaural beats because they say that the vibrations that come from them are quite sexually stimulating. I actually put a few friends to the test by sharing a link to a popular orgasmic-themed binaural beat (here). Guess what? They went in cynical and came out saying that, although they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, they did end up feeling a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’. Just sayin’.
5. Focus on a Great (Sexual) MemoryGiphy
This is one of those times when I’m simply gonna say, “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger” and leave it at that (LOL). That’s my intro for sharing that, although I think most people reading this would scream at the top of their lungs that their partner saying someone else’s name during sex is the ultimate no-no, I once read an article where a neuroscience professor stated that it shouldn’t automatically be triggering. According to him, it could be nothing more than a cognitive euphoric reaction to a past experience that was equally as pleasurable; it’s usually not a sign that your partner is longing for someone else.
Whatever the case may be, my biggest takeaway is, focusing on satisfying sexual memories can get your mind ready for what your body is about to do. It does this by reducing anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Plus, the nostalgia can make you feel closer to your partner as well. So, while you might want to go with the present instead of your past, taking a sexual stroll down memory lane could end up totally working in your favor.
6. Introduce Him to the “Egg Yolk Method”Giphy
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you already knew that yoni eggs and egg vibrators can help you out with your orgasm mission. Okay, but what you might not be aware of is the fact that eating eggs can give you more energy and activate a neurotransmitter in your brain that can help you to have longer and more intensified orgasms (spinach and mushroom omelet, anyone?).
Also, keeping in with the theme of all-things-eggs-related, if you didn’t catch the viral TikTok from last summer that some media simply called “the egg yolk” method, you can watch it for yourself here. The gist is a woman decided that caressing an egg yolk is the best way to teach men how to stimulate your vulva. Thoughts?
7. Try the Kivin MethodGiphy
It’s no secret that it’s easier for many women to cum from cunnilingus than intercourse. Well, something that you can try that may help to intensify oral sex orgasms is something known as the Kivin Method. The mindset here is, if your partner orally pleases you horizontally instead of vertically, they will “cover more ground” that way. To make it happen, you need to be on your back while holding one of your knees to your chest. Then he comes in on his side and starts to orally stimulate you that way. That will cause him to stimulate more than just your clitoris. Pretty interesting, right?
8. Learn About the Coital Alignment TechniqueGiphy
Ah yes. The thing that actually inspired me to write this article in the first place. For the past few years, when it comes to the topic of achieving peak sexual pleasure, something that has been receiving quite a bit of attention is the coital alignment technique (also known as the CAT, although some call it “grinding the corn”). It’s a sex position that’s a variation of the missionary position that hones in on the clitoris.
It does this by having your partner move his body slightly above your clitoris so that it can be rather easily stimulated during penetration. For many, it’s a cool “workaround” if they are unable to achieve a vaginal orgasm. Try it (if you haven’t already) and report back.
9. Engage in Nipple Play During IntercourseGiphy
The reason why I once wrote, “So, What If 'Typical Erogenous Zones' Annoy TF Outta You?” is because I know what it’s like to have a partner assume that a part of your body is easy to get turned on…when it actually isn’t. If, for you, that happens to be your breasts (and, more specifically, your nipples), at least consider letting your partner stimulate them during intercourse.
Believe it or not, according to science, your brain responds to nipple stimulation in the same way it does whenever your genitals get sexually excited. This means that, even if you don’t “see the mountaintop” from penetration alone, sometimes the tag-teaming of intercourse and nipple play can get you the orgasm that you’re after.
10. Get into the Fetal PositionGiphy
As far as sex positions go, while the spoon and fetal position are quite similar, the fetal wins when it comes to being able to give you an orgasm quicker, mostly because the closer your knees are to your chest, the easier it is for your partner’s penis to be able to stimulate both your clitoris as well as your vagina. When that is the case, you increase the chances of experiencing a full-blown vaginal orgasm, something that continues to be an exclusive club because less than one in five are able to pull that off.
11. Have Him Press Down on Your TummyGiphy
If you’ve ever wondered if your G-spot can be stimulated from the outside in (or if you’ve been patiently waiting for your partner to figure out just where your G-spot actually is), how about pressing down on your stomach to see if that works?
From what I’ve read and researched, although this approach gained popularity due to a now-deleted TikTok post, there are medical professionals who cosign on the fact that putting a bit of external pressure in the abdominal region during sexual activity has a great chance of intensifying orgasms, for sure. Word on the street is, you increase your chances of climaxing quicker when this happens, too.
I mean, at least ask for a tummy massage before the action begins. Seems to me like this is an easy enough hack to try at least once.
12. Breathe Deeply Through Sexual StimulationGiphy
Something that your body needs a lot of during sex is oxygen. One of the reasons why is that it helps to keep the blood flowing throughout your system — and that includes your genitalia. And the more blood that rushes down that way, the more pleasurable your orgasms will be. That’s why it’s critically important to remember to breathe deeply during the sexual experience. Although it can be tempting (and even understandable) to want to hold your breath or have shortness of breath at times, those are the very moments when taking air in and breathing it out slowly can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having some of your best orgasms — EVER.
BONUS for Postmenopausal Women: Topical TestosteroneGiphy
For better or for worse, something that none of us are going to be able to escape is menopause. It’s a fact of life that will impact everything — including our sex lives. And just like our estrogen levels will drop, so will the testosterone that runs throughout our system. This is relevant because testosterone plays a significant role in your sex drive and how fulfilling sex can be for you. One solution to having lower testosterone is testosterone therapy in the form of applying topical testosterone.
As far as who can use it, where and when you should apply it, and the dosage amount that is beneficial, those things are pretty particular; that’s why you should definitely consult with your healthcare provider before adding it to your sexual self-care regimen. As far as this article goes, I’m just letting you know that there are some options available.
BONUS to Get HIM There: Make a FistGiphy
Finally, if you’re down with giving head yet you just can’t seem to work around the involuntary gagging that sometimes happens, here’s the hack for all hacks: did you know that, by forming a fist with your left hand and then squeezing your thumb inside of it, it can relax you and open up your throat? No, really. Although supposedly this discovery was birthed out of making dental visits easier, I’m pretty sure you can see how this can translate (quite well, I might add) over to the oral sex department ,too. Here’s hoping, sis. #wink
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy