One time, while talking to a wife about some issues that she was having with her husband in the bedroom, she shared something with me that has remained in my mind, pretty much ever since she said it. "While the sex itself is pretty good, I still don't really look forward to it like I want to because, to tell you the truth, the foreplay sucks."
While some of you may have just read that and felt like her statement was a bit contradictory—actually, to me, it wasn't. Contrary to the popular belief (that is actually more like a total misconception) about foreplay, it isn't sex. Sex is intercourse; foreplay is the action that comes before it, and if the foreplay ain't right, for many of us, something about intercourse is gonna be…off. No matter how good coitus may be.
That's what we're going to semi-deep dive into today. What you should do if you happen to have a partner whose stroke game is on-point yet everything else is pretty "meh"? If that's you and you've been semi-suffering in silence, let's get you free, so that you can enjoy all-things-sexual, just the way sex was meant to be.
First of all, Sex and Foreplay Are Two Different Things.
Before we can solve a problem, we've got to properly define it, right? When it comes to what makes sex and foreplay different, I once heard a woman say that foreplay is what makes sex worthwhile.
Hmm. While I personally wouldn't go that far (I'm team both all day, every day), what I will say is, if there isn't a strong physical and emotional connection that's established before penetration transpires, that can prevent sex from being as great as it could be (even the guys that I know will personally vouch for that). This is where the act of foreplay comes in.
Remember how I said that a strong physical and emotional connection makes sex better?
- A romantic date? That's foreplay.
- You and your partner affirming one another? That's foreplay.
- Dancing to your favorite slow jams in the living room? That's foreplay.
- Sexting or even just flirting on the phone? That's foreplay.
- Cooking together? That's foreplay.
- Kissing without it immediately leading into sex? That's foreplay.
- A body massage? That's foreplay.
- Cuddling? That's foreplay.
- Orgasmic meditation (which sounds like sex but it ain't)? That's foreplay.
- Fellatio, cunnilingus, and stimulating sexual pressure points? That's foreplay. (I'll explain this point further in just a moment.)
While all of these are different acts, if there is one thing that they have in common with one another, it's the fact that they're all about spending quality time with your partner without any intercourse transpiring. Going on a date sends the message that you want to spend time with your partner without any distractions. Kissing without it always leading to sex? I don't know about y'all but to me, it conveys that you aren't kissing me in hopes that it will lead to something else; you simply enjoy the act…just because. And oral sex? OK, despite what our former president Bill Clinton tried to deflect with, technically oral sex is sex. However, I'll tell you what—while in my sessions with husbands and wives, they have both told me that some of their favorite sexual memories have consisted of when their spouse wanted to give oral sex without doing anything else afterward; that their partner wanted to please them so badly that their climax was all of the reciprocity that they needed (whew and yes!). Foreplay is physical and emotional stimulation. Sometimes it's sexual. Sometimes it's not.
So how is the actual act of sex different? If any of y'all checked out the article, "BDE: Please Let The 'It Needs To Be Huge' Myth Go", something that a wife who helped inspired the piece shared with me, on more than one occasion is, her husband was so proud of his package, that he doesn't think foreplay is that big of a deal. He's basically like the "bang-bang-bang" father in the classic movie Boomerang (RIP John Witherspoon). No romance. No frills. No real attentiveness. No intimacy (more on that in a sec). Plenty of intercourse and that's about it. And you know what? Their sex life has only continued to suffer because of it. In many ways, it's actually non-existent.
Interesting, right? The people who get foreplay seem to be more aroused and interested in copulation while the ones who go without will often take a pass on sex altogether. If not immediately, eventually. What does this really mean?
What a Lack of Foreplay Conveys.
Before going even deeper into this topic, let me just say that I get that some of y'all are a lot like my friend's husband in the sense that, just like some folks hate kissing (check out "Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?"), there are also some individuals who find foreplay to be a complete waste of time and totally unnecessary. Still, I am pretty sure that those folks are the exception and not the rule. The rest of us? I believe that we're all about foreplay and a lot of it has to do with the fact that many of us still associate sex with being an intimate act.
And here's the thing about intimacy. Much like the word "love" is oftentimes misused/abused, I think the word "intimacy" is too.
A one-night stand with some random isn't really intimacy, no matter how much sexual pleasure you may have gotten out of the experience. You know why? Because being intimate with someone is defined as having a warm friendship with them and being personally close to them. Being intimate with someone also speaks to sharing secrets or confidential matters, being affectionate and feeling cherished in someone's presence. Being intimate is about being valued in someone's life as you're valuing them as well. (Now do you see why I said "intimate" gets misused/abused?)
Now, are there levels of feeling this way? 1000 percent. After all, the kind of intimacy that's shared between a married couple that's been together for 45 years is going to be vastly different than the intimacy that's between two people who've been on six dates. However, the thing that's important to keep in mind is when foreplay happens prior to sex, it is an act of true intimacy. Yes, you and your partner may be sexually stimulating each other in preparation for intercourse yet it holds way more weight than that. There is something about both of you that feels warm and cherished enough to not want to rush things—you want to be affectionate with one another because of the connection that already exists.
Uh-huh Shellie. I hear you. But I've had some great sex with guys who were good at foreplay that I wasn't exactly "connected" with. Understood. One day, we'll get into the subject of how some people pretend to be intimate for selfish gain; they aren't really having sex with you so much as they're having sex at you in order to boost their own ego. Indeed, just like folks can act like they're in entire relationships, they can also act like they are being intimate with a person. Still, I'm willing to bet that the men you can reflect on who made you feel the best, the safest, the most adored—there was a connection and that made the foreplay as well as the sex so much better. In those instances, the climaxes weren't "the cake"; they were 1000 percent "the icing". Just being with you, enjoying you, and pleasing you? That was the cake. The three-tier, thousands of dollars, wedding cake kind. Especially since it's pretty common knowledge that while it takes men around 5-6 minutes to have an orgasm, it takes us somewhere around 20 minutes. A good lover isn't trying to get you on his "schedule". He's relishing everything about the privilege of being with you so…what's the rush?
How to Get More Foreplay in Your Relationship.
When it comes to foreplay (and afterplay), I promise you that I could on and on. That's how, not only good it is, but necessary I find it to be. So, what if you're currently in a relationship (or situationship) where the actual intercourse feels amazing, but the foreplay is seriously lacking? The first thing that I want to say is you deserve a lot more and better. Because something else that good lovers know is the great sex isn't about the goal of an orgasm so much as creating a mind-blowing experience, each and every time you engage.
Keeping this in mind, it's not crazy for any human to have their ego bruised a bit should you approach them about your sexual needs not being met in some way or you desiring to take your sex life to another level; however, here's another sign that you're actually with someone who cares about you as they should—if you tell a man that you desire more foreplay and share the reasons why only a complete and total ass is gonna make that be all about him and his uh-um EGO (cue Kanye and Beyoncé). Great lovers are about pleasing their partner way more than they are about dictating how and what that should look like.
So, share what you need and then seek to become the kind of lover you want. Flirt. Dress sexy. Plan couple exercises like orgasmic meditation. Talk about erogenous zones and "hot spots". Kiss without having it go immediately into something else. Work together on what it means to enjoy each other "just because". Because I promise you that the moment this is the focus, that will be the day when things get so much better in the bedroom as you find yourself asking why you settled for less all of this time.
Again, I'm all about some deep, long, intense penetration (whew, chile). Yet I can't even fathom getting to that point without at least a little bit of foreplay—because again, I know what it represents, and I know that I deserve it. And you know what, sis? So do you. SO. DO. YOU.
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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.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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