At this point, I don't think I personally know of anyone who doesn't have a copy of Dr. Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages book. But what I do find interesting is, when it comes to learning how to apply words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service and/or gifts to our relationships, sometimes mastering that can be a bit of a struggle. You first have to figure out what your top love language is, then you have to discover what your loved ones' are (you and they can take a test here). But what I can vouch for is, once you do, it can make connecting with the ones you care about, so much easier.
Keeping this in mind, have you ever wondered how to apply you and your partner's love language to your sex life? Because, think about it—if you both feel the most loved in a certain kind of way, if you brought that knowledge into your bedroom, wouldn't that only make sexual satisfaction that much better? I thought the same thing. That's why I decided to devote a few keystrokes into how you and yours can take your sexual pleasure up a notch, simply by becoming more fluent in each other's primary (two) love languages, every time you're intimate with each other.
Words of Affirmation
Whenever I'm in a counseling session with a couple and one of them either says that they hate dirty talk or they prefer to have sex in silence, there aren't enough GIFs out in cyberspace to express the facial expressions that I'm unable to hide. Wow. There are folks who don't verbally communicate while doing-the-do? How is that even possible? Then I have to pause and remind myself that a part of the reason why I am so shocked is because my primary love language is words of affirmation. In many ways, it explains my writing career. It explains how my friends can oftentimes get off "cheap" by only needing to send me a sentimental email or a Hallmark card on special occasions. And, it also explains why dirty talk is one of my absolute favorite things about sex. Full stop. Hands down.
Someone who prefers for love to be expressed with words is probably going to feel similar to how I am when it comes to their own sex lives. However, it should also go on record that, in order for sex to be a peak satisfaction experience, it's a good idea for the words of affirmation person to be "warmed up" with things that their partner loves about them, their body and even the sex itself. And that's something that shouldn't happen, less than 10 minutes before penetration.
Seducing a words of affirmation individual with texts, out-of-nowhere calls, and even a handwritten love letter can be just the kind of foreplay that can take your next sexual experience with them to an entirely different level!
One of my closest friends is a quality time individual. Come to think of it, the last two men that I was in a relationship with were as well. It's interesting, the kind of things that can trigger this type of individual. My not making eye contact or looking at my phone while we're talking. Them being bigger on creating memories on their birthday rather than receiving an actual present. Yeah, it took me a while to figure out how to make them feel especially loved and appreciated. What I learned was, more than anything else, they simply wanted me to be fully present in the moment. With them.
Can you see how this translates into the bedroom?
When it comes to sex, quality time people are the ones who probably enjoy easing into sex the most. They like to wake up in the morning, just to look at the sunrise before engaging in morning sex. They need pillow talk before gettin' some late at night. And, if anyone is a fan of afterplay (which basically boils down to post-coital affection), quality time people would probably be the ones who are the biggest ones of all.
Ah. Physical touch. It is so much my second favorite love language that, sometimes, I'm not sure if it actually ranks over words of affirmation. Anyway, just so we're clear, when it comes to having this particular love language outside of the bedroom, it doesn't mean that we want low-key acts of foreplay ALL of the time. Physical touch folks are the ones who like to cuddle while watching a movie, hold hands while walking in the mall and spooning as we fall asleep. We feel and give love by physical contact, but that doesn't mean that it always or automatically is sexual.
OK, but when it comes down to gettin' it in, that's another matter entirely.
Physical touch folks are all about tapping into various erogenous zones. Physical touch folks like to explore different types of touch sensations whether it's with a feather, some ice or a tongue. Physical touch people also enjoy a good massage and can remain in the state of foreplay for much longer than a lot of other love language people are typically able to.
When it comes to this love language, it's all about doing whatever makes touching as erotic and stimulating as possible. For both individuals. Each and every time sex transpires.
Acts of Service
Acts of service is fascinating. Because it probably ranks fifth of my personal love languages needs, it took really studying some people in my world who have it to understand what they truly long for. At the end of the day, what a lot of them have expressed to me is they feel (most) loved by their partner (and those around them) when he or she is doing something to lighten the load of their lives. Washing dishes when they see some in the sink. Picking up clothes when they are driving past the cleaners. Making a grocery run when they notice that something is missing in the fridge or pantry.
So, how does this translate over into sex? The same mentality applies.
One of the things that is a hindrance when it comes to sexual pleasure and fulfillment is stress. So, if you want to truly please your acts of service partner, find ways to alleviate it.
Clean up the bedroom. Run them a soothing bath. Give them a massage. Put the kids down earlier. Cook them a meal with nothing but aphrodisiacs on the menu. Do something that will help them to get their minds off of any and everything that has nothing to do with the two of you, enjoying each other, right at the moment that you want to do so.
Personally, I hate that the "gifts people" oftentimes get a bad rap from those who don't have this as their top love language. While some people might think that being a gifts love languages person means that the song "Gold Digger" needs to be queued up at all times, all that a gifts person really needs is for love to be expressed to them in a more tangible sort of way.
On the sexual tip, it could be a new piece of lingerie, a never-heard-of-before sex toy, some flavored lubricant, a different shade of bedding, even flower petals for the bed (or the bath). Anyone who has a partner who prefers love to be expressed through gifts is simply someone who needs to get creative when it comes to showing their partner how into them they are and how exciting it is to have sex with them.
Actually, this can be pretty dope—especially for women—because the art of seduction here requires a little bit of pre-planning. And when someone is proactive about expressing their love (and lust) for their partner, it can be the ultimate aphrodisiac! So…when are you going shopping, sis?
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
It seems like 2023 was a whirlwind, flying by a bit too quickly for many of us. And now that we're approaching the last month of the year, there's a push to prep for a great 2024. I'm not a huge fan of resolutions---as I never keep mine, and I'm unapologetically not sorry for that---but I'm heavy into at least getting a head start on looking forward to the possibilities of a fresh start, finally achieving a few lingering goals, and embracing more adventure.
If you're ready to plan ahead, it's the perfect time to make December count in order to plan for a successful new year. Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.
1. Host a reflection party.
Hey, you could do this alone, but you could also make it fun and interactive by inviting friends or industry friends to reflect on the highs and the lows of the year. Create a theme, offer customized cocktails, and talk about what each of you has accomplished, reminisce on the fun times you've had, talk about the challenges you've faced, and set a few goals. Add in a few fun activities like vision boarding or career mapping.
You could also have one last girls trip and attend a conference or networking event together. After each session, take the time to put on pajamas and reflect on what was learned, who you met, and how you'll apply pressure in your careers next year.
2. Declutter and reorganize.
If you haven't been purging throughout the year, December is a great time to get a head start. All those old clothes or shoes that you don't wear? Sell or donate them. If you need help, have a consultation with a professional organizer or watch a few good tutorials on Konmari methods.
Still holding on to furniture, appliances, or other home decor that really isn't functional, doesn't scream home for you, or needs an upgrade? Go thrifting, shop around, or treat yourself to interior decorating services.
If you can't afford to do any of those, move a few things around, repurpose your household items, or try DIYs. Sometimes a bit of paint or moving your home office into a different room can be small changes that lead to big differences in mood or convenience at home.
And, as mentioned before, invite a few friends, family, or bae, and make it another excuse to close out the year with good drinks, laughter, and connection.
3. Create a bucket list.
From your career to your personal life, it's good to write down your dream or must-do activities to get clear on what you want to accomplish in the new year and to serve as a nudge for accomplishment. And it doesn't have to be grand goals like "Save a million dollars," (though, if that's a bucket-list contender for you, go off, sis, and get that money.) It can be places you want to travel to, concerts you want to attend, professional development courses you want to take, or new adventurous experiences you want to enjoy.
One thing I like about bucket lists is that I don't approach them in the traditional way, where I feel pressure to do these things before the Lord calls me home. I like to think of a bucket list as a fun guideline that will help me get clear on what excites me, what I need to do to grow, and what challenges me to push past self-inflicted boundaries.
4. Prioritize wellness.
If you've slacked off a bit or know you might be facing a few issues in the health and wellness department, now is the time to start prioritizing. Set those last appointments for a full physical, gynecological, or dermatologist visit, follow-up tests, or therapy for next year. Sign up for fun fitness classes and schedule a few visits to the spa while you're at it.
Block out time in your schedule for meditation, prayer, religious services, and exercise, and go ahead and change that calendar setting to "daily" or "weekly." Set email updates and other ways to remind yourself to put wellness at the top of your priority list leading into the new year.
If you're already pretty consistent with your fitness and wellness goals, try a new activity or incorporate new technology to level up a bit and challenge yourself more. Try a new skincare routine, join a running group, or learn a new activity that requires movement, such as dance, karate, or boxing. Mix things up a bit so that you can enrich your experience on the journey.
5. Take an honest look at your finances and adjust accordingly.
If you're reading this, I'm sure you know the importance and power of budgeting, no matter how much money you make. Getting into a habit of knowing exactly how much you earn and how you're spending those earnings is vital to your success and financial freedom. If you have goals for next year that will require a significant shift in your budget, you'll need to adjust.
Be realistic and account for the things you enjoy doing, your lifestyle, your debts, and your other financial obligations. If you have vacations or other big events planned, be sure your budget accommodates them or set goals in order to save up. If you've experienced a major transition such as a marriage, divorce, or addition to your family, take some time to reflect on how your income is impacted and what you might need to do to ease the transition when it comes to your pockets.
Research ways you can make residual income, how you can invest, start a side hustle, and prep for retirement. (As much as some of you would like to think you're too young to think about that, imagine how much more of a nest egg you'd have if you started saving for retirement in your 20s or 30s.)
And don't sleep on insurance beyond coverage for your car or healthcare. Life, long-term care, and disability insurance are important if you have children, want to be sure your loved ones are taken care of financially in the future, or if you want to protect assets such as your income, home, or business.
Think about your prep for next year holistically and start this December to ensure that you're going into 2024 with a mindset and intention for success.
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 Getty Images