In The Bedroom, Kelly Rowland Is A Self-Professed 'Sensualist.' That's Sexy AF

As a professional writer, I actually got my start in the entertainment industry. Between that and being somewhat of a music industry child as well (kind of a long story), I learned a long time ago not to get up in the hype of celebrity culture or to fall victim to celebrity worship. That’s why, I am very intentional about not speaking on famous people as if I know them. Whenever I do speak on them, I prefer to use what they’ve said or something that was actual news as a teachable moment — for the most part, no more, no less.

So, when it comes to Kelly Rowland, specifically, I don’t know her and won’t speak on her as if I do. What I will say is based on how she moves and interviews that I’ve caught her in, I appreciate her — and her marriage — on a few levels.

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As a marriage life coach for close to 20 years at this point, I find her relationship with her husband, Tim Witherspoon, to be… “refreshing” is the word that comes to mind. I think that’s why I took extra special note when she said in a fairly recent interview that she considers herself, sexually, to be a sensualist. Since I deal with bedroom issues quite a bit with couples, I like how she broke the word down. I also thought that by sharing it with y’all, it might help some of you figure out how to get more of what you want from your own partner…since you might actually be a sensualist, too. Whether you know it or…not (yet).

What Is a Sensualist? Across the Board.

Talk that talk, sis. Okay, so you heard Kelly’s definition of a sensualist. That said, if you’ve ever read even a few of my pieces before, you know that I like to unpack layers of things — because most things have them. A sensualist. What Kelly said, on many levels, is right on the mark. However, let’s go a bit deeper.

By (dictionary) definition, a sensualist is someone who really enjoys pleasure and typically uses all of their senses in order to experience it. When it comes to intimacy, sensuality is a part of the reason why I write articles like “Are You Ready To Apply Your Love Language To Your Sex Life?” because if there is one act where, if you bring in sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste into the dynamic, you’re almost guaranteed that it’s not going to disappoint, it’s coitus.

Still, in order to understand what it means to be a sensualist in a sexual way, I think it’s super important to explain that it applies to your being, even before you step into the bedroom.

For instance, while reading a blog post entitled “The Hard Work of Being a Sensualist,” I really appreciated how the author said that a main mantra for true sensualists is to “live in the moment” and that you must be willing to put in the intentionality and effort to figure out who you are and what you like — and that requires a continuous level of curiosity and exploration.

Why is that so essential when it comes to sex? Because, unfortunately, we live in a culture where a lot of people think that someone is automatically “bad in bed” if they don’t know how to satisfy their partner when, the irony to all of that is, you can’t expect someone to “get you there” when you don’t even know what your foundational and innermost sexual needs are. Honestly, that’s a big part of the reason why I’m such a fan of things like sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) and vaginal mapping (check out “Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey”), it’s because they are practices that encourage you to become a sex student of your own self.

And here’s the thing: when you learn to slow down, be more gracious, and remain open to figuring out all of what makes you sexually tick, it causes you to extend that same kind of energy to your partner, which makes the experience so much richer — and more real. This is how a sensualist thinks.

Oh, and the “living in the moment” part? That is simply all about being present. You’re not worrying about the past (which means that, sexually, you aren’t comparing your current partner to anyone else — eh hem), nor are you preoccupied with or obsessing over the future — and that includes not worrying about if you’re gonna orgasm or not because yes, technically, even 10 minutes from now is the future. Being present is simply taking every moment that you are in IN and letting things flow naturally. This, too, is the mind of a sensualist.

And what makes it easier to be this type of individual? Kelly covered it. When it comes to sex, begin by cultivating the type of atmosphere where all of your senses are in a state of tranquility so that you’re not stressing, overthinking, or lacking self-sexual confidence (check out “10 Sensuous Ways To Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem” and “These 10 Hacks Will Help You Love Your Body More”).

This means asking yourself, “When it comes to sex, what do I like to look at? How do I prefer to be touched? What sounds do I like to hear, and how do I want to be spoken to? What scents arouse me? Do I like sexual condiments like honey, whipped cream, and fudge, or do I prefer the taste of my partner?” True sensualists make the time to ask themselves these things, figure out the answers, and then convey them to their partner. Know what else? They also make the time to ask their partner what would turn them into a sensualist as well because, remember, sensualists are curious…sensualists explore.

Now that you know what comes with being a sensualist, do you get why Kelly said that she is able to fully surrender during the act of sex because she’s a sensualist? Honestly, it speaks more to who she is as a woman than what is happening outside of her. She knows who she is, and what brings her pleasure, and she’s able to articulate that so that her sexual needs can be fully met. Excellent.

5 Ways That You Can Become a (Better) Sensualist


So, what if you’re new to the whole sensualist thing, and you’d like to get to the point and place where you can confidently profess that you actually are one? If that is indeed the case... here are five tips.

1. Learn the difference between sensual and sexy. Sexy is about something or one being sexually exciting. Being sensual is about pleasing the senses. It’s important to keep this point in mind because, even on the days when you might not feel your sexiest (or your partner might not appear his sexiest), you can still be sensual. There are always things that a sensualist can do to get into the mood — because more than just sight is involved when it comes to them. That’s a part of what makes them so dope.

2. Have “sex meetings” with your partner. Y’all be all up in your bed talking about bills and work (I really wish y’all would stop doing that, too; bedrooms should be for sex and sleep only). Why not pillow talk about sex instead? Google articles on sex and (verbally) share them with your partner. Talk about something that you recently discovered turns you on. Express what you’d like to explore more, sexually, together. A lot of us have heard that sex is the ultimate form of communication. The interesting thing about that is when it comes to their partner, so few people clearly and concisely discuss sex with them.

3. Be okay with planning sex sometimes. I promise you, I don’t get why so many folks frown on sex that’s on a schedule. Life is not a soap opera, and planning simply means that you are prioritizing. And when you prioritize, you can create the setting that you want to get all five of your senses going. You know, just recently, someone reminded me of an article that I wrote for the platform a while back entitled, “What Is 'Comfy Sex'? How Can You Get More Of It?” Yeah, to get all of what you need, sometimes you’ve got to put some forethought and execution into it. Like they say, “If you build it, they will come” — or y’all will cum (in this instance).

4. Choose to not take the joy and delight out of sex. Is this a “wild card” tip? Eh. Perhaps. It’s still relevant, though, because pleasure is defined by “joy” and “delight” and honestly, a lot of people have a ho-hum sex life because they go into it without a sense of humor, without emotionally connecting to their partner, without wanting to simply CHILL OUT to see how things go. If you’re inflexible (I mean mentally), if you’re tense, if you only have one end goal in mind all of the time (orgasm) — true sexual pleasure is going to be quite difficult for you.

5. Learn how to “be present,” in general. You can’t be all over the place in every other facet of your world and then up and think that you can be present in the bedroom on a whim. Being in the moment requires doing so all of the time. This means that you should be open to meditation, reducing screen time, deep breathing, being gentle with yourself (and others), and making peace that if you did your best, in the moment, that’s all you can do; let the chips fall where they may, chile.

See? When you take a moment to take it all in, being a sensualist is more than just a notion, and Kelly said more than just a mouthful. If you want to become a master of it in the bedroom, become a student of it in life.

So…are you a sensualist or not?

If not, when it comes to sex, imagine all of the possibilities, if you were.


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Even though it’s my life, sometimes I look at it and totally trip out over certain things.

For instance, even though I am aware that both Hebrew and African cultures put a lot of stock in the name of a child (because they believe it speaks to their purpose; so do I) and I know that my name is pretty much Hebrew for divine covenant, it’s still wild that in a couple of years, I will have been working with married couples for a whopping two decades — and boy, is it an honor when they will say something like, “Shellie, we’ve seen [professionally] multiple people and no one has been nearly as effective as you have been.”