There comes a time in every grown woman's life when she finds herself in the middle of an unexpected sex session.
Unfortunately for many of us, the sex that catches us by surprise will look more like a Saturday night Live skit starring Maya Rudolph than a sweaty Paula Patton character returning from the gym with Michael Ealy waiting on her for some intense make up sex. This was the topic of conversation a few happy hours ago when my girls and I discussed what to do when good sex catches you off guard.
“You dip out to the bathroom real quick ‘Whitley Gilbert’ style to get it together and hope the lights are out or he’s half asleep when you come out.”
“Try your best to hold on to her (the wig) and hope she makes it through the ride with you.”
“Getting under the covers is key. Once that happens that fool can’t tell the difference between Frederick’s and Fruit of the Loom.”
Whether your husband catches you before you can undo your twist out or you’ve decided within the first 5 minutes of your date that you'll be grabbing your ankles for the faux Boris Kodjoe sitting across from you, what's a girl and her waist trainer to do?
The last thing you want to do is ask a man to give you five minutes to pin down your lace front or pull a Houdini move getting undressed under the covers so he won't see your stretch marks.
That's not exactly "setting the mood" now is it?
Between waist trainers, lace front wigs and just general body insecurity, my friends and I were surprised to discover there's a whole lot of people who have gotten creative to avoid baring it all in front of a partner when they felt like they weren't bringing their best to the bedroom. I’m sure some women have bounced around the house in their birthday suit in front of their boyfriends without a care in the world that the “hedges aren’t trimmed” but how many of us are still hiding under the covers or bolting for the light switch when your man is unexpectedly in the mood. After having a c-section last year, my hormones were all over the place and with my newborn I barely found the time to shower most days, let alone do my hair. My sexual self-confidence took a hit and there were times I found myself too self-conscious to enjoy sex with my husband.
[Tweet "There comes a point where we have to accept our flaws in the flesh, literally."]
Life happens and in between pregnancy, losing and gaining weight and embarrassing birthmarks there’s something to be said about loving the skin you’re in both in and out the bedroom. It’s easy to have high self-esteem when you’re out in the world with your waist snatched and the winged-eyeliner no one knows took you a half hour to perfect, but your sexual self-confidence can take a hit when the clothes come off and you can no longer hide behind that extra help.
If worrying about your wig, your weight and everything in between is getting in the way of your sexual self-confidence, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. He's probably more nervous than you are.
While you're sweating some unshaved legs there's a chance homeboy is worrying about his own performance and how long he can he can last too much to care about you skipping the Nair. Sex for the first few times is all about learning what gets your partner off, how high their freak flag flies and seeing how your partner reacts to you without your clothes on. But the good news is that sexual chemistry isn’t all about perfection as much as it as pure attraction.
You know how Drake said, “Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin' with no make-up on…”? The very things you’re the most self-conscious about may be what gets him going.
2. You're probably more worried about your wig than he is.
I’ve always felt like morning sex is the absolute worst. I’m the absolute worst version of myself before ten and “sunrise” service has never quite been my thing.
I’m groggy, I need to brush my teeth and most importantly my wig is probably lying next to me which means I’m not feeling the slightest bit sexy. Nonetheless you can’t tell my husband that I’m not workin’ a satin bonnet like Rihanna pulling a double-shift at Walmart during the holidays. There’s something special that comes with any long-term relationship, and honestly any man that’s really into you knows that you have the potential to be a 10 even if you’re feeling like a 5. If a little lace front is enough to make or break the mood, maybe he’s not the man for you.
[Tweet "Any man that’s really into you knows that you have the potential to be a 10 even if you’re feeling like a 5"]
3. He's not perfect either.
When it comes to being self-conscious in the bedroom, I think part of the reason is that we give men too much credit. Men are socialized to be more confident and usually there’s an implied message with them of the more unkempt the better. I mean, think about it. How many commercials have you seen that sell the ultimate sex symbol as a guy who’s rocking 5 o’clock shadow, with grease on his hands as he’s bent over in the summer sun sweating under the hood of a Mustang?
Bet you don’t see his behind running for the bathroom to get it together before he gets some. The point is men have insecurities as well and don’t always look the most polished or put together, but somehow that works to their advantage. You’re not the only one worried about everything falling apart during foreplay. Rest assured that even though homeboy may seem like he’s not phased, he secretly may worry if you’re into his dad bod, his crooked toes or his uneven hairline.
4. There's no Photoshop in Kim K's bedroom either.
Just keep in mind that no matter how mind-blowing Kim K.’s hip to waist ration is or no matter how retouched Amber Rose’s backside looks on Instagram, there is no Mayfair filter in the bedroom. When it gets down to the real deal we all have dimples in our booties, a random roadmap of stretch marks, or maybe even a c-section scar. If we all tripped on a birthmark or two shaped like Plankton from Spongebob, none of us would be getting any.
5. Good sex gets messy.
I always say if you’re not leaving the room with a loose track or two or an eyelash hanging on for dear life, you’re not doing something right. But seriously, being preoccupied with looking perfect during sex will totally distract you from what you came to do. The best sex happens when partners are focused on pleasing one another and not putting on a show.
Sex is just about as much as taking all your clothes off as it is about revealing how you feel on the inside, which means that no matter how "sexy" you may appear your confidence gets magnified in the bedroom. Sharing a moment of intimacy with someone, as difficult as it may be means revealing and dealing with your insecurities. Many of us cover or hide what we feel the most insecure about instinctively whether it means we're constantly fixing our hair or choosing positions that will downplay our "difficult" areas. When you're pre-occupied with how your boobs look without the extra lift of a push up bra, it can prevent you from truly connecting with your partner. The battle with body shame is something you need to conquer way before the bedroom and long before the clothes comes off.
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.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
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Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
Featured image by Dimensions/Getty Images