Look y'all—by no means am I saying that great sex only consists of a night that is first filled with romance. Those who've been having great sex for a long time now can totally testify to the fact that sometimes quickies or, what I like to call, "lust runs" (because lusting your partner is about having a really intense desire for them, to the point where you want to even bypass foreplay to get it in), are all a part of having a happy and totally fulfilling sex life. Still, that doesn't mean that there aren't some moments when couples shouldn't shift gears—make plans, dress up…woo each other. Sometimes, the combination of the romantic gestures, along with not being so quick to hop in the bed is what can make sex so much hotter—and even more meaningful—once the physical connection does transpire.
If you agree and you'd like for you and yours to have a romantic evening tonight, I've got 10 tips to nudge you in the direction of old-fashion seduction. Something that is oh-so-sexy when it comes to entering into copulation.
1. Go on a Date
I don't care how long you've been with someone or how well you think that you already know them, going on dates with your partner is something that should be prioritized in every relationship. Dates are how two people can spend quality time together. Dates are how two people can escape the…shoot, daily-ness of their everyday lives. And, if the date is planned out well enough, it can also spark a flame of romance into it too. I know that COVID-19 has thrown one of the biggest wrenches known to man when it comes to going out; that's why, a while back, I wrote a piece on how you can date at home. "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)" will hopefully offer up some inspiration so that you feel closer to your partner. That way, with any luck, the concentrated time alone will make the two of you want to get just that much closer as the night progresses.
2. Discuss Nothing but Each Other
A friend of mine, who's been married for almost three decades now, once said something that has remained in my mind, ever since it came out of their mouth. "Shellie, one of the hardest things about being married is you're trying to have sex with your business partner and, sometimes, business isn't sexy." Whew. This is why I say that, whenever you're on your date with your significant other, try and leave everything that has nothing to do with the two of you directly, totally off of the table. Matter of fact, even what does have to do with you, let it not be gripes, complaints or "issues".
Instead, stroll down memory lane. Flirt. Also, check out my article, "9 Sex-Related Questions You & Your Partner Should Ask Each Other. Tonight." too. Sometimes, when it comes to being sexually intimate with your partner, it's not that the desire is lacking so much as the focus. Set aside some time tonight to focus on nothing but what makes you love—and lust—your partner. Then open up your mind and heart to hear them express the same.
3. Create Bedroom Ambiance
This particular tip is one that could've just as easily gone before the date tip; it's really all about how much time/effort you want to put into setting the stage for a really great evening. Either way, another reason why, sometimes it's a challenge to engage in romantic copulation is because, probably 7-8 times out of 10, you're always in your bedroom. And if your bedroom always looks the same (minus the switch up on the sheets, of course), that can hinder you from getting excited at the mere thought of going back in there…again.
Years ago, I used to get paid to decorate married couples' bedrooms, in honor of special days like Valentine's Day or their anniversary. I learned there's simple things that you can do to make your bedroom so much more appealing. You can put colored light bulbs in your lamps; light some scented soy candles (soy candles burn cleaner and last longer); upgrade your pillows (the more support, the better…right?) including a couple of velvet pillows (they feel amazin'); get some jewel-toned bedding (it's warm and alluring); hang some blackout curtains that look like drapes (so that the room is super dark and a hint of romantic drama added to it) and, remove the appearance of all electronics minus whatever you plan on playing any sexy music from. Oh, and you can never go wrong by bringing some rose petals into the mix, whether it's sprinkling them on the floor, putting them on your bed, using them as potpourri for your nightstand, putting a couple of them into each glass of champagne, or filling your lingerie (or sexy toy) drawer with 'em. Simple "upgrades" like this can change your room from just a place where you sleep to the ultimate sex romp room.
4. Exchange Some Verbal Foreplay
While I am a huge fan of dirty talk—and that certainly can fit into this particular point very well—actually, when I say "verbal foreplay", what I mean is you and your partner taking out the time to simply honor and affirm one another. What's your favorite things about your partner? What do you appreciate about each other? What made you choose them above all others? Some of y'all might be too young to remember the scene from The Cosby Show when Cliff and Claire were spending a romantic evening away from home. At first, Cliff rushed to have sex. Yet when Claire basically asked him to step back and seduce her a little bit and he did, all of a sudden, she was ready to jump him (you can watch the clip here)! Telling someone how much you adore them and how important they are in your life definitely perks up their sense of hearing. And since the brain is the biggest sex organ we've got, the more desired we feel in our minds, the more our bodies will become more receptive. There's no doubt about that.
5. Give a Candle Wax or Chocolate Massage
There are at least 25 solid reasons why all of us should probably get a massage, no less than every 4-6 weeks. One of them is because they can work miracles in the area of our sex life. Massages soothe achy muscles and joints. Massages reduce stress levels (stress can make it hard for a man to maintain his erection and it can make it harder for us to orgasm). Massages also put us in a better mood, relieve any headaches or tension that we might have and, they increase flexibility and blood circulation, so that we can get into all of those sex positions that we've been wanting to try so that we can have the best climax ever once we do! Honestly, a massage alone is pretty romantic but if you want to up the ante, how about you and your partner engaging in either a candle wax or chocolate-themed one?
Massage candles are so popular at this point that you can usually even find them at your local drug store. You just let the flame melt the candle and then drip it onto your partner and massage the oil in (it's really sensual). A chocolate massage is one that includes ingredients like chocolate and mint (both of which are aphrodisiacs, by the way). A chocolate massage makes it possible to feel and like at the same time (whew chile!). If you'd like to give that one a shot, you can cop a really easy DIY recipe here.
6. Drink a Love Potion
Do love potion beverages actually make you hornier? Eh. But they are super romantic, really delicious and, if you use them to toast your partner (as they do the same for you), they can become another fitting addition to your evening of sexiness. Two love potion drinks that taste pretty damn wonderful are the Edinburgh Rose Romantic Cocktail (which has raspberries, champagne and even rose petals in it) and the Chocolate Cherry Cha-Cha (which consists of cherry liqueur, coconut rum and chocolate vodka). Or, if neither of those tickle your fancy, you can always go to your favorite search engine and put "Valentine's Day drink recipes" in the search field. I promise that you'll find a ton of romantic alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink recipes for the taking, if you do.
7. Kiss. A LOT.
I don't know about y'all, but based on how good—or not so good—a kiss is, that can determine, BIG TIME, on how much—and quickly—things can go any further. The right kiss? LAWD. HAVE. MERCY. Plus, kissing really is super-uber-especially romantic. The touches. The taste. The sounds. OK, let me get my head back into this article! Anyway, I know A LOT of men who actually find kissing to be at the very least, just as intimate as intercourse. Many have told me because, even with coitus, you can "hide behind" a condom. But when you're kissing, you're both in such an open and vulnerable state. I'd add that there is something very sweet about being so into a person that you're perfectly content with doing nothing but kissing them for countless minutes. Kissing is romantic. Make it a top focal point of your romantic sex-themed night.
8. Get into “Eye Contact” Positions
You know what they say—eyes are the windows of the soul, right? Even if you and your partner never made eye contact during sex, you're still gonna end up bonded because that is what natural hormone oxytocin is designed to do. But when you're that close together and you have moments when your eyes actually meet, there is absolutely no way that you can't feel emotionally connected on a whole 'nother level. If romance is the goal, be intentional about getting into sexual positions where he can stare into your eyes as you do the same to him. If you need a little help or inspiration when it comes to choosing the best position—or hopefully positions—to accomplish this goal, check out an article that has 113 positions (and pics) total here.
9. Participate in Afterplay
Earlier this spring, I penned an article entitled, "Sure, Your Foreplay Game Is On Point. Now What About The 'Afterplay'?" Bottom line, if foreplay is what helps to warm you up, afterplay is what helps to cool you down, in the best way possible. I'm pretty sure it's no surprise to you that, while great sex can hype us up for another round, oftentimes it does the exact opposite for our partner (hey, good sex and ejaculation can take a lot outta a brotha!). Something that can make you feel like you're not being gypped in between sessions is afterplay. It's when the two of you can talk, snack or even just cuddle in the spoon position until you're both ready to go again. Out of all of the tips that I shared here, I sincerely believe that sex would feel more romantic, even without all of the "extras", if couples made more time for afterplay more often.
10. Engage in Some Morning Sex
I won't lie. Probably my favorite line in Beyoncé and Jay Z's "Drunk in Love" song is when Jay says, "We sex again in the mornin', your breast-eses are my breakfast, we goin' in." Not only is it SEXY when you didn't get enough from your partner the night before that you've just gotta have them, first thing, in the morning as well—but morning sex can also be hella romantic because natural light, the quiet of the beginning of the day…needing to be with one another, intimately, before anything else…that's also really special. So, if you're out here wanting to have a romantic sex night tonight, try and reserve at least a half hour for some morning sex tomorrow. I have talked to many men about this topic and, for them, morning sex is really hard to beat. Hmph. If a lot of us really pondered when we like to get down, we'd agree with that sentiment too.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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Tracee Ellis Ross On Why She Declined The Idea Of Someone Else Running Her Hair Company
Actress and entrepreneur Tracee Ellis Ross recently revealed the driving force behind her desire to become the owner of her haircare brand, Pattern.
According to its site, Pattern is a haircare company that provides a wide range of products, from shampoos, conditioners, oils, creams, and many more to individuals with curls, coils, and tight hair textures. Although Pattern would launch in 2019, the idea for the company first came to Ross a decade before --in 2008, when her hit show Girlfriends wrapped-- following a brief encounter at a beauty supply store and many wanting to recreate her past looks.
At the time, those individuals couldn't achieve the exact results because limited natural hair products were offered to the public. That instance became a pivotal moment in the star's life because she spent eleven years experimenting with professionals to create products that best suit those within the natural hair community.
In a May conference with Fortune's MPW Next Gen, Ross opened up about the struggles she faced early on as an entrepreneur trying to get Pattern off the ground and why she declined the offer to have the company be run by someone else.
Tracee On Past Struggles And Why She Chose To Run Her Company
During the discussion, the 50-year-old revealed that she is Pattern's "majority owner" because the company's overall mission to cater to those in the natural hair community was built from her "experiential knowledge."
"I'm a majority owner of my company. [Other celebrities with brands] aren't the founders of the company. Often, they join a company that exists," she said. "The mission [at Pattern] is born out of my experience. It's born out of my own experiential knowledge."
Further in the interview, Ross would add that she avoided partnering with an expert for Pattern because she felt she had gained enough knowledge experimenting with products in her bathroom.
"I didn't want to partner with an expert or a 'professional' because I felt—like so many—I had become my own best expert in my bathroom because the beauty industry was not catering to us," she stated.
Despite refusing to have a partner within her company, Ross found creative ways to build it. It includes paying a chemist with her own money to bring her visions of various products to life, and sending those samples to retail stores, ultimately leading to partnerships.
The final piece that helped Ross during her journey was receiving advice from business partners on ways to improve the brand, one of which came from Ulta Beauty CEO and Footlocker CEO Mary Dillon.
The black-ish star claimed that Dillon helped her realize how she could use her celebrity status and journey to promote Pattern, which she did. Because of that, Patten has now become a favorable haircare brand among many.
Tracee On How She Plans To Use Her Company To Create Opportunities For Others
Toward the end of the discussion, Ross disclosed how she plans to use the power of being Pattern's CEO to help others.
The High Note star explained that being an owner of a company has given her access to be around other CEOs interested in what appears to be becoming more profitable, and with that, she wants to expand that access to other people.
"I know that I have access to sit at a table with a CEO in a way that perhaps another founder doesn't. And when I do that, I make sure that those conversations are not only centered around Pattern," she said. "They're centered around creating and expanding the access for all of us."
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