I ain't gonna lie. Whenever I hear a married person say that sex isn't that big of a deal in a relationship, I immediately think, "So, what's up with your sex life?" For one thing, the Bible says it's a big deal (Genesis 2:24-25, Proverbs 5, Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:16-20—Matthew). It should be one of the main things that separates the kind of relationship you have with your spouse from the one you have with other people. Plus, there are way too many benefits that come from doing it (including it de-stresses you; makes you feel closer to your partner; boosts your immunity; lessens any body aches and pains you may have; lowers your blood pressure, and increases your longevity, for starters). And that's just some of the reasons why sex actually is something that should be a top priority in any marital union (that is physically capable).
We're at the top of a new year, so I figured that now would be as good of a time as any to share some of the things that husbands and wives should focus on, specifically, as it relates to their sex lives. Because while sex shouldn't be seen as the "cake" of a marriage, it should definitely be an ingredient that makes the cake good—I also think it's the icing too, chile.
1. More Prayer and/or Meditation Time Together
If you grew up in a religious household, you probably prayed, simply because that's something that you were taught to do. But did you know that there are proven health benefits that come from doing it? Praying can decrease your stress levels, put you into a better mood, make you feel more positive about life and even help you to communicate better with those around you (because once you talk it out with God, you can oftentimes gain a greater perspective with others). You know, there's a Scripture in the Bible that basically says that where two or more are joined, God is in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20). So, when you stop and ponder what prayer can do for you alone, why wouldn't you want to join into this activity with your spouse?
As far as meditation goes, it's also a practice that relieves stress and anxiety, increases your attention span, helps to make you kinder and more sympathetic towards others, helps to control pain levels and can improve your quality of sleep as well. So, if you do a form of couple's meditation, not only can it serve as a way to get more quality time in but if you it's orgasmic meditation, it can do wonders for your libido and sexual satisfaction too. If you've never heard of orgasmic meditation before, check out "What Exactly Is 'Orgasmic Meditation'?". If you want a little proof that prayer before sex goes hand in hand, check out "Ashley Graham & Her Husband Say Prayer Is The Ultimate Form Of Foreplay". Amen? Amen.
2. Sex Dates
When you're single, a big part of the reason why you go on dates is to get to know the other person better and, if you're interested in getting married, deciding if someone is a good fit for your life. After you're married, dating is about getting off of the roller coaster called life so that you and your partner can really focus on nothing but one another.
That's why I'm such a big fan of sex dates. They are dates that are super romantic and yes, have a sex theme/focus to them. While I once read that more than a date per month can turn out to be too stressful and/or expensive for married folks, who said that dates always had to be over the top? You can always plan dates at home (check out "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)")—and if they're sex dates, all you need is a little horniness and creativity to make at least a couple of nights a month, super unforgettable (check out "When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?"). How about opening up a bottle of wine this week so that you and your man can put some sex dates on your schedule. Who knows what the chat alone might lead to?
3. Bedding Upgrade(s)
While I hope that your sex life includes spontaneity (which would include getting out of your bed from time to time), since the bedroom is the most common (and oftentimes comfortable) place to get it in, make sure that you upgrade your bedding this year. For instance, when it comes to looking for sheets that will get the job done, they need to be durable (a good set should least you between 2-3 years), comfortable, able to "breathe" (so that you're not literally burning up, in the worst way possible) and easy to clean.
In a word, organic cotton. As for thread count (if you're into that sort of thing), a 400 count will feel amazing. As far as color, believe it or not, white remains the popular choice because it gives the feeling of being crisp and clean (which is why hotels use them). If you're like me and you prefer darker hues overall, there's certainly nothing wrong with that. Just remember that the darker the sheets, the easier it will be for bodily fluids to show.
4. Midday Quickies
Speaking of being spontaneous, really do your best to make 2021 the year of the quickie. Not that long passionate sex isn't the total bomb (oh, it most certainly is); it's just that there's something about hitting your partner up in the middle of the day to ask if they've got a few minutes that conveys how much you still desire them—and who doesn't want to be lusted in the absolute best way possible? I don't care if you both work from home or not, make it happen. If you do happen to be home, it only takes a man about six minutes to climax and be honest, it probably takes you longer to get a glass of juice and drink it (am I wrong?). If one of you works from an office, I'm pretty sure there's a lunch break, right (if not, that's illegal, so it's time to get a new job this year too)? Schedule a quickie in, at least once a month. It will help to relieve tension and stress, will put you in a much better mood, can actually make you more productive when you return back to work and, it can help to keep the spice alive in your relationship. All good enough reasons to strongly consider having quickies more often than you probably already do.
5. A Sex Library
The main reason why we read is to gain more knowledge and insight on different topics, right? That said, it's kind of crazy that a lot of married couples don't have more books that directly deal with the topic of sex in their house. If I were to recommend one right off the top of my head, it would beSacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage (Tim Alan Gardner). Yet whether it's a sex book or maybe even a collection of sex-themed podcasts, you can create your own book or podcast club for two by choosing something to read or listen to each month (or every other month) and then having a dinner when you both discuss your takeaways from what you processed. It's just one more way to engage in quality time while also strengthening your sexual relationship.
6. Sex-Shifting Discussions
The reason why I've written articles for the site like "How Your Man Can Adjust To Your 'Sexual Growth Spurts'" and "9 Sex-Related Questions You & Your Partner Should Ask Each Other. Tonight." is because I deal with way too many couples to not get that one of the greater challenges that happen in a marriage is couples outgrowing one another while still being in love with each other. And sometimes, this happens in their bedroom. As it specifically relates to relationships, one of my favorite quotes is "people change and don't tell each other". Before long, you look up, realize you're strangers and wonder if you should get a divorce.
When you stood before your spouse and vowed (vows are promises, y'all) to be with them "for better or for worse", sometimes the "worse" is being patient throughout each other's evolutions. You won't know where each other are, sexually, without talking things through. Being more mindful of this in 2021 could save your sex life and ultimately, your marriage as well.
7. Monthly Sex Goals
If your only sex goals are to give your hubby enough to keep his mouth shut while hopefully having at least a few orgasms from time to time in the process, your bar is super duper low. Personally, I know married couples who have some really amazing-to-the-point-of-being-envious sex lives (check out "10 Married Couples Share The Keys To Their Totally Off-The-Chain Sex Life", "How To Have Mind-Blowing Multiple Orgasms. Tonight, Chile." and "What Is A Super Orgasm & How Can I Have One?"). One thing all of them say is a key to that is being intentional about having great sex.
A part of what can make this a reality for you is to set goals—ones like be more creative in February, buy some more sex toys in March and fulfill a couple of fantasies in April. While putting down some sex goals might initially seem like nothing other than one more thing for your to-do list, actually, if you break a few plans down, it can take some of the pressure off when it comes to taking your sex life to another level by making sure that both of you are fully satisfied.
8. Your Own “Position of the Month” Club
I once read that there are only six basic sex positions; that everything is some variation of those. The six include missionary, cowgirl, reverse cowgirl, doggy style, spooning and standing up. While there may be a lot of truth to that, there are books that claim there are at least 100 different twists to those positions to choose from and also articles that profess that there are close to 50. There are only 12 months in the year, so why not you and your husbands get a book and/or check out an article and select at least 12 positions that you've never tried before and add them to your monthly sex goals. It can be fun to try some new ones out, it can help to keep you and yours from getting into a sex rut and it can definitely help you both to discover new and exciting ways to get each other off.
9. Going to Bed at the Same Time
Did you know that as much as 75 percent of married couples don't go to bed at the same time? For some, it's because they have opposite work schedules (which is totally understandable). Others don't because if their spouse goes to be earlier than they do, that gives them a few precious moments alone. I get that too. But if you and yours aren't doing so "just because", you might wanna rethink that in the new year. Putting forth the conscious effort to turn in together, at least three times a week, gives the two of you the opportunity to engage in pillow talk, to cuddle and perhaps, well…who knows what that could lead to?
Another interesting article that I read said that it's right around the three-and-a-half year mark that husbands and wives start to take each other for granted; this includes not sleeping together (in the literal sense). It's hard to stay anywhere where you're not appreciated, no matter how sincere you were when you took your vows. So again, turning in together is something that should be made a top priority in 2021. It could help to prevent a sexless marriage or worse—a divorce up the road.
10. A Wedding Night Do-Over
As I said in the intro, from a spiritual perspective, sex is important. The Good Book says that it is a physical act that makes two people one (Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 6:16-20—Message). From a legal angle, you're not even considered to be "all the way married" until you actually consummate. Yet guess how many couples (on average) DON'T have sex on their wedding night? A whopping 52 percent. Amazing how the color of napkins at the reception can be prioritized but coitus, for whatever the reason, for so many, isn't.
If you happen to be someone who didn't have sex on your wedding night or, you did but it honestly wasn't as great as you thought it was going to be, the beautiful thing about the present is, while you can't change the past, you can create a bit of a do-over. Get together and plan to have a wedding night do-over. Even if you can't get to the exact location where you spent your first night together, you can recreate the atmosphere with a few decorations and some sexy lingerie. A lot of couples feel much closer after taking a walk down memory lane. By wanting to add more to this particular memory, it can be very sweet, very thoughtful and hot AF too (by the way, even if your wedding night was fab-u-lous, you can still get in on this). Here's to a new year of some of the best sex possible, married folks. ENJOY!
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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Exclusive: Teyana Taylor And Director A.V Rockwell Explore Black Motherhood In New Film, 'A Thousand And One'
“This was a match made in denim and door-knocker heaven!” Actress Teyana Taylor jokingly said after letting out a laugh. She was referring to her relationship with the main character Inez De La Paz, in the film A Thousand and One, approaching theaters nationwide this Friday.
Set against the backdrop of 90s - early 2000s Harlem at the inception of gentrification, A Thousand and One chronicles the life of a 20-something-year-old mother of color raising her son. The film captures the realness and relatability of motherhood, family, and marriage. The movie stars multi-talented actress/entertainer Teyana Taylor, William Cartlett, Aaron Kingsley, Josiah Cross, Aven Courtney, and Terri Abney. It was executive produced by Lena Waithe and was written and directed by A.V. Rockwell.
This film was written through the lens of the often complicated relationship between mothers and sons. However, it isn't your typical movie about urban Black motherhood. No one gets shot, has a drug addiction, and if you ask me, Inez De La Paz (Teyana Taylor’s character) is a ‘shero’; she saves the day, or at least Terry’s life (her son).
This multilayered film touches on the challenges faced while establishing a life following a prison sentence, the flawed NYC foster care system, motherhood, marriage, love, the relationship between a father and son, and Black NYC neighborhoods at the onset of gentrification.
"There's a lot of pain in it, and in order to express pain, there has to be a love that comes with it. So I felt like the movie was a love letter to Black women but a heartbreak letter to New York City…. We contributed so much to the city and made it the special place that it is," said Rockwell. I asked myself, 'How do I reconcile the fact that this place that I love and that is home to me never loved me?'
Teyana Taylor and Aaron Kingsley Adetola.
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
Both Rockwell and Taylor are New York natives, Rockwell is from Queens, and Taylor is from Harlem. The pair agreed they directly related to the lead character, Inez. During our conversation, Taylor explained how we could all connect with Inez. "Inez is within us from being judged or considered difficult for your strength, for your voice, for your tone, no matter how right you are, you're wrong because you're too loud… When you minimize yourself, it's an issue. You're not enough, and when you maximize yourself, it's too much," she said.
According to Rockwell, Taylor auditioned for the role and earned it fair and square, "Nobody can take away from the fact that she earned this role in all the right ways. I think it's great to have that cherry on top. The fact that she's a Harlem girl and that this is a movie about protecting her neighborhood not only what it means to us New Yorkers but what it means to black identity and history in general," she said. "Not only are we honoring Harlem, [but] she is [also] a part of that history that we are trying to protect. I'm really proud of that as well. This person who is a part of this historic neighborhood gets to be the one leading the torch of this role."
We all know Taylor as the uber-talented singer, dancer, actress, fashionista, entrepreneur, artist, wife, and mother. She seems to do it all so effortlessly, but Taylor described the role as therapeutic. It allowed her to put down that superwoman persona while filming on set. "The easy part about this role was that I'm already a mom, so I'm naturally nurturing… In some ways, Inez became very therapeutic for me because it was the only time that I could actually be weak and turn off my strength, and cry and let out all of the things I was battling," the "Rose in Harlem" singer revealed.
Director A.V. Rockwell
Photo courtesy of Focus Feature Films
After watching Taylor master the leading role of this complicated story, it's not absurd to think she may be awarded extensively for her portrayal of Inez. Taylor told me she's ready for everything to come but isn't looking to get too comfortable while soaking up the likely inflow of accolades, "I'm ready. I think it's everything that I prayed for. I think this is God saying ok, here you go… I'm blessed, and I'm grateful, and I just want to continue to just keep working hard and not get too comfortable. Stay hungry, stay the hustler that I am…this is really only just the beginning."
It's not every day we get to see a film with a Black woman starring in a leading role. Furthermore, it's not common to see a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winning movie directed by a Black woman. It's no secret that diversity in Hollywood is uncommon, and the aforementioned are all the more reasons we should visit theaters this Friday to see A Thousand and One.
Not only is this film amazing storytelling, but the production of this film helps to move the needle of diversifying Hollywood and creating spaces for Black women in the film industry forward.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Focus Features