The interesting thing about foreplay is, a lot of people only factor in the physical whenever the topic—or the act—comes up. And while, to a certain extent, that's all well and good, the best lovers know that if you get someone's mind in the space to want to engage in a lil' hot 'n heavy coitus, the body is pretty much gonna follow. This is why I personally believe that mental foreplay is so important. And when you really get down to what it truly entails, I think you'll also start to see that it consists of a set of actions that transpire long before two people are boo'ed up in the bedroom.
Whether your sex life is currently bangin' (no pun intended) or it honestly could improve on a few levels, I've got 10 ways for you to get your mind in a space where you're totally looking forward to having sex. Good. Hot. Long. Passionate. Totally mind-blowing sex. Ready?
1. Start Your Day with Something That Makes You Feel Sexy
Again, when it comes to having a great sex life, one of the greatest mistakes that a lot of people make is waiting until a few moments before the actual act to do anything that will put them—and their partner—in the mood. Let's break out of that pattern, shall we? One way to do that is to get up out of bed with the decision to do something that will make you feel sexy all day long. It could be putting on some sexy lingerie underneath your work clothes. Wearing a scent that you already know drives your partner insane (in the best way possible, of course). Putting on your favorite red dress, blouse, pumps, or shade of lipstick (red symbolizes love, passion, and energy). It really is up to you.
Whatever you decide to do, just make sure it's something that makes you walk with more of a sway in your hips, speak with a little more "breath" in your tone of voice, and definitely makes you think of the endless possibilities between you and your boo thang all day long.
2. Shorten Your Work Meetings
While on the surface, this one might seem a bit odd, just stick with me and I'm sure you'll see the vision. An elder in my life used to say, "After 15 minutes on the phone, all you end up doing is repeating yourself." To a large extent, that is some spot-on insight. You know what else tends to be longer than it should? Work-related meetings. Two hours, shoot, even an hour, more times than not, ends up dragging along and wearing you out (whether it's over Zoom or not). So, when it comes to the meetings that you actually can control, try and shorten them to 30 minutes. You'd be amazed how it will force you and others to get to the point and get on with the day.
And just how will this tactic help your sex life? Well, by the time you get home, you won't feel quite as mentally drained. As a bonus, it can also help you to make the most of your time in the bedroom too. Hey, sometimes life gets hectic and so, while an orgasm or two sounds really nice in theory, you may have a hard time figuring out how to fit it in. Sometimes carving out 30 minutes for a lil' quickie seems a whole lot more doable than trying to pull off an all-nighter. And since work has taught you to make the most of your time, it's easier for that to translate once you're off of the clock.
3. Say “No” More Often
It was actually Steve Jobs who once said, "It's only by saying 'no' that you can concentrate on the things that are really important." When it comes to spending some quality time with your partner, I can't think of too many more things that should take precedence over that. Yeah, we all have 24 hours in a day and yet, when it's all said and done (eight hours for work and eight hours for sleep), some of us only have eight "free" hours. If saying "yes" to everyone is resulting in you feeling frazzled, frustrated or totally out of the mood, most of the time, something's gotta give—and it shouldn't be your sex life. Each week, put together a schedule. Start with the things that are of the utmost priority and work your way down. Things that can be put off until later, schedule them for that. Stuff that you know you should say "no" to, do that too. Life is too short to not be saying, "yes, yes, YES!" more often. If you know what I mean. Say "no" so that you can say "yes".
4. Hug Yourself
Tell me something. When was the last time that you hugged yourself? It might sound a lil' cray-cray; however, if you Google the benefits that come from doing just that, it includes everything from improving your self-esteem and calming you down to putting you in a better mood and even boosting your immune system. The real tripped out part? All you need to do is embrace yourself for 20 seconds in order to feel some of these effects. And we all know that the better we feel, the more interested in sex we tend to be. So do you, your partner and your sex life a favor and hug yourself a few times throughout the day. It can be the kind of mental foreplay hack that can make all of the difference in the world.
5. Listen to Some Sexy Music
Last spring, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life". Something that's a scientific fact is, whenever we listen to sexy music, it affects the pleasure, bonding and limbic (the part that deals with our emotions as well as our memory) parts of our brain. In fact, when we listen to a song that we really like, it can have a similar effect as sexual pleasure.
Lawd. No wonder listening to Jodeci (or even an indie old-school joint called "Interstate") can still make a sistah mentally "go in". Some of us are good for playing some 90s R&B or Doja Cat as a way to set the mood. What I'm encouraging you to do is to move the getting-into-the-mood space hours before by listening to your favorite sexy tunes. It's a mental form of edging that is truly unmatched.
6. Take 20-30 Minutes to “Shift Gears” When You Get Home
If you're married, something that I recommend you check out is "7 Things Married Couples Should Do...At The END Of Their Day". One of the tips that I recommend in it is that you give yourself and your spouse at least 20 minutes to mentally shift gears from what is needed at work to what is needed at home (even if you and your partner don't live together, this can be a helpful thing; to not call them all of the time on the way home, so that they can always mentally get out of "work mode"). Sometimes, we're so in a rush to get on with whatever is required in the house, that it can put unnecessary pressure and strain on us and our partner—and stress isn't sexy. Greeting them at the door with a kiss and then being intentional about giving each other some quiet time can work wonders when it comes to everyone processing the energy of the house. And you know what? This can ultimately make both of you feel so much more receptive to getting intimate…later in the evening.
7. Write Down Your CURRENT Sexual Needs
I've shared before that one of my favorite couple-related quotes is, "People change and forget to tell one another." The reality is that the person you said your vows to on your wedding day is going to change, many times, in a variety of different ways, before their life comes to an end. So will you. And if the two of you don't share each other's thoughts, feelings and needs during those different stages of transitions, it's very easy to literally grow apart—to even become strangers to a certain extent.
Your sex life is not exempt from this point. Truth is, what turned you on and got you off in your 20s may be very different in your 30s, 40s and 50s (check out "How Your Man Can Adjust To Your 'Sexual Growth Spurts'"). That's why, I don't care how long you've been with someone or how well you think that they know you, it is your responsibility to convey what your current sexual needs are. I don't mean that you be vague or abstract either. Get as specific as possible. One way to make sure that you are crystal clear is to write your thoughts down beforehand. Sex journaling is a technique that can help you to process where you stand, so that you're mentally confident enough to have the conversation with your partner. A huge part of sex is about communication. The clearer you are, the better.
8. Focus on Body Positivity
I recently had a debate with someone about the fact that, I find it really interesting that, while a lot of women will say that a man is shallow if he isn't attracted to a plus-size woman, oftentimes those same plus-size women don't ever consider dating heavier men (the double standards really are abundant out here!). When it comes to embracing body positivity, we all really need to practice what we preach. Anyway, if you're someone who always prefers to have sex in the dark, limits sex to certain positions (that make you feel less body-conscious) and/or you can't remember the last time when you had sex completely naked, please read "These 10 Hacks Will Help You Love Your Body More", "10 Sensuous Ways To Boost Your Sexual Self-Esteem" and "Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey".
If you're already sexually involved with someone, believe you me that they are already into you and far less critical than you are about your body. All they want you to do is enjoy them while they enjoy you. That's so much easier to do when you feel more positive about your body. Please make that a top priority, just as soon as you possibly can.
9. Take Clocks Out of Your Bedroom
No doubt about it. There really is such a thing as being a slave to the clock. Don't believe me? How many times have you been at home, enjoying a movie or talking on the phone, looked over at the clock and then ended either activity suddenly, just because of what the clock revealed to you? While there is something to be said for keeping a schedule, there's also something to be said for relaxing more when it comes to how we process time as well. That said, if you've got a clock in your bedroom, it could be a covert enemy when it comes to you enjoying sex more often because 1) you might deny sex because the clock says it's too late or 2) you might rethink having it in the middle of the night because the clock says it's too early or 3) you may abruptly end sex (or try to rush it along) because of the time that is on the clock. Bedrooms are for sex and sleep and that really can't be stated enough. Anything in your bedroom that is mentally, physically or even emotionally hinder either activity from happening—it's really gotta go.
10. Flirt. Then Foreplay.
Have you ever looked up the definitions of flirting before? One of them is "to behave or act amorously without emotional commitment". However, as we close this out, the one that I'm referring to is "to deal playfully". Flirting can be cool because it takes the pressure off of trying to be super seductive—at least initially—if you think that it will somehow make you feel self-conscious. Winking and/or blowing kisses at your partner. Leaving a cute note somewhere that they'll see it. Complimenting them. Initiating an impromptu slow dance. Starting a pillow fight. These are just a few ways that you can flirt as a way to bring some laughter and sweetness into the dynamic before transitioning into foreplay—which will hopefully transition into full-on sexual intercourse.
I know. Mental foreplay hacks don't get brought up often. Hopefully, though, you're able to see how they can definitely play a role in improving your sex life. Because when your mind is right—the sky truly is the limit when it comes to all sorts of sexual possibilities!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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If you followed Beyoncé’s career, then you know how hair has played an important role in her journey. Her mom, Ms. Tina Knowles, owned a hair salon when the multi-Grammy award-winning artist was growing up, and she has shared on several occasions how it impacted her life. We’ve also witnessed her many hair transformations throughout her career, from braids to her signature long, straight honey blonde tresses. However, it was her pixie cut in 2013 that had everyone talking.
Beyoncé and Tina launched Cécred (pronounced sacred), a hair care line that includes a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub, a hydrating shampoo, a nourishing hair oil, and much more. The mother-daughter duo opened up about their latest business venture together to Essence in its March/April issue, and the “Alien Superstar” revisited her haircut and how it reflected a life change.
“It did. That’s right. I love how we associate a certain hairstyle with moments in our lives, like that short-hair moment. I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn’t have a particular style in mind,” she explained.
“It wasn’t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through. So much of my identity as a performer has been connected to flowing hair. Cutting my hair off was me rebelling against being this woman that society thinks I’m supposed to be.”
Beyonc\u00e9 to ESSENCE Magazine on her 2013 pixie cut:\n\n"I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn\u2019t have a particular style in mind. It wasn\u2019t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through."\ud83d\ude2d\ud83e\udd79— (@)
She continued, “I was a new mother, and something about the liberation of becoming a mother made me want to just shed all of that. It was a physical representation of me shedding the expectations put upon me. I just wanted it off.
Neal Farinah, my hairstylist and friend, was freaking out because it was really long, really thick and really healthy. I just got the scissors and chopped it off. It was very intentional. And it was what I needed to do. And after that, I became super brave. It was the first step to many more audacious decisions I made in my life and my career that have led to who I am now.”
Throughout the interview, Beyoncé shared how her new hair line is her “legacy” and how she wants to use her line to highlight the versatility of textured hair.
Feature image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy