If there is one thing that 2020 and 2020 2.0 (which is what I call 2021) taught us, it's how important it is to prioritize our mental health and well-being. Yet in the midst of all of the drama that just refuses to let up around here, I totally get if that can be hard to do. That's why I've got a few hacks; ones that I hope will help to relax you, to center you, to not let this crazy world get you so caught up and frazzled that you're not able to focus on your priorities, your needs, your peace.
If it feels like you've been on edge lately and, no matter what you do, you can't seem to get a grip, here are eight things that can help to bring you back to the middle.
1. Create Something
In the Bible, the first thing that God is introduced as is being our Creator. Since the Good Book says that we are made in his image and likeness (Genesis 1), I am a firm believer that we all have the ability to create something — to make something that came out of our own thoughts or imagination. It might be a piece of jewelry. A photograph. An article. Some art. A DIY project. The list is endless yet when you are intentional about creating something unique and new, it affirms the power and ability that you have within your own being and how can that not be the ultimate kind of mental health boost?
2. Talk to a Positive Person
Lawd. There is so much negativity out in these streets that I think we should take out a moment to discuss some of the telling signs of what a positive person looks and lives like. Positive people tend to look for the good in all situations. Positive people like to laugh and have a good time. Positive people are self-aware and mindful. Positive people are supportive and encouraging of others. Positive people choose to let things go. Positive people don't wallow in negative feelings. Positive people are proactive about making wise and healthy choices. Positive people are solutions-oriented. Positive people surround themselves around other positive people.
Some days are gonna be better than others. Don't beat yourself up about that. However, instead of hopping on social media or calling that one relative who finds a way to see the bad in everything, connect with a positive person instead. I've got a friend who is always seeing life from a glass-half-full perspective. It's kind of hard to stay feeling "blue" when she sees things in "yellow"…if you know what I mean.
3. Buy Yourself a Plant or Some Flowers
Did you know that there are science-based reasons why having a plant in your house is a really good idea? Thanks to the organic compounds known as phytoncides, plants can help to reduce your stress levels which can ultimately boost your immune system. Since plant life also has a way of calming us down, they can actually boost your productivity levels if you have one at your desk or home office. And, because plants require some level of care, they are a way to help you to become more nurturing and compassionate to others as well. So yeah, if you're looking for a bit of a mental pick-me-up, a plant can be just the thing to help you do it.
While we're on this topic, something else that you can do is purchase a bouquet of flowers (check out "Love Fresh Flowers? Here Are Tips To Make Them Last Longer"). The combination of the colors and scent, along with making a proactive decision to do something to make you feel better is also a great way to give yourself the mental boost that you need.
4. Take a Nap
Something that my friends know about me is I talk about taking a nap like I am about to have sex with a 6'5" Godiva-coated king. I'm not joking. I think a big part of it is because, when I'm not counseling couples, I'm usually on my laptop writing about stuff like this which is a blessing (because I am doing what I want to do for a living, from the comfort and convenience of my house) and yet can also be a little draining too. And so, when my mind tells me that it wants a break, I give it just that. And because naps give me more energy and helps me to feel refreshed, I am all about encouraging other folks to take one too.
If you're doing it strictly for the sake of your mental health — you know, in order to get through the rest of your day — there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, a nap that lasts longer than 30 minutes can put you into a deep sleep that could cause you to wake up feeling groggier and/or throw off your sleep schedule at night. That's why you should set an alarm to go off at around 20 minutes, you should try and take a nap in the early afternoon, and you should do it in silence or with some ASMR nature sounds; that way, your brain can truly get some rest (without your mind working overtime, even in your sleep), so that you can feel significantly better once you awaken.
5. Have a Yogurt Smoothie, Salmon Salad, Some Guacamole or a Piece of Dark Chocolate
Having a little snack is something else that you can do to mentally get through the rest of your day. A yogurt-based smoothie is good because the potassium and magnesium can help to increase oxygen to your brain which can make you feel more alert. A salmon salad is bomb because salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, both of which are proven to reduce depression-related symptoms, sharpen your memory and improve your mood. I will make some fresh guacamole in a heartbeat — good thing too because the Vitamin K and folate that are in avocados can help to improve one's memory and concentration while the carotenoid lutein is great at strengthening brain function. Or how about a couple of pieces of dark chocolate? So long as it's 60 percent dark cocoa or more, you'll be taking in the antioxidants known as flavonoids which are awesome at keeping you alert and putting you into a better mood.
6. Turn Your Phone Off
Sometimes, what has us stressed out more than anything is the fact that either folks are constantly able to get a hold of us or we're overwhelmed by all of the info that we're consuming online. The device that typically makes this possible is our phone. While I know it might seem like you can't live without your smartphone, a lot of us are old enough to remember what it was like to only have landlines and I promise you that we survived — thrived even. Unless you are a parent, there is no need to feel hesitant about turning off your phone from time to time. Even if you are, at least silence those notifications for a few hours a day.
The sense of urgency that phones provide is an illusion. Folks can text or leave a message after the beep and whatever your social media accounts are talking about, you can pick up where you left off whenever you log back on. (For more reasons to take this tip to heart, check out "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down.")
7. Write Someone a Thank-You Note
If there is one thing that the absolute cyclic-ness of this pandemic has taught me (Lawd, did folks learn anything last year?!), it's how selfish and unteachable human nature can be (especially in the United States). If you're not careful, it can get you either super caught up or really jaded. One way to avoid this is to focus on the things that you should be grateful for. One way to do that is to handwrite a thank-you note to someone. It can be a friend, a co-worker, someone who works at a favorite store — even your partner or child. By making the time to tell another person what you truly appreciate about them, it can remind you about the good things that still exist in this world while helping you to not be so self-consumed. Besides, the response that you get from that person will be sure to put a smile on your face. It's a "win" all the way around.
8. Toast Yourself
I am BIG on toasting myself. I will straight-up go to the store, get myself some bubbly (sometimes alcoholic, sometimes not), fill up a champagne flute, think of something that I am proud of (even if it's as simple as not cussing somebody out who really needed it or paying a bill ahead of time) and "drink" to it. Y'all, sometimes, we're so consumed by all of the ways that we can improve that we don't take a minute to celebrate how far we've come — even if it's in tiny increments. When it comes to mental health hacks that can immediately do you some good, I'm signing off here because ending the day with a toast to yourself can do wonders. I've been doing it for years and it always makes me feel really good. About myself. Which is always a mental health boost. Cheers!
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
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Sex is a big deal. In fact, the clients I have who try to convince me otherwise, I essentially tell them that all they are doing is showing me that the state of their own sex life is not up to par because, if it was, they would agree that…again…sex is a big deal. No, it’s not everything. And no, it shouldn’t be solely relied on to keep a relationship together (check out “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good”). However, when you stop to really let it sink in that sex is one of the main things that makes, say, a marriage different from all other relationships husbands and wives may have — say it with me, folks: SEX IS A BIG DEAL.
That’s why, whenever I read articles that state things like (currently) only 23 percent of (American) people would rate their sex life as being “excellent” (what in the world?!), I feel that it is basically my duty and mission to do all that I can to significantly increase those numbers. One way to do that is to offer some not-so-obvious tips that can make climaxing faster and easier for you.
So, if you fall into the “other than 23 percent category,” just know that I totally penned this with you in mind. Here are 12 things (plus a couple of bonus points) that could very well change and put some of your own sex odds in your favor…quite possibly, as soon as tonight.
1. Have a Sex DateGiphy
Okay, so “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?” If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a date that has nothing but a sex theme in mind. It can be a dinner that features nothing but aphrodisiacs. A sleepover at a local hotel that you’ve always wanted to try. A sexcation that literally consists of nothing (much) more than sex, food, and sleep. Aside from the fact that planning a sexcation can help to build sexual anticipation for both you and your partner, it can also remind you that quality time together should, at least sometimes, evoke feelings of eroticism, lust, and profound sexual longing too. Yeah, something that can definitely help to put you in the mood is a well-thought-out sex date (if you need a bit of help financing one, do you own a sex jar…yet?).
2. Drink Lots of WaterGiphy
It doesn’t matter what the (physical) issue may be, it seems like water is always going to be one of the remedies for it. That makes sense, being that our bodies are made up of somewhere around 60 percent of it. When it comes to having an orgasm, consuming lots of water can help when it comes to getting you to produce more natural lubrication (the wetter you are, the less friction you’ll feel, and that can make climaxing so much easier to do). As a bonus, it can also reduce your chances of experiencing a Charley horse (you know, a random muscle spasm) that can sometimes pop up when you’re in sex positions that can help you to achieve an orgasm, yet you’re so dehydrated that a “horse” gets in the way.
3. Give Each Other a Scalp MassageGiphy
If you’ve got a lot on your mind, you’re totally stressed out, or you’re so focused on having an orgasm that you can’t seem to calm your mind or body down — how about getting a scalp massage (or giving yourself one)? Since scalp massages are able to produce feel-good hormones in your body and put you into a better mood, it’s the kind of unsung foreplay that should be factored in a helluva lot more than it tends to be. Also, since scalp massages can bring relief to headaches and migraines — well, if that’s been your reason (or is it a low-key excuse?) for not having sex, you might want to keep your partner from reading this. #Elmoshrug
4. Listen to Binaural BeatsGiphy
If you’ve never heard of binaural beat therapy, probably the best way to explain it is, it’s a type of sound wave therapy that is designed to reduce anxiety and stress, improve focus and concentration, and even improve your level of confidence. Since it’s also characterized as a form of self-help, all you need is some headphones and some beats that are on a specific kind of frequency to make this effective.
And what does this have to do with having an orgasm? Some people are huge fans of binaural beats because they say that the vibrations that come from them are quite sexually stimulating. I actually put a few friends to the test by sharing a link to a popular orgasmic-themed binaural beat (here). Guess what? They went in cynical and came out saying that, although they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, they did end up feeling a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’. Just sayin’.
5. Focus on a Great (Sexual) MemoryGiphy
This is one of those times when I’m simply gonna say, “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger” and leave it at that (LOL). That’s my intro for sharing that, although I think most people reading this would scream at the top of their lungs that their partner saying someone else’s name during sex is the ultimate no-no, I once read an article where a neuroscience professor stated that it shouldn’t automatically be triggering. According to him, it could be nothing more than a cognitive euphoric reaction to a past experience that was equally as pleasurable; it’s usually not a sign that your partner is longing for someone else.
Whatever the case may be, my biggest takeaway is, focusing on satisfying sexual memories can get your mind ready for what your body is about to do. It does this by reducing anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Plus, the nostalgia can make you feel closer to your partner as well. So, while you might want to go with the present instead of your past, taking a sexual stroll down memory lane could end up totally working in your favor.
6. Introduce Him to the “Egg Yolk Method”Giphy
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you already knew that yoni eggs and egg vibrators can help you out with your orgasm mission. Okay, but what you might not be aware of is the fact that eating eggs can give you more energy and activate a neurotransmitter in your brain that can help you to have longer and more intensified orgasms (spinach and mushroom omelet, anyone?).
Also, keeping in with the theme of all-things-eggs-related, if you didn’t catch the viral TikTok from last summer that some media simply called “the egg yolk” method, you can watch it for yourself here. The gist is a woman decided that caressing an egg yolk is the best way to teach men how to stimulate your vulva. Thoughts?
7. Try the Kivin MethodGiphy
It’s no secret that it’s easier for many women to cum from cunnilingus than intercourse. Well, something that you can try that may help to intensify oral sex orgasms is something known as the Kivin Method. The mindset here is, if your partner orally pleases you horizontally instead of vertically, they will “cover more ground” that way. To make it happen, you need to be on your back while holding one of your knees to your chest. Then he comes in on his side and starts to orally stimulate you that way. That will cause him to stimulate more than just your clitoris. Pretty interesting, right?
8. Learn About the Coital Alignment TechniqueGiphy
Ah yes. The thing that actually inspired me to write this article in the first place. For the past few years, when it comes to the topic of achieving peak sexual pleasure, something that has been receiving quite a bit of attention is the coital alignment technique (also known as the CAT, although some call it “grinding the corn”). It’s a sex position that’s a variation of the missionary position that hones in on the clitoris.
It does this by having your partner move his body slightly above your clitoris so that it can be rather easily stimulated during penetration. For many, it’s a cool “workaround” if they are unable to achieve a vaginal orgasm. Try it (if you haven’t already) and report back.
9. Engage in Nipple Play During IntercourseGiphy
The reason why I once wrote, “So, What If 'Typical Erogenous Zones' Annoy TF Outta You?” is because I know what it’s like to have a partner assume that a part of your body is easy to get turned on…when it actually isn’t. If, for you, that happens to be your breasts (and, more specifically, your nipples), at least consider letting your partner stimulate them during intercourse.
Believe it or not, according to science, your brain responds to nipple stimulation in the same way it does whenever your genitals get sexually excited. This means that, even if you don’t “see the mountaintop” from penetration alone, sometimes the tag-teaming of intercourse and nipple play can get you the orgasm that you’re after.
10. Get into the Fetal PositionGiphy
As far as sex positions go, while the spoon and fetal position are quite similar, the fetal wins when it comes to being able to give you an orgasm quicker, mostly because the closer your knees are to your chest, the easier it is for your partner’s penis to be able to stimulate both your clitoris as well as your vagina. When that is the case, you increase the chances of experiencing a full-blown vaginal orgasm, something that continues to be an exclusive club because less than one in five are able to pull that off.
11. Have Him Press Down on Your TummyGiphy
If you’ve ever wondered if your G-spot can be stimulated from the outside in (or if you’ve been patiently waiting for your partner to figure out just where your G-spot actually is), how about pressing down on your stomach to see if that works?
From what I’ve read and researched, although this approach gained popularity due to a now-deleted TikTok post, there are medical professionals who cosign on the fact that putting a bit of external pressure in the abdominal region during sexual activity has a great chance of intensifying orgasms, for sure. Word on the street is, you increase your chances of climaxing quicker when this happens, too.
I mean, at least ask for a tummy massage before the action begins. Seems to me like this is an easy enough hack to try at least once.
12. Breathe Deeply Through Sexual StimulationGiphy
Something that your body needs a lot of during sex is oxygen. One of the reasons why is that it helps to keep the blood flowing throughout your system — and that includes your genitalia. And the more blood that rushes down that way, the more pleasurable your orgasms will be. That’s why it’s critically important to remember to breathe deeply during the sexual experience. Although it can be tempting (and even understandable) to want to hold your breath or have shortness of breath at times, those are the very moments when taking air in and breathing it out slowly can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having some of your best orgasms — EVER.
BONUS for Postmenopausal Women: Topical TestosteroneGiphy
For better or for worse, something that none of us are going to be able to escape is menopause. It’s a fact of life that will impact everything — including our sex lives. And just like our estrogen levels will drop, so will the testosterone that runs throughout our system. This is relevant because testosterone plays a significant role in your sex drive and how fulfilling sex can be for you. One solution to having lower testosterone is testosterone therapy in the form of applying topical testosterone.
As far as who can use it, where and when you should apply it, and the dosage amount that is beneficial, those things are pretty particular; that’s why you should definitely consult with your healthcare provider before adding it to your sexual self-care regimen. As far as this article goes, I’m just letting you know that there are some options available.
BONUS to Get HIM There: Make a FistGiphy
Finally, if you’re down with giving head yet you just can’t seem to work around the involuntary gagging that sometimes happens, here’s the hack for all hacks: did you know that, by forming a fist with your left hand and then squeezing your thumb inside of it, it can relax you and open up your throat? No, really. Although supposedly this discovery was birthed out of making dental visits easier, I’m pretty sure you can see how this can translate (quite well, I might add) over to the oral sex department ,too. Here’s hoping, sis. #wink
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