Is your man an outlier? If your initial response is "Umm, in what way?", in the context of this piece, I mean when it comes to how long he can last in bed. Yeah, initially, I wouldn't have used that word in the sexual sense either but apparently, if a man can go for 21 minutes or so, that's what he's considered to be. If he can hang in there between 4-11 minutes, he's average and if he can go for 53 minutes, he's on something; sorry, I mean he's a marathoner.
The relevance in those well-phrased measurements is the fact that, whenever I ask women what they desire more from their partner, stamina is usually what comes up. And, when I ask them what they wish they had more of, typically, it's sensitivity. They either want to tap into their erogenous zones more or, they want to find a way for sexual stimulation to feel more intense during sex.
While there is no magic potion that you or your partner can take to instantly remedy either of these concerns, there are some holistic approaches to both that are safe, effective (in more ways than one) and affordable.
If you want to make your man an outlier or you want to turn up the heat a bit in your own "sweet spots", try adding some of these herbs, foods and items to your health regimen.
I must admit that, when I first learned about Damiana, I smiled. My first love's name is Damien. My late fiancé's name was Damien. One of the most unique relationships I've ever had with someone, his name is also Damien. And in their own ways, they're all pretty sexy so, there's that.
Outside of my own little exclusive Damien journey, Damiana is a wild shrub-turned-herbal supplement that is used to treat headaches, depression and constipation. It's also great at reducing PMS symptoms, treating insomnia and even relieving symptoms related to anemia and diabetes.
On the sex tip, Damiana is dope because it lowers stress levels, improves a bad mood, increases vaginal lubrication, intensifies orgasms and gives you more energy so that you can go a few rounds (if you want). Yeah, Damiana is that one.
2.Vitamin B12 Foods
Vitamin B12 is something that we all need that far too many of us are deficient in. So, how do you know that you are lower in this vitamin than you should be? Do you feel lightheaded and weak? Are you gassy or constipated? Do you feel depressed or have you been experiencing memory loss? Do you feel numbness or tingling? If so, go see a doctor, just to make sure that it's not something more serious. If it isn't, eating foods high in B12 (like chicken, tuna, salmon, liver and eggs) can help to get you back on track. As a bonus, Vitamin B12 foods also support bone health, relieve anemia and help to put you into a better mood.
B12 is a must-have for sexual sensitivity because it manufactures healthy red blood cells which keeps your nerve endings, including the thousands that are in your clitoris in tip-top shape. B12 also triggers histamine into your system. That's awesome because you need that in order to have an orgasm.
Basil is an herb that is bomb for so many different reasons. It lowers your blood pressure, fights to prevent breast cancer, increases mental alertness, reduces stroke damage, stabilizes blood sugar, decreases tooth decay and relaxes blood vessels.
It's that last benefit I mentioned that helped basil to make this particular list. Not only does the smell of basil help to get your (and his) juices flowing, it increases blood flow, including down in your genital region. The more circulation you've got, the more intense things will feel.
On its own, arginine is an amino acid that changes into nitric oxide. We need this because nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that relaxes blood vessels and increases blood circulation. L-Arginine is known to dilate clitoral blood vessels and, when they are wide open, sexual sensitivity is off the charts! (Other benefits of this supplement are that it enhances your workout performance, treats burns, heals wounds, reduces anxiety and controls blood sugar in diabetics).
A lot of people take L-Arginine in supplement form, but if you're curious, foods that contain arginine are brown rice, peanuts, sunflower seeds, spirulina and (yum) chocolate.
Did you know that July is when National Kissing Day (July 6) and National Orgasm Day (July 31) are celebrated? Good thing too because black raspberries are only in season during this month and it lasts for only a few weeks too.
Whether you decide to snack on them raw or make some homemade black raspberry ice cream or black raspberry muffins, you'll be doing your body a lot of good. Black raspberries are loaded with antioxidants that help to fight off free radicals, cancer cells and tumors. Black raspberries also have a great reputation for improving vision, keeping your heart healthy and, the ellagic acid that's in them, can help to prevent birth defects if you happen to be pregnant.
Black raspberries are also a phytochemical-rich food that not only boosts libidos in men and women, it gives them both a lot more endurance too (it's best to eat a handful, for 3-5 days, before gettin' it in, in order to get the best results).
6.Less Shrimp, Sugar and Soy
We've spent quite a bit of time touching on what you should consume, but there are some things that you shouldn't. Let's start with shrimp. Shrimp tends to contain pesticides and pesticides are known for being endocrine disruptors which basically means that they take male and female hormones on roller coaster rides. In fact, a lot of shrimp has the mutha of all pesticides, 4-hexylresorcinol, in it.
Sugar isn't good for your sex drive/life because it triggers stress and anxiety and also drains you of your energy. In men, it lowers testosterone levels too. Low testosterone, low sex drive. Oh, and soy. Soy can be unhealthy, on so many levels. Sexually, because it contains phytoestrogens. Yep, soy has a form of estrogen. When too much of this is in your system, it also can alter your hormones and tank your libido as well.
One of the best things about sex is, if it's done right, it incorporates all five of your senses, smell included. Smell actually plays such an important role in sexual arousal that one study says that the better your sense of smell is, the more enjoyable sex will be.
So, what scents will heighten your sexual sensitivity? Rose, neroli, sandalwood, jasmine, cinnamon, patchouli and ylang ylang essential oils, for starters. You can mix them with a carrier oil like grapeseed, sweet almond and avocado, warm the combo up and have an impromptu couple's massage. Or you can put a combination of the oils into a diffuser which will make your bedroom—or wherever you plan on gettin' it on—smell absolutely amazing.
8.Abdominal and Glutes Exercises
Did you know that we naturally have more stamina than men? This means that we've got more power to endure (wink). But if you want a little more, exercising is the way to get more. If you focus on your abdominal muscles—by doing exercises like sit-ups and planks—it will give you more balance and keep you from feeling as much back pressure or pain. If you work on your glutes—by doing squats and hip extensions—it will loosen up your hips and make it easier to try more sexual positions.
What exercises does your man need to do to build his stamina up? From what I've read—cycling, swimming, high-intensity lifting, stair climbing and jumping rope will definitely do his body and sexual performance a lot of good. Oh, and having sex with you more often. That'll help too.
When you get a chance, check out Medical Daily's article "The Science of Dirty Talk and Why It Increases Sexual Pleasure". It talks about how our brains are one huge erogenous zone, how the more we talk about sex, the more pleasurable sex is and, how liberating dirty talk can be because it breaks us out of our prim and proper shell, lowers our inhibitions and helps us to express our needs and wants to our partner in a very sensual and alluring kind of way.
If you've never really tried it before, simply whispering what you like or what you would like to transpire is a great way to get things going. Dirty talk has a way of, as Kelly Rowland once sang, keeping you and your partner extremely motivated. (Go…go…go…GO!)
10. Lots and Lots of Lube
If you want to skip all of the supplements, foods and exercise tips, something else that can take your sexual sensitivity up a few notches is lubricant. The more, the better too! The wetter sex is, the more enjoyable, intense and longer-lasting it tends to be. Lubricant also reduces the friction of condoms which makes them less likely to break and helps to prevent microscopic vaginal tears, which means having less of a chance of contracting an STD/STI.
Just make sure that if you're going to buy lube that you go with something like a silicone brand (they're waterproof and also won't damage condoms). Or, if you're going to go with something more natural like coconut oil (a fan favorite, even among medical professionals) that you use it for unprotected sex ONLY; with condoms, the oil can break down its effectiveness. What's natural that is also condom-friendly? Aloe Vera, but make sure that it's 100 percent pure so that the other ingredients won't throw off your vagina's pH balance. Have—lots and lots of—fun!
Featured image by Getty Images
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
4 Healthy Foods That Increase Sexual Pleasure
How To Eat Your Way To Better Sex
Foods That Keep Your Vagina Smelling Right (And The Ones That Don't)
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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.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…truly platonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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