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I'll be the first to admit that my relationship with penetrative sex changed when I tapped into mindfulness. Although I didn't have the language for what it was at the time, now I can see the way my mind and body opened up when I stopped thinking and started flowing. When I stopped racing to a foreseeable end and instead reveled in being fully present. My connection intensified, so did the passion, and so did my experience with previously nonexistent vaginal orgasms. It was transformative to say the least.
Nowadays, I have the language for what that state of being is. The act of being present, fully aware of the moment, giving unwavering and undivided attention. Every sensation takes center stage and the emphasis on senses intensifies how I experience touch, taste, and of course feeling filled. That word is mindful; and to apply it to sex, well, you get mindful sex.
And what makes mind-full sex different from mind-less sex?
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What is Mindful Sex?
In a conversation with sex therapist Dr. Donna, LICSW, M.ED, founder and lead therapist at AnnodRight, she explained, "You wouldn't be having sex with your to-do list on your mind. You would be engaged in the moment with what is happening and not on other things like dishes, work, or if your fro still looks good while you're having sex. What truly makes the difference is being in the moment intentionally."
Intention. When I think back to times in my life where the sex I was having was very mind-less, it usually had everything to do with where I was physically and mentally weren't in alignment. I was in my head about feeling pressured to orgasm, I was in my head about not feeling confident in my body, I was thinking of what he could be thinking. I was everywhere and nowhere all at once.
If You Have a Hard Time Connecting Sexually with Your Partner...
For those of us who have or have had difficult times feeling connected during sex overall, what we fail to realize is how much mental blockages interrupt our connection to the moment and our ability to surrender to pleasure in a way that helps us reach ecstasy. Mindful sex can be a solution for that.
Dr. Donna advised that if you are experiencing mental blocks that stop you from connecting during sex to take a moment to get to the root of the disconnect. "What is usually going on for you where you don't feel connected? Is it only in the boudoir with your partner, or is that disconnect in other places?" she recommended. "Take some time to figure out those pieces FIRST, then come back to how you can be present in the bedroom. Some of the disconnect can be the [sex] position."
"For this, I suggest front-facing positions where you can look at each other. Practicing some mindfulness on your own can also help you to be better practiced when you get into the sexual situation you want."
Our article on intimate sex positions is a great place to start.
Adene Sanchez/Getty Images
3 Ways to be More in the Moment During Sex
Mindful sex is a beautiful way to deepen and intensify the sex you have with your partner. In order to practice being more present and in the moment during sex, Dr. Donna shared the following ways:
1. Remove all distractions. Including music.
"Turn off the TV, unexpected sounds and flashes can take you out of the moment. Also, until you have mastered it, turn off the music. Let the rhythm between the two of you be the true focal point here."
2. Plan the sex.
"Sounds so unsexy, but hear me out. Planning a time and space for sexy time can help to build up anticipation, on the one hand, and means that you can better plan for a distraction-free environment. You can make sure to schedule all the obligatory adulting activities before it, so that you can more easily give yourself over to your sexual desires."
3. Talk about your connection issue.
"If you find that you are consistently distracted in sex, talk about it with your partner. There is no use in keeping that secret. When we talk about what is on our minds or the feelings we have been harboring, we give them an outlet, which means they take up less space in our minds. Having the conversation can also mean that between the two of you, you can come up with some solutions."
Featured image by Adene Sanchez/Getty Images
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A few months ago, a musician friend of mine and I were discussing our ideas of what a perfect song is. One of the songs that I gave him was Michael Jackson's "Workin' Day and Night". You've got me working, working day and night. I'm so tired, tired now. Lawd, y'all. Some of us can totally relate. I know that, once upon a time, I definitely could.
Listen, doing a lot of work in a marriage is its own article. Today, though, I wanna tackle the topic of those who may find themselves workin' day and night for a man when it comes to dating. And by "dating", I mean anyone who you aren't living with or engaged to (because those bring forth other dynamics too). The season of dating is about getting to know someone better. It's about seeing how well you both gel. It's about getting some insight and clarity on if you desire the same things or not—including one another.
That said, if during this season, you're the one who is putting forth most of the effort in order to make it all work or last, something is very wrong with that. For one thing, relationships are supposed to be based on mutuality (more in a sec). Secondly, when someone is really into you, you shouldn't find yourself worn out from dating them anyway.
If you've read enough of my content on here, you know that I think a lot of answers are found in asking certain questions. And so, if you know that you do way too much in your relationships, here are five foundational questions that, hopefully, can help you to get down to the root of why.
1. Who Taught You to Act That Way?
I will definitely raise my hand in this class and say that I used to be the kind of person who did, at least, 70 percent of the work to keep my relationships afloat. If it wasn't emotionally, it was financially. If it wasn't financially, it was when it came to literally moving things forward. After a lot of self-work, pondering, journaling and unpacking, I think several factors played a role. For one thing, I watched my mother "carry" her second husband in a lot of ways. The insecurities in that relationship taught me how to be codependent and/or controlling. Nothing much more than that. Also, I'm a survivor of childhood abuse. Pick a category.
When you're young, you're innocent. And so, when love isn't given to you in a healthy or consistent way, you tend to think it's your job to do any and everything to compensate.
SMDH. Ever heard the saying "hurt people hurt people"? Yeah, oftentimes what happens is they attract people who are wounded too. That was my next issue. I have some great qualities; I also used to have some really broken areas. The same thing went for the men who I was drawn to. So did some of the people who I considered to be my friends at the time. And so, what was modeled to me, pretty much from every angle, is that love required being always doing the absolute most. By yourself. IT. DOES. NOT.
So yeah, y'all. If you're someone who finds yourself doing most of the work in your relationship, most of the time, the first thing that I recommend you do is pull out your journal and do some self-love journaling. While you're doing that, remember that the very root of the word "relationship" is relate. To relate is to "establish a connection". A connection is something that is a bond—and a genuine and solid one consists of mutual interest and effort. If you can't honestly say that this is the case for you, why is that? Your "why" can be the start of many breakthroughs. If you allow yourself to revisit your past and answer some potentially difficult questions, that is.
2. Is It a Pattern of Yours?
A poet by the name of Tuli Kupferberg once said, "When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge." Lord, ain't that the freakin' truth. The reason why this point is super valid is because, while some of us sometimes do most of the work in their relationships with multiple people, others realize that this only happened once or rarely. The reality is that sometimes, we get so caught up with—or is it consumed by?—a guy that we think that we can't love them—or give to them—enough.
Unlike a lot of people who felt this way, got hurt and now think that anyone who lives like this is toxic—or delusional—AF, I personally don't agree.
Giving your all in a relationship isn't a problem. Giving too soon, giving to someone who doesn't reciprocate, giving without some sort of real commitment being established? That is where all of the challenges typically tend to arise. You are precious. Someone who gets to receive you in abundance needs to treat you as such. What comes with that is them offering up a pretty even exchange. Not you wishing that they would. Them doing things in a way where you see evidence that they do.
If that is not the case for you because you have no idea what reciprocity even looks like, first, let me extend a virtual hug your way. Take it from me, when you are used to doing relationships a certain kind of way, it can be hard to break the pattern—not because you don't know that you deserve so much more. It's because you are simply used to receiving so much less. The best way to pinpoint if this is the problem is to reflect on (at least) your past three relationships.
If you were the one showing up more for all of them—why were you so drawn to that individual, what ways did they show up for you at all and what ultimately caused everything to come to an end? Once you recognize your patterns, you can start putting together a plan to break them. Starting with not getting in too deep with ANYONE who is not responding to the effort that you put into the situation, right out of the gate.
3. Is Going Above and Beyond More About Fear or Control?
This point right here is a really good one. Some of the people who modeled doing-the-absolute-most-in-a-relationship, I know that it was all about fear. Fear of what? Fear of abandonment. Fear of remaining alone. Fear of failure. When it comes to relationships, doing things out of fear really isn't the best idea or strategy. I mean, even the Bible says that "perfect love casts out fear". Know what else it says? It says that "fear is torment" (I John 4:18). That'll preach.
Putting yourself in the position where you choose to constantly go above and beyond for someone who shows—through words and/or deeds—that they have absolutely no interest in doing the same? I don't know too many more things that are mentally and emotionally more tormenting than that. And again, because Scripture says that the opposite of love isn't really hate but fear, if fear is motivating you to do most of the work, isn't that already a huge—HUGE—red flag?
As far as control goes, a motto that I made up that I personally go by, now more than ever, is "love is a gift, not a bribe." Some folks out here? They like to play the constant victim, acting like all that they do in relationships is based on genuine altruism when it's really about trying to control another person—or at least the narrative. Look at me. I did all of this for so-and-so and they did give me what I wanted in return? Uh-huh. Listen, did you do, whatever it is that you did, because you truly cared about them or because you wanted to guilt them into feeling obligated to reciprocate? That can be an "ouch," I know, yet it needs to be put out there.
Love shouldn't be about fear. It shouldn't be about control either. If you are doing so much because you want to manipulate someone into owing you, not only is that toxic, you'll still ultimately find yourself becoming resentful because, deep down, you know that what you're doing isn't right. Or fair. And building in that kind of space can cultivate a kind of karma that you may not truly be prepared for.
4. Do You Get That Men Really Do What They WANT to Do?
While I'm not the kind of woman who thinks that "real men chase women down" (that's another article for another time), what I am very much sure of is the fact that men do what they want to do. They will make time for it. They will prepare for it. And when they are really interested, they will show all the way out. Not because they've got anything to prove—it's simply that they are just that invested.
And here's the thing. Some of us will go on and on about wanting a man who leads the relationship and yet, because we're fearful and/or controlling and/or IMPATIENT, we don't even give them a chance to do just that. Y'all, it took me more years than it ever should have to accept the reality that sometimes, my "overdoing it" was actually emasculating the object of my affection and devotion at the time.
While I thought that the more I did, the more convinced he would be to give in return, oftentimes it either made him feel uncomfortable or even incapable of giving me what I needed. And because I listened to more of my girlfriends say stuff along the lines of, "Girl, there is nothing wrong with you, he's just a jerk," instead of heeding my guy friends when they would say things like, "You do know if he truly wanted to, he would…right," I remained exhausted and disillusioned, far more and longer than I ever should have.
My takeaway point here isn't that you should be entitled (entitled people are the absolute worst) and selfish. It's that you should resolve within yourself that if you feel like you need to fill someone's cup to the point where they feel like they can't breathe because they are damn near drowning (let alone do anything for you in return), scale back a bit. Give him the chance to put some time, effort and energy in. He just might surprise you (if he's interested in you, he definitely will!).
5. How About Getting Still…and Knowing Your Worth?
There's a woman I used to know named Molly Secours who once said something to me that has remained with me since it came out of her mouth. One time, when we were discussing the season and stage that we were currently in, she said, "I dunno. I'm just being still and seeing what comes to me." That'll preach a billion life—and time—saving sermons because a lot of women—single and married—will be out here, straight up pissed, and it's because they feel like their partner isn't showing up for them when they're not getting still enough to let them or they don't take the time to do less so that they can remind their own selves what they are truly deserving of.
Are relationships about giving? Absolutely. Do they require effort? No doubt about it. Yet never forget that, in order to truly relate to someone else, there needs to be investing done on both sides. And while sometimes this may mean that one puts in more work than the other, this shouldn't be a constant.
Both individuals need to show up—or it's not the kind of relationship that is headed anywhere good. And it's definitely not the kind that a good woman is deserving of.
Again, as someone who used to relate to all of what I just said, I promise you that relationships become so much richer and fuller when you stop doing all of the work. You're calmer. You're clearer. And your connections are so much better. Stop "pulling a Michael Jackson" for that man. Let him catch some of the slack.
That's what relationships—healthy relationships—are truly all about, sis.
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Whether you like it or not, Joseline Hernandez is here to stay. For nearly a decade, the self-proclaimed Puerto Rican Princess has claimed her throne as reality TV royalty, captivating viewers with her on-screen antics and infectious off-screen persona. Since parting ways from her veteran-run on VH1's acclaimed show, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, Joseline has since transitioned into running a show of her own, launching season 2 of her highly anticipated production, Joseline's Cabaret on Zeus Network.
Since its premiere, the controversial, high-action series has garnered a groundswell of online attention from its instant-viral moments. Following the shocking "Double Homicide" comment, along with Joseline's recent appearance on the Wendy Williams Show where she self-advocated for more respect on her name, the show displays all the qualities of must-watch TV.
Courtesy of Joseline Hernandez
Joseline's latest endeavors mark a pivot in her long-standing career, highlighting her ability to turn her past hurdles as a teen-runaway turned stripper — to now mother, fiance, and showrunner — as a feat worth celebrating. Although her path has been unconventional, it's one that's been carved out by resilience and a whole lot of hustle; and she doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.
For xoNecole, Joseline spoke candidly about what to expect from the new season of her hit show, Joseline's Cabaret, why she's making space for women in the sex work industry, and how she's taking her career back into her own hands.
xoNecole: You've been open about your childhood and being a runaway at just 14 years old. Looking back, how did being independent at such a young age help you become the woman you are today?
Joseline Hernandez: How I started out life was so dramatic, it made me want to figure out a way to cut that tail. You're like, "I don't want to be here, I have to figure out what I want to do with my life." When I was 21-22, I figured out that I wanted to do something like Joseline's Cabaret. I used to be a stripper, I always wanted to entertain. When I was 21, I realized, "I can entertain, I'm about to do this." I didn't have it easy like Beyoncé or Rihanna or any of the other girls who had help from their parents. I did it all by myself.
When you're 21, you're still a teenager. People think you're grown but you're not. Me not having help and having to struggle, I said to myself, "One day, you're gonna be somebody, you're gonna make it. Those dreams that you had as a child, you didn't forget them, and since you didn't forget them, you must fight to get them." And that's what I did.
That's why I think I was able to break the spell for me and my daughter. Moving forward in life and carrying that torch, I was able to do it for my last name and for my family's blood, Hernandez, and I was able to change the future. It came with a lot of pain and suffering, but I made it happen.
"I said to myself, 'One day, you're gonna be somebody, you're gonna make it. Those dreams that you had as a child, you didn't forget them, and since you didn't forget them, you must fight to get them.' And that's what I did."
Courtesy of Joseline Hernandez
Instead of being a victim of your circumstance you’ve been victorious in shifting your story. What was the shift in your mindset that you hope to pass down to the women in your Cabaret?
JH: It's always a decision that's going to make you a better person. I always make a decision to stop doing something that's not good for me, and I never go back. For the ladies at the Cabaret, they really have to make sure that what they do moving forward, is the best decision. And that's how you're going to become great: it's always that one decision that's going to take you to the next level.
Could you take us through the moment when you decided you wanted to make the pivot from 'Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta' to create and executive produce a show of your own?
JH: When you're working for another person for a few years, you realize that everything you were giving to that person, you can give it to yourself. I stayed with LAHHA for six years, but there came a point where I was like, "I'm a mother, it's time for me to do something for myself. What can do that's going to change everything in my life and my daughter's future?" And that was to finally create my passion which was Joseline's Cabaret. To finally put that together was all I ever wanted. I felt like I didn't need to keep doing LAHHA because I needed to do something for me.
Courtesy of Joseline Hernandez
You’ve gone from being the star talent on 'LAHHA' to being the producer of your own show. Is there anything that you gleaned during your time working with Mona Scott Young that you aim to do differently in your own productions?
JH: What makes me different is that the ladies know who I am and I know who they are. I don't have to do fake and phony stuff because I know what's real. I really didn't have to produce any of the ladies this season, because they know what they came to do. It's a competition, four ladies get to perform at the Cabaret and get $10,000, so there's no production there. Everyone has their own energy and their own attitude. And I think that's what makes me different, I don't have to lie to kick it.
Courtesy of Joseline Hernandez
There is a lot of discussion around positive representation for Black women and WOC on reality TV, what do you say to folks who may not fully see the vision behind ‘Joseline’s Cabaret’ in helping these ladies make a positive change in their lives?
JH: By the end of the season, they'll understand the whole purpose. I'm just putting the show together, I can't tell the ladies how to act. You can't produce 20 fights in one night, nobody's that lucky. This is real life, it's organic. I can be kumbaya all day, but they're gonna do what they're gonna do and I gotta let them rock. The first whole week, the ladies were going crazy, but I got them together. So it gets better.
You say that if you didn’t have your daughter, Bonnie Bella, that you wouldn’t be the woman you are today if it wasn’t for her. In what ways has motherhood changed you?
JH: When you have a baby, you want them to be strong, smart, and healthy. When you put your focus into that, it makes you a better person. Becoming a mother allowed me to become the best version of myself. When you bring somebody into the world you want to be the best version of yourself so you can teach them everything you didn't learn.
For new episodes of Joseline's Cabaret, tune in every Sunday on Zeus Network. Follow Joseline Hernandez @joseline.
Featured image courtesy of Joseline Hernandez
Kofi Siriboe is beautiful. There's no question there, I mean...whew. And what's most beautiful about him, is how calculated he is when it comes to maneuvering throughout the culture. He knows what he expects of himself before approaching situations, he (mostly) understands how life works, and in areas where he feels he can learn more about himself, he takes that time to do just that: learn more about himself.
And now, he's taking on more than just being an actor. He's also venturing into the tech space.Giphy
But why tech? How did he end up in a seemingly opposite end of an actor's spectrum? Well, for him, it's simple. As it turns out, he arrived because of acting. He tells Revolt:
"In 2016, I came out to New Orleans to start working on 'Queen Sugar,' and that was a big transition for me. I was 21 when I moved out here and looking back, I was mad young. I'd never made that much money in my life, and it's been a shift ever since. 'Girls Trip' came out 2017, and there were a lot of ups and downs in that transition. Mentally and financially, I had to adjust and learn a lot about being independent."
From here, he created We're Not Kids Anymore, a media and lifestyle brand.
"I thought to myself [that] I should create a timeline and it'd be dope to have a timeline of everything that's happened in the last however many years. I realized that's really some tech shit in order to do it correctly. I've always loved Photoshop and all the nerd shit. I was like, "Man, that would be really dope on some tech shit."
Additionally, the 27-year-old knew that he had to provide a platform to the culture to tell our stories, our way. And he took the time to epicly explain his stance on the matter.
"We can't afford to not tell our stories wholeheartedly. We can't afford to dilute our stories based off of people's perspective and perception. The only way to do that in a system like America is simply ownership. Beyond the financial element of all money and wanting to make sure I'm getting all my cuts and my splits, I just want to make sure the narrative is authentic."
"If I got to go through four white people to say what I would say to you right now, somewhere along the way, the message is going to get diluted and it might change. Now, the people aren't getting the full story. Ownership is everything simply because if the truth is priority, then I can't afford for nobody to get in the way of that."
To date, Kofi and WNKA are looking to be more that a media company or just another tech company. Their ultimate goal is to educate.
"I feel like one of our biggest goals is to rebrand education as something that's not boring or not cool. When was learning not fun? When was learning not cool? As a kid, that's all you want to do: absorb and learn. As Black people, the things we're given to learn aren't usually aligned with our truth. The bullshit I learned in school and the things that I've been taught, I'm like, 'Yo, that's trash. That's why I wasn't interested.'"
Protect. This. Man. No matter the cost.
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Want to learn how to get the most out of your savings? Upgrade your life and your finances by opening a high-yield savings account. According to the FDIC, the average national interest rate on savings accounts is presently 0.04%. This national average includes savings account holders with average to larger account balances. Before the Great Recession, local banks offered rates that were larger than 3%, but that is not the current reality.
These days you're more likely to find a better interest rate for your savings accounts at an online bank, plus these banks usually provide higher interest rates independent of your account balances. Below is a list of 7 online banks that offer some of the highest interest rates and benefits around.
Varo helps you to save money effortlessly and boasts an insanely high APY of up to 3%, which is higher than the majority of high-yield savings accounts. You don't even need a minimum balance to open an account and there aren't any fees. It's hard to beat Varo's benefits.
Initially, a savings account holder earns 0.2% APY, but that number can quickly rise to a 3% APY when at least five qualifying purchases are made using the Varo Bank Visa Debit Card and account holders receive total direct deposits of $1,000 or more. The only catch is your account balance can not exceed $5,000 for the entire calendar month.
2. Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union's (CCU) high-yield savings account or "Smart Saver" account gives you the potential to earn 1.50% APY, as long as you have a CCU checking account. But, you're required to deposit a $500 minimum into your CCU checking account every month. If you don't want to be bothered with the checking account, you can still open a CCU checking account and earn 0.25% APY.
Unfortunately, there are a few fees and requirements for their high-yield savings account. The Smart Saver account requires a minimum deposit of $50 and a maximum deposit of $1,000 into your savings account monthly. The fees to become a Consumers Credit Union member and open accounts through their credit union is an extremely low fee of $5 per member.
SmartyPig by Sallie Mae is a free-of-charge piggy bank that helps you to save for financial goals, like retirement, vacays, or holiday gifts. SmartyPig offers great APY rates, so you can crush your savings goals quicker. Earn up to 0.70% APY if you have under $10,000 in your savings account, and 0.45% APY if you have over $10,000 in your account.
The best part is that there are no fees to join, no fees to save, no fees to withdraw, no minimum fee and you can open multiple savings accounts for specific savings goals!
4. Nationwide by Axos Bank
Nationwide by Axos Bank provides a 0.70% APY when you have a "My Savings" account and a checking account through their bank. But, if you don't have a checking account through them, you can still benefit from a 0.40% APY on your savings account.
Fortunately, with Nationwide, you don't have to worry about any pesky fees because the online bank doesn't have any monthly maintenance fees, nor a minimum balance requirement after the initial $100 deposit.
5. Ally Bank
Ally Bank allows you to divvy up your savings to reach separate financial goals, without the hassle of multiple bank accounts. Also, they offer a 0.50% APY when you have at least $5,000 deposited. Assign portions of your savings for up to 10 savings buckets in your online accounts, while still earning interest on your total balance. Ally Bank makes it easy to save by offering automatic recurring transfers from your checking into your savings account.
Even though Ally Bank provides incredible features, it still offers zero dollars in monthly maintenance fees and doesn't require a minimum opening deposit. Although, it's good to note that you can only make 6 transactions a month before you're charged $10 per transaction.
6. Synchrony Bank
Save for tomorrow with Synchrony Bank's high yield savings account that offers 0.40% APY. They provide convenient withdrawals because they're a bank that never closes, so you can bank anywhere and anytime.
Head over to their website where they have a free calculator that will calculate your high-yield savings earning potential in comparison to other major banks. Synchrony Bank has no minimum balance requirement and no withdrawal fees. If you need to withdraw from an out-of-network ATM, they'll even refund you up to $5.
7. Vio Bank
Vio Bank currently provides high yield savings accounts with a strong 0.57% APY, but they claim to adjust this to stay competitive. To open a saving account, there is a $100 minimum initial deposit. If you need access to your account frequently, this may not be the account for you, since you're only allowed six withdrawals every month before you're charged $10 for each withdrawal. But, if you're looking for an account with no monthly fee, then Vio Bank could be your perfect match.
Online savings accounts offer higher interest rates to increase your savings, but they lack physical branches. Keep in mind banks that aren't online do not offer rates that can keep up with inflation as online savings accounts can. It's up to you to determine if the trade-off is worth it.
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