So, while I was out here doing my usually online perusing, I noticed an article that basically explored if the key to great sex was love or passion. If you paid attention to the title of this article, you already know what their findings were. Yep, according to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (and the 92 couples who participated in the study), it would appear that passion—not love—is the main ingredient if you want truly fulfilling sex. Interesting.
Passion and Desire Go Hand-in-Hand
Processing this got me to thinking about two things. First, I thought about the couples that I work with. Something that about 90 percent of the ones who are unhappy with their relationship have in common is their sex life either sucks or has started to tank. Peep that I didn't say they don't love each other anymore. What I said was the sex isn't all that good. So, out the gate, maybe the study has a strong point—if you love someone but the sex isn't all that great (or all that great anymore), could the solution simply be that it needs more passion in it?
Now before we go deeper, please hear me all the way out on this. I'll be the first person to say that sex shouldn't be used as an automatic "fix it" for relationship problems. More times than not, if a couple solely depends on coitus in order to work through their issues, all they're really doing is putting a Band-Aid on a deeply infected wound (which is why I wrote "Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good"). Nothing good really comes from that long-term.
At the same time, this does bring me to my second point. The couples I know who have a very fulfilling and consistent sex life tend to have three things in common—good communication, a healthy sexual appetite and a deep desire to please their partner. Not just sexually either. They tend to be on the tip that actor DeWanda Wise and her husband are on. DeWanda once said in an interview that the key to satisfaction in her marriage is:
"It's like self-love for two. And that's how I think about it every day. Anything that I would like, do for myself, there's one other human being that I have to make like, another serving for, know what I mean?"
She and her husband then used making coffee as an example. If they make some for themselves, they try to make a point to make a little extra for their partner. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a great representation of not only love for your partner but respect too. But remember, the study said that passion is what makes sex great; not love. So, why in the world would passion trump love?
Again, remember what I said I found to be the three keys to great sex in a relationship are— good communication, a healthy sexual appetite and a deep desire to please their partner. It's like a trinity (three things working as one), if you will. While a lot of couples spend a lot of time making sure that their communication is on-point, I don't think nearly enough are intentional about making sure that their sexual appetite and desire for their partner are nurtured as well.
Far too many people are out here just kind of winging it when it comes to their libido (if they feel like it, they'll consider having sex; if they only feel like it every once in a while, so be it), and I can't tell you the last time a couple I worked with has used the word "desire" to describe how they feel about their spouse. Desire is a huge essential to a great sex life, though.
What Desire Looks Like
When you desire someone, it means that you not only want them; you crave them. To crave something, you eagerly desire it, you long for it, you need it in the healthiest way possible. Hmph. I don't know about you, but I think it's kind of sad that a lot of us have no problem with vocalizing and then giving in to a craving for some chocolate ice cream, but we think it's weird and/or unnecessary to do the same things when it comes to the one who we're in a relationship with. And that is why, after thinking all of this through, I'd have to agree with the findings in the study. While love may be one of the motivators for sex, if you want off-the-charts sex? Desire has to be there. And the more desire, the better.
So, how do you know if you are lacking in the passion department of your own relationship? Here are some questions to ask yourself and/or discuss with your partner after work today.
When's the last time:
- You initiated sex?
- You and your partner had a quickie?
- You and your partner had sex outside of your bedroom?
- You and your partner tried something new in the sex department?
- You and your partner met up in the middle of the day solely for sex?
- You planned a sexcation?
- You told your partner just how much you desire them?
- You sent a dirty text or photo?
- You went lingerie shopping?
- You extended foreplay?
- You learned a new oral sex trick?
- You DIY a flavored massage oil or lubricant?
- You tested out an atypical erogenous zone?
- You fulfilled a fantasy?
If you are even a little attracted to your partner and your libido has even a little bit of a spark, I would think it'd be pretty difficult to read those questions and not get all hot 'n bothered. And that's kind of my point. If I asked questions like, "When's the last time you spoke your partner's love language?" or "When's the last time the two of you went out on a romantic date?", that doesn't really trigger erotic feelings. But oftentimes, when couples are trying to figure out how to ramp up their sex life, it's those types of queries that are made. Passion isn't given nearly the voice—or credit—that it deserves.
Passion isn't just sexual desire; it's strong sexual desire. Passion isn't interest in a person; it's full-on lust. Lust is intense. Lust is enthusiastic. Lust is uncontrollable. If there are two people who feel intensely about each other, are enthusiastic about being together and can't seem to control their urges towards one another, how could the sex not be totally off the chain?
Sometimes, we make things so much more complex than they have to be. If your sex life is not currently as mind-blowing as you'd like, before doing anything else, ask yourself how the passion is in your relationship. Ask yourself if the desire is strong and if you and your truly partner crave one another.
The key to great sex ain't always about a new sex position or trick. Sometimes it's about getting back to the basics. One of which is hot, sweaty, can't-keep-your-hands-off-of-each-other passion. Whew.
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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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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Featured image by Justin Lambert/Getty Images