I remember when I had my first kiss. Technically, it was when I was in the first grade. A cute and popular—as popular as you can be when you're no older than 7—blonde cutie pie named Michael lined all of the girls along the fence on our playground and smooched us. Hmph. When I think back on that now, it's a little weird. Anyway, that was the first time a little boy put his lips on mine. Now my first kiss with tongue? That was around 12-13. His name was Loren. It was while we were in New Orleans for a church conference. That kiss was so…I guess, "moving" is the appropriate word that we talked off and on until our freshman year in college.
Moral to the story? No matter what age you are, kissing is pretty powerful because, be honest, you can probably recall your first kiss too! And because swapping spit (relatively speaking) is such a profound experience, it makes perfect sense that there would be an entire day that's entirely dedicated to it.
As far as kissing from a scientific standpoint, I already penned a piece on 15 random kissing facts a while ago. Today, I want to approach kissing from an entirely different angle. Where did French kissing come from? I'm about to tell you. What makes or breaks a kiss? We're gonna touch on that as well. Is there an actual kissing etiquette? Let's look and see.
Hopefully, by the time you're done reading—or at least skimming—all of this, you'll have a new appreciation for kissing and, more importantly, who kisses you.
Let’s Look at Some Different Kinds of Kisses
Is a kiss just a kiss? Not really. I did some research—including a little asking around—and found out that there are at least a dozen different kinds to choose from. Kisses like ones that are planted on the forehead and cheeks, along with the oh-so-cute (at least I think so) Eskimo kiss (you know, rubbing noses) is about expressing heartfelt affection. When a man kisses a woman on her hands or eyelids, supposedly that shows that he is quite smitten. Earlobe and neck kisses are acts of foreplay (by the way, if you wonder where hickeys came from, we got it from animals. You can read more about that here).
Then there's the French kiss. Where did that term originate? From what I've read, the word "galocher", until very recently, was a slang French word that meant "kissing with tongues". But this kind of kissing didn't actually start in France. The original term was the Florentine kiss; it's what American and British soldiers did when they greeted their significant others when they returned home from World War I. But because we naturally associate the French with being passionate, they get the reputation for coming up with this kind of kissing when, in all actuality, it was us. Salute.
What Makes a Kiss Hot?
Now that we've broken a few kisses down, let's talk about what makes for an amazing kiss. To me, a kiss where a man holds my face, starts off slow and eventually becomes more intense is hot. A little lip and tongue sucking is great too, so long as he's not trying to remove it from my mouth. Oh, and soft moans. Those too are appreciated. But that's just me. From the unofficial polling that I did, with both men and women, the kind of kisses that feel like a conversation (you know, where both people are paying attention to one another) is pretty amazin'. Saliva needs to be kept down to a minimum. Caressing (even if it's just hand holding) needs to be happening simultaneously. Slight nibbling and sucking are appreciated. Oh, and everyone I talked to described the importance of staying in the moment during a kiss.
By the way, no matter how great a kiss may be, some official polling revealed that half of all men would have sex without kissing (I've asked around about this too and, a lot of men find kissing to be a whole lot more intimate than intercourse); men prefer wetter kisses than we do (I'm thinking that has something to do with, umm, our other lips getting/being wet as well); overall, kissing is preferred before sex rather than after and, the average amount of kissing partners between men and women is approximately the same—14. Hmph.
What Makes a Kiss…Not?
I don't know about y'all, but the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a bad kisser isn't bad breath (I'm thinking that's a given). It's poor aim. You know, those guys who are either French kissing your nostrils or your chin. Yuck. Some more of my unofficial polling (again, of both men and women) revealed that an overly-eager or lazy tongue (who wants something reminiscent of a dead fish being in their mouth?!), someone who wants to give you as much of their spit as possible, someone who's rhythm is totally off, a hard biter, a tooth-bumper or someone who wants to talk a lot in between kisses are all no-nos.
But out of everything that I heard, what seemed to top the list was a kiss with someone when there was no real connection; that is the epitome of a bad. Like the expected kiss after a date when you're just not that into the person or when you're currently irritated by your partner and they want to "fix things" with a kiss instead of giving you a little time and space to process.
Oh! There was one more thing that a few folks told me makes for a bad kiss. Atmosphere. Kissing in the rain doesn't work if you hate getting your wet. Kissing in public isn't cool if you hate PDA. Kissing on the couch isn't always welcoming if that is constantly a precursor for sex (meaning, don't get into the habit of leaning in for a kiss if it's ONLY so that you can get some). The right setting, the right lighting and the right time can make for a kiss that's very hot—or totally not.
How Long Should You Wait to Kiss Someone?
Some of y'all probably read this point and was like, "I don't want to think too hard about this because it could ruin the romance." Uh-huh. I hear you. But remember those 15 facts about kissing that I referenced earlier? One of them is that you can get an STD from kissing someone. Plus, kissing exchanges oxytocin between two people; that basically means that it bonds them. What all of this boils down to is, no matter how "casual" kissing may seem on the surface, it actually isn't. That's why you should put some thought into when you should kiss someone new. Oh, and why.
There's no real steadfast rule to this particular point. Just, before locking lips with someone, ask yourself if you want to get closer to them and if they are deserving of being that close to you. One of my high school teachers used to say that kissing is sex with your mouth. I mean, stuff is going into other stuff and there is a chance that you could contract something so, not to ruin the mood or anything but, they kinda have a point there.
You're a big girl and it is your mouth. But just like every other part of you, your mouth is precious. Just make sure to choose wisely, OK?
How to Make Your Lips Unbelievably Soft
With all of the technical stuff out of the way, I want to end this with just one more point. Personally, I don't care how good of a kisser someone is, I ain't interested if 1) their breath stinks and/or 2) their lips aren't soft. If chapped lips are something that you constantly struggle with, it could be due to too much exposure to the sun (which means you should get a lip balm that has sunscreen in it), constantly licking your lips (the bacteria and saliva combo can dry them out) or being dehydrated.
If you happen to have a handle on these things, but you still want your lips to feel unbelievably soft the next time that you pucker up, start with applying a DIY brown sugar lip scrub (it will gently exfoliate your lips). Then apply some sweet almond oil (you can even add a little honey to it for taste's sake). Or, if you want to give your lips a little extra pampering, apply a mixture of one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of mashed-up avocado and one teaspoon of muddled cucumber that's been thoroughly blended. Apply the combo to your damp lips, let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse with cool water and then apply some shea butter onto your kissers for the night.
You'll have the best feeling lips ever. Just in time to thoroughly observe National Kissing Day!
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Article originally published on July 6, 2019
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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