Not too long ago, I saw an article that had a title that made me chuckle—"Eighty-Four Percent of Families Plan to Be Together this Christmas, even Though Two-thirds Predict an Argument with Relatives, According to New International Survey". Goodness. If you just read that and shook your head because you can totally relate, perhaps, "This Will Keep Your Family Off Of Your LAST Nerve This Holiday Season" might be the better read for you than this one (good luck and hang in there).
On the other hand, if you're someone who has decided to totally buck the system and forego all of the holiday travel, family bonding and potential drama so that you can have a nice quiet time at home with you and your boo—first of all, congrats. I salute anyone who chooses to do the holidays their own way. Secondly, I've got a few ideas the two of you can do together; things that will help to turn your home into an unforgettable romantic winter wonderland for you and yours—whether it snows outside or not this year or not.
Decorate Your Tree (or Go with a Tree Alternative)
As far as decorating your tree goes, this is probably already something that the two of you do. But the reason why it tops the list is because, what I mean is, to make a ritual out of it. Turn on some of your favorite music; break open a bottle of wine; once the lights are on the tree, dim your overhead lighting; turn off the television and silence your smartphone—shoot, put on some sexy lingerie and then decorate the tree. Maybe even take out this time to make a couple of ornaments; it's a great way to have fun with your partner and create memories at the same time (check out some DIY links here, here and here).
Or, if you'd prefer to spare a live tree this year or you want to go with more of an avant-garde look in your home, you could make—a tree display out of copper and wood (here); a wooden tree to display your Christmas greeting cards from (here); a wall-mounted tree out of velvet fabric (here); a tree that's made from yarn (here), or you can get a couple of faux tabletop trees to put on your nightstands and call it a day.
Cook (or Bake) Christmas Childhood Favorites
As a marriage life coach, something that I think can help couples to understand each other more is to discuss their childhoods more often. For instance, there is someone I know who doesn't miss a Christmas without watching The Wizard of Oz; like they get low-key irate if they miss it. When I finally asked them why, they explained that while growing up with an alcoholic parent, watching that movie was the only time when there seemed to be peace in the house. Someone else told me that big Christmas breakfasts are a must-do tradition because it reminds them of their home before their parents broke up.
Cooking with your partner is already a wonderful (and effective) way to spend quality time with them. But if you both are intentional about preparing some Christmas childhood favorites, the stories that you both share can shed some enlightenment and, in turn, bring the both of you closer together too.
Watch Your Favorite Throwback Christmas Episodes
Pretty much any throwback program that you can think of has a Christmas episode. If you can't find them on your favorite streaming service, sites like Dailymotion and YouTube may have them. It could be a lot of fun to watch a Christmas episode of A Different World, Living Single or Moesha in between some of those sappy Christmas movies that are in heavy rotation right about now. I know I always dig them when I see them.
Slow Drag—then Make Out—to Christmas Classics
In this ever-shifting culture, one thing that never gets old is slow dragging. I think it's because, whether you can actually dance or not, it's something that you can pull off. Plus, you're able to get all close 'n cuddly with your partner. Yeah, the slow drag continues to be undefeated. That's why I say that, in between all of the things on this list, take out at least 30 minutes to put on some of your favorite Black Christmas music classics while slow dragging underneath a mistletoe. If you do it right, the dance could turn into a make out session and…who knows what that could lead to?
Make S’mores in Your Fireplace
Dark chocolate is quite the aphrodisiac. If you're fortunate enough to have a fireplace, create your own mini bonfire by making some s'mores in it. You can find a classic recipe, along with over a dozen more creative ones, here. Or, if you still like the s'mores idea but all you've got is an oven, you can still make some bomb ones by following this recipe.
Have an Indoor (or Outdoor) Picnic
Something that couples can actually have year-round are picnics; it doesn't have to be indoors either. Yeah, I already know that some of y'all are looking at me like I am crazy, but I personally know some couples—yes, Black ones—who have had some really romantic Valentine's Day picnics outdoors with the help of some chicken noodle soup, hot chocolate and chunky knitted blankets.
Anyway, if you totally dig the picnic concept but indoor is more your speed, here are some of the things that you will need to totally set it off:
- An indoor tent
- Some candles (or twinkle lights)
- Some throw pills
- Background music
- Some finger foods
- A Christmas-themed dish
- A bottle of bubbly
After a little time in an indoor picnic tent, there's no telling how much you might end up prefer it to your own bed (if you know what I mean).
Play a Christmas Music or Movies Drinking Game
So, earlier this year, I read an article that addressed if sex when you're drunk or high is better, strictly from a scientific perspective. Long story short, if you wanna take more sexual risks, get drunk; if you want sex to feel better, get high. But if, for whatever the reason, weed ain't your thing, go with red wine. It's proven to boost the libido of men and especially women which can make for a really good time.
Make the drinking even more enjoyable by having your own Christmas pop culture drinking game. Ask each other questions about some classic Black Christmas movies and music and take a shot every time you get an answer wrong. Shoot, take the game up a notch by also taking off a piece of clothing too. A game that ends with some red wine-induced sex is a game worth playing (a few times), if you ask me.
Give Each Other a Love Language Present
Over this past year, we touched on the importance of love languages in relationships quite a bit (check out "I Discovered My Husband's Love Language ...And It Changed Everything", "Your Love Language, According To Your Zodiac Sign", "Knowing Your Partner's Love Language Can Transform Your Relationship" and "15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language").
One way to convey to your partner that you not only know what their love language is, but you understand how to speak it is to give them a Christmas present that is based on their love language.
For instance, if their love language is quality time, give them a reservation to a bed and breakfast in the next city. Or, if their love language is acts of service, offer to use your gifts and talents to help them get an idea off of the ground in the new year. Love language gifts are cool because, not only are they thoughtful, they can make you and your partner feel seen, heard and felt which is always a really beautiful and beneficial thing.
Also, Give Each Other a “12 Dates of Christmas” Date Jar
Speaking of spending quality time together, if you and yours have big plans in 2021, make sure that the romance in your relationship doesn't fall by the wayside. One way to avoid that is to plan ahead when it comes to going on future dates. One way to do that is by giving each other a "12 Dates of Christmas" Date Jar (not to be mistaken by the sex jar that every long-term committed couple also should have in their possession as well). In it, put pieces of paper that have cool date ideas for the next 12 months. Both of you hand each other a jar come Christmas morning. It can be exciting to see what the two of you have come up with. Plus, you can both have the assurance that you'll be going on at least two dates a month until 2022 rolls around.
If you and yours are serious about having a quiet and romantic Christmas, let those close to you know that you'll be falling totally off of the grid, at least from December 24 thru December 26. Then put your cell phones on vibrate and in a room where you won't be spending a ton of time. Keep your computers off, period and only have your television on to watch movies and television programs—no news (including entertainment news).
When you make a point to totally disconnect from technology, a day away can seem like an entire week. Plus, it can give you and yours time to really relax and reconnect with one another. Out of all of the suggestions I've shared, this is what could end up being the very thing that could result in you having the very best Christmas yet!
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by Shutterstock
Originally published on December 12, 2019
- Christmas Sex For The Holidays - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- How To Create A Romantic Picnic For Two - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- How To Have A HOT Romantic Staycation - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Cooking With Your Partner, Sexy Tips - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Holiday Boyfriend: Wanting A Relationship For Wrong Reasons - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Best Christmas Gifts For Boyfriends Gift Ideas - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Here's Why You Should Visit Christmas-themed Bars - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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. ;)
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.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
I didn’t think much could get better about the blissful high that comes with oral. That was until I came across the Kivin Method.
As someone who was never a huge fan of oral sex and could largely take it or leave it, I must admit that I have started to come around in recent years. With my head thrown back, hands gripping sheets and hair, and toes curling from the intense sensations of the work my partner is putting in at my center, I now give myself over to the pleasurable act wholly and unapologetically.
When I came across a way to maximize the pleasure I receive from cunnilingus (already), I had no choice but to tap in. Who knew the key to taking oral sex to new heights was giving it a sideways twist? For those of you who might also be interested in ways to spice up the way you do oral, experience faster and stronger orgasms, or simply want to indulge in something new with your partner, the Kivin Method could definitely be the oral sex technique for you, too.
Keep reading to learn about the method that is sure to have you writhing in ecstasy in no time at all.
What Is The Kivin Method?
For the uninitiated, the Kivin Method is an oral sex technique that focuses on stimulating the clitoris from a different angle. Dubbed “sideways oral” by some, this method involves the action of giving head from a side-to-side movement as opposed to the up-and-down motion that people typically perform when giving head. (If you need a visual, this illustration is helpful.)
The difference in approach as you’re receiving head can be a game-changer in how you receive pleasure. Not only does the giving partner have access to the clitoris, but they can also access more easily the vulva and the labia, which are objectively a bigger focus in this version of cunnilingus. More access means wider coverage, and that, plus the new sensation of oral from a different angle, can heighten the way you experience oral sex that much more.
Where more pleasure flows, intense orgasms are sure to follow.
How To Do The Kivin Method
If you want to know how to do the Kivin Method, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The receiver lays on their back while the giver positions themselves perpendicular to the receiver. Their head will be facing the vulva, but instead of vertical, their face will be horizontal to the vulva.
From there, the giver can get to business, ensuring that they keep their head perpendicular to the receiver’s vulva while working on their craft. Because this technique can be more intense for some receivers, start slowly by stroking the vulva and clitoris sideways with the tongue, and allow sensations and communication from the receiver to be a guide of what you need more or less of with the Kivin Method.
Ultimately, the Kivin Method allows experimentation and unlocking what pressure, rhythm, and tricks work best for the giver and the receiver. Try implementing a finger or two, or adding a sex toy to the mix to intensify the act even further.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images