Whenever I speak in churches on relationships and intimacy, something that I will sometimes ask is if there are any engaged couples in the audience. Usually, at least a few people raise their hands. After they do, my follow-up question is, "So, when are you getting married?" which is then followed with "So, I bet you can't wait to have sex…right?" Then I'll make some semi-obnoxious cheering sounds as they look at me like I've totally lost it.
I haven't. It's just that if there is ever a moment that I find to be totally beautiful for two people, it's their wedding day and their wedding night. To me, one is not more important than the other either. In fact, back in the day, Jews (Christians, remember Christ was Jewish so Hebrew culture is relevant) didn't even start the reception until the newly-married couple went into a back room and had sex for the first time. To them, no wedding ceremony was complete until they consummated their union (which is literally what consummate means—to complete).
Unfortunately, a lot of couples don't see the value in making sex on their wedding night a top priority. I say that because (SMH) less than half do. But to me, since sex should be a staple in marriage, there's no time like the first night of officially being husband and wife to set the foundation of a happy and healthy sex life.
If you're engaged, whether you are a virgin (if so, you have my full and total respect!) or not, here are some tips to make your wedding night more relaxed, more comfortable, and even more of a beautiful experience for you and yours.
Be Honest with Your Spouse
I've got two stories for this. Both are certifiable.
First, I went to high school with someone who was mad sexually-active. But when it came time for her to get married, she told her husband that she was a virgin, claiming that since she was a "born again virgin", her past promiscuity shouldn't matter. Listen, I haven't had sex in 12 years but I'm still not a virgin. You're a virgin one time. After that, you may be abstinent but a virgin you are not.
Second story. A husband once told me that while he was in premarital counseling with his then-fiancee, the topic of oral sex came up. He mentioned that it was extremely important for him to receive it. She claimed that fellatio was one of her favorite things to do. Eight years into their union, he got head (count it) twice. TWICE. He ended up cheating. And before you say there was no justification for that, ask yourself if there was any justification for her lying in the first place. Both are problematic to me.
Moral to the story, a part of what comes with marriage is signing up for only having sex with your spouse for the rest of your life. If there is anyone who needs to know who you really are, what you need and expect, and how you really feel about sex in general, it's them.
If you start off being dishonest in any way, you're already creating an unstable foundation as far as the intimacy in your marriage is concerned.
If You're a Virgin, Invest in this Wedding Night Guide
I personally know quite a few virgins. One will be 50 this year. The only reason why I'm mentioning this is because, contrary to popular belief, virgins are not rarer than rainbow unicorn sightings. Reportedly, 1 in 30 people are virgins on their wedding night (I personally know two couples that were and they've both been married for over 15 years) and out of those, 60 percent are women and (surprise, surprise) 40 percent are men.
When I counsel people who are virgins, I try and provide them with as much relatable content as possible. Thankfully, there are couples out in cyberspace who openly shared their own wedding night virginity stories (like this beautiful couple here); there are other resources too.
For instance, a woman I both dig and appreciate has a platform called The Blissful Wife. She has a survival guide for losing your virginity on your wedding night that includes how to decrease pain and bleeding along with just about anything else you can think of. Ministries come in all forms, y'all. Tell the Lord "thank you!"
Extend the Foreplay
Whether you did nothing with your partner before your wedding night, everything but intercourse or you were sexually active and decided to take a few months or weeks off in preparation for your wedding night, it's perfectly normal to be nervous. And nervousness can make it a bit more difficult to become sexually aroused. The answer? Take your time in the foreplay department.
Something that is so special and sacred about married sex (which is reportedly so much better than single sex, by the way) is you're sharing your mind, body, and spirit with someone who vowed to be with you for the rest of your life. This means there's no rush, so don't rush it. Women need about 20 minutes to warm up on an average day. If you need to tack on 20-30 more minutes to that, it's completely understandable. Besides, if you've got an unselfish lover on your hands, to him, it'll be all good to totally ignore the clock.
Make Your Own Lubrication
Megan Madden/Refinery29/Getty Images
If you are a virgin or you're a woman who's in menopause, natural lubrication may be a bit of an issue. Don't be embarrassed by that. It's natural. Just make sure to not go without using any or you're headed for a really uncomfortable—if not straight up painful—night. You can either purchase some lubrication at a local drugstore or, you can make some of your own. A few great recipes are here; they're all ideal, whether you opt to use condoms—or not.
Use Some Rose Essential Oil
Something else that is truly awesome about sex is it involves all of your senses, your sense of smell included. If you know that you're gonna be anxious and maybe even a little scared, apply some rose oil to your wrists, your temples, and your bedding. Not only will it help to calm and relax you, rose oil is also a libido-booster that can give you a heightened sense of self-esteem too!
Have Some Dark Chocolate, Honey, Red Wine and/or Kava Tea
One of the virgin couples I knew, I treated them to their suite on their wedding night. When one of their relatives went to clean everything up the next day, he asked me, "What was all of that food about?!" Whatever dude. First, you'd be amazed how many couples are too busy to eat at their wedding reception. Second, I know there are foods that can also help to calm the senses. And some of them? They double up as aphrodisiacs as well.
Dark chocolate increases blood circulation (including to the genital region) and lowers your blood pressure. Honey is soothing and increases testosterone and estrogen levels. Red wine replicates pheromones, making two people more aroused by each other's scent. If you'd prefer something non-alcoholic, kava tea is proven to relieve anxiety and even reduce inner fears.
Wear Something in His Favorite Color
Something that I thought was super precious about a husband I know (who was a virgin on his wedding night) is when he told me that his wife said, "What if you think my breasts aren't big enough?" His response was, "I've never seen breasts before, so if you're an A-cup or a D-cup, I'm gonna be hype regardless!" (Again, there really are some beautiful things about virginity.) If you're marrying someone who has either never had sex before or never had sex with you before, he's basically going to be thinking something pretty similar.
You are the prize—no matter the size.
But if you're feeling a little self-conscious, opt for wearing something on your wedding night that is in his favorite color. It's another tip that will help to calm you both because you can focus on presentation more than body image. Also, it will be a pleasant surprise for him because seeing our favorite colors automatically invoke joy, contentment, and peace of mind.
Get a Corner Room (or Rent an Airbnb)
Here's another tip for virgins or people who haven't had any in a long while. There really is no tellin' how you're gonna react or respond throughout the evening, so you need the utmost of privacy. If you and yours are planning to stay in a hotel, ask for a corner room (it's quieter down there). I'm a huge bed and breakfast fan but your wedding night is NOT the night to book one of those (sometimes the walls are quite thin).
My recommendation? Either go back at y'all's place or a rent out an Airbnb. You need to be someplace where you don't have to feel self-conscious or worry about an unsolicited audience listening in, um, inadvertently.
Get into the "Right" Positions
If all you've been used to (whether lately or always) is a tampon, a penis is gonna be…quite the (eye) opener for you. Don't worry about it too much—you are fully capable of birthing an entire child from your vagina. Trust me, a penis is something you can definitely handle.
It's all about knowing how to ease into things, starting with positions that will make sex a bit more comfortable. The tried-and-true missionary position tops the list. So does spooning, being on top (because you can control the amount of penetration that you receive), and the butterfly (which is a lot like the missionary, only your hubby is sitting up and kneeling and you may or may not have a pillow underneath your backside for support).
So long as things are taken slow and easy, having sex will be a lot more comfortable for you.
Watch Who You Talk to—But Do Talk to Someone
Back when the two virgin couples that I referred to got married, I was personally still gettin' it in pretty regularly at the time. Because of that, I wasn't the most…sensitive when it came to the advice that I gave the first wife who got married. I was telling her stuff like, "Girl, you're gonna be hanging off of chandeliers!" when the reality is, first-time sex can be awkward, uncomfortable, and even a little messy. When she came back and told me that her "freaky friends" had ill-prepared her, I wised up with the second wife and told her what my first time was like. She came back like, "THANK YOU! When I saw that big ol' thing, I literally freaked out for the first three nights!"
Moral to the story, it's OK—advisable even—to talk to someone other than your soon-to-be spouse about your feelings while inquiring what to expect. Just make sure they are a safe place who will offer some insightful tips that will calm your spirits and also get you excited about ALL that is to come!
Featured image by Getty Images.
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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. ;)
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.
There are moments on our health journey when our bodies are bugging us to hit the reset button.
With life, we can start to see slips in our diet, irregular exercising, and inconsistent sleep schedules, and our mental health can suffer because of it. But what many people come to find is that with just a few adjustments — as opposed to restrictions — being made to their food intake, we can see a focus more on eating “the right” calories and less on being on a restrictive diet.
"Raw Till 4" is a dietary concept and lifestyle associated with the raw vegan and high-carb, low-fat vegan (HCLF) movements. Created by Australian blogger and YouTube star known as 'Freelee the Banana Girl', the method suggests eating raw, uncooked plant-based foods until 4 p.m. each day and then having a cooked, vegan meal in the evening.
The Raw Till 4 lifestyle follows the guidelines of vegan and rawist eating and involves consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains in an uncooked, natural state until the designated time of 4 p.m. or around one’s typical dinner time. After 4 p.m., a cooked vegan meal is consumed, which may include foods like steamed vegetables, grains, legumes, and plant-based sources of protein like tofu or tempeh.
On TikTok, creator Adina Yaffa is repopularizing the trend, sharing how it’s helped to improve digestion, boost energy levels, and support weight loss.
Replying to @🌜kat🌛 here is what I eat in a day on a raw till 4 lifestyle. I eat with the sun and according to the circadian rhythm that out bodies follow on a typical day. Where i drink liquids during the first 8 hours, then juicy fruits, then smoothies, more dense building fats, proteins and veggies! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass #rawtill4
“During the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., your body is in an elimination phase and needs all the help it can get,” Yaffa says in the clip. “So what you’re going to do is drink coconut water, citrus juices, and green juices during this time, and around 8 a.m., you can break your fast with some fruit. I suggest juicing fruits, and then after that, I suggest having a smoothie or a bowl with berries and granola so you can get your fats and healthy proteins in.”
Raw till 4 has so many benefits including better digestion, nutrients, belly fat and bloat elimination, snatched waist, more energy and so much more! #snatchedwaist #bellyfat #bellybloat #smallwaist #hourglass
On the official Raw Till 4 website, Freelee the Banana Girl shares tips on how to get the best outcomes of this lifestyle change, which include:
- “Stay hydrated! You should pee about 8-12 times per day, and your urine should be clear. Drink 1 liter of water when you wake up in the morning, and 1 liter of water about 30 minutes before each meal for optimal results.”
- “Fragmented sodium (salt) should be kept to a minimum. Use herbs, lemon juice, etc. wherever possible in place of salt.”
- “Eat unlimited calories at every meal, no restriction. The majority of your calories each day should come from fruit. Don’t under-eat on fruit during the day or 'save up' your calories for dinner time. RT4 is about abundance at every meal.”
- “Move your body daily. Find an activity you love and make it your playful exercise.”
- “Make sure to get lots of rest, relaxation, and good sleep. Learning to incorporate good rest, early nights, and regular sleeping patterns into your life will greatly improve your overall health.”
- “Practice gratitude and peaceful emotions at mealtime, and get a vision book started! Be sure to enjoy this journey. Focus on long-term health instead of short-term results.”
Critics argue that it can be challenging to get all the necessary nutrients from a raw vegan diet and that it may not be suitable for everyone, especially over the long term.
As with any diet, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making significant dietary changes to ensure that it meets your individual nutritional needs and health goals.
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Featured image by FreshSplash/Getty Images