When it comes to a lot of the self-help content that I write on any platform, oftentimes what you’re going to see me offer up is a list of questions. There are a couple of reasons why. One reason is that, although most of us share similarities (just by being human), all of us are also individuals. So, for many things, there is no cut-and-dried answer — based on who you are, how you view things and the stage that you’re currently in when it comes to your life, your answers may vary from someone else’s. Another reason is because questions can cause us to look deeper into ourselves than we might do if the questions were never presented in the first place.
And so, since from what I’ve read and researched, the average American has sex approximately 54 times a year and also since many of them aren’t in a long-term committed relationship, I thought it would be a good idea to share a few sex-related questions; ones that, if you are currently single and sexually-active, you should ask yourself at some point before January ends. Just so you can be sure that you’re not just “having sex to be having sex” but that you are moving with clarity, so that what you are doing isn’t just what you want to be but need at this particular point and place in your life.
1. Why Am I Having Sex? (Or Not Having Sex?)
An author by the name of Daniel H. Pink once said, "Asking 'Why?' can lead to understanding. Asking 'Why not?' can lead to breakthroughs." And you know what? When it comes to sex, I think this is a very valid point. When you’re in a relationship and sexually active, oftentimes the “why” is easier to understand — sex is typically a very essential part of a romantic relationship, so you’re engaging in sexual activity in order to maintain the connection and bond. But what about when you’re not involved in something as serious? Beyond sexual pleasure, what are the other reasons why you are…engaging?
Listen, if your “why” is ONLY because you like how sex makes you (physically) feel, you’re grown and do you. However, being that no form of birth control is 100 percent effective and there are things like STDs floating around (some of which are incurable), it’s a good idea to think about if the act is worth the potential risks (like potentially getting pregnant by the person you are currently sleeping with) — and if you believe that it is, why is that?
There’s a flip side to this too. Recently, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “6 Solid Reasons To Consider A Season Of Abstinence In The New Year.” Whether you are currently abstaining or you’re strongly considering doing so for a season, you need a “why” too. Is it for religious reasons (because a holy book says not to)? Is it for spiritual purposes (you want to take some time to focus on your soul)? It is because you feel like you aren’t making wise choices when it comes to the partners that you’re picking (check out “Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner”)? Maybe it’s for reasons similar to why I chose to “do a bid” which was “I’ve been doing some of the same things, expecting a different result and I need a break to figure out what the hell is going on.”
Whatever the case may be, when you’re clear about why you’re not having sex, it can help you to set boundaries and then honor them, no matter how tempted you may be along the way, so that you’re able to reach whatever your intended goal is. Otherwise, if you’re just “doing it to be doing it,” you may be doing IT again, sooner than you planned (if you catch my drift).
2. Am I Getting What I Need from My Sexual Experiences?
“Need” is an interesting word because it can be defined in all sorts of ways. A need can be what you require. A need can be what you think is necessary. A need can be a wish. An unmet need can be a deal-breaker. And in the context of all of these things, if you are indeed sexually active, you need to ponder if you’re getting what you need from your experiences and from the people you are sharing these experiences with.
If you need foreplay, are you getting that? If you require a partner who isn’t sexually active with other people, have you stated that? If time together outside of the bedroom is necessary, is that what’s going down? If you wish that you could be getting more out of the sex than what you’re getting, what do you plan on doing to change that? When it comes to whatever it is that you need, are you willing to walk away if you don’t get it?
A lot of people stay in sexual situations that aren’t really fulfilling them because, although they aren’t receiving what they need, the “oxytocin highs” (the hormone that is designed to bond you to your partner, by the way) keep them caught up anyway. And unfortunately, it’s not until they sit down and ask themselves, “Is this what I need to be doing right now?”, do they even consider if things need to change — or end. There’s no time like the present to ponder your sexual needs. Please make sure that you do.
3. How Much Am I Prioritizing My Sexual Health?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “More than 1 million STIs are acquired every day.” If that isn’t enough of a reason to prioritize your sexual health and well-being, I honestly don’t know what is. So yeah, where’s your condom stash? If you’re on some other form of birth control, have you noticed that it’s compromised your health in other ways? When’s the last time you got tested for STDs? When’s the last time you asked your partner about their STD status? Are you noticing that you’re getting more yeast infections than usual (that can happen when sperm/semen throws your pH balance off; especially when you get a new sex partner)? And beyond the physical, how are you doing mentally and emotionally? Do you feel stable and secure in the dynamics that you are in? Are you experiencing any levels of guilt, confusion, or frustration? Does your sex life bring you peace or some low-grade levels of chaos?
Listen, there are a lot of things out in this world that feels good yet aren’t necessarily good for us. There are also things that provide great highs and then vast lows. While this isn’t always or automatically the case when it comes to sex, it’s always important to ask yourself if it is impairing your holistic health on some level — and if it is, what modifications you should make in order to change that.
4. Have I Set Any Sex-Related Goals? If Not, WHY NOT?
A goal is basically a directed aim. It’s when you set out to do something and, because of your commitment and laser-like focus, you achieve it. And yes, sis, when it comes to sex, you definitely should have a goal or two. I’m not saying that the goal has to be marriage. In fact, I wish folks would stop thinking that sex is a means to an end as it relates to cultivating a serious relationship because sex isn’t to be seen as a tool of manipulation. What I’m saying is, I know some people, single and married, who have a pretty piss poor sex life, and yet they are still quite active and it’s all because they’ve never thought about setting goals in order to make things a lot better.
Is the goal to have more orgasms? Is the goal to experience more romance (check out “Tonight's The Night For A Really Romantic Sexual Experience”)? Is the goal to try new things? Is the goal to not keep picking the same man who’s in a different (pardon the pun) package (check out “Are You Dating The Same Guy Over And Over Again? Maybe.”)? Is the goal to learn more about what it means to be a sexual being? Is the goal to figure out if you’re satisfied or merely settling? Whatever the case may be, again, setting sexual goals is a great idea because it can help you to sexually evolve — because in no area of your life should you ever be stagnant. Sex is not exempt.
5. Do I See Sex from Beyond a Physical Pleasure Perspective?
There’s a woman I know who basically talks about men like she loathes them. At the same time, she’s definitely one of the most sexually active people that I know. Whenever I bring up to her how semi-contradictory her mouth is from her actions, she usually says something along the lines of, “It’s just sex.” Yeah, not really. Even if you don’t choose to look at sex from a spiritual angle, oxytocin is called the love/bonding hormone because that is a part of what the act does — brings you closer to your partner. You making the choice to not acknowledge that changes absolutely nothing.
So yes, it is also a good idea to do a little bit of sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) to really reflect on your views of sex — outside of the bedroom. How did you learn about sex? What were your first experiences like? How do you go about selecting your partners? What are the things that you are proud of? What do you regret? Who were your favorite and least favorite partners and why do you feel the way that you do about them? How does sex affect you on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level? How has your sexuality regressed, shifted, or evolved throughout the years?
In order for you to know what you want/need sexually, it’s best that you really get to know yourself first. Beyond climaxing (or not climaxing), what’s your perspective on sex at this particular moment in your life?
6. Has Sex Been Making Me Better or Worse?
I like shouting out my peeps and there have been a couple of times when I’ve brought up GRAMMY/Emmy/Dove Award-winning producer SHANNON SANDERS. One of the songs that he wrote (and sings) that I really dig right now is entitled “Better.” While I’m pretty sure that it’s mostly because he can sing his entire ass off, there is something about him talking about how much better a woman makes him that really hits home with this particular point. The reason why I say that is because, another part of the reason why I took a break from sex is, it was actually getting to a point and place where, although the act felt amazing, it actually wasn’t making me a better person.
Something that makes you better improves you. Something that makes you better helps to complete you. Something that makes you better causes you to surpass who you were before you brought it into your life. Is sex doing that? For me, sex was making me worse. When something makes you worse, it makes you inferior when it comes to your character. When something makes you worse, it affects your health in a negative way. When something makes you worse, it keeps going on a decline from not good to mediocre to downright bad.
Listen, only you can know for sure if sex is making you better or worse right now, but if it isn’t Option A, what can — and should — you do to change it? Because anything that isn’t making you better is only making you worse…in the long run.
7. Am I Having Good Sexual Communication with My Partner(s)?
Last spring, I wrote an article entitled, “Are You A Good Sexual Communicator? You Sure?.” When I’m speaking of communication, I’m not talking about reenacting a love scene from your favorite rom-com (that is scripted anyway). I just mean that it’s so very important, especially when you are sexually active and not in a long-term committed relationship, that you and your partner remain on the same page. For instance, I know someone who has been having sex with one of her friends (check out “5 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Having Sex with A Friend” and “How To Preserve Your Friendship After BAD Casual Sex”) for a while now and was assuming the entire time that they were only having sex with each other. NOPE. Because they are “just friends,” her guy-friend was like, “Why would you think that when we’re not in an actual relationship?” See why open, honest, and verbal communication is key?
How do you define intimacy? How does he?
Do you feel the two of you are sexually compatible? Does he?
What are your current turn-offs and turn-ons? What are his?
Is sex ultimately affecting or infecting your relationship?
What would cause the dynamic that you currently have to change?
Listen, there are a lot of people who have plenty of sex with someone and yet totally suck at verbal communication with them. That said, no matter what “kind of sex” you’re after this year, it’s important that you and your partner are in sync — not just so that you can be satisfied sexually but so neither of you end of blindsided in any way later down the road. Oh, and for those of you who are thinking, “Yeah, that would be awkward”…umm, they’ve seen you naked. You’ll be fine.
8. How Can I End 2022 with a “Bang”?
I don’t care what category it may be, one of the points and purposes of time is that we live our lives in such a way that we can look back and think, “Compared to this time last year, there have been vast improvements.” Although I’m sure you get that this last point has a bit of a pun to it (you know, BANG), I meant exactly what I said — if the sex you’re having right now was on a report card and the grade was “needs improvement,” what can be done over the next several months to make that a reality? And what are you going to do to make that so?
"Single sex" can sometimes be a bit of a complex topic but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed. Regardless of relational status, you deserve to get what you want. Getting the answers to the right questions can help to get you there. Sis, please make sure that you do! #wink
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As we enter a new year, you and your partner are coming off of enjoying a few days off and you’re (hopefully) discussing some of the ways that you want to improve your relationship in the upcoming months, I hope that one of the topics that come up is your sex life. Because while a lot of people seem to treat sex like it’s the icing on the cake of their dynamic, I prefer to see it as an ingredient in the cake. It really can’t be said enough that one of the main things that (usually) set a long-term relationship apart from all of the other connections that people have is the sex — and since that makes sex exceptional, it should be treated as such…wouldn’t you say?
So, keeping this in mind, what kind of sex do you want to have this year? If what immediately comes to your mind is, “What do you mean? I want to have good sex” (duh), then I think you should read this all the way through. Because in order to have good, better or (again hopefully) off-the-charts sex, there are a few different points that should be explored — first.
What Grade Would You Give Your Sex Life Last Year?
Something that I say (and wholeheartedly believe) often is, “The problem with a lot of us is, we’re so used to experiencing an ‘F’ that we think a ‘C’ is an ‘A.’” While I typically apply this to relationships, sex can fit right in with it too. While when we first start having sex with someone new, the focus may be on how good or not-so-good it is, it’s pretty common that once you get into something serious, you don’t put as much thought into how great or not-so-great it might be or what could be done to make things better. You kind of just accept that this is who you’re with and this is the way sex is gonna be.
Listen, if you’re in a long-term dynamic, I’m assuming that you’re trying to be in it for the long haul, right? And if both of you signed up for exclusivity, that means you’re only going to be sleeping with each other. Therefore, you’d better care about if the sex is amazing — or not. That’s why I think it’s crucial that you both put your ego aside and put a grade on your sex life. Based on whatever the “score” is, both of you should explain it. Better to have a couple of minutes of uncomfortableness in hearing what’s up than to sign up for another year of C or below experiences (overall). Right?
Is Sex a Real Priority for You Both?
A wise person once said something that is oh so very true, across the board — “No one is busy. It just depends what number you are on their priority list.” This is why, when married couples talk to me about how they can’t recall the last time they had sex because of how “busy” they’ve been, while I try to keep from letting them see it, I do end up rolling my eyes. Sex is about intimacy. Sex is a profound form of communication. Orgasms have a ton of holistic benefits (check out “10 Irrefutable Reasons To Have An Orgasm A Day” and “10 Hacks To Help You Climax More Consistently”). So, why is it that you can find time to do any and everything else but participate in some consistent copulation? Again, it’s all about priorities.
And what’s the indication that you prioritize sex? Word on the street is, if you have sex about once a week, you’ve got a pretty “normal” sex life. My take is, if you get that sex is a staple in any romantic relationship and you keep pushing lower on your to-do list, that is revealing more about your connection — or disconnection — with your partner than you might think. Going into the new year, prioritizing sex must be a topic of conversation. Don’t put it off. Do it as soon as you possibly can.
Are You and Your Partner Great “Sex Communicators”?
Speaking of conversations, good sex is all about great communication and communication is about imparting something and interchanging something. You know, there’s a husband I know who brags about how good of a communicator he is. His wife and I find that to be past hilarious because he honestly doesn’t seem to know the difference between a monologue (hearing himself talk) and a dialogue (exchanging ideas with others) and he absolutely sucks at listening. Interestingly enough, this very husband was the inspiration behind the article, “BDE: Please Let The ‘It Needs To Be Huge’ Myth Go” that I wrote last year because, another fascinating about him is, he seems to think that because he’s “packin,’” he’s automatically good in bed. Chile, LOUD and WRONG again.
It really should come as no surprise that a lot of people who are poor communicators outside of the bedroom are also pretty bad at doing it inside of the bedroom too. And just what are some indications of being a poor communicator? Making assumptions. Thinking that your voice is what’s more important. Refusing to compromise. Acting like your opinions should be treated like facts. Being patronizing or condescending. Not respecting what the other person is saying. See how that can make someone be bad in bed?
A man can be entirely in you (yes literally), with your permission, and you can still feel like the two of you are miles apart. Since I believe that sex is an ultimate form of communication and the closer that two people feel on a mental and emotional level, the better their relationship can/should become, definitely discuss how good the two of you are about communicating on a sexual level as far as speaking and being heard about what your wants and needs are. If you need a little help in this department, check out “9 Sex-Related Questions You & Your Partner Should Ask Each Other. Tonight.”. At the very least, it can help to put the two of you on the right track.
Do You Want More Passion or Intimacy?
Here’s the thing about passion — a lot of those crazy women on Lifetime television and that show For My Man are “passionate.” I’ve got a male friend right now who has a possessive AF girlfriend who constantly fights with him and then they have make-up sex that is passionate (check out “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good”). So, please don’t assume that if you’re climbing the walls during sex while thinking that you are about to lose your mind the rest of the time, that you’re in something that is good, healthy, or wise. One way or another, passion alone has destroyed many lives.
With those disclaimers out of the way, do I think that there is a good side to passion? Definitely. When powerful and strong emotions are tied into love (or at least deeply caring for someone) and that is expressed sexually, it can be a pretty beautiful thing. So, let’s start there. When’s the last time that you and your partner talked about how you feel about each other? Listen, just because you’re together, that doesn’t always or automatically mean that you feel the same way you did last year or that some things haven’t shifted so…discuss it. If you feel like some passion — that “I can’t wait to tear your clothes off because I’ve just gotta have you right here and now” sex — is missing, 7 times outta 10, that tends to be more about what’s going on in your head than the rest of your body parts.
And what about intimacy? One definition of that word is “a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.”; another is “a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.” A part of the reason why new couples need to date is to get to know each other. A part of the reason why long-term couples should is to get to know each other more and better. Only arrogant individuals presume that they know all that there is to know about everything and everyone.
That said, if intimacy during sex is what you desire to have more of in the upcoming year, you need to get more “detailed knowledge,” a “deeper understanding” and to become “(even) more affectionate” with your partner. Quality time is a huge part of what can make that happen, so definitely put more dates on your to-do list for the upcoming months (check out “10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home),” “15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language” and “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?”).
How “Risky” Are Things?
I will forever die on the hill that one of the most underrated reasons for why two people decide to call it quits is boredom. And when it comes to sexual boredom, it’s important that couples take more risks. Keeping this in mind, when’s the last time you and your partner checked something off of each other’s sex-themed bucket list, taped a sexual encounter, or went on a sexcation? When’s the last time you had sex outside of your bedroom or bathroom, tried a position that you’ve never done, or attempted a sexual goal that you’ve yet to reach (like maybe how many orgasms you can both have in one night)? A wise person once said that there can’t be rewards without risk. Your sex life can apply to this statement — ten-fold.
How Much Is Sex the “Glue” in the Relationship?
Glue is what holds things together and even the Good Book says that sex makes two people one (which is why people need to be very careful about who they “one themselves to” — Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 6:16-20 — Message). Not only that but oxytocin is a natural hormone that literally makes two people feel closer to one another during physical acts of intimacy and affection. With that said, while I do think that it’s unhealthy to solely rely on sex to keep your relationship afloat, at the same time, I do think that it should be respected as a vital part of what keeps you and yours in a good space.
So, tell me something — how much is sex the “glue” in your relationship? How much do you look forward to it with your partner? How safe and secure within your bond does it make you feel? When it comes to the things that you enjoy the most about your connection, where does sex go on the list? You know, glue is a type of adhesive, one definition of adhesive is tenacious and to be tenacious is to “hold fast,” be “highly retentive” and “not easily pulled asunder.”
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has gotten way too flippant and casual about sex. Still, if you look at it past the surface, it can help you and your partner remain unbreakably close. It can be a type of glue that makes your bond unmatched. If you let it.
What Is Your Sex Mission Statement?
A philanthropist by the name of Andrew Carnegie once said, “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” That said, from both a personal and professional perspective, I am all about mission statements because they’re a great way to set goals, remove distractions (and excuses) and stay focused. So…where’s y’all’s sex mission statement at? Straight up. If you want to have a better and more fulfilling sex life in the upcoming year, it’s important that you and your partner get together to jot down a couple of paragraphs about what kind of goals you want to set surrounding your sex life and the mutual commitment that you both will make to achieve said-goals. Then put the statement somewhere where you both can see it on a regular basis.
Research says that you have a 42 percent greater chance of reaching your goals when you write them down. That said, please determine in your mind to go into 2022 with an official sex mission statement. It’s a bona fide way to end this year with a bigger smile on your face than you started it with. I can almost guarantee it!
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One of the best things about being a marriage life coach and relationship writer (especially for as long as I’ve been doing it) is the fact that I come across all kinds of people who, so long as I’m willing to keep their identity on the low, will tell me just about anything that I want to know. And since we’re at the beginning of a brand spanking new year and also since y’all know that sex is something that I write about, damn near incessantly on this platform, I decided to hit up some of the people (middle names only) I know who are very open about sharing their thoughts on the topic.
This time, what I wanted to know most was, what they resolved they were going to focus on, on the sexual tip. And per usual, 12 of my contacts did not disappoint.
Elexa. Single. 29.
“I have a really great sex life. I’m not in a relationship and don’t want to be, but I’ve got two partners who I’ve been with for a couple of years now and what I like about it is, there’s no lying, we get tested regularly and yes, they know about each other. My resolution is to decide which one I want to become more exclusive with because, I do know that sex comes with risks and nothing is 100 percent fool-proof. Getting pregnant and not knowing who the father is isn’t exactly my idea of ‘goals.’”
Alvin. Single. 34.
“My sex life is boring. Straight up. You get to a point where just doing it to be doing it isn’t really doing all that much. This year, I want to get with someone who stimulates my mind as much as my body. In the past, I’ve settled for one or the other because I honestly didn’t want to put a lot of effort into finding both in the same person. But when you’re with someone who gets you off before they even touch you because the way they think is on some other s — t…that’s when sex gets really good.”
Raven. Married. 25.
“Middle names, right? Good. My goal this year is to stop missing the sex I had with my ex. I love my husband and the sex isn’t bad. But when you get that partner who is incomparable, he can be harder to shake than you might realize when he’s no longer an option for you."
"Sometimes, I fantasize about him, even during sex, which is why I don’t say my husband’s name during sex — I’m scared I will slip up and say my ex’s. I know some of y’all might think this is foul but if some of you were honest, you’d admit that you can relate.”
Indeed. Check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?” and “Is 'Closure Sex' Ever A Good Idea?”.
Bennett. Engaged. 40.
“I got engaged five months ago. After I did it, some of my married friends were like, ‘Are you sure? Sex is a little bleak after marriage.’ Uh-uh. My fiancée and I have a fire sex life now and my resolution is after we get married that it will get even better! I even put together a sex calendar for the year that’s filled with all kinds of activities. Sexless married folks ain’t gonna have us out here looking crazy! We’re gonna put them all to shame in ’22.”
Xayell. Dating. 31.
“I wanna learn how to give head better this year. It’s the truth. The guy I’m seeing right now, he’s the first person in a really long time who makes me even want to do that outside of just feeling like I should because guys go down on me. One of my male friends says that his girlfriend sucks at doing it and not in a good way and I would hate for this guy to say that about me. Yeah, that’s my goal. Still trying to figure out where to start this journey. Any suggestions?”
Ladies, she’s an avid xoNecole reader, so if you’ve got some tips, feel free to drop them in the comments.
Wendell. Dating. 27.
“I want to know what being a sexual submissive is about this year. I hear a lot of people talk about it and because I feel like I’m the one who is initiating sex more in my relationships, I want to find someone who is all about taking total control. I actually have a 50-something co-worker who’s down. I’m considering it.”
Quinn. Married. 35.
“I’m trying to gas myself up to get a vasectomy this year. I’m not looking forward to it AT ALL, but my wife says that she’s scared to try some new things because she’s always wondering in the back of her mind if she’s about to get pregnant. We’ve got three and I miss when she was buckwild out in these streets — well, sheets — so, before our next anniversary, ‘the snip’ is the goal.”
Zachariah. Divorced. 47.
“I wanna stop having sex with my ex-wife this year. We honestly can’t stand each other and know that divorce was the right thing to do…but that sex? I don’t know what that woman has down there, but it’s been impossible for me to shake her since the first time I had the pleasure and privilege. It’s just keeping us both stuck to keep f — kin’ with each other, though. Something’s gotta give.”
Evelyn. Single. 23.
“I want to have an orgasm this year and not from oral sex. I’m over hearing my friends talk about how ‘bomb’ good d—k is and I don’t know what they’re talking about because I only cum from tongue. You asked.”
Jakari. Dating. 32.
“Remember when you told me that there is a difference between men ejaculating and men having an orgasm? I didn’t believe you at first, but I’ve done some ‘barbershop investigating’ and I guess you’re onto something. That’s what I want to happen in 2022; I want to know what it feels like to have an orgasm…just in case I haven’t had one before. Crazy to be saying that at 32 but it’s whatever. The sooner I open that door up, the better. S—t.”
Chayil. Engaged. 26.
“I want to be the best my fiancé has ever had and for him to be the best I’ve ever had. One of the things that I love so much about our relationship is yes, we’ve discussed exes and yes, we know what areas we need to ‘improve’ on. Some of y’all might think it’s foul that we’re that open but we’re not threatened by our past. That’s why we can actually talk about it.”
Waylin. Married. 30
“I wanna stop being intimidated by my wife. She is WILD. We’ve been married for five years now and when I tell you that I never EVER know what I’m walking into when I come home. A lot of men say they want a woman who constantly wants sex, but I’ve got one and, to whom much is given much is required. Finding the time, stamina and creativity to keep up with her in 2022, that is my goal. Wish me luck!”
Will do, Waylin. Will do. (chuckling)
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A couple of months ago, I was catching up with a male friend of mine who knew me back when I was throwin’ it back. OK, I guess I need to qualify that a little better because, he has never known me in the biblical sense; what I mean is, he knew me back when I was sexually active. “OK, so how many years is it about to be?” he asked. What’s funny is he sounded more stressed out about my abstinence than I did! It’s actually going to be 15 years this coming January 9 and chile, CHILE. I never would’ve thought. As far as my own journey, you can read about some of it via an article that I wrote on the topic a whopping three years ago (“I've Been Abstinent For 12 Years. Here's How.”).
And while I know that a lot of y’all probably think that it is beyond insane that I’ve been “without” for so long when I write about sex so much, to that I’ll just say — when I was having sex, I was having sex (check out “14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners”). Plus, I did used to work with a ministry that people out of porn (check out “Working For A Porn Ministry Got Me Over Watching Porn”) and I do work with couples for a living as a marriage life coach. All of this can serve as a myriad of cautionary tales.
Don’t get me wrong — I like sex. I LIKE SEX A LOT (yes, I am yelling it!). It’s just that my season of abstinence has taught me how to approach it differently, including how to see it from more angles than merely relational maintenance and physical pleasure. The 15-year bit (or bid — LOL) is more about, the more I learn about myself, the purposes of sex and watch how the world is damn near losing its mind over the “surface level benefits” of it, I just want to make sure that I don’t return to the hamster wheel from which I came. Not only that but I value “her” (you know what I mean) more than I ever have.
Plus, it can help me to share all of what I’m about to say from so-much-clearer perspective. Because while I get that most of y’all will never (EVER) wanna say you’ve gone without some good-good for 15 years of your life, I do hope (if you’re single, of course) that you’ll consider at least a few months to a year of abstinence at some point in the game. Here’s why.
1. You Can Fully “Detox” Your Past
For the most part, I’m cool with all of my past sex partners. I’m not saying that we’re homies or anything yet there is enough peace between us to the point that we can run into each other and genuinely be happy to see each other too (check out “Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour”; it helped). In fact, not too long ago, I ran into a past partner and we chopped it up in a grocery store parking lot for about an hour or so. It was actually really refreshing to be in his space, laugh and joke, and then walk away not…feeling some type of way, especially since he was one of my “climbing the ceiling” guys (it was good and I ain’t ashamed to say it). While we were both fully aware that we had been sexually involved for a few years back in the day, it now seemed like a lifetime ago and whatever happened/didn’t happen back then was pretty much irrelevant now.
The same thing goes for my first love. After us both emotionally going round and round and round for decades (literally), I finally came to a place where I didn’t want to try and relive anything. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard that until you learn your lesson, the universe will keep on bringing it back to you. Well, there has always been a part of me who wanted us to get back together because he was young the first round and I wanted to because I was “green” the first round. Sex was not exempt from this. However, because I have been able to purge him out of me — him, along with the other 13 guys — I can now see things, not from the angle of being on my back (pun intended) but a 30,000 feet view of sexual sobriety. I have been able to separate how the sex made me feel from how the relationship did and why I chose the people that I did. It has been revelatory like a mug too.
Detoxing is literally about going through a process of getting toxins out of your system so that you can overcome physical as well as psychological dependence on something — or someone. It’s real easy to say (or think) that you don’t need to do this when it comes to sex and people…until you’re actually abstinent and can look at things from the perspective that it provides.
2. You Can Figure Out What You Want Besides Good…Well, You Know
Another article that I once wrote for the platform is about casual sex and why I think that term is one of the greatest oxymorons of our time (you can check it out here). One of the reasons why it literally grates my soul is because casual means things like “without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing” and “seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned” and even if, for some reason, you see sex this way, why in the world would you want someone to approach you in this kind of headspace and heart space?
When you’re out here getting good D, you can kind of rationalize your way out of this point, even if it’s ultimately to your detriment, because sometimes how a person makes you feel during the act of sexual intimacy causes you to think that they value you in other ways when that isn’t always, automatically or necessarily the case at all. I believe I’ve shared with y’all before that I’ve got a male friend of mine who once told me (after I asked him how guys can just have sex with folks and not care about them whatever), “Do you think it’s intimate if I jack off in the shower? Jack off in the shower, jack off in a girl. One just feels better than the other when there is no connection.”
You know, we’ve really gotta free ourselves from thinking that just because we want sex to affect or alter our dynamic with someone then that means that it will. We also need to take some personal accountability for when we ignore what I just said and things don’t go as planned.
Abstinence played a huge role in me getting — and I mean, really getting — these points into the depths of my spirit. It’s also a part of the reason why I can write about sex all day long, sometimes like I just had it last night, and not feel rushed to run out and get some, just to do so. I’ve had good sex — great sex, even — multiple times. What I have only had a handful of, though, is holistically healthy and fulfilling relationships. And like I say often until there is a condom for the heart, I have to make sure that I protect — and by “protect”, I mean fully value — all of me. More has to be good than just the d--k.
Abstinence has helped to raise this bar. Exponentially so.
3. You Can Get Your Health Fully on Track
I do interviews fairly often. Whenever the topic of my past sex life comes up, something that I am sometimes asked is what my "ultimate low” was. Now that I’ve made peace with not having children, I’d probably have to say that my four abortions top the list (check out “Why I Named The Children I Aborted”). Another sucky time was when I found out that I had chlamydia, mono, and strep throat, all at the same time, and was told by my doctor that the STD appeared to have been dormant in my system for a couple of years (chile). Oh, and then there’s the Thanksgiving week when I had unprotected sex with three of my exes (by “exes”, I mean, one ex-boyfriend and two former sex partners). I’m not sure why I did that. What I can say is the sex with all three was physically great in different ways and I remember just not wanting to do a lot of thinking or feeling during that time.
Anyway, during those seasons (and honestly, so many other times too), between bladder infections (check out “BDE: Please Let The ‘It Needs To Be Huge’ Myth Go”), yeast infections (condoms and I weren’t always the best of friends), playing around with different kinds of birth control, pregnancies and pregnancy scares, abortion recovery — my body was pretty worn out. I needed some time to just…be to myself, get to know my body (check out “Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey” and “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) and get my pH and hormones back on track. The last time I had sex, I was 32 and I must say that from about 36 on, my reproductive health is better than it’s ever been. Honestly, my health, period, is better than it’s ever been.
Sometimes you need a season of abstinence, just to learn about your grown woman self from a physical- and health-related standpoint. You need time to prioritize your well-being outside of sex with a man so that you can understand your womanhood on a whole ‘nother level.
4. You Can Reconcile Your Sexuality with Your Spirituality
Chalk it up to my age if you want to. Maybe my church upbringing has something to do with it too. But to me, it’s really sad how much people think that sex is ONLY a physical act. It’s like folks are out here really thinking that they are no more than talking dogs in heat (which is a part of the reason why I will never get down with calling men “dogs” or us “bitches;” there are many ways subconscious “programming” affects and infects us) when actually, for us humans, sex is supposed to be out so much more than that.
While, on some levels, unfortunately, a lot of us tend to only associate things being spiritual with them being about a particular religion, you can check out articles like “7 Signs You're Spiritually Compatible With Someone”, “What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?” and “Here's Exactly How To Start Protecting Your Spirit” to know that I think it goes way past that. For instance, what I’ve oftentimes read is the spirit is defined as being our intellect, emotions, fears, passions, and creativity.
And while yes, I do believe, in part because the Bible says so (I Corinthians 6:16-20 — Message), that there is some sacredness to sex, even if you move past holy books (because the Torah and Quran pretty much advocate for the same points about sex as the Bible does), shoot the mere fact that copulation is an act that can create new human life — doesn’t that mean that it deserves to be approached from a very spiritual space? Doesn’t it make sense that it can affect — and, if we’re not careful, even infect — things like our intellect and emotions…that, if we’re not careful, it can cultivate fear, that it definitely taps into our passions and, it can even expand how we see things creatively?
Sometimes, when you’re too busy out here having sex, you can’t really process things on this kind of level. Committing to a season of abstinence to pray, meditate and consider how it is affecting your life on a spiritual level? That is never not a good thing to do.
5. You Can Define What Good Sex Is to/for You
A couple of articles that I’d like you to check out when you get a chance are “Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner”, “What If The Sex Is Great? But The Relationship Sucks.” and “What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be”. Oh, and one more —“Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?”. Back when I first became sexually active with my first love and then with, as my first book calls it, another guy who was my first lust, sex was super fascinating to me because I was discovering so many things that I hadn’t experienced before. Because of that, I wasn’t really wondering if sex was good FOR me or not; since it was good TO me, that’s all I really cared about.
Oh, but let a little bit of time and a higher sense of self come into the mix and you really do start to ask yourself — both in and outside of the bedroom — if the things that you are doing are actually good for your mind, body and spirit long-term. When it comes to sex specifically, if it’s doing more for you other than making you feel good for a few minutes…you really begin to ask yourself if the days, weeks, and months following can confirm that an hour of your time was really worthwhile.
Only you can answer that. What I will say is when something is good FOR you, it makes you holistically a better person. It doesn’t just make you feel good, it helps to elevate you as a human being. When it comes to this point, not just the act of sex needs to be factored in, so does who you’re having sex with. Again, only you can answer this question; to this, what I will say is you tend to be biased when you’re actually having sex. Going without for a season can help you to be far more objective — about the act and your partner.
6. You Can Figure Out How Sex Should “Fit” into Your Future
One of the main questions that I get asked about my abstinence is when do I think it will end? Ideally marriage, mostly because I’ve done it in every other relational dynamic (including engagement; my fiancé died a long time ago). I just like the level of commitment that comes with that type of union. Plus, this culture is getting stranger and stranger in that lane and the STDs just keep getting more and more resistant to treatment since I was active. We’ll see, though, because something else that life has taught me is, you really do need to be careful about the use/misuse of “always” and “never”. I’d like to be married but I’m in no rush to jump a broom (another article for another time) and so…like I said, we’ll see.
I will say this, though — never again will I take a casual, flippant, or even popular-in-this-society approach to sex. I know, far too well, how an act in the present can totally alter my future. It’s happened a myriad of times before. These days, sex needs to come with as much inner peace as it does physical pleasure. Until I’m as sure as possible that it will play out that way…I’m good.
As for you, whether it’s a couple of months, a year, or more, I promise you that once you return to sex, you too will think about if how you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with is best for you as it relates to who you are, where you are in your life and what you want for yourself, moving forward. A part of the reason why is because a season of abstinence is actually about “reprogramming yourself” to think long and hard with the future in mind. It’s about processing how you want sex to fit into your lifestyle as you continue to evolve.
This was a lot. I already know. Yet you know what? Contrary to popular belief (or ignorance), SEX IS A LOT. Refraining, even just for a little bit, can never be a bad thing when you see all of the good that can come from it. So, as you prepare to go into another year, at least give being abstinent some thought. Anything that can cause you to become a better person is always worth it, even if it takes some getting used to…right? Most definitely.
I am certainly a testament to that.
Featured image by Getty Images
Fairly recently on the site, one of our amazing writers, Shellie R. Warren penned a piece entitled, “So, 10 Women Sat Down And Told Me Why They Fake Orgasms...More Times Than Not.” The article sheds light on the fact that while we are very pro-orgasms at xoNecole, there are women out there who really feel the need to "fake it" during sex for one reason or another. When we shared this on our Instagram shortly thereafter, the general consensus in the comments seemed to be a lot of “sorry to this woman,” which is fair.
However, what intrigued me most about the feedback was the fact that so many commenters equated a lack of having an orgasm during sex to “bad sex.” Now, how the hell did those two things become one and the same?
Sex educator Portia Brown echoes that sentiment. In her teachings, she often informs people of how to replace goal-oriented sex with a more mindful approach to sex where pleasure is the center (or pleasure-oriented sex). And yes, ladies and gentlemen, making having an orgasm the goal of sex is a very limited way of looking at an act where mutual pleasure should be at the center.
Orgasms are splendid, wondrous things (in fact, my first vaginal orgasm was life-changing). Orgasms can very well be an outcome of partnered sex as well as solo sex. However, making it the focus and a marker of what is “good sex” versus what is “bad sex” can cause unnecessary stress, performance anxiety, frustration, self-esteem issues, and “sometimes makes orgasming more difficult for people with vulvas, especially those who are having sex with people with penises.” And who wants that?
As a mindful sex coach where breathing, pleasure, and connection reign supreme, Portia Brown takes us through the definition of goal-oriented sex, practicing mindfulness during sex, and sex as a co-creative experience.
Learn What Goal-Oriented Sex Is
“Goal-oriented sex is sex that centers orgasm(s) as the ultimate marker of success. Oftentimes people believe that sex cannot be ‘good’ unless it results in an orgasm. However, the truth is you can have very fulfilling sex that does not include an orgasm, and you can have unfulfilling sexual experiences that do include an orgasm.
“For women and people with vulvas, focusing on orgasming may result in orgasm becoming evasive. It serves us all more (regardless of gender or sex) to focus in on pleasure and feeling good.”
Unlearn The Concept Of Goal-Oriented Sex In Your Sex Life
“Start self-pleasuring and having sex without the intention of orgasming. See if you can spend 15-30 minutes engaging either with yourself or your partner without even worrying about [or] trying to orgasm. Focus solely on pleasure and how amazing you feel. Observe what comes up for you. I think you may find that sex has a lot more benefits than just orgasm.”
Practice Being Less In Your Head During Sex & More In The Moment
“All day long, our brains are making noise and distracting us, it is just what the brain does. If you find that you have a lot of distracting thoughts or if you feel you are ‘in your head’ during sex, check in with other parts of your life. Are you having the same struggles elsewhere? Try gently reminding yourself, ‘This is my brain doing its thing and making noise. My thoughts aren’t facts and my thoughts aren’t always relevant.’
"Breathe deeply and focus on your senses. With practice, focusing and being present becomes easier."
View Sex As A Co-Creative Experience Instead
“We all have a ‘script’ that we follow when it comes to sex. This ‘script’ comes from media, porn, etc. When we co-create sex, we reject ‘the script’ and create our own experiences.
“We begin to discover the kind of sex we truly want to have with ourselves and our partners, which may mean:
- Decentering penetrative sex;
- Decentering orgasm;
- Including toys, roleplay, other props;
- Rejecting the concept of ‘foreplay’ and thinking of anything and everything as SEX.”
Understand That Nothing Is Wrong With You
"We live in a world where sex is all about the penis. The vulva and the clitoris are hardly ever centered in the way we are conditioned to have sex. Most of us do not have proper sex education and many of us are carrying sexual shame from our upbringings. There are a lot of things standing between you and your orgasm, so do not feel bad!
"Focus on exploring pleasure more (solo and with your partner), center honesty, and BREATHE! Breathing during sex is powerful and many of us have the habit of holding our breath and tensing up during sex."
Featured image by Getty Images
Fairly recently, I saw a tweet that cracked me up. Not because of the tweet itself but the comments (Black Twitter’s comment section is king!). I’ll let you peep the tweet for yourself and then guess what men said underneath it before actually looking to confirm your suspicions:
i love an \u201ci got it\u201d ass man. you know what else you finna get?— MS. LEO (@MS. LEO) 1638576156
Take it how you want but I’ll be the first to stand in solidarity with my brothers that women who expect all of the finer things in life (I’m speaking to the ones that come with a price tag), only to turn around and only offer up sex on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, their anniversary and their man’s birthday are slightly scamming. Anyone who wants to give pushback, how would you feel if your man did that to you? That’s why I said that while I do think that sex is quite precious (extremely so), if you’re going to take the “Merry Christmas” approach to it without giving much else this year, there needs to be a lot of pre-planning and effort put into it in order to make things extra special.
So, whether money is a little on the tighter side right now or you want to present some holiday sex in a very special way, here are 15 things that will definitely keep your man from being like those dudes in the comment section were (if you catch my drift).
1. Stuff Some Stockings
Stockings are a signature symbol for Christmas and since a “sexy Christmas” is the theme of this particular article, why don’t you and yours purchase a couple of ‘em and then fill them up with things like flavored condoms, DIY sex coupons, handcuffs, body paint, blindfolds, sex dice, massage candles, edible undies, a new sex toy, flavored lubricant and whatever else y’all’s sweet little hearts’ desire? If you like to move discreetly, virtually all of this stuff can be found online if you just put the name of what you’re looking for into the search field of your favorite search engine.
2. Play a Few Rounds of ’12 Sex Games of Christmas’
A cool way to spend some quality time with your partner is to play a couple of games. In the spirit of getting all hot ‘n bothered, one that you might want to purchase is called 12 Games of Christmas. With game titles like Please Go Down for Christmas and Rudolph the Romantic Sex Slave, how can it not, at the very least, pique your curiosity in the naughtiest way possible? You can get it here.
3. Cop Some Peppermint-Flavored Lubricant
Remember how I mentioned lubricant in the stocking suggestion? If there is a signature scent (and flavor) for Christmas, peppermint would definitely have to be one of them, so why not get a tube of some peppermint-flavored lube? A fan favorite is Aloe Cadabra Natural Organic Personal Lube Edible Vegan Peppermint Tingle because it’s water-based (which makes it safe to use with latex condoms), it doesn’t mess with our pH and it tastes great although it’s sugar-free. If you’re interested, you can get it here.
Oh, and if you really want to take things to another level in the oral sex department, put a little lube where you want it and then put some oral sex pop candies into your mouth (you can find some here). Remember Pop Rocks from back in the day? Same thing. Different purpose. #wink
4. Bring in Some Mistletoe
What would a sexy Christmas be without at least one mistletoe, right? As far as where to get some, local home improvement stores, some arts and crafts stores and usually Walmart and Target carry them. Since we all know that the tradition is to kiss underneath it (and also since no one said that the kissing had to only be done on the mouth), how about putting your mistletoe in a place where you want a lot of the action to go down? Over your bed. On your showerhead (check out “So, This Is How To Make Shower Sex So Much Better”). In your kitchen. On top of your washing machine (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!). On your bra. In your underwear. The possibilities are endless.
Just know that if your partner sees a mistletoe somewhere, there will absolutely be no confusion about what you want to transpire.
5. Get a Mini Christmas Tree and Hang Some Dirty Date Night Tokens from It
Whether you get a big tree every year or this year, you want to scale things down a bit, make things festive in your bedroom by investing in a miniature Christmas tree that you can put on your dresser or nightstand. Then hang some “naughty” tokens from it or put some around it. Etsy is my joint and I found a merchant who sells some wooden ones that say things like “Oral Sex,” “Wild Card,” and “Fantasy Fulfilled”. You can get a set of them here if you’d like.
6. Customize Some Wrapping Paper (Then Wrap Yourself Up in It)
I can’t tell you how many husbands have told me that sex with one woman doesn’t get old, so long as the sex itself doesn’t get boring (check out “10 Men Told Me Why They're Fine Having Sex With One Partner”). Because men are visual creatures, one way to prevent that from happening is by “wrapping up the gift” (the gift would be “you” in this case). If you literally want to wrap yourself up in paper, a fun approach is to hit up the site Gift Wrap My Face so that they can literally put your face on some wrapping paper.
Or, if you’d like to take the lingerie approach, this is the time of year when a lot of shops sell teddies that look like a big red bow. An example of what I’m talking about is located here, here, here, here, and here.
7. Give Your Bedroom a Christmas/Winter Wonderland Theme
Some bedding in traditional Christmas colors like red, green, or silver. Some cranberry garland on your bedposts (that you should be able to find at your local arts and crafts store). A Christmas wreath on your bedroom wall. A string of twinkle lights. Little red bows everywhere. White faux fur throw pillows. Snowflake art. A big basket filled with scented pine cones. Bedding that is slate grey and light blue (a dope Christmas color scheme). Lots of candles in Christmas scents like vanilla, pine, frankincense and myrrh, clove, or pomegranate.
There are all kinds of simple and pretty inexpensive ways that you can totally transform your bedroom into a Christmas winter wonderland so that it literally feels like you and yours are enjoying each other in a different kind of space.
8. Have Fun with Some Fake Snow
What is a winter wonderland without snow? These days, you can create the illusion of having some, even inside of your house, thanks to different kinds of fake snow that’s currently on the market. One brand that a lot of people like is Buffalo Snow. You can get some snowflakes here and some flurries here. A bed full of snow? Pardon the pun but how cool is that?
9. Turn on Some Blizzard ASMR
Although I’ve never really struggled with sleeping well, something that has absolutely changed my life over the past few years is sleeping with rain ASMR on. It just makes the quality of my rest so much…sounder. If you like nothing more than feeling like you are trapped in a snowstorm during your Christmas time off yet it looks like you’re not even going to get flurries this year, one way to work around that is to turn on some blizzard-sounding ASMR videos.
YouTube has quite a few of them and the windy sound really does make you feel like you’re in eight feet of snow. One of my favorites (that lasts for 10 hours, ad-free) can be found right here. Sex in a blizzard? C’mon now.
10. Bring in Some Christmas-Themed Edible Aphrodisiacs
In the article that I wrote, “12 Traditional Christmas Items That Are Low-Key Aphrodisiacs Too” a couple of years ago for the platform, a few edible things that I mentioned included eggnog and candy canes. Some other foods to add to that list includes a full-on entrée like a leg of lamb (it’s got carnitine which is great for men and their fertility), a “cozy drink” like apple cider (it can help to get you wetter), and a dessert, like a pumpkin pie (it’s high in zinc which increases sexual desire). Pick your pleasure.
11. Share Some Hot Chocolate Shots
There really is no telling how often I’ve shouted out dark chocolate when it comes to it being a great food for your sex life. A top reason is because serotonin (a hormone that stabilizes your mood and helps you to feel good) and phenethylamine (a natural chemical that offers up a stimulant effect) in dark chocolate can help to boost your libido. Keeping all of this in mind, what is Christmas without hot chocolate, chile?
To make things extra spicy in the absolute best ways possible, serve up some Mexican hot chocolate shots (recipe is here). The cinnamon will increase blood circulation to your genitalia and, if you decide to go with tequila instead of vodka, well — if you’ve ever had a tequila shot before, you already know what kind of night you’ll be in for. #wink
12. Light a Gingerbread Candle
One of the best things about sex, if it’s good (and I mean, REALLY good), is it involves all five senses — sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. As far as scent goes, there is plenty of scientific data to support that one of the reasons why what we smell can strongly affect our mood (good or bad) is because of what we associate a particular scent with. If you used to eat or bake gingersnaps or make gingerbread houses around this time when you were a kid, that can “trigger” feelings of safety and warmth.
So, to smell something that resembles gingerbread while being intimate with your partner, that can make sex “sweet” in the best way possible. Gingerbread candles are not usually very hard to find this time of year. Yankee Candle, Big Lots, DW Home, Kohl’s, and Michaels are just some of the places where I noticed them online.
13. Play a Sexy Round of “Guess Your Gift”
Even if you do plan on going all out in this way, still try and get something that goes in a box or gift bag. Whether it’s a tradition for you and your partner to open presents up on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, make foreplay extra fun by playing a couple of rounds of something that I call “Guess Your Gift.” You each will give a super vague hint. Whoever guesses correctly can make a specific foreplay-related request (kissing a certain erogenous zone, giving a five-minute massage, etc.) If they don’t get it right, then the other person can make their foreplay request known. Talk about making the curiosity as awesome as the gift itself. Whew.
14. Put Poinsettia Petals All Over Your Bed
I’m pretty sure that it comes as no surprise to you that the December birth flower is the poinsettia. That’s pretty cool because they represent things like love, hope, good cheer, and success. Also, a nickname for it is Mexican flame flower. I don’t know about you, but all of these sound like good vibes to have in your sex life.
Although red rose petals are pretty popular when it comes to flowers to sprinkle on your bed, in your bathtub, or on your floors in order to set the mood, since all of this centers around a Christmas theme, why not go with some red or white poinsettias this year? It’ll be just as seductive and a lot more holiday-themed.
15. Fulfill a Fantasy
Want your partner to feel like they were blessed in a mighty way this Christmas? Ask them what their fantasy is and (so long as it doesn’t compromise your core because some people’s fantasies are next-level) do your best to fulfill it. It brings spontaneity into the relationship. It adds newness to the dynamic. And it definitely sets the two of you up to have a pretty unforgettable Christmas in the sex department. A great way to make sex feel like an actual Christmas gift. Straight up.
Featured image by Giphy