Oftentimes, when I'm asked to list three things that aren't discussed nearly enough in marriage, I typically say something along the lines of 1) people who are hypocrites in their relationship in the sense of expecting from their spouse what they aren't prepared to be or give themselves; 2) folks who don't make friendship a main focal point in their relationship with their partner; and 3) individuals who don't get that, just like there are "seasons of sex" in long-term relationships, there are also, what I call "sexual growth spurts" that individuals experience too.
An example that immediately comes to mind is a couple I know who are basically sexless at the moment. A big part of the reason why is because the husband is arrogant. Oh, and lazy. What I mean by that is, he truly believes that since he is "packin'", that his wife should automatically be satisfied. Their situation isn't all his fault, tho. She admits that when they were dating—and even during the season of them living together—"bang, bang, bang" sex (you know, the kind that consists of subpar foreplay, not much intimacy and next-to-nothing afterplay) was cool. However, as she's gotten older and matured, that simply doesn't work, for her, anymore. He thinks she's trippin'. She thinks he's selfish. There is clearly a huge disconnect. It's an entire mess. Unfortunately, it's also not rare.
It's been heavily reported that 15-20 percent of marriages are considered to be sexless (this means that the couples in them have sex less than 10-15 times a year). But I'm not sure how much it is explored that a part of this could be due to the fact that one person is in one place sexually while another is someplace entirely different; that one person has had some personal epiphanies while the other has not…at least not yet. And, if that is indeed the case, if it is true that one partner has indeed encountered a sexual growth spurt while their partner has not, what should they both do? If the "growing one" is you, here are some suggestions to hopefully get your sex life back on track.
Get Clear About Where and How You’ve Changed
I'd have to say that about 70 percent of the time, while I'm in a session with a couple, I'm reminded of why poor communication is a leading cause of divorce. The reason why I say that is because, sometimes it can take hours' worth of meetings, just to get to the root of what their issue is. For instance, whenever one partner shares how "over it" they are, I ask why, and they say something along the lines of, "I'm just not the same person anymore" and then I inquire, "In what way?", you should see the look on their face when they can't figure out how to explain what they mean. Well shoot, if you don't know how you're different, how is your partner supposed to adjust to your changes and how can I help to facilitate that shift?
If you're doing this life thing correctly, you're supposed to be ever-growing and evolving, yes, even sexually. But if you don't know how to convey in what ways you are doing that, there's not much anyone can do to help you out; your partner included.
That's why, the first thing that I recommend is taking out a few hours to do some serious sex journaling. Reflect on how you were when you first became sexually active, when you first got with your partner, and the way you are now. What was it about how you were 10-15 years ago that may be totally different in this moment? Also, what about your relationship with your partner—both inside and outside of the bedroom—has changed to the point where your sexual needs and wants have transitioned too? Clarity can help to bring forth productive conversations between you and your spouse, which is always a good thing.
Express What Your Sexual Needs Are Now
There are a lot of conceited partners out here in the world. Oftentimes, that conceit translates into being patronizing and condescending as hell. Listen, just because you may be in a different headspace when it comes to sex, that doesn't make your partner "less than". It doesn't necessarily or automatically mean that you've "elevated" either. It simply means that your needs are different now and so you desire different things in order to be sexually fulfilled. That's only fair. But as you make strides to convey this point to your partner, it's important to not approach them in a way that makes them feel like you are somehow "above" them.
That is what I had to tell the wife of the couple that I mentioned earlier. Just because she wants more foreplay than she used to, doesn't make her husband a bad lover all of a sudden. The reality is that she's older than she used to be; menopausal too. Her hormones have shifted and that oftentimes requires more foreplay in order to get fully aroused. For a few months, she decided that the way to bring this up to her husband was to tell him that his approach to sex was "immature". What partner wants to hear that? Plus, it's not even true. Her body is different now. Full stop. Simple as that. Her sex life now needs to meet her where her body is.
That's just one example, but I think you get my point. A good lover is going to want their partner to be pleased, even if what it takes to do that is very different from what they are used to. But the only way that a lover can remain great is by receiving clear, concise and kind communication from their partner. Have the talk. Just make sure to deliver where you're currently at in a way that still makes your partner feel good about himself, the relationship and your sex life.
Accept That Sometimes We Grow At Different Times—and in Different Ways
Something that I really respect about healthy married couples who've been together a decade or more is the fact that it represents what it means to stay together, even if, as individuals, you're growing at different paces. In fact, I think that's what a lot of couples who break-up mean when they say, "We've grown apart"; for whatever the reason, they weren't able to master how to find the balance between remaining committed as a unit while still allowing each other to flourish as individuals…especially if it's in different ways and at different times.
Hormonal changes. Spiritual evolutions. Books. Therapy. Practices like orgasmic meditation and erotic self-focus. Time. All of these things can play a direct role in you coming to a new place about what works for you sexually and what doesn't.
What's important to remember, during your own sexual growth spurts, is your partner may be in a totally different place than you—and there is nothing wrong with that. A successful relationship is all about compromise. It's important to accept that while he may need to adjust to your "new normal", you may also need to be open to the fact that certain aspects of your sex life with him, to him, should remain the same.
Be Lovingly Patient
As far as relationships go, the word "patient" is, hands down, one of my favorite words to apply in sessions. While most of us automatically associate it with waiting, the definition that I like is, "bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like". In the context of this particular article, let's go with the words "annoyance" and "delay". When you have recently encountered a sexual growth spurt, it's important that you bear with the annoyances and possible delays of your partner learning how to adjust to what you now need without complaining or getting angry. Whew!
Here's an example. A woman told me that, for years, she hated receiving oral sex (I know, right? What in the world?!). But something that therapy revealed to her was she associated cunnilingus with a guy from her past who left her devastated. See, it wasn't so much the act that she didn't like; it was that she didn't want to "open herself up" in that way to someone else. Not receiving cunnilingus was basically a wall that she built to keep emotional pain away. Once she came into that revelation, she basically started demanding it from her partner. Meanwhile, he is not a big fan of oral himself so, what used to be a mutual understanding for them (it didn't need to happen), it had now become a point of contention.
No one should feel pressured into doing something, simply because their partner up and changes their mind about it. Just like you've had to get used to your areas of growth, your partner will have to do the same. If he cares about you, he will. But in the meantime, meet him halfway and be patient. Don't complain. Don't get angry. Just help him get used to what your needs now are.
Remember That Good Sex Is Always About Establishing a True Connection
When it comes to sex, no matter what page you're on vs. your partner, the key is to make sure that you're still in the same book (hopefully, the same chapter too). And hopefully, what it's based on is making sure that an emotional connection continues to transpire. Sexual wants and even sexual technique both play a very essential role in establishing a truly lasting and fulfilling sex life. So long as both of you, both feel like you're in this thing—which, in this article, I mean the bed—together and you both want to please one another, the sexual growth spurts that come along the way will figure themselves out.
Life is all about growth. Bedroom action is not exempt from this fact. Keep growing, sis. Just make sure to keep your partner abreast, lovingly so, along the way.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Shutterstock
- What If Your Partner Is More "Sexually Conservative" Than You Are ... ›
- The "Seasons Of Sex" That Married People Go Through - xoNecole ... ›
- If You're In A Committed Relationship, Avoid These Sex Mistakes At ... ›
- My Sex Drive Has Become Super Low & I'm Here For It - xoNecole ... ›
- Ask These Sex-Related Questions BEFORE You Marry Him ... ›
- How Mental Health Impacts Sex, According To Sexual Wellness ... ›
- Mental Foreplay Hacks That Ultimately Takes Intercourse To New Levels - 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. ;)
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.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
BDB in Dating #datingtips #datingadvice #singleblackfemale #singleblackwoman #blackfemininity #femininityforblackwomen #blackdatingadvice #blackdating #singlelatina #singlelatinas
Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
Featured image by Dimensions/Getty Images