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.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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‘Sistas’ Star KJ Smith Reveals How She Learned The Value Of Divine Timing
Actress KJ Smith's inspiring journey within the entertainment industry is a testament to how believing in oneself and trusting in divine timing can pave the way for success.
Over the years, Smith, whose acting career began in 2009, has appeared in various television shows and films before landing her leading role in BET's Sistas in 2019.
Since then, the 38-year-old's success has skyrocketed as she starred in other projects, such as Fatal Affair alongside Nia Long and Omar Epps, The Family Business, and Power Book III: Raising Kanan. Smith recently opened up about her experience during Black Love's The You Retreat discussion panel.
KJ On Success
In the panel last month, Smith revealed that despite her past achievements, she doesn't consider success to be a linear path but rather a continuous process.
The star shared that she gained this logic through the numerous times she auditioned for roles and has either received rejections or landed job opportunities. During that process, Smith added that she learned that if something was ordained in her life, that said thing would come to her.
"I think the phrase ‘made it’ is a little deceiving. It's a process of continuing to make it. How you know it's for you is when it's undeniable," she said.
KJ On Divine Timing
As the conversation continued, Smith recalled a particular moment when she didn't land an undisclosed role she thought was destined for her and expressed how heartbroken she was.
Still, the actress preserved and ultimately got the next gig she auditioned for a day after reading for that role.
"Actually, my first pilot, it was written for a white male, and at the time, I had just lost out on a role I had tested for. For something that I was like, 'This is actually me!' I tested for it, didn't get it. At the time, I was so heartbroken, " she explained.
“The next thing I booked... it was the quickest audition I had ever done. I literally went into the room. I did one scene, and then the next day, they were like, 'You're booked. We need you to fly to New Orleans.'"
Later, Smith mentioned that since that moment occurred in her life, she had shifted her mindset about not receiving certain things and that divine timing plays a role in "everything."
"That was mine, and no one else could have had that. That belonged to me, so now I'm like, 'No, it's going to be good thing, after good thing, after good thing, after good thing. Because nothing happens to me, everything happens for me," she said.
Smith continues to inspire her fans by using her social media platform to spread the message about trusting God's plan for one's life.
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