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 ›
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.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Get To Know 'Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story' Star India Amarteifio
Actress India Amarteifio has enchanted audiences with her captivating performance of a young Queen Charlotte in Netflix's latest hit Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
The limited series, a prequel to Bridgerton, follows the young queen as her marriage to King George of England causes a societal shift. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story debuted on Netflix earlier this month to rave reviews from fans and critics alike.
The show had left many in awe of the stars' portrayal of each character and its riveting storylines, so much so that it excelled in the streaming platform's top ten charts landing at number one when it premiered.
Since then, Amarteifio and her castmates have been trending on social media for various reasons. The list includes many sharing their remarks regarding the love story between Queen Charlotte and King George and social media users wanting to know more about the actors and actresses.
Although few details have been released about Amarteifio and her life, many would be surprised to know some uncovered facts about the star, unveiled recently during her promotional tour of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
India Was a Trained Dancer
Prior to focusing on acting full-time, Amarteifio was a trained dancer.
Marie Claire magazine reports Amarteifio --who grew up in England-- attended the Richmond Academy of Dance when she was 11. The following year, Amarteifio received a scholarship for Sylvia Young Theatre School. But the star's dancing journey would ultimately be cut short when she was 12 after sustaining a hamstring tear.
Amarteifio told L'Officiel what made her fully transition into acting, in addition to her injury, was that she was "constantly" falling ill. Amarteifio shared that because she loved "the acting element through dance," becoming an actress was a "natural" switch.
"I always wanted to dance. I went to performing arts school when I was 11 to 16. Then I really badly injured myself, and it made me question the industry and the lifestyle of something so reliant on my body," she said. "I constantly was getting injured and ill, and it made me look at the reality of the life of a dancer. I always loved the acting element through dance, so I made the natural transition that way. But I always wanted to perform—acting is just more of a newish venture."
India Started Acting Really Young
Despite Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story being Amarteifio's breakout role, the star has been a part of the entertainment industry since she was a baby.
In an April interview with Vogue magazine, Amarteifio revealed that she landed her first acting opportunity alongside her mother in a commercial for Vodafone when she was eight months old. A few years later, Amarteifio would land theater jobs, including The Lion King, where she played the role of young Nala, Matilda, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
"I was in a Vodafone advert with my mum when I was eight months old. I only found out about it the other day – she told me they did an open call and she just rocked up with me," she said." Growing up, I loved theatre and dance, and when I was nine, I auditioned for The Lion King in the West End. I did that for about a year, then moved on to Matilda, then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Around that time, I got a scholarship to Sylvia Young Theatre School."
After Amarteifio's injury at 12 and fully deciding to pursue acting as a career choice, she would go on to get minor roles in Doctor Who, The Tunnel, and Sex Education.
"We had a careers evening when I was 14, and I started thinking, 'If I keep doing this, I'll have a short career.' So, I started focusing on acting and ended up getting small roles in Doctor Who, The Tunnel and Sex Education," she said.
India On Being Mixed Race And How She Related To Her Character
As the conversation shifted to how Amarteifio could relate to her Queen Charlotte character, the actress shared that because of her mixed background, she felt she could identify with the idea of not knowing where to "fit in."
Amarteifio's mother is white, while her father, who is Black. Further in the interview, Amarteifio recalled what it felt like being the "only person of color" to enter a room and compared those instances to Queen Charlotte's experiences early on in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
"I'm mixed race. I've got a white mum and my dad is Black – born in London, but with Ghanaian ancestry – so I can relate to her in terms of not really knowing where you fit in. I know what it's like to walk into a room and have everyone look at you because you're the only person of color. There are so many scenes, especially early on in the series where Charlotte does exactly that," she stated. "In those moments, you feel alone and awkward, and it can be uncomfortable to talk about it, but by writing those scenes, Shonda's starting that conversation and showing people that they aren't alone."
India Prepared For Queen Charlotte: A Briderton Story By Watching The Crown
Earlier this month, Amarteifio opened up about how she prepped for her starring role in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
In an interview with Bustle, the actress disclosed that she binged-watch Netflix's The Crown to get another perspective on being a royal. Amarteifio also shared that her co-star Corey Mylchreest suggested it after they were informed that they would be doing a coronation scene.
"Corey [Mylchreest] actually recommended [that I] watch The Crown because we were doing the coronation scene [in Queen Charlotte]. In Season 1 [of The Crown], the Queen is going through a coronation, and it was interesting to see how that was done—because it's a ritual, it's a very similar experience, and to see the behind-the-scenes elements that they showed in The Crown was actually helpful," she explained.
Amarteifio also mentioned that portraying Queen Charlotte and watching The Crown helped her understand the royal family more as people.
"I definitely understand the royal family more, in the sense of knowing who people are in relation to other people—that's because when I was filming, I binge-watched The Crown. So I feel like I know them all. I know their secrets," she said. "But [Queen Charlotte] didn't give me any further insight into them because we don't delve into that. We're taking from history, but we're retelling it."
India On How The Queen Charlotte Role Impacted Her
In the same interview, Amarteifio provided details about how portraying the role of Queen Charlotte positively impacted her life.
Amarteifio stated that before taking the role of Queen Charlotte, she was often nervous to ask questions out of fear that she would "rock the boat." Still, after playing the character, the star started opening up more because she realized that even if she didn't receive any answers, it made situations much easier to handle.
"I see her as a very different entity. [But] not being embarrassed or afraid of asking questions is probably one of the things that I took away, because she asks questions and gets answers. Sometimes she doesn't get answers, but at least she tried. Sometimes I feel like I'm a bit nervous to ask questions or rock the boat — but actually, it just makes things easier," she stated.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now streaming on Netflix.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images