Years ago, when I was in long-term relationship in my early twenties, I remember being madly in love with the man I thought I'd marry, despite the trust issues that had tainted our relationship for years.
Maybe it was the random girls that would call my job and threaten me saying they'd be waiting for me after work because although Jason* was my man, he was their man and her man too. Maybe it was because at one point he demanded I erase all the contacts from my phone, including male friends I had known since middle school (but never had or would entertain the idea of dating) because he should be the only man in my phone besides my father. Or, it could have possibly been the sex tape I found of him and another girl he hooked up with allegedly while we were on a two-week break. OK….that was definitely it, and the final nail on the coffin of the terminally ill relationship I was attempting to hold onto with the man who took me to my senior prom.
I say all this to say that the reason that relationship was battered, bruised, and finally just fell the hell apart, was because of trust issues. It was because of two partners who in many ways weren't secure with themselves, and therefore couldn't be secure with one another.
It wasn't about cell phone security codes, Facebook passwords, or screenshots.
It was about trust that we had never taken time to build and a lack of trust that came as a result of the lack of respect for our individual boundaries and unique approaches to relationships. And it's why I'm not surprised that on a recent episode of the show "Married At First Sight," an exercise on trust had one couple sleeping at separate addresses.
If you're familiar with the show "Married At First Sight," you're already familiar with the arrangement I refer to as the "Hot Pocket of holy matrimony" that takes two strangers who have been paired up by a crew of relationship experts and follows them as they enter into marriage upon their first time meeting. The experts assign a series of exercises over several weeks to help the couples essentially microwave feelings and experiences that, in the real world, can take months and even years to develop. In a recent episode, the couples were asked to trade cell phones for an hour, giving their partner unlimited access to their Google searches, Facebook profiles, and Instagram stories.
Each couple's approach to the challenge was different, and the point was for them to explore their feelings on trust and privacy. One couple decided that the exercise was futile and that each partner had a right to privacy and didn't trade phones at all. Another couple sat down and did the exercise together, not really finding anything that either one considered seriously disrespectful to the relationship and spent more time laughing than being offended. But one partner, Jephte Pierre, ended up getting in his car and leaving his wife, Shawniece Jackson, alone in bed while she sobbed over his inability to open up.
In Shawniece's defense, she seemed more upset by her husband leaving for the night than his refusal to give up his phone. She shouts, "What's done in the dark will eventually come to the light!" After he simply expresses, "I'm not comfortable."
To me, that was telling.
It's not that Shawniece didn't have the right to give homeboy the side-eye, but whether you've been married for seven years or seven days, marriage is very much a give and take of stepping outside of your comfort zone occasionally, to meet your partner in theirs. Marriage is also very much about walking away if your partner is doing the nae nae on your last nerve. Sometimes more damage can be done by trying to work out problems when your emotions are running high instead of taking some time to calm down and look at the situation from a distance.
But does it necessarily mean your partner has something to hide if they don't feel comfortable giving up their passcode?
Remember that dysfunctional ass relationship I mentioned earlier? 97% of our arguments were over the phone: hiding it, locking it, unanswered calls, unanswered text messages, questioning why it was on vibrate, why is it in a location where the wifi sucks, why is my face not your lock screen, and anything else you can imagine. You name it, if it involved a Samsung or Apple product, we were arguing. And the worst argument I can remember, involved a literal tug-of-war that ended with me locking myself in a hotel bathroom while he banged on the door demanding I unlock my phone and let him see it. I remember sitting on that bathroom floor, realizing that I could have had that man's whole mug on my lock screen, my background, and answer all of his calls on the first ring and we'd still have the problem.
And it wasn't because I had ever cheated or did anything that I considered disrespectful to the relationship. It was because he didn't trust me, and it probably was because he thought I was engaging in the same unfaithful behavior I eventually discovered he was guilty of.
"Married At First Sight"Jephte Pierre
Now that I'm married to a person (who is not my sex tape-making ex)who has similar ideas about trust that I do, you won't see us catching butterflies every time our phones are left unlocked at the opportunity for unlimited access into our cellular activities. When you're married and sleep, eat, and breathe next to the same person every day, you develop a newfound appreciation for personal space.
Besides, they say if you're already looking for something, you're bound to find it and that saying is true.
Insecurity in a relationship could have me going ape s**t on my husband about who Brenda on 61st Street is and why is she texting him about laying pipe when I know damn well he's a plumber (I actually had been making that stale joke for years with him). Insecurity and lack of trust is like looking at your relationship through a pair of green-tinted lenses where everything and everyone will appear as a threat to your relationship. That's why trading phones or periodically checking each other's phones doesn't do a damn thing to strengthen my marriage, but it may remind my husband that I really need to make Banana Pudding Poke Cake instead of pinning it a hundred times.
Is trading phones the worst thing in the world?
No. Just like as the show illustrated, every couple has to do what works best for their own situation. But what may have left the one couple sleeping in separate beds at the end of the night was the nature of the show itself (Jephte returns home the next morning and apologizes after a friend gives him some solid advice on communication and making the effort in a marriage). Trust takes time to build.
It takes time to really get a feel for someone's intention and character so that you can honestly know that him chatting it up with the waitress is just him being an extrovert and not an excuse for him to keep looking at her ass. Trust is also being honest with yourself enough to know that when your partner says something about how they operate, they probably mean it and when I said I wasn't getting rid of my male friends, it was unfair of my ex to think love and time would change my mind. Compromise is awesome when it truly works, but an unwillingness to abandon values doesn't mean a person doesn't love you, it means they respect themselves and if you can't respect that, maybe they aren't the one for you.
Lastly, let's not underestimate a person's right to privacy.
I don't know what exactly is going on behind that bathroom door every time my husband has Indian food, but I have a good enough idea to know it's not something that I need to nor want to witness. In our marriage, we take the same approach to cell phones. Does he really need to see that tweet about wanting Michael "Bae" Jordan to "Killmonger" my cakes? No. Does that mean that it will actually ever happen, and I have my bags packed to get into some adultery Wakanda-style? Also, no. As an individual, regardless of if you are in a committed relationship or not, you're allowed to have a side to your life that your partner does not have complete access to, and you can have that without being disrespectful to them.
Lastly, when it comes to trust and personal boundaries, healthy communication will reveal more about your partner than a pin code or e-mail password ever will. If you're looking for passcodes before you even have a conversation, that may be part of the problem.
*Names have been changed to maintain privacy.
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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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy