I've shared before that back in my sexually active days, a pattern that I had was having sex with my friends. While some friends were closer than others and some of the "others" turned into more serious relationships, I don't personally know what it's like to have sex with a stranger or even someone I don't know well. However, I definitely do know people who prefer the opposite of everything that I just said. Casual sex is their preference, for a myriad of reasons. All of us have our own paths. Indeed.
One of my "casual sex homies" has recently found themselves feeling some type of way about their currently partner. At first, they thought it was just that the sex was really good. A few months in, though, and they are starting to sense that it could be about a lot more than that. So, in honor of them — gasp! — cultivating an emotional connection, I thought I would share a few reasons why, from what they've shared with me (and from what I've experienced in times past myself), I think that is indeed the case.
1. Missionary Happens. Often.
You know what's interesting? Back when I was in my 20s, I heard a lot of people frown on the missionary position. They called it things like "boring", "bland" and "old-fashioned". Meanwhile, folks who are in their mid-30s and up and/or are in a serious relationship, they tend to be quite fond of it. Rave reviews like "you can maintain eye contact that way", "you're able to feel really close to your partner" and "it's super intimate" are what I hear, more than a little bit.
I think a part of the reason is because, when you're at a point and place where you want to have sex for more than "get off" reasons, you're not necessarily looking for a position that will help you to climax the fastest; it's more about discovering ways where you and your partner can really get close, "melt into one another"…bond.
Listen, I started being sexually active in college. There's a lot of raging hormones at that time and sex is definitely more about curiosity and getting your rocks off more than cultivating anything that would fall under the category of special or highly significant. That said, if you've got someone who is always trying to put you in doggy style and frowns upon missionary (or some variation of it), ask them why. While I'll be the first to say that all positions have their benefits, remember, we're talking about emotional connections here and since the eyes are indeed the window to the soul, wouldn't it make sense that the two of you would look at each other, at least a little bit, during the act?
2. Sex Isn’t Taken So Seriously
I remember once reading that some of the benefits that come from having a sense of humor and laughing a lot are they both help to decrease stress while also boosting immunity, improving one's moods, decreasing pain and — get this — stimulating organs. That last one happens because, when you laugh, you get more oxygen into your system; this, in turn, causes your brain to release endorphins which can bring pleasure and help to calm you down as well.
If the relationship is new and/or you're just having sex for the first time, it makes sense that you may feel some tension or anxiety. However, once you've been with someone for a while, there's no need for sex to feel like a performance where you'll be judged or that you have to be somber all of the time. Sex should be about having a lot of fun and that includes being able to laugh with each other. Whether it's during foreplay, the act or afterplay, if the two of you can joke around and not take things so seriously, that's another pretty good indication that you're in a great place — emotionally.
3. Communication (Not Just Dirty Talk) Happens During the Act
Something that someone said to me, not too long ago, is they feel the most powerful style of communication is sex. Personally, I really dig that perspective because one definition of communicate is "to impart thoughts" while another is "something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted". One of the main reasons why I encourage married couples to have sex, as much as possible really (check out "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important" and "8 'Kinds Of Sex' All Married Couples Should Put Into Rotation"), is because, physically, it's the closest that you can get to someone else. And as women, when someone is literally inside of us, it can cause us to let our guard down and open up the door to share in a way that we might not in any other setting.
When this transpires, some dirty talk may be involved yet so does simply expressing feelings, needs and desires overall. I mean, think about it — when the sex is really good, how easy is it for an "I love you" or "You mean so much to me" to come out? And when that does, doesn't it help to solidify the bond that you and your partner already have? The way that relationships grow is through a healthy form of communication. Sex is not only one way to cultivate communication, it can significantly strengthen it too.
4. “Nakedness” Transpires in a Myriad of Ways
I know. It's a given that nakedness and sex go hand in hand. What I'm speaking of here is being naked from the angle of removing all sorts of layers and walls. See, when sex is just good on a physical level, you and your partner can give each other orgasms, walk away and not know very much about each other at all (happens all of the time out here). When there is an emotional connection, though, you feel at ease talking about childhood memories, family issues, past heartbreaks — things that reveal you to another person in a very powerful kind of way.
In certain translations of the Bible, one way that sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is described is by using the word "know". Matter of fact, the first documented married couple (Adam and Eve) were instructed to be "naked and not ashamed" with one another (Genesis 2:24-25). Every time I think about both of these points, it reminds me that an emotional connection in sex means that two people are sharing themselves in a very profound way. They are coming to know each other in a way that very few will be able to speak of when it comes to them. And y'all, that is pretty powerful, if you ask me.
5. Pleasing Each Other Is the Main Goal
Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some folks about R&B artist Miguel. More specifically, how fascinating it is that so many women find him sexy when songs like "Quickie" and "How Many Drinks?" low-key send the message that sex with him is gonna be quick, that he doesn't think you are worth wooing and your pleasure isn't exactly his top priority. While I'm mostly speaking in jest, let's not act like art isn't imitating life in a lot of bedrooms. Meaning, there are definitely men (and women, if we're going to be fair) who really couldn't care less if their partner is feeling fully satisfied; so long as they are getting what they want/need, at the end of the day, that's all that truly matters to them.
This is 1000 percent not the case when an emotional connection is involved. That's because, when two people care about each other, they want to bring their partner pleasure, joy and satisfaction. On the sexual tip, sex isn't even all that gratifying unless their partner is fully pleased. I say it often in my sessions with married folks — when both people get off more on pleasing the other person, it's pretty difficult to only have ho-hum sex. Emotionally connected couples know this. That's why, when it comes to "meh" coitus, they rarely can relate.
6. Intimacy Is Also Being Cultivated Outside of the Bedroom
Honestly, I can't even remember which forum it was (Reddit, Quora, etc.) that I pulled the following two quotes from. What I do know is I appreciated both of them so much that I made sure to jot them down and give each guy their proper credit. The context was can you get tired of having sex with this same individual. This is what they said:
"Do not think of it as 'I am having sex with this woman.' Think of it as 'We are having sex together.' Think of your partner as your equal. Both of you are doing this, and both of you are working so that both of you can enjoy it." (Miguel Valdespino)
"Whether you ever get tired of sex with someone is a choice. It's a choice you might not know you're making, but it's still a choice. If you choose to allow sex to become a boring routine, then sex will become boring and routine. If, on the other hand, you choose to be experimental, to explore new things (even if they might sound 'weird' to you), if you try new ideas, if you talk about your fantasies, then there is so much territory to discover that sex with one person for a thousand years doesn't have to be boring." (Franklin Veaux)
That is some grown man stuff right here and I salute it. Anyway, I thought this would be a good place to bring all of this to a close because, clearly, the reason why these men could speak with this level of awareness and maturity is because their emotions have been involved with a partner before; they know what true intimacy is all about.
Intimacy. When the person you're having sex with is interested in spending time with you, hanging out with you, learning more about you outside of your boudoir — when they are content just being in your space because they dig so much more than what's between your legs, this also shows signs of an emotional connection being established.
You know what this means, right? If there is a ton of sex and not much else and you want more, scale back a bit and see if he's just as interested in being around you with your clothes on. If there's something bigger than climaxing going on, he will call, plan dates, initiate non-sexual time. If there's not, at the very least, guard your heart. As you've just seen, great sex is not automatically a sign of anything deeper. For there to be a genuine emotional connection, thoughts and feelings must be mutually shared…too.
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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.
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