Whenever I'm talking to single women and the topic of sex comes up, if there's a common question that I get, pretty often, it's "How do I know that it isn't just sex when it comes to him?" Listen, not to sound like y'all's grandma or anything yet I certainly get why a lot of the elders are like, "That's why you might wanna wait until there's a solid commitment in place."
Because, although I'm going to touch on a few points that can definitely give you more peace of mind, there is something to be said for waiting for a long-term commitment or—gasp—even marriage because those kinds of relationships tend to come with intentional promises and/or vows. Y'all, some things may seem traditional or antiquated. Still, that doesn't mean they're all bad. Real talk.
Now that I've made grandmas, aunties and church mothers proud with that lil' PSA, let's get into how you can avoid being able to relate to articles on this site like, "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner". If you're seeing a guy and either you're already having sex or you're considering doing so, here are six ways to know if there's more there than just the physical.
1. There’s a Solid Connection Outside of the Bedroom
There are people who've gotten together off of a one-night stand. There are people who've divorced, even though they were virgins on their wedding night. So, I'm not gonna sit here and say that everyone who has sex quickly is headed for disaster and everyone who waits will experience marital bliss for the rest of their lives. What I will say is the more open you are to taking your time, the more you can establish a real connection with another individual.
And just what does a true connection look like? You've had some serious conversations. A level of mutual trust has been established. You care about each other on a mental and emotional level. You've had a few disagreements or areas of conflict and have been able to resolve them. You make time for one another besides just when you want to have sex.
I'll be the first one to admit that lust can be one hell of a drug. It can cause you to become a little delusional, if you let it, because when you're really into someone physically and/or the sex is off the charts, it can cause you to think that something more is there when that actually might not be the case. Making the time to establish a connection that has nothing to do with copulation can help you to feel like "he" is spending time with you, not just because he wants to get the goods. Time can make you feel more confident that he actually values you and enjoys you as a human being. That you're not just some glorified sex doll.
2. It’s Not the Only Thing the Two of You Have in Common
Something that I find really sexy in a man is wit. To me, it's the perfect blend of intellect, humor and great timing. So, if you're already attractive in my eyes and you're witty, I'm already super intrigued. Anyway, when I think back on all of my sex partners (check out "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners"), something that most of them had in common is they were super witty. They found me to be that way too, so the back-and-forth light sparring was basically a form of verbal foreplay. Oh, but when you peeled that back and took the sex away, when it comes to a handful of those men, we really didn't have that much in common. Matter of fact, when it came to a couple of guys, we actually got on each other's nerves.
Wanna know why some people get married and then basically end up hating each other's guts? A part of the reason is because, while there may have been really strong sexual chemistry—so strong that they thought there was more to their relationship than there actually was—they didn't have much in common past that. Ask any married person and they will probably tell you that great sex with your partner is amazingly indescribable; still, if you don't have some other things that you both enjoy, that you both are interested in, that you both value, you still could be headed for relational disaster. So, what things do you and he share a common ground on? The answer to that question can reveal…A LOT.
3. Sex Is the “Icing”. Not the “Cake”.
I know some dating couples who, whenever they have a disagreement, they "fix things" by having sex. Although I get it—and back in the day, oftentimes even did it—that isn't a smart move. For one thing, running to sex all of the time is usually a sign of fear. You don't really know how to effectively communicate or connect any other way, so that becomes your go-to. Because that is the case, sex is no longer simply a pleasurable act; it's a crutch. Another challenge that comes from taking this approach is it can have you out here thinking that you're in something healthy and beneficial when all you're really doing is having great sex with someone. And real talk, y'all—you can do that with hundreds, if not thousands of people on this planet. Yeah, never EVER assume that mind-blowing sex means you're in a great relationship. Some folks can experience passion with someone they don't even like or respect very much. I can speak from personal experience on this.
That's why it's so important to look at sex as the icing in a relationship, not the cake. Icing makes cake sweeter. Icing makes cake more fun. Icing can be an unexpected surprise or welcome addition. At the same time, if there was no icing, the cake should still be bomb. When it comes to your relationship, can you honestly say all of this about the current state of your dynamic?
4. You’re Both Careful with Each Other’s Feelings
Something that I like about the R&B artist Joe is he writes songs in such a way that certain lyrics can really hit home. Take his throwback jam "If I Was Your Man", for example. One of my favorite lines in it is when he sang, "Got rid of everything that I knew was hurting you". Come on, Joe. Preach it. When two people are in something that is merely sexual, they don't really care all that much about anything other than what happens in between the foreplay and the climax. However, when two individuals are engaged in something that is more than just sex, they definitely care about not hurting each other's feelings and doing what they can to make the relationship better.
That said, I'm not saying that if a man cares then he will comply with all of your expectations or that he will want the same kind of relationship that you do (one day, we'll have to talk about the problem with sexual manipulation; even if it's self-sexual manipulation). What I am saying is your feelings, your concerns and even your needs will not be something that he shies away from. He will see value in you beyond sex. His words and actions will prove it.
5. You Feel Like Your Partner Is Having Sex WITH Rather than AT You
It was close to this time last year when I wrote the article, "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?". The gist of it is when someone is good for you, they are going to benefit you in a holistic way. Well, along these same lines, when a man is having sex with you, by the definition of the word "with", he is not only interacting; he is making a true connection. On the other hand, when a guy is having sex at you? Hmm. I think I've shared before that there's one past sex partner I had who liked to have sex in front of mirrors. Mind you, it wasn't so that he could watch both of us in the act, he liked to look at himself. Like sometimes I would catch him posing. WTF and LOL all at the same time. What he taught me was that some people can be good in bed and it still has absolutely nothing to do with their partner. Their performance is an ego boost for them, more than anything else.
So yeah, another way to know if sex is more than just sex is if your partner is fully present with you. You don't feel like it's "performance sex". Instead, it feels like he relishes being in your presence and sex is just a part of the reason why. Between the two of you, there's intimacy. You feel comfortable. You feel seen. You feel safe.
6. Things Can End Well
You know what they say—all good things must come to an end. And while this isn't automatically or necessarily a guarantee when it comes to you and your current sex partner, what I will say is that if there's a mutual respect for one another, should you both decide that it's time to transition out, hopefully neither of you will feel used, slighted, embarrassed, neglected or even hurt. You might miss each other (or the sex); still, there won't be battle wounds from the situation because even though sex was a big part of the dynamic, it was never just about that. Shoot, you might even be able to remain friends—or at least cool—after it's all said and done.
And even, for whatever the reason, that ends up not being the case, at least you won't have to look back and feel totally mortified because you shared something so private, so real, so special with a person who didn't embrace the experience with the dignity that you deserved. You can see things for what they were—a season of sex that, on some level you enjoyed and quite possibly learned and grew from. No regrets. Because the sex…wasn't just…sex.
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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 email@example.com. 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.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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