Last spring, I wrote a piece for the site entitled, "What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be". If you're rushing and you just want the list that I provided, it's this: passionate, creative, fulfilling, emotionally mature, reciprocal, consistent, private and real. I still very much stand by those points. But the reason I'm opening this up with that article is because I must admit that when I sat down to write this one, I thought about back when I was a teen mom director for a nonprofit and how often the teenagers in there would tell me how "grown" they were. They'd say that they were having children because they were grown or that they were having sex without protection because they were grown. They'd say that they didn't need any of my advice because they were—yep, you guessed it—grown.
While grown and mature can seem like they are one and the same, that's not 100-percent the case. Grown is oftentimes about how something (or someone) appears to be, while maturity usually can't be faked. Circumstances and situations can easily reveal if a person is truly mature or immature. And when it comes to whether a woman is sexually mature—sexually developed mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally—I wanted to take out a few moments to provide some examples that are dead giveaways so that you can make choices based on being mature and not just…grown.
1. You Have Sex Because YOU Want to…First
While sex is a game that, at least most times, two can play, it's important that you partake in it because you want to more than anything else. I can't tell you how many times I've literally talked someone off of some sort of low self-esteem ledge, all because they had sex with someone, believing that, if they did, that would make the guy want them more or even feel the same way that they do. Not only is that a HUGE gamble (peep this All Def Digital skitSmash or Pass to get an idea of what I mean; sex really can be nothing but a physical act for a lot of people), but real talk—you're better than that. Empires have literally risen and fallen because of the power that lies between a woman's legs. Or, as a wise older woman once said, "You're sitting on a million dollars and giving it away for a Happy Meal." Unfortunately, we think the prize inside of that meal is a man's heart.
A sexually mature woman is fully aware that sex is something that isn't merely "for a man"; it's something that should be enjoyed, to the utmost, by both individuals. And since she is responsible for herself, it's important that she participates, more than anything, because she wants to. Not because it's expected of her, not because she's being pressured into doing it, and not because it will get a man to do what she wants him to outside of the bedroom. It's very immature—and by that, I mean underdeveloped—to believe otherwise. Please avoid this dangerous way of thinking.
2. You Don’t Use Sex As a Tool of Manipulation
"Coochie coupons". That's what I call them. If I get some push-back on this, that's fine, but it really bothers me when I hear a woman strategize getting something that she wants by using sex, or even worse, advising that other women do the same. You know, saying something along the lines of, "Girl, if you want him to get you those shoes, all you gotta do is give him some." Umm, does everyone know what the definition of prostitution is? It's engaging in sexual activity for money (or something that money can buy). Period. So naw, I'm not a big fan of going into the act of sex with a "give to get something monetary or tangible" mentality. No matter how you dice it, it's a form of manipulation (to put it nicely) and that is never a good look.
Am I saying that sex doesn't release stress and bring two people closer together which can result in a partner wanting to bless their companion? Indeed, it can. But how would you feel if a guy's only or even main reason for having sex with you was so that he could emotionally manipulate you or take advantage of you? Doesn't feel very good, does it? So, why would you do that to your partner?
Sexually mature people don't use sex as a tool to control someone; they use sex as a way to connect with them. Anything else is a bonus. NOT their motive.
3. You Are Able to Separate Good Sex from a Healthy Relationship
Guys know that many of us—not all, but many—have a hard time separating our heart from our parts. So much in fact that one guy I know—who has at least eight kids by four different women, last I checked—once told me that the way he was able to get out of paying child support was by continuing to sleep with all of the mothers of his children. It's not because he loves them; it's because it's his way of blurring the lines and preventing them from seeing matters clearly.
I once heard R&B singer Tank say in a pretty infamous interview (I don't feel right hyperlinking it; it's just that notorious) that he used to be known for having sex with women like he had been knowing them and was in love with them for years, even if that couldn't be further from the truth. He ain't the only man who's wired that way. That's one of the main reasons I wrote articles like "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner", "We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'", and "Experts Believe Passion (Not Love) Makes Sex Better. You Agree?"
I know what it's like for sex to be so outstanding that you think your partner is good for you simply because they might feel good to you (some of y'all will catch that later). But experience (first) and maturity (second) have taught me that there is a difference between climaxing and intimacy and, just because a man is good in bed, that doesn't automatically make him a worthy candidate for a relationship. If you don't believe me, check out a few episodes of the podcast,Advice From A F*ck Boy. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.
4. Your Entire Self-Worth Is Not Based on Your Sexiness or Sexual Performance
Although I am a big fan of linking sources, something else that I'll spare you from is a tweet that I recently saw—one that, as much as I read, research, and talk about sex, still had me over here like, "Wow. Really?" At my age (45), it's hard to tell the difference between what 15 and 20 looks like at this point, but what I do know is the girl on the video was young. What I also know is whoever filmed her performing fellatio on—wait for it—a gas nozzle (she even took the time to put a whole condom on it) is NOT her friend. Shoot, the girl doing the act isn't her own friend, either. As I was reading the comments, what I noticed is a lot of folks were calling her a clout chaser. Perhaps. But the first thing that came to my mind is how much she must base her self-worth in her sexuality.
Is that an extreme example of this particular point? Lord, I hope so. But let's not act like sex doesn't sell and that a lot of women base their self-esteem on how sexy they are or on how good their sexual performance may be. I know I used to be that way. It actually took becoming abstinent to realize that being told that I'm sexy is nice and being told that I ain't too shabby in bed is cool, but if a man doesn't see my worth and value beyond that, something is very dysfunctional within our dynamic. More importantly, if I don't see my worth and value beyond that, something is very, very awry within myself.
5. Your Sex Life Is Part of Your World but It Doesn’t Consume It
One definition of mature is "completely developed". Now, I talk about sex…a lot. I mean, a lot. But it's still considerably less than I used to. One day, when I took out a moment to ponder why that was the case, I realized it was because I used to always lead with the thing that I felt the most comfortable with and confident in. I was knowledgeable about sex, I had been told that I was good at it and, my self-esteem at the time was constantly looking for ego boosts so—sex, sex, sex is all that would come out of my mouth. But as I began to nurture other parts of my being, I saw how immature that way of thinking and approach was—how immature it is to be a one-dimensional being, period. Because, again, to be mature is to be developed and a completely developed person brings more than one topic or issue to the table. They don't always lead with just one thing and they encourage their own selves to expand their horizons.
If you choose to look at sexual maturity, just from this angle alone, and then think about how much sexually related stuff that you see on Instagram on a daily basis, it might make you wonder how many sexually mature people actually exist. The good news is you have the power to be one of them—and then to model what that looks (and acts) like to others.
6. Your Holistic Health and Well-Being Trumps Everything
A couple of years ago, I wrote "Each Of My 14 Sex Partners Taught Me Something New" for the site. While I get that everyone might not want to put their entire sex life on blast, I do recommend doing a little sex journaling on the topic. For one thing, make no mistake about it, soul ties are very real. It's a good idea to take "inventory" on how your sex partners and patterns have and/or are affecting you. Another reason why it's a good idea is because, we're all sexual beings. Because we consist of a mind, heart and body, sex affects all three.
That said, oftentimes, there is "sexual imbalance" (if not straight-up mayhem) in our lives because we lack the wisdom, insight and yes, maturity to realize if there is a sexual activity or sexual partner who is only benefiting one part of us, they're not really doing us much good.
An example of where I am coming from is, if sex is good to your body but it's got you constantly stressed out and heartbroken too, at the end of the day, it's not doing you much good at all. Sexually immature individuals ignore this fact while sexually mature people tend to nip the sex in the bud because nothing is worth sabotaging their holistic health and well-being. Sexually mature people know that good sex is easier to come by than finding oneself after it's been "lost" in another person.
I'll be the first to say that sex is beautiful, breathtaking and magnificent. But it's this and so much more when the two people having it are sexually mature. When they approach sex from the angle of being emotionally well-developed, spiritually cultivated and mentally sound. This year, make it a goal to either become or remain a sexually mature woman. Then require that your partner be nothing less. Feel me? Something tells me that you totally do.
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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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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