I don't know about y'all, but personally, I can name about three trillion things I would rather do than go to the dentist. I mean, my dentist and his team are nice enough, but between laying on my back, looking at those tools, and holding my breath to hear if there's any news that I'd prefer to avoid—it can all be overwhelming, a tad bit uncomfortable…oh, and not exactly the cheapest, either. Apparently, I am not alone because it's been reported that only 58 percent of folks see their own dentist on an annual basis. That's not good either because, aside from the fact that we need our teeth to eat (and look presentable), there are all sorts of health issues that are tied to poor oral hygiene including cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, diabetes, infertility, and even dementia.
And while I'm not trying to scare you into seeing your dentist, what I will say is the last time I waited and then went, I had to get the root canal from hell. And you know what? It could've been avoided if I had simply not skipped out on my annual visit. It also wouldn't have become as "big" as it did if I had paid attention to a couple of these you-really-need-to-get-to-the-dentist-ASAP warning signs, too. Don't say a sis didn't warn you.
1. Incessant Bad Breath
There is someone I went to high school with who, no joke, had some of the worst-smelling breath on the planet. On many days, I was around her after gym and lunch, so I know she brushed her teeth, but damn—when she talked, it still always smelled like something died up in there. I hope she's OK because bad breath isn't always automatically a hygiene issue. Sometimes it's a red flag that someone has an underlying disease like diabetes, acid reflux, or, in some cases, even cancer.
All of the mint toothpaste and Altoids in the world won't fix those things, so aside from not sucking the life out of everyone around you, for the sake of your health and well-being, incessant bad breath is something that should not be ignored.
2. Gum Pimples
If you're not exactly sure what a gum pimple is, I'm not referring to canker sores. (Another name for those is aphthous ulcers and they are basically surface-layer sores in your mouth.) No, what I'm talking about are bumps that have pus in them. Sometimes, what that means is an abscess has developed and you have a dental infection of some sort. If you choose to ignore it or even pop it yourself, the infection could ultimately spread and lead to far more serious issues like sepsis. It could even go to your brain and lead to fatality. So yeah, you should make an appointment with your dentist if you happen to notice any of these along your gum line.
3. Dry Mouth
Our mouths were designed to be wet with saliva at all times. This means that if, no matter how much fluid you take in, you just can't seem to shake having dry mouth, that is something else that could potentially be cause for concern. Not only does saliva keep bacteria at bay while helping to fight decay that leads to cavities, a lack of saliva production could be an indication of things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Dry mouth is one of the most slept-on reasons to go to the dentist, but a valid one nonetheless.
4. Cracking Teeth
Do you have a cracked (or crumbling) tooth that seems to have come out of nowhere? You know that you haven't eaten anything hard and you also know that you haven't neglected your teeth in any way, so what in the world could it be? One guess is you are producing an excessive amount of stomach acid that is damaging your enamel. There's only one way to find out for sure, though. You already know what I'm gonna say.
5. Receding Gums
Here's something to take pretty seriously. Did you know that, not only do half of all Americans have gum disease, but gum disease in an advanced stage? Aside from bleeding and swollen gums, another pretty telling sign that gum disease is starting to get the best of your oral health and well-being is if you notice that your gums are receding anywhere. Since there is a direct correlation between gum disease and other health-related issues like diabetes and heart challenges, don't let this one slip either. The state of your overall health could very well depend on it.
6. Teeth Sensitivity
While there are plenty of commercialized oral products out on the market that profess to treat teeth and gum sensitivity if this is something that has just recently started to happen, make an appointment to see your dentist.
When you react, excessively, to hot or cold foods, what that could mean is that you've got some tooth decay, a loose filling, or an exposed tooth root somewhere. The only real way to treat any of this is professionally.
7. Weird-Feeling Tongue
Your tongue is a breeding place for bacteria. That's why it's important to make the time to brush it every time you brush and floss your teeth. Not only will it remove a considerable amount of bacteria and germs, it will also reduce your risk of getting periodontal (gum) disease while helping to keep your breath smelling fresh throughout the day.
But what if you do take pretty good care of your tongue but happen to notice that it's been feeling pretty weird as of late? Should you chalk it up to not being that big of a deal? If by "weird" it has suddenly changed texture, color, or has lumps or bumps that you know aren't canker sores or "lie bumps", don't casually overlook that. Medical professionals often check for oral cancer via our tongue. It's another reason to see your dentist as soon you possibly can.
8. Swollen Jaw
Swollen jaw tissue could mean that you've gotten an infected tooth or even a cyst or tumor that is developing somewhere beneath your gum line. There's no way that you'll know for sure without a thorough examination and quite possibly a few X-rays, so if you feel or see any swelling, don't just "ibuprofen it away". Chances are, things will only get worse over time if you do.
One more. Each tooth contains nerves and blood vessels that help to keep it healthy. Another thing that the nerves do is help us to know when something that we put into our mouth is either hot or cold. When the pulp chamber of a tooth either gets exposed or becomes damaged in some way, that can first cause an extreme amount of pain. However, that's a good thing because it's a heads up that something is very wrong. The bigger problem is if we try and "Google our way through that" and then the nerve eventually dies, resulting in numbness. While on one hand that means the pain has subsided, what that doesn't mean is that the underlying problem has gone away or that it won't get worse over time. So, if you happen to notice any type of numbness anywhere, most definitely see your dentist. For the sake of your teeth—and your overall health.
Yeah, I know this wasn't the most pleasant read on the planet, but you know what? It's better to know what to look out for and book an appointment than to wait too late and have a world of oral issues that you didn't even know about. You need your teeth. Be proactive in taking care of them or you could live to regret it. Literally.
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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. ;)
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.
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At this point, I’ve been talking to couples for so long that I’m pretty much able to conduct my own surveys. And when it comes to one of the main reasons why a lot of them see a dip when it comes to intimacy in their relationship, it’s because of life’s demands, sleep deprivation, (sometimes) being stressed out, oftentimes not having the best diet, and, quite frankly, not prioritizing sex as much as they used to all play a direct role. Yet, if you review those reasons one more time, you’ll notice that it’s not so much that people don’t want to have sex — they just need some help getting into the mood.
If you share those sentiments, look no further. Here are 12 things that you can do to get into the mood for getting super up close and personal with your bae, as soon as tonight. (Thank me later!)
1. Stop OverthinkingGiphy
It’s kind of wild how many people overthink when you (pardon the pun) think about all of the unnecessary drama that it causes. Hmph, let me tell it, at the end of the day, overthinking is just a less stress-filled word for worrying because it definitely has a way of inviting stress, creating problems that don’t exist, and taking you out of staying mindful and in the moment — and none of this is good for your sex life.
That’s why I decided to start here. If not being in the mood is something that is a regular event (or has been increasing lately), consider doing some sex journaling and/or setting an appointment with your doctor to see if there are some underlying health-related reasons. However, if it’s not a consistent thing yet, it just seems like you and your partner have not exactly been on the same page the past few times that he has initiated, share with him how you’re feeling and what you think you need to get into the mood more easily rather than internalizing thoughts to the point where you create movies in your mind that is full of fiction, not facts.
Oftentimes, just communicating your thoughts will make you feel closer to your partner — and that can automatically cultivate a level of closeness that can lead to physical intimacy.
2. Do Some SextingGiphy
While checking out some statistics on texting not too long ago, although it didn’t surprise me that 80 percent of people do it, I was caught a little off guard at the fact that people between the ages of 35-44 seem to text the most and that folks receive a whopping five times more texts than calls (on average).
Chalk it up to the counselor in me, yet I prefer calls because you can’t read tone in texts, no matter how much you may have mastered emoji speech. However, if texting is your thing, something that can get you in the mood is sexting back and forth with your partner. Sometimes, just putting your mind in an erotic/sensual space can do wonders; plus, you never know what kind of response you will get back. #wink
If a part of you is totally down, yet you’re cautious about sensitive content somehow getting hacked and/or exposed, you might want to consider a platform like Telegram. Not only is it heavily encrypted and has a “self-destruct” feature, but it also keeps third parties from using your intel for marketing and advertising purposes too. A win all the way around if you ask me.
3. Go “Sex Shopping”Giphy
While doing some online perusing, a pretty Black woman modeling what Victoria’s Secret calls its Bombshell Apron Teddy. I liked it because it was sexy and, because there is an “apron feature,” it can look really good on all body types (you can take a look for yourself here; also, check out “Lingerie Hacks: How To Choose The Best Kind For Your Body Type” while you’re at it). Yeah, I don’t get how anyone can see lingerie (or anything that is sex-themed/sex-related) and not get at least a little hot ‘n bothered.
So, why not treat yourself to a bit of sex shopping? As far as lingerie goes, it has trends like pretty much everything else. This year, be on the lookout for bright colors, satin blows, super sheer pieces, and lots of lace. As far as sex stuff, in general, massage candles, sex games, or even a sex swing (that isn’t as expensive as you would think and is pretty easy to assemble) is a great starting point when it comes to getting your creative juices flowing.
4. Or on a Sex DateGiphy
When you take a vacation, it helps you to get off of the grid, relax and get some much-needed quality time in with whoever you’re on vacation with. A romantic vacation is about doing this with your significant other while a sexcation is about doing this, with the sole purpose of manifesting sexual fulfillment being on top of the to-do list.
Okay, so when you think about a date being about spending quality time with someone you truly care about, what do you think a sex date would be for? EXACTLY. And here’s the thing — one fairly large and popular study revealed that the key to a couple having a successful relationship (as far as their dating life goes) is to go on a date once a month. At the same time, couples who have sex no less than once a week reportedly are in a healthy relational space.
So, how do you merge the two of these? My two cents would be, if you’re like some of my clients who need to be romanced in order to get into the mood (meaning things like quickies rarely work for them), plan a sex date and then another kind of date once a month; that way, you’ll be able to get both kinds of quality time in. For tips on how to do that, check out “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?”
5. Put on Some Vanilla, Patchouli, Peppermint or JasmineGiphy
USA Today once published an article that said people with a heightened sensitivity to smell tend to have a better sex life (no joke). According to a particular study, “The perception of certain body odors may contribute to the concept of sexual pleasure by enhanced recruitment of reward areas.”
If that truly is the case, it’s important that you also surround yourself with scents that have a reputation for stimulating the senses in every way. Some of those include vanilla, patchouli, peppermint, and jasmine. Whether you put them on your body, spray them on your bedding, or get some scented soy candles (soy burns longer and cleaner) — or you do all three, it appears that your olfactory input will be oh so very glad that you did (also check out “8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last”).
6. Listen to Some of Your Favorite “Sex Nostalgia” MusicGiphy
Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some people about throwback R&B songs that talked about sex yet weren’t as graphic as a lot of the current tunes are. Two that immediately came to my mind were Usher’s “Nice & Slow” and Intro’s “Come Inside” (especially the extended version, lawd.)
Anyway, there is scientific evidence to support that not only does music increase creativity and trigger past memories, but it can also reduce anxiety, increase endurance and put you into a better mood. And don’t all of these things help to set the stage for an impressive round or two? Shoot, I even read an article on Well+Good’s site (here) that said if you really want your sex playlist to be effective, lust-heavy music should come first, absolute faves should be in the middle, and cuddle music should come last (you know, during afterplay).
So…where’s your sex music mix at?
7. Cultivate a Sex Prep Self-Care RoutineGiphy
When you do things that make you feel calm, relaxed, and sexy, it’s so much easier to get into the mood for sex. Not to mention the fact that the cleaner you are, the more comfortable you will feel. That’s why, you should start off with a sensual bath (check out “Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?”) or shower (check out “How To Turn Your Showers Into A Tranquil DIY Spa”) with the help of a DIY vaginal wash (check out “Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes”).
Then “seal your skin” by applying an aphrodisiac essential oil with a sex-stimulating carrier oil (check out “So, Here Are The Carrier Oils That Will Take Your Sex Life To A Whole 'Nother Level”), so that it feels soft and extra moisturized for longer. Personally, I’m a huge fan of fresh rose petals, whether it’s for making homemade rose water or for rolling around on the bed in them (they are soft, fragrant, and a proven aphrodisiac as well).
Also, don’t forget to bring a flavored lubricant, lip gloss, and even body oil (if you’d like) into the mix. An Etsy merchant by the name of Diamond Kutt Kisses has a great all-natural oil blend called Edible Yoni Oil that comes in flavors like Panty Snatcher, Pina Cum Latte, and 1 Night Stand. Choose one bottle or several by going here. Oh, and don’t forget to put your (or his) favorite scent in your hair — it’s a tip that many forget goes a REALLY long way.
8. Touch Each Other’s Sexual Pressure PointsGiphy
When you get a chance, click on “Feelin' On These Pressure Points Will Give You The Best Sex Of Your Life,” read it all the way through, and then send it over to your partner. The reality is there are parts of our body, ones that are outside of the obvious, that can help to get (and keep) us in the mood once they are stimulated too.
Take your calves and feet, for example. Rubbing on your calves well before sex transpires can reduce the chances of experiencing a Charley horse, and since your feet are loaded with nerve endings, massaging them can help to soothe body organs and reduce stress levels. And the best thing is you can touch on these yourself during your lunch break and/or with your partner’s help after dinner. You will get amazing results either way.
9. Get into Some Orgasmic BreathingGiphy
It was close to this time last year that Teen Vogue published an article entitled, “Hands Free Orgasm? It's Totally Possible Through Orgasmic Breathing.” I’m sharing it because some of you who lean more into the more skeptical (or is it cynical?) side of things might want some proof regarding what I’m about to say — and here it is: the reality is that a lot of people struggle with climaxing and it’s not really due to having a lower level of arousal or being in the “wrong” sex position; it’s all about not breathing correctly. And the truth of the matter is that orgasmic breathing can effectively help to resolve that.
At the end of the day, orgasmic breathing is about slowing down, de-stressing, and focusing on you and your partner’s body. For example, if you intentionally inhale for a count of four and then exhale for the same count, it can bring more oxygen into your body, increase blood circulation (including to your genital region) and remove energy blockages that could be making getting into sexual sync with your partner difficult.
While we’re on this topic, something else that could help you out is orgasmic meditation. No need to look on another site for deets on that. I penned a piece a while back on it here.
10. Have a Kissing ContestGiphy
Damn, I wish I could remember where I heard what I’m about to say, but some movie or television show said that the reason why sex can oftentimes seem more intimate for women (even when it’s casual) than for men is because it’s more vulnerable for someone to put their finger into your mouth than for you to put your finger into theirs (I’m sure you catch the sex comparison here). Interesting, right? Well, maybe that’s why kissing (especially tongue kissing) is such a turn-on for both people (well, most people; also check out “Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?”) because tongues are going into each other’s mouths simultaneously.
Not only that, but because lips are reportedly 200 times more sensitive than even our fingertips are, it’s really difficult to kiss for a long time and not want things to go further. So, if you’re still struggling to get into the mood, have an unofficial contest to see how long you and your partner can kiss — tongue ‘n all — each other. Bet some moods will shift after that, chile.
11. Drink a Sex-Themed Cocktail (or a Couple of Mocktails)Giphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “8 Summer-Themed Alcoholic Drinks That Can Boost Your Libido.” Believe it or not, there are ingredients in certain kinds of alcohol that can “get you there”…if you let ‘em.
Although red wine is gonna probably be your best bet due to how the antioxidants are able to affect your system as far as increasing blood flow and heightening sensitivity in your genitalia region, beer increases phytoestrogen levels (which can balance hormones for women and make me want to get extra close), champagne increases blood flow and increases arousal and tequila can bring health to your gut, strengthen your immunity and reduce pain levels. So, why not turn up a bit with a cocktail, glass, or shot?
And what if alcohol isn’t really your thing? Mocktails have their own perks considering the fact that certain fruits are aphrodisiacs. Some include watermelon (whose nickname is “natural Viagra”), strawberries (thanks to their high amount of antioxidants), and peaches (due to the vitamin C that helps to keep your blood vessels dilated and your hormone levels balanced). So, do your body good with a Watermelon Mocktail (recipe here), a virgin Strawberry Mojito, or a Sparkling Peace Sunrise (recipe here). See how those are able to stimulate you too.
12. Take a Nap Together. Spooning. Naked.Giphy
There are plenty of health experts who will vouch for the fact that some people struggle with achieving an orgasm because they are too fatigued to do so. And since, reportedly, 1 in 3 people say that they don’t feel like they get enough rest, well, you do the math.
Something that can help is a nap. Even taking a power nap of 30 minutes (those particular kinds aren’t supposed to last any longer than that) can make you more alert, put you into a better mood, and improve your concentration levels. And shoot, if you’re able to convince your partner to take a nap with you and get into the spoon position while doing it, that can trigger feel-good hormones as well as make you feel safer and closer to your partner.
And if the two of you do it naked, not only does that make it easier to transition into sex after waking up, but you significantly increase your chances of getting an orgasm out of the deal since spooning is a great position to be penetrated by his penis and he also stimulates your clitoris with his finger. Wheee-wheee.
If you’re not starting to get into the mood after reading all of this, I don’t know what to tell you, sis. Other than: Rinse. Repeat. Report back. (If you build it...eventually you will cum!)
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