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Yes Couples, You Can "Spring Clean" Your Sex Life

Spring is here! Here's how to get your sex life in order.

Sex

Yeah, I know. When you think of spring cleaning, probably the last thing that comes to mind is your sex life. Just hear me out, though. Spring cleaning is a practice that's all about thoroughly cleaning your living space in preparation for the new seasons that are to come…right? That's why I think it is the perfect idea to apply this way of thinking to your world of intimacy. Because, the reality is, a lot of us are currently having less-than-absolutely-wonderful sexual experiences and it's usually because there are areas that we either totally overlook or don't give our full attention to.

So, in honor of spring cleaning, spring fever and the weather heating up, here are some ways for you to get your sex life back in order so that it can be—pardon the pun—hotter than ever!

1. Get a Physical

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I once read that only 1 in 5 people get an annual physical. What fascinated me most about that is many health care providers were divided on if going to the doctor every year was even necessary. Some actually believe that it's a waste of time and money unless you sense something is actually wrong. I'm gonna leave that conclusion to your personal discretion. What I will say is if you're not in the mood for sex, you're inexplicably tired all of the time, your period is all over the place, you feel irritable without really knowing why, sex has suddenly become painful or you no longer enjoy it—definitely make an appointment to see your physician. There are a lot of folks out here who aren't having a great sex life and it's directly related to some sort of underlying health—even if it's mental health, so a therapist can't hurt either—issue. That's why it's so important to "spring clean" your sex life by making sure you're in tip-top shape first.

2. Rearrange Your Bedroom

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A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Could Your Home Decor Be Totally Wrecking Your Sex Life?" When you get a chance, I definitely recommend that you check it out. Yet even if you don't feel like doing any real bedroom upgrades that require spending cash, how about rearranging your room a bit?

Boredom is a leading cause of a less-than-stellar sex life when it comes to long-term couples and doing something as simple as moving your bed can make your bedroom space feel totally different. And a change of scenery has a way of adding a spark to couples and their libidos.

3. Bring Some Greenery into Your Space

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Spring is the time of year when birds start chirping, flowers begin to bloom and trees are green again. In honor of all of this, tell me something—how many plants are in your bedroom space? It's been proven that plants can do everything from reduce stress and improve your mood to absorb toxins and even reduce noise levels (if you know what I mean). So, why not put a snake plant or pothos on your nightstands or place an English ivy or Gardenia in a corner of the room? It can bring peace to your bedroom and make it feel so warm and comfy that you'll want to cuddle up with your partner—and then some.

4. Incorporate Some "Spring" Oils

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Over here, we're huge fans of essential oils (check out "6 Different Places To Apply Essential Oils. And Why." and "8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last"). Well, why not add a few essential oils to your collection, just in time for spring? Whether you want to freshen up your bedding, create a luxurious bath, make your own massage oils, DIY some body sprays that will help your skin to glow or put a seductive scent in a diffuser—ones that scream "spring" include tangerine, bergamot, Roman chamomile, jasmine, lavender, manuka, neroli, rose, ylang ylang and chocolate peppermint.

5. Create a “Sex Nook”

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At the end of the day, a nook is a small space that's considered to be a safe area. Oftentimes it's in a corner of a room or by a window where you can focus on relaxing while doing something that you enjoy. In walks the concept of a "sex nook" that I sometimes recommend to couples. All it means is that you've got a dedicated space where your sex toys and erotic reads may go. It can also be where you do some orgasmic meditation exercises or maybe discuss some of the things that you discovered while surfing the 'net or downloading some sex apps (which we'll get into in a bit). The mind is a funny thing. When you have places with "themes", often that can "program you" into cultivating a certain type of mindset and energy. Sex included.

6. Have a “Sex Section” in Your Fridge

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If you're someone who does traditional spring cleaning, I'm pretty sure that one of the things on your to-do list is to get at that fridge of yours. As you're tossing out old condiments and deep cleaning your shelves, set aside a space that can be your "sex section". It can include aphrodisiac foods, sex condiments like whipped cream and chocolate frosting and also things that will keep your vagina healthy and tasting great like kefir and celery. You know what they say—if you build it, they will come. In this case, swap out "they" for "y'all" and "come" for "cum". No doubt.

7. Commit to Cuddle Sessions

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If you happen to be someone who's been in a relationship for, let's say three years or more, a synonym for the word "clean" that I'd like you to ponder is "thorough". One of the beautiful things about sex, when you're in a long-term committed relationship, is it connects you to your partner on more than just a physical level. Well, did you know that cuddling does things like cultivate intimacy, reduces stress, helps you and your partner to feel closer to each other on an emotional level, relieves pain and boosts your immune system?

If your sex life has been going OK yet you can't recall the last time you and yours were intentional about going to bed earlier so that you can snuggle up or you stayed in bed later in the morning so that you could spoon—to be clean is to be thorough. To be thorough is to be "extremely attentive" and "have full mastery of a talent". Use the spring season to make time for more cuddling. That kind of attention can help you to become an even better master at satisfying your partner.

8. Download Some Sex Apps

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Something that's great about apps is they're convenient, right? Well, if for the last few weeks or months, it seems like your sex life is in a bit of a low space, how about downloading some sex apps that can hopefully help to "spruce things up" a bit? If you want to sext without anyone but your partner being able to see what you're saying (or showing), go with Confide. Looking to develop better sexual communication with your partner? How about Pillow? If you and/or your partner travel a lot, OhMiBod comes with literal vibrations for your long-distance pleasure. An app that can make the initial stages of foreplay more fun is Dirty Game - Hot Truth or Dar‪e. If it's time to bring in some new sex positions, an absolute must-have is iKamasutra. These are just a few suggestions that can help to evoke spring fever, if needed.

9. Detox Poor Sex Habits/Patterns

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Spring tends to be the time of year when a lot of people detox so that they can get their bodies in peak condition for summer. Why not use these next several weeks to detox any poor sexual habits or patterns that you might have? Habits like what? Maybe it's not investing enough time into setting the right mood for sex. Maybe it's not "landscaping" (check out "Yep. Pubic Hair Has Trends (And Specific Needs) Too."). Maybe it's not having enough foreplay. Maybe it's fantasizing too much about other people (check out "You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?"). Maybe it's—one that I personally loathe—weaponizing sex (withholding for the sake of manipulation or power). Maybe it's staying in a sex rut. Maybe it's treating your bedroom like a second office (with all of those damn devices on your bed) or having more time for any and everyone else but your partner. Something that all of these habits/patterns have in common is they're actually pretty toxic and you can't have a healthy sex life when poison is in the way. So, definitely seek to "spring clean" your sex life by doing some detoxing of things that you know are sexually counterproductive—for the sake of sex and ultimately your relationship overall.

10. Do Some Foreplay Edging

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Edging is something that we've brought up, more than once, on this platform. It's basically when you and your partner stimulate each other to the point of climaxing, only you pause a few times at that point so that when you do finally orgasm, it's super intense. Along these lines, something that I'd like for you to consider is what I call "foreplay edging". We all know that foreplay is all about things that we do to arouse our partner so that they will want to have sex. The challenge here is this, though. What are things that you can say and do, that aren't directly sexual that can get your partner in the mood to engage in foreplay with you? What kind of texts can you send? What kind of compliments can you give? When it comes to their love language, how can you speak it in such a way that they'll want to jump your bones as soon as they see you?

Sometimes, when I'm in a session with a couple, something that both the men and women will say is they wished they were "wooed", on a seduction level, by their partner more. Figuring out how to make your partner desire foreplay before even thinking about sex is an art that is lost on many yet is effective AF.

11. Cultivate Some Sex Rituals

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So, riddle me this. What is a sex ritual that you and your partner have? A ritual is something that is an established procedure and a procedure is a mode of action. When something is established, it is settled, valid and recognized. So, when it comes to sex, what have you and your partner established and settled between the two of you? Is it that you won't go more than a week without some sort of sexual activity? Is it that you won't go a month without trying something new on the sexual front? Perhaps it's that you will schedule a sexcation, at least twice a year or that you won't let "outside drama" infect what happens in the bedroom. One of the biggest mistakes long-term couples make is planning when it comes to every other area of their life and "winging it" when it comes to sex. Using this season to commit to a particular "mode of action" is a wise step if you want to keep your sex life a top priority in your relationship—which is something that you definitely should do.

12. Cleanse. Each and Every Time.

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Another definition of clean that I really like is to wash away whatever is contaminating. Something that I think totally fits this bill is holding grudges and not being honest about your feelings. After all, true sexual intimacy is about two people sharing their minds, bodies and even a part of their spirits—that's hard to do when there is bitterness, resentment, anger or even a lack of true openness in the way. Spring cleaning is all about getting in there and removing all of the "yuck". Set aside some time, sooner rather than later, so that you and your partner can have a "cleansing conversation". It's refreshing. It's healing. And it can serve as the foundation for a revived sex life—just in time for all that this spring season has to offer.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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This article is in partnership with Staples.

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