Self-Truths That Will Stop You From Settling For Less
There are two songs by Mya that will always and forever be my jams. This first one is "Fallen" (that track is still fire!). Yeah, she was basically a stalker in the video, but we'll chalk that up to artistic direction and let it slide. Then there's "The Best of Me" (the original and the remix). "Oh no, I can't let you get the best of me/Even tho, deep inside, somethin's dyin' to see/How you flow out them clothes then you put it on me/Feelings comin' on strong. I know that it's wrong. I can't let you get the best of me".
That? That right there? It's oh-so-fitting for the points that I'm about to make. I think every single person reading this (whether they choose to admit it or not) has settled far more than they ever intended to. Settled when it came to their career. Settled when it came to their relationships (both romantic as well as platonic). Even settled when it came to their overall standards and expectations. And shoot, where did it get us? Right where writer Maureen Dowd once told us that it would—"The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." (Ain't that the truth?!)
And why do so many of us settle? Because we don't remember some truths about life and ourselves when it comes to making certain types of choices. And when the truth isn't what's guiding you, some form of deception is bound to take over. When that happens, literally, all hell breaks loose.
Let's do something about that today so that the truth of what you're deserving of can finally and fully set you free!
1.God Has Your Best Interest at Heart. Always.
Although not all of us share the same religious beliefs, according to Pew Research, nine out of every 10 Americans still believe in a higher power; something that is bigger and far greater than they are. That said, one popular saying that drives me absolutely batty is, "When God closes a door, He opens a window." Umm, the God who the Bible says can top all that we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21) is gonna close a door and then downgrade? Uh-uh. If a door gets shut, only a bigger one is headed your way!
I know what it's like to be blindsided, disappointed or just totally knocked out for the count. But if there is one free-setting truth that you can—and should—hold on to, it's the fact that God is not going to allow something to leave you without replacing it with something better. Maybe not immediately but when the time is right. And best. According to Him—first.
2.You Are the Only “You” There Has Ever Been and Will Ever Be
Le sigh. I know parents who tell their children things like, "There is always going to be prettier or smarter than you." Listen, I was a child once and there is nothing even remotely comforting or beneficial about taking that approach to a little one's self-esteem. Besides, it ain't even true. Each of us are individuals and, there never was and never will be someone who is exactly like us. This means that no, there isn't someone who can top you because you are an original. That makes you totally incomparable.
And since there is nothing or no one like you, why in the world would you want to settle for anything or someone who doesn't honor you as such?
3.Self-Love Doesn’t Just Set the Bar; It Raises It Too
When you have a big personality or a strong voice, people don't get that you can still struggle with low self-esteem. Whenever I'm asked to explain how that is possible, I usually say something along the lines of, "Just because I don't care what you think, that doesn't automatically mean I think highly of myself." And when you don't think highly of yourself, you tend to do something else that I sometimes say—"You only end up bending over backwards when your bar is too low."
If there's one thing that "settlers" have in common with one another, it's the fact that they don't love themselves enough. Self-love isn't about taking selfies every day or posting quotes on the topic to social media every chance you get. When I think of self-love, the Love Chapter in the Bible (I Corinthians 13) is what immediately comes to mind. It's about being patient, kind and "never failing" your own self before trying to extend those graces to others.
Take it from me, when you love yourself, it's very hard to settle for less than you deserve. You love yourself too much to dishonor your being in that fashion.
4.Fulfilling Your Purpose Should Never Be Up for Negotiation
Purpose is a pretty loaded word. But a simple way to define it is "the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc." Recently, I was doing a premarital counseling session with a couple. It is obvious that they love each other very much. Still, I encouraged them to pump the brakes a bit because the wife-to-be is not very supportive of her fiancé's purpose. She was more into him doing what makes more money rather than what leaves him truly fulfilled.
If you've been used to settling for so long that you don't even know what kind of red flags to look out for, this is a blaring one. Avoid ANYONE and ANYTHING who encourages—and by "encourage", what I really mean is tempt—you to not thrive in your purpose. The right man, the right job, the right church, the right job—one way that you will truly know that all of these things are indeed right for you is if they support you in fulfilling your purpose. If they don't and you remain…you already know what you're doing to yourself.
5.If It Doesn’t Make You Better, You Don’t Need It
Let me put a disclaimer up on this one. Some things that challenge you or make you uncomfortable will still ultimately make you a better person, so don't take this to mean that you should run from every person, place, thing or idea that doesn't make you feel good all of the time. What I'm saying is, if you're involved in or even merely entertaining something or someone and you can't think of even one way that they are improving your way of life—or worse, they are making it worse—you need to let it/them go. Stat.
This is kind of where the whole "some things are for a reason, season or lifetime" statement comes into play. I know of one relationship, in particular, that was really sending me through it for a season. But it also caused me to do some serious self-evaluating and growing. Once I realized what that person was there to teach me, it was time to move on. How could I tell? Because it got to a point where I could no longer see any silver-lining-reasons for keeping them in my life; things stopped being growing pains and started becoming straight-up painful.
If you see your character becoming better via something or someone, that's a good thing. But if you're starting to question your worth or value, or you feel like you're simply wasting a colossal amount of time remaining stuck, this is one more sign that you are settling.
6.When It’s Right, Your Mind, Body and Spirit Will Be in Harmony
I'm a firm believer that our beings are trinities in the sense that our mind, body and spirit were designed to be in sync with one another. That's why, it's important to pay attention to what all three of them have to "say" about the decisions that we make. Your mind may want a particular kind of food, but what does your body have to say about it? Your body may want a certain man, but is your spirit sending up red flags?
It might sound cliché to let peace be your guide in everything that you do, but believe me when I tell you that there is a ton of truth to that. I don't care what person, place, thing or idea that you're seriously considering, if all "three of you" cannot unanimously agree that it's a good idea…something is…up. And by that I mean that something is setting you up to let you down.
7.Love Does Not Hurt. Faith Is Not Blind.
I am a spiritual—and Scriptural—person. And so, it irritates me to no end whenever I hear people say things like love hurts or faith is blind. The Bible tells us that God is love (I John 4:7-11) and, as far as faith goes, it's a spiritual principle too (Hebrews 11:1); it's not about aimlessly moving about in this world, but trusting in a higher Source that, if you don't get what you want, things will work out for the best (which is the textbook definition of hope and you can't have faith without hope being involved).
So, if you know that God is love and that He loves you, and that, at the end of the day, if you don't get what you want, it will still all work out for your good, how could you possibly want to settle for less?
8.You Were Made to Be a Haven of Passion and Peace (Both. Not Either Or.)
On the surface, this might seem like an odd one, but just hear me out for a sec. When you think of passion, what comes to mind? Powerful emotions? Strong desires? Great sex? All of these things are good, but in the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, "If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."
I can't tell you how many times I remained in a toxic relationship because a man made me climb the walls or how many poor business decisions I made because, while an opportunity to get my writing out may have sounded good, I didn't pay attention to financial red flags (like a company's reputation for not paying on time or not reading contracts before signing them).
Many of us feel like passion and peace are polar opposites, but that's not the case at all. One of the best ways to know if something you're passionate about is truly right for you is it will create an element of peace in all other areas of your life.
Passion and peace aren't enemies. They are accountability partners that help us to keep everything in balance.
9.Settling Is Always About Accepting Less Than You Deserve
I can't tell you how many people—men and women alike—have stayed in the most ridiculous relationships based on the twisted logic of, "I've put all of this time into it and I'm afraid this might be my last shot." Last shot at…what? Remaining in something mediocre when you could be in something fabulous?
"Deserve" is an interesting word. It can mean that we are worthy of a reward or a punishment. What I've come to realize is our self-esteem levels oftentimes dictate what we truly believe that we are deserving of.
When you think highly of yourself, you tend to believe that you are worthy of the best. When you think the opposite, you settle.
And trust me, based on what you settle for, it can end up feeling just like life is punishing you. If you know that you don't feel as good about yourself as you should, take some time out to focus on nothing other than self-care. Once you start investing in yourself more, your standards and expectations will rise and settling will be less of an issue for you.
10.A Life Full of Dignity Is a Life Well-Lived
Dignity. It's one of those words that doesn't come up much. Oh, but it should. When you live with dignity, it means that you have self-respect and that you treat yourself like you are worthy. It also means that you are a person of character. If you are dignified, you tend to only want to be treated in a dignified manner.
So, if you're like Pauletta (from Being Mary Jane) was, and you're known to put Post-it Notes all around your home, this week, make sure to put "dignity" on one of them.
Maybe hop on Etsy and get a T-shirt with a Scripture that references that very point on it (there's a cool one here). A lot of people settle for less because they forget to apply self-respect to what presents itself to them—person, place, thing or idea. But believe me, the moment that you do, that "settle thing" will become less and less of a lifestyle pattern.
You'll be willing to wait for what will honor you, just as much as you already honor yourself.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Your Self Worth Determines Your Net Worth
Know Your Worth: When Is It Time To Walk Away?
How To Get Your Confidence Back When It's Slippin'
Knowing Your Self-Worth Is The Ultimate F*ckboy Repellent
Featured image by Getty Images
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- You shouldn't settle for less and this is why | by EB Johnson, NLP-MP ›
- How To Stop Settling For Less Than You Deserve - Kelle's Space ›
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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15 Women Share Their Personal Hacks For Better Orgasms (And Sex Overall)
I’m pretty sure that I’m basically being redundant when I say that I write about sex quite a bit which means that I spend quite a bit of time doing research when it comes to sex-related intel, tips, and hacks. Yet I have to say that when it comes to getting some much-needed information in the realm of coitus, it’s been my clients (along with random interviews that I do with people because I don’t mind talking to complete strangers about intimate ish) who have garnered me some of the best takeaways.
Take orgasms, for example. Since I’m well aware of the fact that vaginal orgasms (especially) can be a real challenge for a lot of women, I’m constantly on the hunt for what can help to “bridge the gap” in that arena.
And that’s why I decided, this time, to forego science articles, vlogs, and online data and instead ask some women for myself about some of the things that they do to make having an orgasm, improving their orgasms, and their sexual experience overall something that is so much better for themselves.
So, grab yourself a light aphrodisiac snack (check out “Eat Your Way To Better Sex With Aphrodisiacs”) and dig into what 15 Black women told me gets them off, in a mighty big way, just about every time.
*As always, middle names have been used so that everyone can feel comfortable giving up the goods…umm, so to speak*
1. Rochelle. 37. Married for 11 Years.Giphy
“While y’all be out here talking about some kegels, what I’m into is my man giving me a hip massage. The key is to make sure you use some sort of massage oil that has menthol in it. Between the tingling of the menthol and him rubbing on your hips, not only is it really relaxing, but the ‘minty feel’ opens your body up so that once intercourse begins, you’re less tense, and that makes having an orgasm so much easier to do.”
2. Karmyn. 27. Single.
“Kiss him the way you want him to penetrate you. Literally, use your tongue as if it were a penis and move it in his mouth like you want him to move inside of you. The kissing will turn you both on, and if he follows your instructions, you should be able to orgasm with no problem."
"I learned this trick when I asked an ex of mine to explain what p — sy feels like, and he said the best way to explain it is what a tongue feels like inside of [the] mouth. He should’ve never told me that, boy! It’s been hell in these streets ever since!”
3. LaChelle. 43. In a Serious Relationship for Two Years.
“If you’re self-conscious about your body, get some lingerie that has cutouts in them. There is a lot of sexy stuff out here that can have you covering up the parts you’re not comfortable with while still giving him access to the ‘main events.’ My man loves one of my lace one-piece teddies that has no crotch, and it’s easier for me to orgasm because I’m not overthinking the entire time.”
4. Trinitee. 27. Married for One Year.Giphy
“We’ve only been married a year, but we weren’t exactly abstinent when we were just dating. So, we like to find ways to keep it fresh. One thing that we do is go ‘hotel hopping’ once a month. We find a new hotel and meet each other there. We try and do different hours of the day and come with a surprise in hand. Like he might bring a new sex toy, and I might have on some lingerie that he’s never seen before. Then we text each other beforehand to talk about the best part of the sex we had from the last hotel we visited. The anticipation is foreplay.”
5. Wren. 33. In a Serious Relationship for Six Years.
“What works for me is doing afterplay as foreplay. What I mean by that is, taking a nap naked with my boo before any sexual activity is one of my favorite things. Being up under him, especially if he’s spooning me, feels really good, sleeping together is very intimate, and — there’s something about being awakened outta my sleep with kisses on my neck and back that almost makes me want to cum right then and there.”
6. Bevalyn. 40. Living with Her Partner for Four Years.
“Get on your back and have him kneel in front of you."
"Put your legs over his, and when he penetrates you, ask him to use one of his hands to apply pressure on your pubic bone — the area right above your clitoris."
"As he’s gently pushing down while he’s inside of you…if you don’t cum from that, I don’t know what else to tell you, sis.”
7. Sophia. 38. In a Serious Relationship for Two Years.Giphy
“Shower sex can be a bit much, and I don’t trust a used jacuzzi. What we do is fill up our own inflatable pool and get it on inside of it. It’s perfect during the summer, late at night, because we have a tall fence. Just make sure that you bring some silicone lube to keep things slippery down there. An inflatable pool has been one of the best sex investments that we have ever made!”
8. Averie. 35. Single.
“Wanna know if your man is as into giving you head as he claims? Right after he goes down on you, ask him to immediately penetrate you. If he’s hard, he’s totally into it, and if he catches you soon enough, you’ll be in the perfect position to have a multiple orgasm. Don’t say I didn’t give you the ultimate cheat code.”
9. Victoria. 40. Married for 11 Years.
“Shellie, you actually got me on the cinnamon kick when I read one of your articles that talked about applying cinnamon oil to my clit before oral sex. Since [then], I’ve been doing some research, and it says that cinnamon is also an aphrodisiac because it stimulates blood flow. So, I’ll also drink cinnamon tea throughout the day or share a cinnamon cocktail with my husband. Works like a charm.”
Shellie here: She’s right. I did say that. LOL. You can read for yourself: “Here's How To Have Some Really Great Fall-Themed Sex.”
10. Daniela. 28. Engaged for Six Months.Giphy
“Ever been fingered backward? What I mean is, get on all fours and have him insert a finger or two from behind with his palm being flat. That way, the space in between your anus and your vagina will get a massage while your vagina gets penetrated. There’s nothing quite like it.”
11. Saven. 32. Single.
“Ice. Have him rub a little bit of ice on your clitoris and then immediately warm it up with his tongue. There is something about the drastic changes in temperature that gets me every time. And I mean, EVERY time.”
12. Ferynn. 30. Living with Her Partner for Five Years.
“I don’t know about you, but my man loves to put my legs up in the air. It was never really my favorite move until I read that behind the knees are an unsung erogenous zone. Whoever found that out was onto something because if he rubs back there while talking real crazy to me in a deep voice? Here I come…HERE I COME!”
13. Vivienne. 30. Engaged for One Year.Giphy
“Never underestimate the power of a foot massage. Just make sure that he applies pressure in the middle of your foot where your arch is. It instantly makes me wet. I asked my doctor why and he said that it’s probably because foot massages tend to increase blood flow, including where the vagina is. Either way, it’s always a good night if I get a foot massage first.”
14. Michelle. 24. Single.
“I’m a doula who owns my own exercise ball…for sex. When I first started showing couples the positions that women can get into to make labor easier, it got me to thinking that some of those positions could work for sex too — and they do."
"Something about the movement of the ball takes the pressure off of the back for both men and women. It also makes getting into certain positions a lot easier so that you can enjoy sex for a lot longer.”
15. Carol. 31. Married for Five Years.
“My husband and I have bets. If he wants me to make some of his favorite meals five days in a row, he’s gotta make me cum five times in a row. If I want him to get me something that’s not in our budget, I’ve gotta attempt one of his sex fantasies. We’re both competitive as hell, so it works for us because honestly, even when we ‘lose’…we win!”
Listen, I don’t know about y’all, but this was definitely worth my while. After all, ain’t nothin’ like some Black women who can speak from very-personal-and-up-close experience about what makes them happy — especially if it can increase the odds of bringing some sexual satisfaction your way too.
Speaking of, if you want to share the wealth, drop some of your own orgasm-related tips in the comment section. The more of us who can woosah on the regular, the better, chile. Straight up. #havefun #lotsofit
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Featured image by Giphy