1991 and 1992. Anyone who was a teenager or in college during that time knows that if there were two groups who were constantly on the airwaves and had music visuals in regular rotation, it was SWV (they came out first) and Xscape (they came out the following year).
Wanna talk about a no-skips LP? That would be SWV’sIt’s About Time (a soundbite from their current show is definitely Coko saying, “30 million records sold…bitch”…LOL). And when it comes to Xscape, I will play “Feels So Good,” “My Little Secret,” and “Do You Want To” like they just came out to this day.
So yeah, when news hit cyberspace that they were going to do a reality six-part series together, I automatically knew that I was going to make the time to check it out. I mean, I had watched their shows (featuring them separately) before, and, for better or for worse, it was definitely some must-see TV.
Honestly, that’s why it didn’t shock me one bit when I peeped the People’s article, “Xscape Members Admit to 'Reluctantly' Signing on for New TV Show 'Queens of R&B' with SWV,”; especially when I noticed that Mona Scott-Young was an executive producer (have we ever seen her and Bravo’s Andy Cohen in the same room? Just sayin’).
And now that we’re what, four episodes in, I’ll just say that as someone who’s covered entertainment for many years now, I get that 1) we will never know people, as well as the media, wants us to think that we do; 2) perspectives are just that; and 3) no one is perfect.
That’s why I thought that the show could serve as a bit of a teachable moment in the sense that, rather than ranting incessantly on social media about what everyone is or isn’t/should or shouldn’t be doing, I would pull out seven lessons that stood out to me personally — things that we each can apply to our own lives if we’d instead turn entertainment into some edutainment. Ready?
1. Passive Aggressiveness Is the Ultimate Form of GaslightingGiphy
If there is one thing that irks me to no end, it’s a passive-aggressive individual and at the risk of being, well, passive-aggressive (LOL). If you’ve watched every episode of the show, you know exactly who fits the bill. One-word answers. Constantly being in opposition just to make things difficult. Dropping hints instead of coming right on out and saying what the issue is. Always playing the victim. Has an ever-growing scorecard without taking any accountability. Whew, these kinds of folks are completely exhausting. And what really sucks about how they move is that their words and actions float under the radar to the point where, when you get sick and tired of their ish and respond or react, they act like you’re the crazy one for doing so.
At the end of the day, passive-aggressive people think that “keeping the peace” means doing things their way. Yeah, watch that. They’re also chameleons because they will keep switching up based on who they’re around to keep a certain narrative about them going. Watch out for that too. Because if you continue to interact with them without calling them out on their ish, they will get off on gaslighting you — which means getting you to the point where you start to question your own reality, feelings, or perception of things, even though you know what you’re experiencing is real, which can end up driving you totally up the wall with no real benefits for doing so.
2. Toxic Moms Are a Problem That Isn’t Discussed Nearly EnoughGiphy
Ms. Gloria (LaTocha and Tamika’s mother). LAWD. I was just saying in an interview not too long ago that it’s past time that we fully address the damage that toxic moms are able to do. And if you will get involved in grown children’s issues; if you will try to intimidate your own children by yelling and talking over them like they aren’t adults; if you will minimize one child’s feelings in order to uplift another’s ego (like when Ms. Gloria said that Tamika was jealous of LaTocha behind Tamika’s back while Tamika was venting about feeling mistreated by both of them); if you will call yourself the fifth member of a group that has only four members and act like that justifies you butting into their business at any given time point and time (which it doesn’t); if you will tell a child that your other child may have taken said child’s money because she needed it (what in the world?!) and, if you’ve got one of your children never having peace about her own voice in life because she thinks she has to muffle it in order to get your approval — these are all forms of toxicity in parenting.
Wanna know some other ones?
- Toxic parents are self-centered
- Toxic parents are emotionally unpredictable
- Toxic parents are overly-critical
- Toxic parents disrespect other people’s boundaries
- Toxic parents have a justification for even the most destructive behaviors
- Toxic parents are demanding — oftentimes unrealistically so
- Toxic parents get off on using fear to get what they want, even out of their adult children
- Toxic parents lack any level of self-accountability
- Toxic parents are draining to be around
- Toxic parents basically only apologize to get you to lower your guard so that they can do something else manipulative.
It’s truly irrefutable that Ms. Gloria checks off these boxes. Yet if there is a silver lining to watching all of this go down in Tamika’s world, it’s that it could help some people to “connect some dots” in their own world (by the way, another sign of toxic parenting is a controlling parent because their job, especially once you are an adult, is to advise not dictate; we’ll have to deal with that at another time, though).
You know, unfortunately, when it comes to toxic parents of adult kids, oftentimes we’re told to just grin and bear it out of “respect for our elders.” Uh-huh, and do you know what that is? It’s another sign of toxic parenting because it’s a form of manipulation. And when folks decide to bring the Bible into the mix, the kind of manipulation that it is, specifically, is spiritual manipulation. This brings me to the next point.
3. Spiritual Manipulation Is a Very Real ThingGiphy
“You don’t have enough God in you to calm yourself down and listen to righteousness. And if I hear you jumping on your sister, there ain’t nothin’ in this world that won’t keep me from kickin’ yo tail.”
When I heard Ms. Gloria say the above message on Tamika’s voicemail, it was triggering as literal hell. I mean, you’d have to be completely delusional about what it means to have a Christ-like disposition to think that anything about that was loving, peace-filled, or compassionate. Yet, unfortunately, a lot of every-week-church-going people will think that Christianity is like Showtime at the Apollo back in the day.
What I mean by that is some of us are old enough to remember that they didn’t let you boo someone if they sang a gospel song, no matter how bad they were. In comparison, a lot of people think that they can’t be told about themselves so long as they claim to be a believer or they use — or is it manipulate? — a Scripture to justify their totally reckless behavior.
Even when LaTocha said, “We come from a praying family,” I couldn’t help but think, “there is PRAYING, and then there is PREYING” because if there is a constant discourse, pain, and drama, something is profoundly awry. After all, it is the Good Book itself that says that God is not the author of confusion but peace (I Corinthians 14:33) and that humility is where riches, honor, and life stem from (Proverbs 22:4).
And don’t get me started on the parents who think they can treat their children any ole’ kind of way under the guise of “Honor thy father and mother” (Exodus 20:12) because that very same Bible also says, “Do not provoke your children to wrath” (Ephesians 6:4).
Yeah, it really is time out for thinking that saying one is a Christian is enough to qualify as actually being one because if your character doesn’t complement how the Bible — not church culture but the Bible itself — says that one is supposed to act like, then something is off. WAY OFF. And you should be corrected for it. THE BIBLE SAYS SO.
“He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.” (Proverbs 15:22 — NKJV)
Besides, if you’re the only one who can delve out judgment calls and never be on the receiving end, not only is that highly hypocritical, that is actually spiritual manipulation at its finest. May we all beware of that.
Oh, and for the record, being spiritual means little if you remain in a state of spiritual immaturity. What are some indications of that?
- Holding grudges is spiritual immaturity (Ephesians 4:26)
- Unforgivingness is spiritual immaturity (Matthew 18:21-22)
- Rudeness is spiritual immaturity (I Corinthians 13:5 — AMPC)
- Not taking personal accountability is spiritual immaturity (I Corinthians 11:31-32)
- Trying to be popular at the expense of avoiding truth is spiritual immaturity (Luke 6:26 — Message)
4. Funky Attitudes Could Have Underlying IssuesGiphy
Again, I have been a fan of SWV since my teen years (my first love used to sing "Weak" to me often). I adored them then, and I enjoy them now ("Rain" is always gonna be my fave). That's why I thought it was interesting when Taj said in the first episode that they hadn't had any — pardon the pun — harmony issues since their 20s. Umm, I watched their 2014 reality television show (SWV Reunited) on WE tv, and it sings a very different tune (check out one example here). And boy, if there was a consistency in why the waters were so rocky, Coko was it.
Coko is a Gemini, and so am I. So, when it comes to the "straight no chaser" delivery that she has, I get it. Although I have to admit that time and intentional maturity on my part has taught me that "just being that way" isn't good enough if it's hurting other people's feelings or it's ultimately doing more harm than good.
As far as Coko, though, it seemed like — I'm gonna bring a word back — being janky never really bothered her, and I always found that to be…fascinating, especially since she always talked about growing up in the church. Like, you don't ever care about ruffling feathers? Like…EVER? Even with all of the talent that you have (because she really can SANG sing), do you not miss out on opportunities because people don't want to deal with so much of your…muchness?
That's why I'm glad she shared that she deals with bipolar depression. Not only does it shed some light on what seemed to oftentimes be erratic behavior on her show, but it also serves as a reminder that sometimes people are the way that they are due to some underlying causes that they might not even know about. Random mood swings. Blindsiding people with certain actions. Projecting issues. Stuff like that can have reasons that require some real therapy and/or medication, which is nothing to be ashamed of.
What people should feel uncomfortable about is constantly making others uncomfortable without looking into why they can be so triggering for them. So yeah, I salute Coko for sharing that private part of her life. She also gets mad props for a headline that I recently checked out: "SWV's Coko Gamble Takes In Cousin's 12-Year-Old Twins After Losing Her to Lupus: 'No Brainer.'" Much respect, indeed.
5. Never Apologize for Having Your Own VoiceGiphy
If there's one thing that seemed to be a running theme with this show, it's everyone wanted to make sure that their voice was heard — and good for them. LeLee has an alter ego (chile…CHILE), for instance. LaTocha wants to do gospel music. And Tamika doesn't want to be the hype man for her sister anymore — and interestingly enough, she seems to be paying for it when it comes to what it's costing her with her sister (and her mother).
Listen, if you don't get anything else out of these takeaways — please take away this: no one is truly your friend, blood or otherwise, if they only like you/can support you/will respect you if you do what they want you to do and/or how they want you to do it.
This is why the people who I counsel know that I will oftentimes say that what causes a lot of discord in relationships is so many people aren't looking for an actual PARTNER; what they want is a FAN and an AUDIENCE. Someone who will tell them that they can do no wrong and will back them up even when they are making the gravest of mistakes. Someone who will discourage you from growing if it's going to cause them to have to share some of their own spotlight. Someone who may claim to appreciate them, but oftentimes, what's really going on is they are quietly jealous— jealous of what could manifest if less focus was put on them.
I remember when I was penning my first book; there were family members who gave me the silent treatment for months because they were trying to intimidate me into not penning my book because they were concerned about how they would look in it. Lucky for them, I was merciful, and honestly, they should've been more concerned about how they treated me than if others were going to find out. That's on them. Yet I'm so glad that I didn't let them silence my voice because, as Alice Walker once said, "No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow."
Someone is in some sort of relationship, friendship, or business partnership, and they know that it is holding them back. Please let all that you just read in this particular section serve as a BIG GREEN LIGHT that it's time to do what needs to be done to go to the next level — with or without them. (Side note: If they are right for you, they won't require that you sacrifice one for the other.)
6. Don’t Stay Stagnant or StuckGiphy
When Todd said in episode three that Xscape and SWV should go to group therapy, even if he was joking, there really is truth in all humor. Between LaTocha and Kandi still having issues from 1998 ('98, y'all) to Taj asking Xscape if they even want to resolve their hamster wheel of drama to LeLee saying, "With girls, it's always some bullshit," to LaTocha still being mad at her group for saying, "If you had an ass to kiss" years later (what in the world?) — you would think that record labels and television shows would almost require that groups go to see a therapist, counselor and/or life coach at least a couple of times a year. Yeah, but that's almost too much like right…right?
It's kind of wild that a part of the reason why these kinds of shows continue to get picked up is that so much drama carries on from year to year to the point where stuff is still getting brought up from decades before — and that's why folks keep getting triggered and ish never gets fully resolved.
Not too long ago, I was in a session with someone who is basically on the verge of self-sabotaging their current relationship because they are still caught up in stuff that they wish their ex had done TWENTY YEARS AGO. And because they are still holding on to all of that, it's got them looking in the past rather than focusing on the present. And when we do that, it's impossible to fully move forward.
Listen, I don't know what the ladies on the show are gonna do. What I do know is healing is a choice, and there are plenty of resources available to us all in order for that to happen. As for this particular takeaway, all I will say is, it would be a damn shame for any of us to miss out on what's best for us because we're still holding onto things in the past that won't change no matter how much we wish that they would.
Hold folks accountable. Set boundaries. Do some releasing as needed (check out "Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead"). Yet purpose in your mind that this will be the year when you do really learn to LET ISH GO. As the Chinese proverb goes, "It's later than you think," so why waste time holding on to what's only keeping you stagnant? Or worse, stuck?
7. EVERYWHERE YOU GO, THERE YOU AREGiphy
One more, and then I'm out. Did you peep how one person on the show is the common link in a lot of the drama, and yet that same person hasn't said one thing that they've done wrong? Whew, chile. Whenever I encounter individuals like that, the same quote always comes to mind — "everywhere you go, there you are" because it's the truth.
Indeed, while it's really kind of inconsequential for one person to say that you're problematic in a particular area if 20 folks are echoing the same point (especially people who claim to care about you vs. trolls on the internet…who cares about them?), only those who are complete egomaniacs or totally lack self-awareness wouldn't pause-and-ponder to see if there could be some truth into what is being said.
And those kinds of people? Tuning out the voices only to find another circle to hang out in is counterproductive as hell (Thomas Hobbes once said that "hell is truth seen too late") because if you don't do some self-correcting, the same stuff about you is eventually gonna creep up. That's how the universe teaches us to grow up.
So yeah — whoever gets under your skin the most on the series, my two cents would be to do a bit of self-reflection. Are you similar to them? Have some folks told you about yourself, and you, Elmo shrugged them off? Are you caught up in some patterns that you know it's time to break?
Listen, television programming is just that — TELEVISION PROGRAMMING (which is why we all should watch what we tune into and how much time we spend — or is it waste? — on the tube). Yet if we choose to step outside of just gawking and laughing, the good news is we can learn a few things. This show is certainly not exempt. Not by a long shot.
So, here's hoping that as you're playing your own favorite SWV and Xscape joints, you're taking in one or two life lessons along the way.
Now let me get off of this thing and listen to "You're Always on My Mind" for the billionth time to settle my spirit from all of this keyboard stroking. LOL.
Good times, good times. And yes, teachable moments too. Give thanks.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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It’s semi-consistent that someone will hit me up based on an article I’ve written and will say, “Where did you come up with the idea to tackle that?” Although I do spend a good amount of time hanging out in cyberspace to see what folks are talking about, you’d be amazed how much inspiration comes from my clients, chile. And today’s topic? You already read the title, and yeah, it really is wild how much of an issue this is in a lot of relationships — marriages included.
How in the world folks let something like this get past them before jumping the broom, I will never (EVER) know because even if you and your partner decide to practice abstinence before saying “I do” (yes, some people do still do that), intimacy isn’t just about sex. And so, if you plan on vowing “until death parts us” to another individual, conversations need to get hella extensive, deep, and personal when it comes to what each other’s wants, needs, and expectations are — both inside of the bedroom as well as outside of it. And yes, oral sex applies.
Listen, I tell people often that you are in over-the-top denial if you think that someone is going to sign up for monogamy (the original definition of that is marriage, not dating, by the way; “exclusivity” is a more appropriate word for dating dynamics) and either end up in a sexless marriage (which is sex that transpires 10-15 times a year) or one where their sexual needs end up going unmet (especially on a consistent basis).
So, if cunnilingus is a big deal to you (and sis, I totally get it if that is indeed the case) and he’s either not interested in, umm, “meeting you where you’re at” or even if he’s simply less than enthused about doing so, please don’t just grin and bear it in silence. THAT IS A PROBLEM THAT IS ONLY GOING TO GET BIGGER.
That said, let’s look into how this issue can be addressed…
What’s His Reason?Giphy
Remember how I said that my clients inspire me a lot as far as content goes? Well, I’ll never forget sitting across from a man who was an elder at his church. Chile, he was a real trip because while he had no problem with his wife going down on him (more on that in a sec), he said that there was no biblical stance behind him “returning the favor.” Don’t get me started on how many times church folks act shocked by how much Word I know, and you know what? I am very aware of the fact that sex is mentioned in the Bible quite a bit.
For instance, I Corinthians 7:5 tells married couples not to deprive each other; and that sex needs to happen consistently. The Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16-20 speaks to sex not being designed to be casual. The Song of Solomon? Chile, that book is so graphic (if you know how to read in between the lines). And then there is Proverbs 5:15(NKJV): “Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well.”
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: a cistern is not only “a reservoir, tank, or container for storing or holding water or other liquid,” it is also “a reservoir or receptacle of some natural fluid of the body.” That second definition? Yes, the vagina would certainly qualify — so thinking that there is some spiritual reason to not engage? I don’t think there is one. Not for married folks.
Still, I’m using this as an example because no one comes up with something like an anti-oral stance without some sort of reasoning behind it. It might be how they were raised. It might be some sort of religious thing. It might be because they had a bad first (second or third) experience. It might be because they are afraid and are too scared to (openly) admit it. It might be because they are simply selfish individuals. Whatever the case may be, if you’ve got a partner who is against cunnilingus, remember that good sex typically includes some levels of emotional intimacy. Don’t just accept what he’s saying — talk to him about it.
Does He Expect Fellatio, Tho?Giphy
Many of us know the position that DJ Khaled was on a few years back; you know, when he said that he expects oral sex from his wife, yet he doesn’t give it. Now, to be fair, there is probably some cultural and religious stuff behind it all, but still: he was talking about being a king, and that is why he should be serviced — and how could we not see a lot of ego in all of that?
Personally — and if it’s TMI, I apologize in advance — I never found myself in the position where oral sex was going down, and reciprocity wasn’t present. I did have one sex partner where it never happened, yet it wasn’t for a lack of him trying or offering (I just didn’t want to for some reason). For me, my sexual history consisted of people who were my friends…which means we knew each other really well…which means we knew each other’s sexual needs and expectations way before anything ever transpired.
However, even if that’s not the case for you, if “head” hasn’t gone down yet, talk all of this out. If it has, and it seems like you’re the only one on the giving end, you need to bring it up. After all, closed mouths don’t get fed — or eaten (I mean…). If he gives you some DJ Khaled rah-rah, that’s gaslighting to the billionth degree because if it’s a religious thing, most religions promote abstinence outside of marriage. If he comes at you on some what I once heard R&B singer Keith Sweat say at a concert here in Nashville, that “real men don’t need to go down on women” because their penis should be enough — that’s nonsense.
For one thing, if you should be fine with just his penis, he should be fine with just your vagina. Secondly, a lot more women climax from cunnilingus than vaginal penetration alone — so, if he’s a pleaser, he’s gonna want to make sure that you get pleased. And if he isn’t one…that means sex is mostly about him, and he sucks (no pun intended) for thinking that way.
And what about you? Should you keep on…pleasuring him in that fashion if he’s not willing to “return the favor?" My vote is “no” because you are rewarding his selfishness, which is something that we’ll get more into in just a moment. That said, I will put on record that since every successful relationship includes levels of compromise, there is something else that you should consider.
Is He Open to “Compromise”?Giphy
Compromise. On so many levels, it is the foundation of pretty much relationships. And how do you compromise when it comes to something like this? Compromise can be how long he’s down there for (because if you’ve ever been with a man who enjoys going down, you know that he can be there for quite a while…and we appreciate it!). Compromise can be bringing sex-related condiments like whipped cream or honey into the dynamic. Compromise can be “counting up to 69” (if you know what I mean) so that he can be receiving pleasure while he’s giving it (which can serve as an absolutely awesome distraction). Compromise can be not expecting it every time sex goes down.
Would I compromise with a man who wasn’t big on cunnilingus? Probably not because that’s how big of a deal it is for me. However, I get that sometimes you can meet a good man, and his not being interested in “being a giver” isn’t exactly a deal-breaker for you. If that is indeed the case, compromise is the middle ground that just might work for you.
Okay, but what if you can’t bend in this department?
Is It a Deal-Breaker for You?Giphy
A few years back, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “These Are The Deal-Breakers You Shouldn't Hesitate To Have In The Bedroom.” And although “no oral sex” wasn’t on the list, I don’t think it’s shallow in the least if that is something that you just can’t seem to do without, especially if you’re gearing up for (or are already in) an exclusive type of situation. Again, it can’t be said enough that when you sign up to be someone’s one-and-only, and they do the same thing for you, this means that you are to be looking to them, and them alone, to get certain needs met.
And here’s the irony about deal-breakers: what they basically mean is two people came to the negotiating table and couldn’t find a middle ground. And while, I don’t think that anyone should feel bad about not doing something that they don’t want to do, if your man’s reason for not going down on you is simply, “I don’t want to” and he’s not even open to trying to find some workarounds, you’re probably going to find yourself very unhappy and sexually unfulfilled up the road and that means that there is a huge potential for other problems down the pike too.
It can’t be said enough that a deal-breaker is something that can’t be worked out after two people have tried to work things out. If the two of you have openly discussed the topic and he’s not willing to try to bend and you’re not willing to give oral sex up — no, it’s not shallow to end the relationship. Dating is about seeing who meets your needs, and it’s more than fair to see oral sex as a bona fide sexual need.
Do You See Signs of Selfishness Elsewhere?Giphy
Are there some people who just don’t like oral sex, no matter what? Of course, there are (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”). Hey, I even wrote a while back about some people who aren’t fond of kissing (check out “Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?”). Now I will say this: for the very few I know who don’t like to give or receive, they don’t apply when it comes to what I’m about to address that is probably the issue for everyone else who takes a pass on oral sex: selfishness. And since we’re talking about guys who don’t go down, specifically, in this piece — selfish men.
Do you know what I’ve noticed about those types of guys? They tend to be selfish in other areas too because, what they are essentially saying is, that they want you to do what pleases them while not being interested in returning the favor. And that tends to manifest in other reasons. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself the following questions, and then be real with yourself about the answers:
Do you find yourself doing most of the work to keep the relationship going? Are you the bigger giver overall? If you weren’t the one initiating calls, dates, etc. would you even be in a consistent relationship? Does he rarely compromise? Do you keep putting other needs that you have on the back burner? Does he make you feel like other wants that you have aren’t that big of a deal or that you are blowing things out of proportion for not getting them met? Does he try to make you feel guilty for having certain expectations?
A wise person once said that good sex is 10 percent of a relationship while bad sex is 90 percent because the bedroom sets the tone for the rest of the room of the house. That said, if you’ve got a man who won't go down on you (or acts like it’s a chore if he does), it’s clear that your bedroom has some issues. And so, I can’t help but ask: How’s the rest of your “house” doing? If it’s selfish elsewhere, that’s an even bigger red flag.
All You Can Do Is Ask. Discuss. Then Make Your Move. One Way or Another.Season 1 Doesnt Work Like That GIF by The Roku ChannelGiphy
The reason why I decided to provide some things to think about instead of writing what I think a blanket solution should be is because the reality is that when it comes to stuff like this, no two couples are the same; there are so many nuances to sexual needs that it’s impossible to cover it all in just one article.
What I did want to make sure of is you knew that 1) your sexual needs are legitimate; 2) the way to address getting them met is to not suppress or make assumptions; you need to address them head-on, and 3) if he’s not willing to give you what you need (or want, if you choose to see cunnilingus in that fashion), you’ve got some serious thinking to do. Because, again, going the distance with someone who isn’t meeting a sexual desire that satisfies you can be a setup for all kinds of drama that could be avoided if the two of you aren’t kind enough to each other to say, “You know what? Maybe we’re not as right for each other as we thought.”
Sex is the only thing in a relationship. NOT. AT. ALL. At the same time, I’ve been working with sexually unhappy couples long enough to know that if you don’t take your needs seriously, “snowflakes” have a way of turning into avalanches.
If he won’t go down on you, address it. If he’s not willing to budge, don’t feel bad for making a move… on someone who wouldn’t even dream of this being an issue in the first place.
And sis, there are PLENTY of men out here who are just like that. TRUST.
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