“I hate when people have that view towards marriage just because others around them are divorced or going through issues. What does their failed marriage have to do with you?"
That was a comment from a reader on an article I recently wrote about mismatched expectations. I hate to admit it that with #RelationshipGoals hashtags being thrown around and endless articles encouraging men to find themselves an “Ayesha Curry" or "Michelle Obama" to wife up, the media and the relationships we're surrounded by affect our outlooks on love more than we'd like to believe.
We'd all like to think we're creating a unique love story all our own, but most of us want the same things you'd find in any The Perfect Match type rom-com: respect, trust and someone who won't judge us when we spend way too much in Target…every single damn time.
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Journalist and first African-American female co-host of The Today Show, Tamron Hall, is no exception. In an interview with People magazine, she once revealed how her sister's tragic experience in a relationship has seriously impacted her own ideas about love and intimacy.
"No one deserves what happened to my sister," Hall opened up about witnessing her sister, Renate, become involved in an abusive relationship. In 2004, Renate was found bludgeoned and beaten to death floating face down in the pool of her Houston, Texas home. The incident was the final blow in Renate's history of being involved with abusive men. Hall reveals she witnessed a violent altercation herself on one occasion.
"I said to her, 'What's wrong with you?' 'You're too beautiful. Too smart. You can do better.' All the things I've learned now are wrong [from domestic abuse advocates], I did them all," Hall revealed about the incident she witnessed in her own home.
Hall says she was upstairs when she heard a scuffle from downstairs. When she came down, she found a bruised Renate in the middle of a room in shambles. After asking the man to leave, Tamron began to question her sister about the relationship. As an advocate for women who are victims of domestic violence, Hall now knows that it's important for women in these situations to not feel judged. Renate stayed in the relationship until her untimely death. Although the man was the only person of interest in the investigation of Renate's death, due to lack of evidence, no arrests were made and the case remains an unsolved homicide.Hall admits that she carries some guilt for her sister's death and feels knowing what she knows now, she could've handled things differently:
"I think Renate thought some part of me still judged her."
But Renate's death has not been in vain. In her honor, Hall has committed a part of her career to advocating for victims of domestic violence and educating friends and family members on how to support loved ones who find themselves in abusive relationships. Hall works with groups like Safe Horizon and Day One to help families of victims find closure. In 2015, she was honored the Women of Courage Award by Philadelphia's Lutheran Settlement House for her work in sharing the stories of survivors of domestic violence on the Today Show's Shine a Light series.
But the conflicting feelings surrounding her sister's experience have affected more than Hall's professional mission, they have affected her personal life as well. Joking that her friends have nicknamed her “The Runaway Bride," Hall admits that Renate's relationships have made her approach her own with caution:
"I've been engaged a couple times. Thank God no one was abusive, but [my sister's situation] makes me cautious."
The 47-year-old shared that she's been engaged twice but never made it down the aisle:
“I never bought a dress, but I was close, in Vegas and another time in Cozumel," she says. "I chickened out both times." Tamron Hall with family and sister Renate (right).
Photo courtesy of Tamron Hall
Hall also admits that a phobia of divorce along with the demands of her career have also played a huge part in her hesitance to commit to long-term relationship. “I'm sad about it some days," she revealed although she is quick to confirm that the success she's experienced as a journalist is a pretty big damn deal:
"I know it's rare to have a single woman on morning TV who doesn't have a child, and I'm Black! But I love my job."
As a super Tamron Hall stan, I must admit I love the job that she's doing too. Hall holds it, balancing sass and sophistication, and being the “young and fly" auntie I never had. She might as well be a living, breathing Being Mary Jane. But don't get it twisted, Hall is no slave to her success and finds time to schedule some fun in after handling business:
"I date, don't get me wrong," she says. "I'm not up here filing my fingernails on a Friday night. I want to find someone to share my life with."
And if possible she wants to have it ALL:
"I've not given up on having a child. But I hope whatever route of parenthood I choose, whether it's adoption or I'm able to conceive, I just hope that I'm able to give someone as beautiful a life as my parents gave me."
Hall's whole approach to relationships got me thinking about the examples of love that are set for us and how they define what a healthy relationship is and exactly what we want. Growing up in a two-parent household, I was lucky to witness a relationship of love, respect, and loyalty between my parents on a daily basis. My mother taught me how to maintain my independence while still being a part of a team. My father taught me the importance of having standards and demanding respect. But more than that, I owe a lot of what I learned about relationships to my older sister. I love my big sis to death, but I have to admit I learned a lot about what I didn't want in a relationship from her example.
I think the only thing as painful as watching your daughter deal with heartbreak, is witnessing your mom or sister deal with losing love.
There were plenty of times I've sat in my room listening to New Edition and Troop beg and plead on the other side of the wall, muffling my sister's cries. In addition to watching my sister give her all to men from the very beginning of a relationship, (fulfilling my duties as an annoying little sis) I've read diary entries about how she would fall head over heels only to get taken advantage of or cheated on. Witnessing these lessons firsthand didn't make me exempt to the heartbreak any teenage girl has to go through as a rite of passage, but I did find myself keeping my guard up a little longer after meeting a guy.
I was hesitant to start acting like a girlfriend before officially getting the title. I saw my sister make lunches for men who didn't have enough respect to not double book their side chicks so they didn't all show up with soup and a sandwich at the same damn time. Some relationships I didn't take as seriously because I knew maintaining my independence and keeping my options open would lessen the chances that I'd find myself crying into my pillow to “Can You Stand The Rain?"
Whether it's your parents going 22 years strong or Ayesha Curry cheering from the sidelines when her hubby Steph breaks another three-pointer record, there's nothing wrong with looking to the relationships around us as a reference for what we want or don't want from love.
What matters most is that we use these examples to help shape what works for us. We all won't be Ayesha Curry, but there are some pretty awesome Kisha's, Bianca's, and Michelle's that are holding it down for their men just fine. Just because your BFF has been cheated on by every man she's ever been with, doesn't mean it's only a matter of time before you discover it going down in your own man's DM's. You have to take into account the unique circumstances of each relationship on its own. If Hall's experience can teach us anything, it's that every relationship, good or bad, can teach you about what you want from love as well as a thing or two you may not have known about yourself.
"It hasn't shaped my life, but it's given me courage I didn't know I had."
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy