Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with a young woman about how hard of a time she was having with letting an ex go (check out “6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex”). There was something, in particular, she said that I specifically took note of (it’s also what inspired me to pitch and write this piece): “I don’t know why it’s so hard to get over him. No other man has been this much of a struggle.”
When I asked her if she had slept with any other guys before and she said one, only a couple of times, and that the sex was “meh” at best, and then I asked her if she and the guy who she was still pining over had been sexually active and she replied with, “He’s the first guy to give me an orgasm from intercourse.” I simply replied, “Hmm…and you’ve never connected those dots before?” Right then, she did.
I’ve been there — believe you me. Back in the day, I had a Gemini-to-Gemini connection that was pretty hard to shake (off) for years. In fact, when I went on my “get your heart pieces back” tour (you can read more about that here), wow, eight years ago, he and I spent hours reminiscing about it (he even called me his “crack”). Yeah, it really is wild (and a bit contradictory) how the current state of our culture tries to act like sex is “no big deal” (uh-huh, if you say so) while simultaneously chasing the highs that the act provides on a constant and almost relentless (and sometimes quite reckless) basis.
So, let’s get into it. Being that easily half of my clients (and yes, most of them are married) still have someone in their past that they can’t seem to fully get out of their system as far as sexual intimacy goes, let’s explore some pretty relevant — and hopefully helpful — reasons why it can be really difficult to get over certain folks…no matter how hard you/we try.
Let’s begin with the largest sex organ that all of us have: our brain. Although I will definitely be adding my two cents (meaning, personal opinion) to this piece, I do think that it’s important to also tackle sex from a scientific perspective too. That’s because, yes, there is hard data to back up why sex tends to have such a hold on us. As far as your mental state goes:
When a man ejaculates, the brain receives more blood flow, specifically the cerebellum, which is the part of your brain that processes a lot of your emotions. Some say that the release that comes from a “completed” sexual experience is as potent as a heroin rush.
One study says that sex and music (check out “Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life”) affect the brain in similar ways in the sense that they are both able to put you into a trance-like state (interesting, right?).
I have said many times over the years that oxytocin gets more and more underrated, even though it is literally referred to as being “the love hormone” — bottom line, it is a naturally produced hormone that causes you to bond with people you sleep with. Dopamine is another hormone that makes you feel really good during coitus.
Penetrative sex is also prone to lower stress and anxiety levels which means that intercourse can reduce your chances of experiencing stress-related illnesses like depression, heart disease, colds, cancer, and even HIV/AIDS. Also, the less stressed out you are, the more productive you will be.
Orgasms are also able to light up certain parts of the female brain; one part that it does this to is the thalamus; one article said this about it: “The thalamus helps us process information associated with movement, touch, and the recall of any sexual memories that might arise.”
SEX’S MENTAL BREAKDOWN:
Although all of these points can easily be their own article, let’s hone in on three main things here: when it comes to the man who you just can’t seem to shake — was the sex unprotected, were you listening to music while doing it (at least most of the time) and do sex-related memories tend to come up more than any other ones whenever you think about him?
A few years ago, Marriage.com published an article entitled, “Top 7 Reasons Why Kissing Is Super Important in a Relationship.” Guess what the top reason was? It literally said that kissing “builds emotional intimacy.” Because oxytocin levels increase while kissing, that is a big part of the reason why. Keeping this in mind, think about how a lot of people even process kissing when it comes to relationships.
Shoot, I can’t tell you how many men have said to me that deep kissing is only something they do if they really care about someone — whether sex is transpiring or not. So, if someone’s tongue in your mouth can be considered emotionally intimate, how much more is their penis in your vagina? Let’s just be real for a moment.
And don’t even get me started on the hormone known as kisspeptin. Very long story short, kisspeptin and your endocrine system work together to cultivate an emotional link during the act of sex. This is a part of the reason why some people can have a one-night stand with someone else and declare the next morning that they’ve met “the one” without even knowing their middle name (hey, John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen have both been open about them having sex on their first date) — the combination of the physical pleasure mixed in with the emotional “hit” from the hormones can be quite powerful.
Then there’s something else to consider. In my case, the Gemini who I mentioned earlier? He came into my life right when I lost my late fiancé. Gemini was sweet, attentive, and proactively thoughtful. So yes, I felt safe with him, and when I added that to the natural physical attraction and then some really good sex? Yeah…it was quite the bond, especially since the sentiment was mutual, and most of us know that finding someone who is as into you as you are into them, on a myriad of different levels, at the same time is pretty rare.
SEX’S EMOTIONAL BREAKDOWN:
No matter what society says, science says that sex is designed to be somewhat of an emotional experience. So, if you’ve had sex with someone to who you were already emotionally attached, that can create an even tighter emotional bond when it comes to being open with them, trusting them (more), and feeling confident enough to share even more of you — both in and out of the bedroom.
There is nothing like naturally being sexually in sync — and a big part of what makes that happen is sexual compatibility (check out “What Exactly Does It Mean To Be Sexually Compatible?”). You know, back in 2011, NPR published a feature entitled “Lazy In America: An Incomplete Social History.” It stated that, as a nation, we are continuing to work less and “goof off” more.
Another study revealed that 50 percent of college students and 20 percent of the American population, in general, consider themselves to be chronic procrastinators (which is oftentimes a form of laziness). And yet another study shared that, thanks (or perhaps maybe “no thanks” in this instance) to technology, 41 percent of people are more impatient than ever; that far too many of us are consumed with instant gratification.
My point? Don’t get me started on how many of my clients want to call it quits, not due to anything like abuse or infidelity; it’s simply because they don’t want to work at anything. And you know what? People can be the same way on the sexual tip. I have heard countless stories of individuals who had a great connection with someone and yet ended things, all because their first time having sex with them didn’t — pardon the pun — rise to the occasion; some didn’t even give that person a second chance to redeem themselves.
And y’all can’t tell me that laziness and instant gratification didn’t play a role for many of those individuals. Even when it comes to sex, a lot of people don’t want to try and make things better (or customize sex with someone to their personal liking). I think it’s important for all of this to go on record because sexual compatibility isn’t just about if he turned you out on the first round.
It’s about if you have similar drives, similar desires, and similar needs. It’s about, even if you didn’t “see the mountain” the first few tries, there is still something incomparable between the two of you and how sex makes you feel when the two of you are together that you know that, eventually, the fireworks will come.
One of my past partners? He still goes down as being super memorable — not because I felt the earth shake all of the time; it was because 1) I really liked his body, 2) his kisses were extraordinary, 3) our bodies fit really well together, 4) he was the perfect size (to/for me), and 5) I always felt very desired and secure in his presence. Even though the emotional and spiritual elements were nothing to write home about, the physical component was top-notch.
Then there’s another side to sexual physicality. My second sex partner was the first guy to ever go down on me. Although sex itself was just alright (in comparison to others), of course, he stays forever on my mind in this lane because of what he did — and how, when, and where he did it. It should go without saying that the physical side of sex can make its own imprint too.
SEX’S PHYSICAL BREAKDOWN:
If there’s a “him” that’s hard to get off of your mind, how much does sexual compatibility play a role in it all? Was there a powerful physical attraction? Did it seem like the two of you were always on the same page sexually? Did sexual pleasure require very little effort most, if not all, of the time? Maybe he gave you your first orgasm, taught you something that you didn’t know before, or experienced something with you that was truly unforgettable. All of these things are valid. VERY.
Personally, I will forever die on the hill that the West (side of the world) makes it its mission to pervert whatever the East does. Don’t believe me? Although Christianity (Bible), Judaism (Torah), and the Muslim faith (Quran) are all different religions, one thing that they have in common is the fact that their holy books are eastern-cultured — and yes, things are done very differently over there. Also yes? This side of the ocean finds every way to manipulate all three books to justify…all kinds of stuff.
Let me stay focused, though. The reason why I’m even bringing this up is that all three holy books basically see sex in the same way: it’s a profoundly sacred act that’s meant for two people who are in a long-term covenant. Why? This Scripture expresses their line of thinking pretty well right here:
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, ‘The two become one.’ Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never ‘become one.’ There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for ‘becoming one’ with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” — I Corinthians 6:16-20(Message)
Although all of this is more than a mouthful, the part that I want you to hone in on the most is the first three sentences: sex is not just physical, there are spiritual mysteries that happen during sex, and sex has the ability to make two people one. Okay, so what is a “spiritual mystery”? Let’s break down both words and see.
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?”. One of the things that I touched on is even evil is spiritual, so to merely say that “you aren’t religious, you are spiritual”, that probably needs more clarifying because, again, “spiritual” doesn’t automatically mean good. At the end of the day, spirituality is about doing things that pertain to your spirit or soul (check out “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul”) — good or bad.
A mystery is defined as being “anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown” and “any affair, thing, or person that presents features or qualities so obscure as to arouse curiosity or speculation.”
So, if we put all of this together, according to Scripture, sex is something that definitely affects your spirit and soul, oftentimes in ways that are hard to understand. Not only that, but sometimes through sex, mysteries can be revealed.
My takeaway? No matter how much people might want to act like sex is just a surface layer event, a part of the reason why the act can have a profound effect on them, even years later, is partly because it has influenced and impacted their spirit and soul in ways that are literally a mystery to them.
And if you factor in all of the other ways that sex can affect you, no wonder why not being able to get over certain people due to how they “touched your spirit” is so baffling, confusing, or mind-blowing. Yeah, sex is nothing to play with, y’all. It really isn’t.
SEX’S SPIRITUAL BREAKDOWN:
Has someone seemed to get to you in a way that you almost can’t seem to find the words for? Has the experience with them totally changed your psyche or your approach to life? Chances are, you had some sort of a deep spiritual experience — again, good or bad.
Y’all ready to get “ouch-ed out” a bit? Have you ever stopped to ponder the fact that while so many people claim that casual sex isn’t a big deal, body counts don’t matter, and waiting to have sex with people we are in some sort of serious relationship with, at the same time, the moment that someone cheats on them, they are on the verge of a nervous breakdown? How could that be if the act of sex is…no biggie? Hmm.
So, either it IS a big deal, and they’re lying to themselves to deflect from their actions, or their ego got bruised when they found out that their partner chose to be with someone other than them — or it’s both. Yeah, I personally don’t get how someone putting a part of their body into yours or even doing an act that could potentially result in another person ending up on the planet isn’t a monumental event, yet my (main) point here is that sometimes we can’t get past certain people and it’s all because of the kind of relationship that we had with them on top of the sex that transpired.
Someone in my world is back dealing with an ex as we speak. And although she has been quick to admit that he was her best ever, what got her to “recycle” him, all these years later is that they both had some unresolved relational issues. On one hand, it has made “reunited sex” that much more intense yet, because she’s finally getting some of the answers that she’s been looking for (and they haven’t really been the best ones), the fire (i.e., longing and curiosity) that had been dormant all of these years is finally burning out. In other words, some loose ends had her holding onto the feelings of the sex.
Now, the sex isn’t wanted — or even esteemed — like it used to be (funny how that works).
SEX’S RELATIONAL BREAKDOWN:
The lesson here? If there’s someone you can’t get over sexually — are you sure that it’s actually about the sex? Is it more about grieving (or perhaps even still wanting) the relationship? Is it about romanticizing the sex due to the bond that you once shared? Is it about holding onto the sex because you haven’t been able to get the answers and/or closure that you desire or seek (y’all be careful with that so-called closure sex, ya here?
Sometimes it’s more like a spider web than anything else)? Thinking that your relationship and the sex that you had with the person you were in the relationship with are one and the same (they aren’t) can be another reason why it can be hard to finally and completely let someone go.
Oh, I already know. A lot was certainly said here, yet a lot needed to be because, when it comes to sex and trying to get over certain people who you had sex with, there are many layers to unpack and process.
The good news is, now that some layers have been presented to you — perhaps in a way that you’ve never thought about before — you can break things down into categories in order to get some revelations and, hopefully, some clarity and finality.
Did I about my (well, the) Gemini? I did. He’s still fine. And although he comes to my mind less and less, when he does, I must admit that a tingly sensation comes over me from time to time. Yet in this season of our lives, it would never work (I wrote and said that to him during my tour). I know that I am over him because I am happy that he’s happy, I know that there is nothing else to talk about, and I actually feel like our time together was a billion years ago — almost as if it were an erotic dream — than anything that could realistically be now.
Plus, I sense that I could actually “top us” at some point — and I’m up to the challenge. #wink
And sis, guess what? With the help of reading this article one more time (maybe three) and doing some sex journaling, I’m confident that you can get past your “can’t get over” too.
Sex is powerful. You are more powerful. If you want to move past him and it…all things are possible. I am living proof. Hallelujah!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Kanobi Pollard/xoNecole
Holly Robinson-Peete, Taylor Rooks, And More Honored Over Super Bowl Weekend For Their Work In Sports
Usher wasn't the only one getting his flowers during Super Bowl LVIII weekend. Boldyn Networks honored a number of dynamic women with its exclusive Women Raise the Game event held at the luxurious Four Seasons Las Vegas. According to the press release, the event is a "celebration of empowerment and recognition of extraordinary women who play pivotal roles behind the scenes in sports."
WRTG honorees included Holly Robinson-Peete (actress, philanthropist, and wife of retired NFL Player Rodney Peete, Philanthropist of the Year), Sammy Schuster (mother of NFL wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Juju Smith-Schuster, Visionary of the Year), Zaileen Janmohamed (president and CEO of the Bay Area Host Committee, Woman of the Year), Laura Warner (mother of 49ers Fred Warner and Buccaneers Troy Warner, Cultural Trailblazer of the Year), Taylor Rooks (dynamic and versatile sports Journalist, Journalist of the Year), and Ana Martinez (mother of LA Chargers Michael Davis, Cultural Impact Honoree).
Women Raise the Game honorees
"This event is a tribute to the women whose tireless efforts have often gone unnoticed, yet they are the pillars of success within the NFL—shaping players' careers, steering organizations, and driving impactful initiatives for the betterment of communities. Moreover, this event is not just about celebration; it's also a platform to drive meaningful change. Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting charitable causes dedicated to empowering women and fostering inclusivity within the sports industry,” said Tish Galindo, the visionary behind this initiative.
Some highlights of the special event included heartfelt speeches from Rodney Peete, who gushed over his wife Holly, calling her the "glue that kept my life and our family together.” And Juju Smith-Schuster for praising his mother for the sacrifices she made for him and his six sibilings. "My mother isn’t a normal woman she is a force of nature… for raising seven kids and helping me become the man that I am today," he said.
Grammy award-winning producer, rapper and DJ Jermaine Dupri kept the vibes going and gave an incredible performance for attendees. Other notable guests included Grammy producer Hit-boy, tech entrepreneur & diversity advocate Marilyn Booker, and Actively Black CEO Lanny Smith.
Feature image Courtesy