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Some People Hate Scheduling Sex But Tia Mowry-Hardrict Is All About It

Sometimes marriage requires a sex schedule. Tia totally agrees.

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Back when I was in the process of writing my first book, one of the titles that one of my editors suggested was Single Sex. AlthoughInside of Me: Lessons of Lust, Love & Redemption (the first part is what my brother came up with) has a lot of sex in it, no doubt, I didn't find their title pitch to be the most exact. However, over the years, I have indeed kept that lil' phrase in mind, as I've written other articles about sex among singles. And, whenever I compare that kind of coitus to the kind that married couples engage in, two things that I say often is—so long as the marriage is healthy—there is a holistic beauty in marital sex that is truly incomparable and single sex can be very selfish. And by "selfish", I mean self-consumed to the billionth degree (more on that in a bit).

All of this came flooding back to my mind, all over again, as I listened to portions of a podcast called What to Expect. The host is Heidi Murkoff who also happens to the co-author of the best-selling book series, What to Expect When You're Expecting. Anyway, a guest who she recently had on was actor and host of the really helpful home hacks YouTube channel,Tia Mowry's Quick Fix, Tia Mowry-Hardrict. Heidi and Tia touched on a lot, including how Tia's journey with endometriosis led her to become a "self-advocate" for her health and well-being, along with how to balance marriage, motherhood and a career (you can check the episode out for yourself here).

And speaking of marriage. Since that and sex are something that I write about, A LOT, on this platform, it should come as no surprise that it was her hot take on how to maintain her sex life with her hubby (who also is a good actor in his own right), Cory Hardrict, that stood out to me the most.

And just what does Tia think is the key to keeping things going in the bedroom and avoiding the pitfall of ending up in a sexless marriage? I'm so glad that you asked.

How Does Tia Keep Sex a Priority in Her Marriage?

You know how some of y'all do. Unless a celebrity recommends something, you think the idea is crazy. Well, in walks Heidi and Tia to cosign on something that I'm actually a pretty big fan on—scheduling sex. As they were discussing marriage and kids, in general, Heidi revealed that she and her husband basically have a rule in their home that sex, once a week, is an absolute must; she referred to the rule as "sex dates" (check out "When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?"). And to that, Tia said this:

"Heidi, this is the first time where I'm admitting it, we do too. And, when I was younger and when I would hear that, I'd be like, 'Why do you have to do that?' But like you said, you do — especially with kids and with work and all that, you have to make sure that it's not neglected in any kind of way."

OK, so here's where "single sex" comes in. When it comes to a lot of the single people who I talk about sex with or the engaged coupleswho I counsel, if there's one thing that they think is borderline ridiculous, it's scheduling sex. To them, that takes away the romance, spontaneity and excitement of it all. I get it. Yet here's the thing—what a lot of unmarried sexually active people don't realize is, for the most part, they're still scheduling sex. If you're not living with your partner, most of the time when you discuss meeting up, if there's not over-the-top flirting or a straight-up discussion about it, doesn't the energy let you know that, 8 times outta 10, sex is gonna be on the menu?

I know back in my (le sigh) sexually active days, if I was planning on spending time with the person I was "engaging" at the time, I made sure I was shaved, smelled amazing and my underwear was sexy AF. Besides, if it was already decided that one of us was spending the night with the other, it was kind of a given that some sort of sexual activity was going to transpire. My friends, to a large degree, that is scheduling sex. That's why it shouldn't be an off-putting trigger, when married folks talk about doing the same.

So, why is it off-putting for so many of us single people? I think it's because, whenever we hear married people talk about paying bills, cleaning the house and raising children, there's some visual in our minds that if they make, say Tuesday, "sex day", both of them are looking a hot mess, the sex is subpar and they would probably rather be doing anything else but having sex—because, after all, if you've gotta put it on your calendar, how great can the sex actually be?

This brings me back to Tia and Cory and a feature of them that I watched on her YouTube channel, this time last year (I believe it was filmed at the end of 2017, though). As they were sharing how their first kiss consisted of Cory asking Tia if he could kiss her; how Cory knew Tia was the one because him being broke (in the beginning) didn't phase her; how Tia knew Cory was the one because he had so much patience with her after she was coming out of an unhealthy relationship and that he taught her how to believe in herself; that they pray together; how, in their eyes, the secret to a successful marriage is forgiveness (Tia), as well as communication and never going to sleep angry (which is what Cory…oh, and the Bible says—Ephesians 4:26-27), and how being intentional about wooing each other (among a host of other things) all plays a role in their marriage being able to thrive—it brought me back to something that I'm a firm believer in:

Sex doesn't "make love"; in a marriage, what sex does is celebrate the love that already exists.

And what does what I just said have to do with why I have no problem with scheduling sex and, to a certain extent, I actually encourage that long-term couples do so? Well, when you're single, oftentimes the focus on sex is the physical pleasure that it brings. However, when you're married, while sex—and not just "any" sex…good sex—should be a very top priority (it really should, married folks), all of the things in life that you and your spouse do together, outside of the bedroom, is actually what matures love and helps you to appreciate the power of commitment more and better.

And because, sometimes, walking through life together can be so all-consuming and full, scheduling sex means that you are making a point to get off of the life-roller-coaster ride so that you and your partner can CELEBRATE all that you are building together. And to plan to celebrate on a weekly basis? That's beautiful and really, who should ever have a problem with that?

It really is kinda crazy that the saying "fail to plan, plan to fail" seems to make sense to the masses, except when it comes to bedroom action. Yet again, when life is full (and sometimes crazy), all scheduling sex means is you are making sure that coming together with your partner continues to be a priority. It doesn't mean it's only a quickie or a half-hearted effort. It just means, "Babe, the world is trying to keep us from 'us' time. Let's make sure to schedule it so that doesn't happen."

So kudos to Tia, Heidi and all of the other married folks who, while they may not be gettin' it in 3-4 times a week, they for damn sure ain't letting their sex life fall by the wayside (by the way, scheduling sex doesn't mean it doesn't happen more; it just means it doesn't happen less than when it's on the schedule for). Oh, and to the single folks who read all of this and thought, "Hmph. My marriage will never be like that", all I can say is "wait and see"; it's easy to think that way until you've got more on your plate than just you. Feel me? I hope so.

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Featured image via Tia Mowry/Instagram

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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