After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
What Is The 'Johari Window' And Why It's Bomb When It Comes To Increasing Self-Awareness
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to share what I think is an extremely overlooked reason why a lot of relationships are either unhealthy or don’t end up seeing the distance. Without even a bit of hesitation, I said that far too many people lack even a “kiddie pool level” of self-awareness — and it’s costing them…dearly.
Almost four years ago, I penned an article for xoNecole, "These Are The Things Self-Aware People Do Daily." There’s a quote inside that talks about self-awareness consisting of holding oneself accountable, and lawd, that’s an entire book and podcast series right there! However, when it comes to what we’re going to get into today, it’s another quote that comes to mind. Two psychologists by the names of Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund say that self-awareness is “…the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don't align with your internal standards” — and this is where the Johari Window fits in perfectly.
I must admit that it actually wasn’t until I saw an episode ofBeing Mary Jane back in the day that I even discovered what the Johari Window is. As far as the show goes, long story short, Mary Jane needed to deal with some internal stuff that was causing her to stay in a loop in a lot of her relationships, and the window helped her out.
Since personally studying it, though, it’s something that I’ve done and also recommended to my clients in order for them to receive some of their own “ah ha moments” in their own neck of the woods. So, if you’re ready to get to know your own self a bit better, in hopes of flourishing more in your own interactions with other individuals, let’s do some unpacking of what the Johari Window is and how it can totally help you out.
What Exactly Is the Johari Window?
It’s kind of a long story, yet probably the best way to simplify everything. Back in the mid-1950s, two psychologists by the name of Joseph Luft and Harry Ingram came up with a concept that, in their minds, would help people to better communicate with others, especially when they are interacting in a group setting. It’s called the Johari Window, and Johari is actually the merging of their two first names.
Anyway, the ultimate goal of the Johari Window is to prove that awareness for yourself and trust from others can be better established once you are able to share how you perceive yourself while also being open to hearing feedback from others. In order for this to successfully transpire, there is a window that you must “look into,” and it’s broken down into four parts.
Now before we get into each windowpane, let me just say that it requires a lot of HUMILITY (and yes, I am yelling it) for this to be effective, especially when it comes to hearing what others have to say. This needs to go on record because if you truly want to tap into new levels of yourself, it’s not your job to go on the defensive, to become offended, or to shut down if/when you hear something that isn’t exactly easy or pleasant. Instead, remain open to how you may be perceived so that you can get to understand yourself and your relationships on a whole ‘nother level.
Are you ready to peek through each of the four panes now?
Johari Windowpane #1: Open AreaGiphy
The open area is just how it sounds. It consists of the things that you and those around you already know. On a surface level, this could be the details that are provided about you when someone reads your bio before you make a presentation. On a deeper one, it could be the common things that co-workers, church members, and acquaintances are clued in about, including certain personality traits, various personal skills, and your views and opinions about certain things.
So, let’s start here. Pull out a piece of paper, the notepad on your smartphone, or your journal, and, for 5-10 minutes, jot down all of the things that you think fit into this particular windowpane. For instance, when it comes to me, most people know that I am pretty black and white (in the sense of how I see things), that I have a quick wit and I’m very direct in communication, that I am a marriage life coach, doula and writer (especially in the realm of relationships) and that I have strong convictions when it comes to the covenant, being pro-Black, supporting Black men and folks taking great measures to self-heal. Whether I’m public speaking, writing an article, or in a conversation with someone for more than 15 minutes on a plane, these things are going to come up in some form or fashion.
The open arena is pretty easy to share because they don’t really put you in vulnerable positions as far as mental and emotional intimacy goes.
Johari Windowpane #2: Blind SpotGiphy
Yeah, this is the one where people tend to get pretty testy. A blind spot is something that others may see about you that you don’t exactly perceive yourself. For instance, a few years back, when I decided that I wanted to get on the path of evolving in my femininity, I asked some of my male friends what they thought I needed to do to make that happen. One said that I needed to become a better listener. Another said that I needed to heal from some of the toxic female relatives in my life because whenever certain topics would come up, I was hard to communicate with — sometimes even combative. Another said that it would be cool to see me in some heels every once in a while (listen, put me in some Pumas, and I’m a happy girl!). Some others said some things that I would keep to myself.
Was it easy to take everything in? Nope. Blind spots rarely are because, just like a car can come into your blind spot while you’re trying to change lanes and almost cause you to get into an accident, oftentimes, when people tell you certain things about yourself, you won’t see them coming. However, they’re good for you to know because when you can get — AND RECEIVE — some intel into how you are seen by others, that can help you to either self-correct or come to a greater understanding of why 1) your relationships are the way that they are; 2) you keep finding yourself in the same patterns and outcomes that you get and/or 3) you aren’t going deeper in your dynamics with other people.
Yep. Opening your eyes to blind spots is where the big kids play.
Johari Windowpane #3: FaçadeGiphy
There’s a guy I know who is a straight-up chameleon. He’s an entertainer here in Nashville, and it’s wild how much he is perceived to be a good guy on the surface, and yet — if he were to get 30 women who he’s “dated” (which is basically code for sexually involving himself with), they would have some pretty dark tales to share. On the surface, it comes off that he’s a player or womanizer; however, the few of us who know him beyond that image get that he’s got quite a bit of baggage and damage that causes him to act that way.
This is kinda-sorta where the next windowpane comes in. It’s called the façade, and it consists of the things that you know that others probably don’t — your past, your secrets, your fears, your deep-rooted feelings…your shady side. The interesting thing about this windowpane is even if you withhold it from others, eventually, something about it will creep out in how you act or react because it’s still a part of your core being.
For me, as I’m dealing with couples, the façade can be A LOT because it’s wild to realize how much a lot of partners tend to withhold from one another, whether it’s due to fear of how their spouse will respond or because they set up a “front” of who they were during the dating process and now they don’t know how to stop…acting.
Either way, you can’t develop genuine intimacy with other people if you’re not willing to release your façade (or façades). That said, think of some of the folks who you consider to be your tribe, and then write down some things that you have been hesitant to share with them. Then ask yourself why. Whatever answer comes to your mind will be quite revelatory about what you should do about those relational dynamics next. Trust me.
Johari Windowpane #4: UnknownGiphy
I’m currently working on getting certified and then credentialed in some other areas of coaching, one of which is trauma-related. The reason why I’m bringing this up here is that the final windowpane of not knowing is sometimes tied to trauma that has caused you to block some feelings or important information about yourself out.So, how in the world do you tap into what you — and others — do not know about you? Therapy can help. Life coaching too. Or you can spend some intentional time with someone you trust, talking about certain areas of your life until you receive some revelations about yourself.
For instance, you could set up a wine date with a girlfriend at your house, where the two of you make a plan to talk about your childhood and your childhood dreams. As you’re sharing with each other, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if some things are revealed that one or both of you had totally forgotten about — whether it’s due to trauma, family pressure to suppress certain dreams or wants, or…life simply getting in the way.To me, the unknown is a lot like having dormant spots in your life. By acknowledging them, they can come “back to life” and quite possibly, with a little bit of focus and effort on your part, open up entirely new worlds for you.
5 Benefits of Doing the Johari Window ExerciseGiphy
The interesting thing about the Johari Window is, in many ways, like the beginning stages of life coaching, it was initially designed to help people interact better in group/corporate settings. However, when I watched how Mary Jane freaked it, that’s how I advised people to use it.
If you want to tweak it to apply to a work retreat or business meeting…by all means. First, though, try using it on a more personal note. Aside from all of the things that we already touched on via each windowpane, here are some other reasons why it could be one of the best self-help exercises that you’ve done in a while.
You will be a better communicator. You can’t have successful personal or professional relationships if you don’t communicate effectively, and the better you know yourself, the better you’ll be at expressing yourself. The Johari Window can help to make that happen.
You will be better at emotionally self-regulating. When it comes to blind spots and the unknown, both of those could explain (for example) why you get easily triggered, you are super-sensitive when it comes to correction, or you can’t seem to get a handle on your moods. Unfortunately, a lot of people chalk this kind of stuff up to “well, that’s just the way that I am” when the reality is part of what comes with emotional intelligence, and holistic maturity is knowing that you can absolutely control how you choose to respond and react to things. Getting to know your blind spots and unknown areas plays a big role in that.
You will feel more genuine when interacting with others. Some people define intimacy as knowing and being known. That said, it’s pretty difficult to be truly intimate with someone if you’re hiding parts of yourself or you’re putting up a façade. When you’re willing to give healthy and trustworthy individuals more authentic access to you, that is what makes your relationships more secure and reliable.
You will be able to make better decisions (faster). A part of the reason why some people struggle with the decision-making process is that they are always second-guessing themselves. Oftentimes, that’s because they care too much about what other people think, or they’re not clear enough about what their own standards, boundaries, or needs are. Oh, but believe you me, the better you know yourself, the easier it is to decide which people, places, things, and ideas will complement you and your life. I think that you can see that this is just one more way that the Johari Window can be of service.
Your self-esteem will skyrocket. Imagine how much more confident you will become once you can take honest feedback and apply it. I’m telling you, being able to hear about yourself may not always be easy but when you do it, it reveals that you’re willing to grow at the expense of simply feeding your ego all of the time — and that can make you unstoppable in so many ways and on so many levels.
You know, I can’t think of one person who has walked this through and has not received some real insights on themselves — ones that have made them a better person and a better person to interact with.
So, over the next couple of weeks, treat yourself to the Johari Window exercise. Be open to what you learn — and, at the expense of punning, let the light of the window shine right on through, sis.
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So, Here Are Some Teas That Will Make Your Sex Life So Much Better
Even though we’re officially exiting one season (winter) and entering another (spring), that doesn’t mean that your tea game has to slow down. Aside from the fact that springtime tends to still have some pretty chilly nights, there is nothing like a tall glass of herbal iced tea that’s been sweetened with honey and a bit of fresh fruit on the days when it’s warmer outdoors.
And while we’re on the topic of teas, why not consume some that will make things hotter in the bedroom? Yep, there are certain ones out here (12 in this article) that have some strong data to support the fact that they can do wonders for your libido — on a few different levels.
So, after reading this, commit to picking up some loose-leaf tea (oftentimes it’s best). Boil for 20 minutes, let it cool, put it in a mason jar and let it steep for 48 hours (with your favorite sweetener). Then add some ice and take it all in. You’ll have an all-natural concoction that will get you maximum herb intake and quite possibly some pretty intense orgasms too (whew-whee!).
1. Ashwagandha Tea
If there’s one artist who tickles me as much as he low-key terrifies me when it comes to the random ish that comes out of his mouth, it’s Kevin Gates. On the laughing tip, I literally cried as I was reading the comments under this particular Twitter post because it’s clear that either he doesn’t know how to pronounce maca (maa·kuh) or ashwagandha (aash·wuh·gaan·duh) or he was really going out of his way to make the cadence work in this song. LOL. Anyway, he does help to prove the point that this herb is that one when it comes to boosting libido levels.
Since ashwagandha has a solid reputation for reducing stress and anxiety, improving athletic performance, and even making depression-related symptoms easier to bear, it would make perfect sense that it’s known for being an aphrodisiac too.
There are studies that support that it can be helpful when it comes to strengthening women’s orgasms, in part, by reducing vaginal dryness and discomfort during intercourse. Some studies reveal that it can help to increase testosterone levels in both men and women as well.
A word of caution on this one, though. If you’re diabetic, breastfeeding, have an overactive thyroid, or take sedatives, run this one by your physician first. As with just about any herb, ashwagandha can be potent and come with unwanted side effects for certain types of individuals.
2. Green Tea
Okay, so from what I’ve read and researched, on average, a cup of brewed coffee is gonna have somewhere around 96 mg of caffeine per cup while that same cup of green tea is gonna land at around 28 mg. So, if you’re someone who wants to ease off of caffeine a bit this year or you want a pick-me-up that doesn’t pack as big of a punch as coffee does, green tea will do it. Some other benefits include the fact that it’s loaded with antioxidants, it can help to improve your brain function, it fights off the free radicals that are in your system and it can help you to lose weight.
On the sex tip, aside from the fact that the caffeine that’s in it can give you a boost of energy on the days/nights when the mind is willing but the flesh is weak, green tea also can improve and increase blood circulation which results in longer erections for him and better orgasms for you.
3. Saffron Tea
The brief backstory on saffron is it’s a spice that comes from a flower. It’s said to have originated in Greece and is one of the most popular spices when it comes to cooking. It ain’t cheap, I’ll just tell you that now. Still, it’s got some benefits that are worth noting.
Saffron reduces body inflammation, helps with weight loss, is effective at minimizing PMS-related symptoms, helps to put you into a better mood, and is said to lower blood sugar levels and heart disease risks too.
The reason why the tea form of it made it onto this particular list is that some studies say that saffron is beneficial in naturally treating men who deal with erectile dysfunction (ED) while also improving the libido of women who take antidepressants.
4. Vanilla Tea
Vanilla tea is dope on a few different levels. It’s slightly sweet even without anything like sugar or honey in it. It contains quite a few antioxidants. It’s got a way of increasing your metabolism while decreasing your stress levels at the same time. It also contains properties that help to soothe your nervous system and improve your quality of sleep.
Since I already know that vanilla is an aphrodisiac scent, I’m not surprised at all that it’s also a libido booster in tea form. Some studies say that it helps to heal erectile dysfunction while increasing arousal. Others say that it can enhance a man’s sexual performance over time.
And again, since the scent of vanilla alone can increase arousal in men by almost 10 percent, that sounds like a solid enough reason to have a sip — or two.
5. Damiana Tea
One day, I’m gonna share my journey with Damiens. I’ve had three in my lifetime and whew, chile. Anyway, when it comes to damiana tea, one of the things that it’s most known for is improving the quality of sex lives.
As a shrub that is quite popular in traditional Mexican medicine, damiana has been used for everything from bronchitis and fevers to fungal infections, anemia, and gastrointestinal issues.
What makes it a win in the sexual pleasure department is it contains a powerful amount of flavonoids (compounds that are found in fruits and vegetables) that can intensify your natural sex hormones. The stronger your hormones are, honey…I’m pretty sure that you already know the rest.
6. Cinnamon Tea
I can’t believe that it’s (almost) been four years since I’ve talked about how applying cinnamon essential oil on your partner’s genitalia can make for a really good time (hey, don’t knock it until you tried it; I talk about all-a-dat right here).
As far as cinnamon in tea form goes, it’s another one that’s filled with antioxidants. Cinnamon tea also helps to lower inflammation and blood sugar levels, contains powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties (which is great when it comes to treating tooth decay) and it can make period cramps less painful. As a serious bonus, it also helps to fight certain HIV-related strains (the more you know).
And what makes it great for your libido? For one thing, the lower your blood sugar levels are, the less stressed you’ll feel and the less constricted your blood flow will be; this means longer and more intense orgasms. Also, because cinnamon is spicy, the turn-up of heat in your body can also heighten your arousal levels.
7. Maca Tea
If you clicked on that Twitter link, you heard Kevin (attempt to) combine maca with ashwagandha — and honestly, that’s one hell of a combination, y’all. That’s because maca is well-known for being an aphrodisiac too.
Before getting into how/why, some other benefits of this herb are it helps to keep free radicals out of your system, improves your memory, and is also pretty good at reducing symptoms that are directly associated with menopause.
As far as coitus goes, it’s got all kinds of ways to improve it. Maca has been proven to increase a man’s sex drive, make sex more pleasant for postmenopausal women, improve a man’s sperm quality and put you and your partner into a better mood. So, if you’ve never had a good reason to try maca before, now you’ve got a few of ‘em.
8. Ginger Tea
Ginger is another popular spice that comes with some strong medicinal properties. That’s why a lot of people use it to treat motion sickness, keep their blood pressure in check, help keep cancer cells at bay, and to reduce bodily inflammation.
Since ginger is also seen as being a natural stimulant that increases blood circulation while reducing oxidative stress, it’s just one more tea that can help your sex life out. Oh, and if you’re trying to get pregnant, that’s another reason to add it to your diet. That’s because the properties of ginger can improve the quality of sperm while also strengthening ovarian follicles. How dope is that?
9. Rose Tea
If you’ve always wondered what rose tea is made from, you can literally create it yourself by steeping fresh rose petals. As far as the reasons why it can be good for your health, rose tea is high in vitamins C and E, it contains properties that help to lower your blood pressure, the polyphenols in it can help to reduce pain and discomfort, it can help to keep your skin radiant and your hair healthy and it’s a great immunity booster.
And why would your sex life appreciate it so much? Rosewater, period, helps to decrease stress and increase blood flow. The calmer you are and the more blood that’s flowing to your genital regions, the better your sexual experiences can be!
10. Spearmint Tea
Off the rip, one of the things that I like about any mint tea is it can help to make my breath smell fresher. When it comes to spearmint specifically, it gets applause for also treating motion sickness and nausea, lowering blood pressure levels and even improving your memory. Some other things worth noting are the fact that spearmint tea helps to fight bacterial infections and decrease the pain that’s related to arthritis.
Sex-wise, because spearmint tea is a stress reducer, it can also help you to feel calm and relaxed. And, since it also is known to be a hormone balancer, it can make getting in the mood easier when you’re PMS’ing or you’re going through menopause.
11. Ginseng Tea
If there’s any herb on this list that you probably already knew was good for your libido, ginseng would have to be it. We’ll get to why in just a moment. For now, let’s tackle some other reasons why you should consume it more (or more often).
Ginseng helps to do everything from reducing fatigue and fighting inflammation to improving brain function and strengthening your immune system. In fact, if you feel a cold coming on, a few cups of ginseng, very early on, can help to knock it right on out.
Your sex life will appreciate ginseng because it’s another tea that helps to treat erectile dysfunction by reducing oxidative stress that may be lurking around in a man’s blood vessels (especially in the ones down below). Ginseng is also a winner because it can give women more energy to even want to have sex. Definitely something to keep in mind on the days after work when you want some, but you need a pick-me-up to get the engines started (if you know what I mean).
12. Horny Goat Weed Tea
I mean, for real, though, anything that has the word “horny” in it must work…at least a lil’ bit, right? Believe it or not, horny goat weed (also known as Epimedium) is popular in the traditional Chinese medicine world and has been linked to helping people who deal with asthma, osteoporosis, PMS and Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Diseases.
BY FAR (and yes, I am yelling it), what it’s best known for is getting bedrooms in check. It’s got a great reputation for naturally treating ED (which is why it has the nickname “natural Viagra”). It contains phytoestrogens which is a plant-based form of estrogen (which can help with natural vaginal lubrication, for starters). It can also balance out your cortisol levels (your natural stress hormone) and strengthen your libido. So, if feeling horny is what you want to do, horny goat weed can make that happen — and then some, chile.
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If you’ve checked out my byline here, even for a little while, you have probably caught on to the fact that I thoroughly enjoy researching random information (I get it from my daddy). For instance, I can’t explain what exactly prompted the search but, not too long ago, I was curious about what place is currently considered to be the sexiest in the world. It’s actually one of my favorite cities — London (NY and LA are in the top 10). That got me to looking up some of the sexiest hotels in the world as well (some ones in general are here and here; some cool Black-owned joints are here). And that got me to wondering about currently popular sexual trends — you know, stuff that is super popular in the realm of all things sexual activity right now.
Let’s just say that when it comes to 2023, they pretty much run the gamut. Anyway, if you have a natural curiosity for random intel like I do, here are 12 sex-related things that could make coitus even better in your neck of the woods.
1. Sex Outside of the BedroomGiphy
Recently, while in a session with some married clients, a wife helped to prove a point that I’ve been making, on repeat, for a few years now — a lot of people are leaving their marriage, not due to abuse or cheating but sheer boredom. Because as shallow as that sounds, when things become tedious, they can almost start to feel almost like torture. Sex is not exempt here either.
That said, let’s not act like the reason why most of us prefer to have sex in a bed is because, when the bed/mattress is hella comfortable, it makes getting into (and out of) positions so much easier; plus, falling asleep right after is super convenient in that spot. However, if you want to spice things up, getting out of the bed can be a wise move.
Some current favorite spots (according to what I’ve read and some folks that I’ve interviewed have shared):
- Dryers (when it’s on)
- Kitchen Counters
- Walk-In Closets
- Work Offices (when no one’s there)
- Tents in Backyards
- Hotel Balconies
- Fitting Rooms
At the very least, this should get your imagination going. So, whatcha gonna try?
2. All-Natural AphrodisiacsGiphy
It’s kind of wild that, even though aphrodisiacs have been around since FOR-E-VER, probably until the end of time, folks will debate on if they are actually “real” (as far as their effectiveness goes) or not. Personally, I think that if supplements (which we’ll get into later) can help to give your libido a boost, foods that contain said supplements will probably do the same.
Anyway, something that keeps coming up in sex-related content these days is all-natural aphrodisiacs. Food-wise, I penned a couple of articles for the platform a while back (check out “Eat Your Way To Better Sex With Aphrodisiacs” and “10 In-Season Fall Foods That Are Incredible Aphrodisiacs”). Scent-wise, read “8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last” for a variety of essential oils that can help to take things to another level (especially if you apply them to the right pressure points) too.
3. ASMR Sound EffectsGiphy
For years (and years…and then some more years), I’ve slept in silence and slept just fine. Yet over the past several years, I’ve gone to bed to the sound of rain (YouTube has a ton of channels that will play it for hours on end; just put “rain sounds for sleeping” in the search field) and it has taken my quality of sleep to a whole ‘nother level! From what I’ve read and researched sounds like rain, ocean waves, and even a blowing fan can help you to rest better and more; that’s because certain ASMR sounds activate the part of the brain that releases dopamine and oxytocin — both of which help you to feel calm and more relaxed.
On the sex tip, you might want to crank up some ASMR sounds too because it also helps to decrease your stress levels. Not only that but when your hearing is stimulated in this fashion, it can actually intensify your other senses (sight, taste, smell, and touch).
I mean, a lot of y’all went wild over H.E.R’s song “Damage” and whether you realized it or not, it’s, in part, because she referenced the sexy ass classic “Making Love in the Rain” by Herb Alpert ft. Lisa Keith and Janet Jackson. And doesn’t it now make even more sense that those kinds of songs make sex even better?
Hell, don’t wait for a rainy day. Put on a YouTube video. Do it ASAP too — the sounds and the sex, if you can.
4. Remote-Controlled VibratorsGiphy
Since it’s been reported that somewhere around 14 million individuals are in a long-distance relationship, there’s no way that we could talk about sex trends without addressing one that’s growing in popularity among couples who don’t get to see each other as much as they would probably like.
One of them is remote-controlled vibrators. If you’re not familiar, it’s basically a vibrator that can be controlled by someone else. Although the possibilities are clearly — eh hem — endless with this, just make sure to keep in mind that you typically need a strong Wi-Fi signal. Also, you should read as much fine print on the product you’re considering because sometimes there are data and privacy issues.
Don’t let that last point freak you out too much, though. Honestly, these kinds of vibrators have been around for a long while now. Personally, I think the pandemic has brought them back into the sex spotlight. Anyway, Allure (here) and Self (here) did you a solid by providing a list of some of the best ones around. At least do a lil’ bit of window shopping, if you can.
5. Multi-Purpose LubeGiphy
There used to be a time when people thought that lubrication was pretty much for women who couldn’t get “wet enough.” These days, as folks are getting more creative when it comes to sex, they know that wetter truly is better. That’s why I wrote articles like “If You've Always Wanted A 'Lubricant Cheat Sheet,' Here Ya Go” and “The Wetter, The Better: 10 Creative Ways To Use Lubricant” for the site.
So, when you get a chance, check those out and then determine in your mind that you will invest in a couple of bottles of lube (if you haven’t already). If you’re not sure which brands to go with, a good (no pun intended) entry brand is Astroglide because it’s water-based (which means it will feel natural and won’t compromise condom use or damage your bedding), it’s super affordable and you can find it in just about any drugstore around.
Just for the record, if you like to engage in activities like shower sex (check out “So, This Is How To Make Shower Sex So Much Better”), go with a silicone-based lubricant like Wet Platinum. A water-based lube while you’re in water is not gonna do you much good. Stuff is a lot more slippery with silicone in there.
6. At-Home STI/STD TestingGiphy
While I’m over here irritated that so much data supports the fact that ONLY one-third of men use condoms (eye roll), I think that’s why I’m never shocked whenever I see that STI/STDs continue to increase with every passing year (SMDH).
This is why, if you are sexually active, you need to get tested annually (no exceptions). And if you happen to have multiple sex partners, this needs to go from every 12 months to every 3-6 months (no joke).
And what if you “don’t have time”? Yeah, that won’t fly because, these days, you can get tested from the comfort and convenience of your own home (you can read about a list of some of the best that are currently out on the market here). Even though a lot of at-home tests aren’t exactly the cheapest things in the world, nothing is more valuable than your health, so…budget for them. It’s worth it.
If you just read this heading and thought it was a typo, I get it. When I first read about it, so did I. Basically, menstrubation is period sex — only with yourself: menstrual masturbation. And why would someone want to do that? Well, the reality is that it’s not so much the sex (or touching) itself that helps bring menstrual pain-related relief but the orgasms that can come from it.
According to science, when we climax, it causes a burst of endorphins that can ease uterine discomfort. Some say that it can even be just as, if not more, effective than ibuprofen. The more you know, chile. The more you know.
8. (Black) Sex InfluencersGiphy
Currently, I’m getting certified to go another level in my life coaching work. One of the classes that I tiptoe in sometimes explores all things sensuality. While one of the other students and I were discussing the class (well, actually the instructor), we both talked about how surprising it was to learn that something as simple as breathing deeply can totally change how you feel about your looks, your sexuality and how you cope with stress.
That’s a big part of the reason why I personally think that, no matter how conservative or totally-out-of-the-box you might be about sex, being open to listening to a sex educator or influencer could prove to be beneficial on some level — and when it comes to our particular platform (and who it serves), particularly if they’re Black. Because if there’s one thing that the majority of us participate in, in some way, it’s sex. So, the more insights, perspectives, and tips that we’re given in this area, the more the experiences, overall, are able to potentially improve — and who doesn’t want that?
If you’re interested in checking out some sex influencers, last year, BuzzFeed published an article entitled “These 22 Black Sex Educators Are Changing The Way We Think And Talk About Sex” that can serve as a cool starting point.
9. Eco-Friendly Sex ToysGiphy
It’s pretty much irrefutable that sex toys continue to grow in popularity. In fact, one more report says that by 2026, it will gross close to $55 billion bucks. So, if those are totally your thing and you want to be on-trend, make sure that you go with ones that are good for the environment. This would basically mean sex toys that are made from an ethical standpoint and with vegan ingredients. One company that carries those is The Natural Love Company.
Everyone here’s grown and can do whatever they want. However, while we’re on this topic, I just want to say that I was chatting it up with a friend of mine who said that one of his female friends told him that she had to basically go into detox over one of her vibrators. Why? Basically, because it caused her to orgasm so quickly and consistently that she found herself getting mad at her actual partner.
Yeah, that’s how “too much of a good thing” can turn around and bite you in the ass (no pun intended). While using sex toys to enhance intimacy is one thing, if it’s causing you to have a disconnect from actual human connection, think twice about adding more to your collection.
10. Libido-Inducing SupplementsGiphy
A lot of us don’t eat as healthy (or consistently healthy) as we should. That’s just a fact of life. Thankfully, there are things like supplements that can help our systems to get the vitamins and minerals that we’re not receiving from our diet alone.
For whatever the reason, this year, supplements that can help to increase your sex drive are all the rage. Ones that top the list include:
Fenugreek: it increases testosterone levels in both men and women
Maca root: it helps to improve symptoms that are related to erectile dysfunction in men
L-arginine: it expands blood vessels which can give men harder and longer erections and intensify orgasms for women
Vitamin D: it can decrease vaginal dryness; especially in menopausal women
Saffron: it can improve your sex drive if you happen to be on an antidepressant
Magnesium: it can put you in a better mood, so that you can enjoy sex more
Zinc: studies show that a lack of it can result in lower testosterone levels
Those are just for starters yet have enough data to back them to give them a try. Just make sure that if you’re currently on a prescribed medication that you run adding a supplement into your diet by your doctor and that you follow the instructions on the label when it comes to taking them. Supplements can be pretty potent, sometimes not in a good way, if you’re not careful.
11. Emotional IntimacyGiphy
I live in Nashville (shout-out to Music City!) and so, I’ve been making it a point to try and entertain — although on some levels, it feels more like tolerate — the current season of Married At First Sight. Airris? Yeah…AIRRIS. I actually know some people who know him and they’ve been able to give me some insight on why it seems like he only has two channels: arrogance and horniness (and Twitter’s been letting him have it for it too).
Anyway, I didn’t even need to know the late bloomer scoop to catch that he hasn’t even begun to know how great sex can actually be because not only (according to him) has he never been in love before, he seems to not establish the greatest emotional connections with his sex partners either.
I hate that for him because, even the guys I know personally who are, let’s just say, quite active in these streets, they will vouch for the fact that sex is so much more fulfilling when it’s with someone you are emotionally connected to. And just for the record, let me run down seven signs that an emotional connection — mutually so — actually exists between two people:
- A strong chemistry is mutually there
- You know each other beyond the surface level
- You are open to meeting each other’s needs (not just in the bedroom either)
- There’s some sort of friendship established
- You enjoy each other’s company (even outside of sex)
- You’re consistently curious about each other
- Reciprocity is present
With articles and videos touching on the fact that hookup culture is getting really old (even I once wrote about how I’m not a fan of casual sex based on what “casual” actually and literally means; you can read it here), perhaps we’re seeing a turning of the tide. Maybe we’re remembering that sex is fun yet it can also be something special that transpires between two people. Hmm…just maybe.
12. Sexual MindfulnessGiphy
Last one. In the holistic wellness space, a word that comes up pretty consistently is “mindfulness.” The simplest way to define what it means to be mindful is you’re intentional about doing whatever is necessary to stay in the moment, be self-aware, and stay almost hyper-conscious of what’s around you.
If you really let all of this sink in, it makes perfect sense that sexual mindfulness would be quite effective and beneficial when it comes to sex because, the more in tune you are with your own body, your partner, and the space that’s around you, all without overly concerning yourself about time, that can make for a much more intense and satisfying sexual experience.
So, how can you do things that will make you more sexually mindful? When it comes to yourself, sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) and vaginal mapping (check out “Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey”) are great starting points. When it comes to amplifying sexual mindfulness with your partner, orgasmic meditation (check out “What Exactly Is 'Orgasmic Meditation'?”) is a powerful way to go.
Whatever you choose, try and slow down, get still and really take each other in without any electronics around. Being fully “in” with your partner can tap you into an energy field that will take sex to a whole ‘nother level. Yeah…out of all of the sex trends for this year, this might be the best one. #wink
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I've Got 7 Signs That You're In An Emotionally Draining Relational Dynamic
There are some experts who say that we all have six basic emotions — happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. I personally believe that a lot of us continue to stay in the emotional ruts that we find ourselves in because we don’t expand past these six when it comes to verbally expressing how we feel (for instance, are you angry or irritated? Are you sad or just tired? — you can download an emotional wheel here). What I will say is, because emotions are a human regulator, it’s always important to take moments, throughout the day, to “check-in” with your feelings to see where you’re at — and if where you are is drained, yeah…that ain’t good.
To be drained is to find yourself in a state and position where you feel…empty. And because we are, in part, emotional beings, that’s not good because being depleted affects our self-regulation and that can infect our processing and the steps that we need to take to do what’s truly best for us.
You know who knows this to be true? Emotionally draining people. Know what else? They absolutely do not care. All they can think about is doing whatever needs to be done to get their own needs — including their emotional needs — met. And if that wears you out in the process…so be it.
More times than not, these kinds of individuals are entitled, selfish, and oftentimes very emotionally immature. They don’t care about this either. That’s why it’s on you (and me) to become self-aware of our own relational needs and then to become aware of some telling signs that you are being emotionally drained, so that you can set boundaries and act accordingly.
For now, here are seven that are dead ringers that boundaries are needed ASAP.
1. You Feel Anxious at the Mere Thought of Being Around ThemGiphy
There used to be some people in my life (and by “people,” I mean relatives) who I found myself damn near hyperventilating at the mere thought of having to be around them. They were controlling. They were manipulative. They couldn’t respect a boundary to save their life. And they liked to abuse Scripture to justify their behavior.
What made it even worse was, because a lot of people around them were either just like them or henpecked to death by them, they would try and make me feel bad for not wanting that kind of toxicity around me. And so, for many — FAR TOO MANY — years, I would stay on a vicious rollercoaster of feeling peace whenever those individuals weren’t around and totally stressed out whenever they were.
Listen, when you’re in the presence of people who are right for you, anxiety should be far, far away from your emotional space. The reason why I say that is because, by definition, anxiety means things like mental distress, uneasiness, and worry — and all of this is connected to thinking that you’re going to be in some type of danger or some sort of misfortune is going to happen to you if, in this case, those kinds of individuals come around.
In other words, in the context of this article, anxiety is signaling a red flag. So, instead of you trying to suppress it, the wiser thing to do is really stop and ask yourself, “Why is it that when [insert name here] comes to mind, I feel this way?” Then really listen to yourself when the answer presents itself — and then act accordingly when it comes to the steps that you need to put into place next in order to experience less anxiety and more calm. Take whatever steps are necessary too. Anxiety is not something that you want to play with. Stress either.
2. “Emotional Vampire” Tracks When It Comes to a Way to Describe ThemGiphy
When it comes to everything that I just said, if there’s a term that would describe those people perfectly, “emotional vampire” would definitely scratch the itch. So, how do you know if you’ve got an emotional vampire in your life — I mean, beyond what I just described?
According to many mental health professionals, there are three telling signs that someone fits this particular bill:
- They constantly need attention and/or validation.
- They suck at self-accountability (and honestly, emotional self-regulation).
- They tend to stay in counterproductive — if not flat-out self-destructive — patterns.
Because of this, having them around typically results in them doing things like:
Gaslighting you — making you think that you’re insane for having the memories or feelings that are directly related to them that you do.
Being passive-aggressive — hinting around at issues instead of directly addressing them (which yes, is super draining). You know the kind: when you ask them “What’s wrong?”, they say “nothing” five times before actually getting to the point. LAWD.
Playing the victim — when you call them out on their ish, either it’s someone else’s fault or they start to act like you are bullying them by addressing what they are actually doing wrong.
Talking too much — emotional vampires SUCK at listening. Listening means that they have to let other people have the floor, that they can’t be the center of attention, and/or that they might hear something that they would prefer to ignore or avoid. That said, watch those who talk over you a lot. Not only is it disrespectful but oftentimes, they are telling you that they don’t want to deal with whatever you’re about to say (even if they know that they should).
Taking control — controlling people are draining because we aren’t designed to be controlled (or to control others). We’re adults and that means we are free to have our own opinions, perspectives, and even ways of doing things. Emotional vampires will always push back on this because, if the way you choose to live your life does not serve them in the way that they want it to, they will try and get some control over you, so that they can (continue to) manipulate you.
I honestly could go on and on with this point; however, what I will say for now is, if this resonated with you more than a lil’ bit, there is an emotional vampire in your midst and it’s time to get some distance and set some boundaries. FIRM ONES.
3. You’re Definitely “Keeping Tabs” on the RelationshipGiphy
You wanna know a clear indication that someone is manipulating and/or using you? It’s when you bring up to them that you feel like you’re the one who is doing most of the “heavy lifting” in the relationship and they come at you on some, “If you’re keeping tabs, you’re not doing ‘it’ for the right reasons.”
Chile, please stop. The reality is that if there was true reciprocity, I wouldn’t need to keep tabs. Keeping tabs is what’s revealing to me that there isn’t.
There are some people in my life who, I couldn’t “tally up” what I’ve done for them vs. what they’ve done for me if I tried. That’s how seamless the relationship is on the give-and-take tip. Then there are those who, I’m honestly embarrassed that I did so much when they offered so little in return. For example, the day ones (of reading my work on this platform) might remember my mentioning a so-called friendship where I spent thousands of dollars (yes, literally) over the years and all I got from them (again, yes literally) was a $5 ring from some museum and a packet of lip gloss…that they actually lost. I used to chalk it up to them giving differently but c’mon — thousands in comparison to 10 bucks? Nah. I was played, for sure.
Someone who takes more than they give, even when it comes to tangible things, is eventually going to emotionally drain you because you will start to feel taken advantage of — and when that happens, it will eventually take a real toll on you. Trust me, I’ve been there.
4. They Treat You Like a Makeshift Therapist (Instead of Going to Actual Therapy)Giphy
Whenever I hear or read that Black people fear therapy, there is a part of me that’s like, “Maybe some of us; however, I think more are afraid of paying a therapy bill.” Just think about it — how many people in your life seem to constantly have something that they need your insight and counsel about? Almost like they think that your main purpose in life is to act like their on-call (and not paid) therapist. SMDH.
Do healthy relationships consist of being safe spaces for two people to share, vent, process, and get (hopefully) some sound advice? 1000 percent. However, if every time that you answer the phone, the same person on the other end has some sort of issue or problem that it seems they want YOU to put more energy into solving (or resolving) than they are even willing to — that will totally get old after a while.
Besides, I tell a lot of my clients that, although relationships can be therapeutic, they are not the same thing as going to actual therapy. And so, if someone seems to be in a hamster wheel of drama or trauma and it’s getting to the point where you find yourself avoiding them because they have nothing else to talk about but their problems, it really is time to let them know that you can be a friend but they should seek a professional — because those things are not the same…because they’re not.
5. With Them, It’s ALWAYS SomethingGiphy
Back in 2015, I went on an intentional “tour” to resolve some things with certain men of my past. I actually wrote about it for the site (when you get a chance, check out, “Why Every Woman Should Go On A 'Get Your Heart Pieces Back' Tour”). Anyway, the main purpose of it was to make sure that I got the FULL CLOSURE that I needed so that I wouldn’t move forward with someone new while still being “haunted” by my past. It was honestly one of the best things that I’ve ever done.
Currently, I have a friend who is doing something similar — kinda-sorta by default. There is an ex in her life who has always been able to come back in, in part, because they’ve both always felt like it was poor timing that kept them from having a long-term committed relationship. Although I’ve seen some, at the very least, pink flags about ole’ boy, because I know what it’s like to not be able to get someone out of my system until I’m personally ready to, I’ve encouraged her to be intentional about getting the answers that she needs — so that if/when she’s done this time…IT’S DONE FOR GOOD (and yes, I am yelling it).
It's a slow crawl yet it seems like she’s starting to come around, because this guy? When I tell you that he’s always in some sort of crisis or he’s always got some sort of problem or he’s always “inconsistently upset” (meaning, he goes from hot to cold in a matter of moments) about something? And here’s the thing — life has moments of hardship, trials, and tests for all of us. Still, when someone is constantly in that space, at some point, they’ve got to be willing to accept that the common denominator in it all is them.
And if someone is always drawing conflict into their life, what do you think you’re gonna be dealing with, right along with them (especially in a romantic situation)? In fact, a lot of times, they will think that treading water (if not flat-out drowning) with them is a part of your role.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is, “Everywhere you go, there you are.” If someone’s always in some mess, you are only doing yourself harm by getting intimately involved with them. Yeah, some folks, you’ve gotta pray for and let them figure THEM out.
6. It’s Hard to Be Your Authentic Self in Their PresenceGiphy
Walking on eggshells is also emotionally draining — and this is what tends to happen when you feel like you can’t be your genuine, complete, and unedited self when you’re around certain individuals.
For the record, I don’t mean that you should ever think that you have the right to be unhinged, rude, or disrespectful. All I’m saying is if you’re monitoring your words because they are constantly getting triggered or having their feelings hurt, if you find yourself backtracking or apologizing even when you don’t think that you’ve done anything wrong, if you are holding back when it comes to expressing your own views, likes or desires — that’s too much work and when relationships require a lot of stress, striving and toiling in order to keep them going, that too is gonna tap you out.
In fact, one of the greatest indications that you have found “your people” is when you can relax, exhale and be totally, unapologetically, and authentically YOU. If that’s not currently happening — I don’t care if it’s a partner, a friend, a relative, a job, a church…whatever, you are setting yourself up to be emotionally drained…if you’re not already right there.
7. You’d Rather Be Anywhere BUT Around ThemGiphy
I’m proud of my friend circle. One reason is that they are out here doin’ the damn thing. They are thriving in their purpose. They are making big moves. Their schedules are full. And that’s why I’m almost honored if, when I call, they pick up — pretty much every time (or will follow up with a text that they will call when they can). One friend, in particular, shared why. He said, “Because I know that you’re not gonna drain the hell outta me.”
Again, when it comes to a topic like this, I could go on for days. For now, though, let’s just end it with this, if you’re avoiding someone because of how they make you feel whenever they’re in your emotional space, that’s another indication that they are probably emotionally draining you and so you need to go about the relationship differently.
Because why would you intentionally avoid someone who brings you peace, who makes you laugh, who brings encouragement and support, who helps to fill your cup rather than empty it?
Again, we’re all gonna have moments — possibly even seasons — when we’ll need people to help us through tough and trying times; this means that we need to be ready, willing, and prepared to return the favor. Yet if tough and trying are all that there is, something is…off.
Healthy relationships are supposed to be helpful NOT draining.
When it comes to yours — which is it? Really?
And if it’s Door #2 — set boundaries. QUICKLY.
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Not too long ago, while having a conversation with someone who has recently become engaged, she said something that inspired me to tackle this topic on a grander scale. As she was expressing all of the reasons why she loves her fiancé and is ready to share her life with him, towards the end, she said, “I just wish sex wasn’t so much of a big deal to him.”
*Car screeching* (you know, screeching in my mind). Then I heard myself say, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, he wants to have sex a couple of times a week and I’m like, ‘Why is sex all that you think about?’”
When I broke down to her that coitus with your long-term partner, a couple of times a week, is actually pretty normal, she kind of shrugged and said, “I guess. Sex just hasn’t really ever been my thing.” Ah. So now we’re getting somewhere. It’s not that her man is being over-the-top; it’s that sex isn’t something that is a real priority — to her.
While we — “we” as a whole — really need to stop deflecting from our own issues by acting like something is wrong with someone else when they happen to approach life differently than we do, that’s kind of another message for another time. Today, let’s get into what you should do if you read what sis said and you can totally relate. Because while “taking or leaving sex” doesn’t necessarily mean that something is “wrong” with you, if you plan on trying to make a relationship work or last, you should at least get to the root of why that happens to be the case.
Hopefully, the following five questions can help you to do just that.
1.Have You Ever Really Been “into Sex”?
There’s a guy that I know who is currently engaged to be married. I’ve known him for many years now and because my marriage life coaching mind rarely shuts off, he’s been on my “symbolic couch” many times when it comes to deep topics — sometimes, whether he truly wants to be or not. Anyway, something that he’s always told me about sex is it’s not something that’s really a big deal to him. When he does it, for the most part, he enjoys it; at the same time, though, he can think of dozens of other things that he’d rather be doing, shoot, most of the time.
When that came back up on the heels of him telling me that his wedding date had been set, I simply said, “I hope she knows all of this because sex in a marriage isn’t just a ‘fun activity’; it’s a ‘relational responsibility’ too” (umm, even the Bible says so — I Corinthians 7:5). Like the woman that I just mentioned, he also simply shrugged, said that she seemed to be fine with his attitude about it (even though he also admitted that her drive and desire are way higher than his) and then he changed the subject. Yeah, good luck with all-a-dat.
Listen, I’ve written articles on this platform about people who like to have sex but hate to kiss (check out “Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?”) along with people who enjoy intercourse but close-to-loathe oral sex (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”). The conclusion that I’ve come to is, just because a lot of us really enjoy sex (some of us to the point of not being able to get enough of it), there are also a fairly large group of folks who don’t see it as being a huge priority in their life.
It’s not due to drama or trauma either — it’s just not what tops their list of favorite things. If that’s you and it’s always been that way, again, I get it. Just make sure that it’s really “just because” because the guy that I just mentioned has some sexual abuse in his history and the woman from the intro has been faking orgasms for years. Both of them should speak with a professional, just to make sure there aren’t some unattended wounds or issues that need to be addressed.
And you know what? If what I just said about them triggered you somehow…so should you.
2.Is It a Sex Issue or an Intimacy Issue? (Or Both?)
Another thing that is definitely worth exploring is if you have a ho-hum attitude about sex itself or if there is something about intimacy that you are kinda-sorta lukewarm about. The reason why it’s important to separate the two is because while, in an ideal world, the physical act of sex and the emotions that come with intimacy would go hand in hand in a relationship, sometimes they simply…don’t.
What I mean by that is, some people don’t enjoy the closeness of sex because there are certain things about sex that they’re not super fond of. It could be the wetness of it (sweat, bodily fluids on the sheets, etc.). It could be that penetration has never been all that appealing to or stimulating for them. It could be that, ever since they began having sex, it was more about doing it for someone else or doing it to maintain the expectations of a relationship, so they’ve never figured out what pleases them when it comes to the act. It could also be that they’ve never had an orgasm before, so they don’t really get what all of the hype is about (I’m sure you see where I’m going with this).
On the (emotional) intimacy side, it could be that they don’t like how “naked” sex makes them feel when it comes to having very little to hide because, if there’s anything that encourages people to shed it all — both externally as well as internally — in order to reveal who they truly are…sex would be it. That’s why, when I first heard Iyanla Vanzant say that intimacy is into-me-see, it resonated because when the clothes are off, the make-up is off — there’s just you.
This actually reminds me of something that recently transpired in a sensuality class that I was in. The instructor was encouraging us all to make noise while breathing (like when you yawn or stretch) and it was funny to see how some folks were stressing all the way out because of it. One of the students said that she felt self-conscious sharing that part of herself in front of other people.
Listen, I’m not sure how anyone has sex without some heavy breathing going on. Yet, since there is life inside of every breath (literally), ironically, there is an exchange of intimacy that transpires within those moments. If you’re not used to 1) letting your walls down and/or 2) revealing all of who you really and truly are, and/or 3) not just letting someone enter into your body but into your mind and feelings too — that could be why you try to avoid sex at every turn.
Hey, just something to think about.
3.What Are YOUR Expectations of Sex in a Dating Dynamic? How Realistic Are They?Giphy
There is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed and it quite possibly has something along the lines of a church choir robe on — if you’re running cold when it comes to sex due to your religious beliefs and convictions, that’s an entirely different matter. There’s no way around the fact that the Bible defines fornication as sex between people who aren’t married and that it frowns upon that activity (Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5, I Corinthians 6:9-10). So, if that’s why you’re avoiding sex in your relationship, understood.
HOWEVER, what I will say is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try and build a relationship with someone who doesn’t have a similar perspective and value system as you do. It’s also pretty manipulative to weaponize intimacy in the sense of using sex as a “bait carrot” to get someone to hurry up and commit to you. Bottom line, in this case, is, if you would rather do without physical intimacy due to your religious/spiritual stance, find someone who feels the same way. It’s easier on everyone involved if/when you do.
With that exception being out of the way, when it comes to “odd expectations” in this area, not too long ago, I watched a video that featured a young woman who said that while she engages in casual sex, when she’s actually interested in someone, she implements the 90-day rule because he needs to “earn” it.
Umm, maybe it’s just me but that sounds like there’s some real internal confusion and conflicted resolves going on — so, the guys you don’t really care about can get it randomly while the one you do has to work and wait? What an interesting world that we live in these days (it also sounds like she’s using sex in order to get something out of the person she’s interested in which is another low-key form of manipulation). If one person should have to earn it, everyone should. Shouldn’t they?
Anyway and again, religious beliefs (or even being atheistic or agnostic and still wanting to wait until a relationship has a full commitment attached to it) aside, a HUGE part of what takes a relationship from being “just friends” to being so much more than that is sexual intimacy; especially if you’re someone who expects sexual exclusivity with your partner. So, how much sense does it make to go into a relationship expecting your partner to have sex with no one else but you, and yet you barely want to have sex?
I can’t tell you how many wives I know who abuse sex in this way — they don’t want their man to cheat and yet they think that putting them through a sexless marriage (which is sex that is 10-15 times a year tops) shouldn’t be a problem. ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?
When you get a chance, go on over to Google and put “constructive abandonment” into the search field. It’s basically when a spouse can sue their partner for not fulfilling the obligations of marriage which include sex. Yep, that’s how serious sex can be. And that’s why, before even getting into a romantic relationship with someone, you should think long and hard about what your sexual expectations are in a relationship and what you would prefer your partner’s sexual expectations to be.
By the way, this isn’t something that you wait on until you’ve been dating for five months before talking about it either. Whether you’ve had sex already or not, when you both are ready to officially take things to the next level (check out “The 'Pre-Commitment Interview' Every Dating Couple Should Have”), sexual expectations need to be on the table — not what you think your partner wants or would like to hear…what is the absolute truth about where you stand…and why.
4.Are You Open to Evolving Your Views on Sex?Giphy
I’m gonna be honest with you — I’m not old but I have been around for a hot minute and with the line of work that I’m in (relationships), I’ve seen quite a bit. And when it comes to how men view sex — if they do have a religious conviction and are practicing abstinence, they don’t want to date for long and if they don’t, most are not interested in being in a relationship where sex isn’t, not just involved, but a constant in their dating dynamic (especially if they sign up to be exclusive with someone else).
So, if you’ve had a pretty nonchalant view of sex, the next thing to ponder is if you’re willing to evolve in that area. Because listen here, if there’s one thing that most men are not going to waver on, it’s their sexual appetite and needs — and at the end of the day, it’s not fair for you to expect them to just because you may be more “meh” about sex than they are.
It kind of reminds me of one of my favorite relationship quotes which says, “Relationships fail because people take their own insecurities and try and twist them into their partner’s flaws.” While having a lower libido, not being all that gung-ho about having sex, and/or being someone who likes it whenever you have it, but you’re cool going a while without it aren’t exactly “insecurities,” it’s not problematic when others have a high drive, have sex on their top five list of favorite things to do and want to have it often either.
That’s why it can really do you some good to do some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can figure out why you feel the way that you do about sex, what’s open for compromise or negotiation and what would you be willing to evolve in under the right circumstances (along with what exactly those circumstances would be). Because even if you can “take or leave sex,” chances are, there are certain things that will cause you to change your perspective…even if it's just a lil’ bit.
5.Have You Shared All of This with Your Partner? If Not, Why Not?Giphy
A husband of over a couple of decades at this point told me that when he was dating his wife, she was initiating sex all of the time. After about two years of marriage, all of a sudden, she was trying to gaslight him into thinking that he had a sex addiction (?!) simply because he wanted to engage in copulation a couple of times a week.
UGH. She sounds ridiculous.
Another husband told me that while in premarital counseling, he expressed his desire for fellatio as his wife (fiancée at the time) said that she thoroughly enjoyed giving it. In eight years, he got it four times.
UGH. SHE LIED.
Moral of the story? You are doing no one any favors by being covert about your genuine feelings when it comes to sex — no matter what they are. And if a part of you is like, “But what if he’s perfect for me but we’re just not on the same page about sex?” Then I hate to break it to you but…he’s not as ideal of a fit as you think. Among the reasons for divorce, a lack of intimacy or incompatible intimacy continues to top the list; this means that you can’t expect to be in a romantic relationship and think that someone will be fine with no sex, “meh” sex or inconsistent sex; the sooner that gets discussed, the better.
So yes — I’ll close this out by saying, it is an absolute must that if you saw yourself in this piece that you speak with your partner. It doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you; however, it is wrong to hide your views and perspectives in order to accomplish some sort of relational goal.
And what if “taking or leaving sex” is something that you feel but you’re not sure why? Setting up an appointment with your doctor to get your hormone levels checked and/or seeing a reputable life coach/counselor/therapist to see if there is something mental or emotional going on couldn’t hurt.
Bottom line is — and it really can’t be said enough — not everyone sees fireworks when it comes to sex or wants to have it every other day and that’s okay. All I’m saying is if you’re in a relationship, you shouldn’t assume that others do or should feel like you do nor should you try and make them feel bad or dismiss their own sexual needs simply because they don’t.
A part of what comes with being in a healthy relational dynamic is compatibility. Including sex. Whatever attitude you and your partner may have about it…make sure you’re both in sync (especially prior to jumping the broom). It’s only fair…and right.
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Whew. Okay, so anyone who grew up “churched” and has never heard of what I’m about to share is probably already a little shook when it comes to the title of this piece. Because oh, believe you me, I went to Christian schools along with church every Sabbath back in the day and I think that it was at least once every few months that 666 and the mark of the beast (which comes out of Revelation 13:18 of the Bible) would come up in some sort of conversation.
This time, though, it has nothing to do with Scripture or end times theories nor is it a slight on a man (like him being evil or something). It’s actually speaking of, what seems to be a constant, relentless, and ever-growing-in-popularity desire that many women have when it comes to the kind of guy that they want to have a long-term relationship with — and it just happens to be that the three top traits all have the number “6” in it.
And actually, because I know many of the things that six symbolizes, the 6-6-6 man is fascinating because the number represents things like physically appealing, high standards, domestic happiness, and stability (hmm…).
So, whether you already know about this kind of man and want him, or you’ve never heard of him before and you want to learn more, let’s do some unpacking, shall we? Because, like most things in life, a 6-6-6 man is more than just a catchphrase or notion, chile.
6 Feet Tall
Two things that I’m pretty big on are stats and studies. A part of the reason is that, while a lot of people think that their feelings are facts, stats and studies are rooted in more than emotions that can change on a dime — there’s research, surveys, and hardcore intel involved. So, when it comes to physicality, it’s interesting that while a lot of women are consumed with height, a lot of men are consumed with “width” and neither wants to compromise much. Meanwhile, the stats reveal that only roughly 15 percent of men are over 6 ft and the average dress size in America right now is somewhere between 16-18. So, while you can want what you want all day long, you’ve also got to take into account what is actually available.
And how do I know that 6 ft. stands (pun intended) out for women? Because any time I’m out in the YouTube streets watching videos about what women find to be desirable, I can almost say it along with them that he must be at least 6’ tall. Some say it’s because a tall man makes them feel safe and secure. Others say that they don’t find short men attractive. Still, others don’t really know why they actually need a guy who is six inches taller towering over them, if they’re say only 5’4” in height themselves.
Me? I’m 5’6” and most of the men I’ve dated (or sex-ed) have been basketball player-tall. I did some soul searching and I think a part of it is because I was molested by a family member when I was younger (and much shorter) and so I was subconsciously programmed to think that as I got taller, the men in my life should be too. Once I factored that into what I thought was merely my preference, the desire ceased to be quite as rigid. Not to mention the fact that I’ve spent many years with super tall men who were shorter on character.
I mean, if ONLY 15 PERCENT of men are that tall, am I really going to automatically cancel someone who is 5’9” or 5’10”? How ridiculous would that be? Hmph. According to two Black women, VERY.
One of them is a Black influencer who has a YouTube channel called Only One Jess. She got married last year to what appears to be a very remarkable young man. She’s 5’1” and he’s 5’3” and she regularly brings up that, if she had stayed hung up on his height, she definitely would’ve missed out — BIG TIME. The other woman is someone, who, I wish I had kept the video because she PREACHED PREACHED when she said this about her around 5’7” man: “I had a father to look up to while growing up, so I don’t need my husband to overcompensate.”
BOOM! 10 TIMES! I hope y’all caught all-a-dat too!
6 Inches Long
Over the years, I’ve written quite a few pieces for this platform on the topic of penises including “Apparently, A Certain Penis Size Can Make Us Orgasm The Most (Chile)” (it’s eight inches, by the way) and “Sex Hacks For Different Kinds Of Penises (You Heard Me Right).” However, the one that probably deserves the most attention when it comes to this particular topic is “BDE: Please Let The ‘It Needs To Be Huge’ Myth Go.” If you haven’t checked it out (yet), it’s about a wife I know who has a husband with a lot to offer in the genitalia department, who actually has a pretty dysfunctional sex life with him (still) and a huge (no pun intended) reason is because his ego is far bigger than his package and his performance is less than stellar as a direct result.
As a marriage life coach for well over 15 years at this point, I’ve heard literally countless stories from women who’ve said that a big penis isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — that oftentimes we just say that we want that because we’ve been conditioned to; that a smaller size is just fine when your partner is attentive, selfless and confident.
Besides, I will continue to say until ALL of the cows come home that the average size penis 5.5” erect, our vaginas expand to 4.75” when aroused and our most intense nerve endings are 2” inside of it. Moral of the story? You can get stimulated just fine with a smaller size. Science says so.
In fact, the reason why many women struggle with experiencing a vaginal (penetration) orgasm isn’t because a man’s penis isn’t large enough, it’s either because their clitoris is too far away from their vagina for both to be stimulated by penetration (which no woman has any control over) or they’re not in a sex position where their clitoris can be stimulated during intercourse (the spoon position immediately comes to mind).
When it comes to my past sexual dealings, I surpassed the TMI mark a long time ago (check out “14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners” for instance). So, I’ll be the first to say that I’ve had some really large, umm, men in my lifetime and sometimes all I got out of the deal was a lot of bladder and yeast infections. In fact, the guy who gave me the most vaginal orgasms actually had one of the most average penises out of everyone. So, please don’t be out here resolved that only 9” (or hell, even the popular 8”) can please you. It’s one of the greatest lies ever told.
6 Figures in the Bank Account
Okay, so from what I’ve read and researched, somewhere around 33 percent of Americans currently make six figures (only nine percent earn a million on an annual basis). In Black households, 18 percent earn six figures. So, as far as availability and options go, that’s pretty much up with the height thing that I was talking about earlier.
Now to add some real perspective to this (beyond some women just parroting what they hear other women say), if the goal is to live a comfortable life, where you live plays a huge role in that (so does if you have and/or desire to have children). But let’s say that you’re only factoring in yourself and your future husband for the next 2-3 years or so. If you lived in Alabama, you’d currently need around $60,000 a year to be better-than-good (in the $60K range is the average for a lot of southern states), around $92,000 to live in Maryland, and — surprise, surprise — close to six figures to live in California and New York.
However, if you’re working too and you plan on contributing to the household expenses (and if you’re not…why not? It’s a fair question), then a man could still make, say, 60 or even 70 percent of what we see here and still hold things down, in all of these states, pretty damn well.
My point? When it comes to “requiring” a man — especially a Black man when only 18 percent of Black people even qualify for this particular “6” — ask yourself why that’s such a big deal to you. How much of it has to do with what you’ve heard on the internet or some ridiculous reality show? How much of it is rooted in some semi-unrealistic expectations? And most importantly, how much of it is such a big deal that you’d pass up a great man who makes $55,000 just so you can have your “6”…a “6” who just might not ever come? #justsaying
What a 6-6-6 Man Has to Say About Being in a Relationship with One:
“I’ve been a six-figure earner since I was in my late 20s. I’m well aware of the 6-6-6 phenomenon and I personally think it’s comedy because a lot of women who say they want that kind of man have no clue what his standards are — or if they do, they say that we’re full of ourselves. I’m not gonna lie — we have a lot of events where we want to show our woman off and so, there’s just a certain beauty standard that’s required."
"There are a lot of women who want us and so our patience level is pretty short because we’re not going to argue with one woman when we can find another who is far more accommodating. But the main thing that women miss about us is in order to make a lot of money, we have to do a lot of work. We just don’t have the kind of time to be doing the type of bulls — t that they see on television — three dates a week, traveling all of the time, constantly going on shopping sprees, and talking on the phone. In fact, a lot of us would be considered ‘cheap’ because we’re putting more money into investments than trying to woo a woman."
"That’s why a lot of women who’ve dated us see us as assh—es. It took a lot of work and focus on self to get where we are, especially when we’re Black. We’re very calculated on who gets to reap the benefits of that — and when.” - Dean, 45, in a long-term relationship
What a Woman with a 6-6-6 Man Has to Say About Being in a Relationship with One:
“My husband is 6’3,” I won’t share his penis size because it’s none of your business; just know that I qualify to answer this question. And as far as how much he earns, it’s around $170,000. When we first got married, that wasn’t the case. He was still in school. And although I won’t lie and say that I don’t enjoy not having to worry about how the lights are going to stay on or if we can take a vacation every summer, it all comes at a price.”
“Back when my husband was making less money, he had more time. He could also be more spontaneous. I don’t know what makes people think that [being] financially secure means more leisure time — unless you’re wealthy, rarely is that the case. I can also tell you for a fact that holding him down while he was on the ‘broker side’ of things is why he’s so willing to give to me now. Men who make a lot of money have a difficult time trusting which is why it can be hard to get them to marry you once they’ve already ‘made it.'”
“I just think that women need to be very mature, very secure, and extremely willing to make some sacrifices as far as time and expectations. You might have more money to play around with but sometimes that comes at the expense of not having him as much as you did before his tax bracket switched up on you.” - Wendell, 39, married 14 years
Trends Are Not (Automatically or Necessarily) Standards
Uh-huh. I already know. Some of y’all just read all of this and were like, “If I can’t have a 6-6-6, I’ll just stay single then.” I mean, if that’s what you want to put out into the universe, it’s your world, and the best of luck to you. I just wanted to make sure that you realized the reality of the combo and what comes along with it.
Besides, don’t let social media — hell, media in general — have you out here believing that just because they push a particular “good man narrative” down our throats that it’s actually a standard. Plenty of famous people tank their relationships on a daily basis…and many of them had a 6-6-6 man (again…just saying).
Bottom line, having preferences is fine. Just try not to be so rigid about what you think a good man is that you miss up on the right one. One who might be a bit shorter than 6 ft, whose penis might be shy of 6 inches and who may make five figures (or may have some but not all three) — but is a blue ribbon winner in standards that aren’t current trends.
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