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Want Your Man To Be Better In Bed? Give Him A Book.

If you want more sexual pleasure, encourage your man to read more (often).

Sex

I already know that a lot of men check out the content on our site. So, before any of you fellas take this the wrong way, this article isn't trying to take a dig at you on any level. As you're about to see, in just a couple of seconds, this has nothing to do with overall literacy; at least, not in the way that it would appear on the surface. No, what this is going to address is how partners reading together, and men specifically reading a certain type of content, can help to improve a couple's sex life overall. Are you ready to find out, just what in the world I'm talking about? Let's do this.

Reading Together: An Underrated Form of Foreplay

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Although I don't leisure read as much as I used to (if you're a writer like I am, you get how much of a challenge that can sometimes be), it really is one of my favorite things to do. Growing up, I wasn't someone who got to watch a ton of television (other than on Thursday nights when The Cosby Show, A Different World and then Cheers came on), but it didn't really bother me because I had a plethora of books at my disposal. Thanks to my mini-library, I can vouch for articles that say that reading benefits us when it comes to increasing our vocabulary, making us better writers and overall communicators, expanding our imagination (which is really awesome if you're into writing fiction) and helping us to grasp a better understanding of others. But did you also know that reading on a regular basis can also reduce depression symptoms, treat insomnia and even help you to live longer? Yep. Reading is bomb.

OK, but what does all of this have to do with sex? Patience, grasshopper. Let's ease into this thing. So, now that you know why it's a good idea to read alone, let's get into why it can pseudo be an act of foreplay as well.

By choosing to put down the electronics, open up a bottle of wine and cuddle while reading with your partner, not only will you end up spending quality time together, but it can help to reduce both of your stress levels too. Plus, a lot of couples who read together end up finding each other to be more attractive because, for a lot of us, intelligence is sexy and, when you read, you learn.

There's another benefit that can come from reading with your boo. I don't know about y'all, but whenever I'm out, I like to people watch. Sometimes, when I'm in a restaurant and I notice that a couple hasn't said a word to each other, the entire time, I feel bad for them. Geeze, has it gotten to the point where there's nothing left to say? (How awful.) One thing that could help them out is, you guessed it, reading to each other. According to an article that I checked out on Mic's site, another reason why you and yours should crack open some books together from time to time is because they can be real conversation starters; reading can put a spark in your communication connection if things have been a little less…interesting lately.

Oh, can you feel the build-up? So, reading alone makes you more imaginative. Reading with your partner strengthens your connection and now here's where the title of the article comes in—if your man reads a certain type of material, it can make him (even) better in bed.

What Men Can Read to Improve Their Sex Game

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A long time ago, I interviewed a sex therapist about their thoughts on why so many couples seemed to go sexually unfulfilled in their relationship. What he said has always stayed with me. "A lot of women learn about sex from Cosmo, men learn from porn, and then you put both of them in a dark room together and it's a big ole' mess because neither source is realistic." Amen. Listen, I worked with a porn ministry for almost a decade and I can tell you that, not only can porn really jack you up mentally, IT'S. NOT. REAL. A lot of porn actors (I don't personally like the term "porn stars") hate everything about what they are doing (they told me so) and are ONLY in it for the money (not all but many). Where I'm going with this is, while the automatic thought might be that a man should pick up the most graphic erotica they can find, that's not exactly the kind of material that was featured in the study that I read.

According to a study that was published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy, what men should read more of are books on women and sexuality. A doctoral candidate by the name of Hannah Warshowsky shared that one of her passions is study the orgasm gap (which basically addresses why it seems that men are able to climax more than women and what can ultimately be done to change that). In her study, she surveyed almost 200 men about their sexual experiences. Some of the men, she asked to read the chapter, "Cliteracy for Him" in the book, Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—And How to Get It which addresses things like women's body image and how they can obtain their own sexual satisfaction.

Of the guys who read the 35-page chapter, they ended up having a better understanding of a woman's anatomy and needs. As a result, they ultimately performed better in bed too. Reading is fundamental, after all.

Now, I will say this about the study—even the article stated that it consisted of young white men. So personally (perhaps along with Becoming Cliterate), I would recommend having your man check out a book like Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit by Queen Afua. Anyone who's read it before knows that it's a classic. Shoot, it had me treating my own vagina with more honor and I know "her" better than anyone!

Anyway, the reading selections are totally up to you (if you've got some recommendations, please do us all a favor and post them in the comments). I think the overall takeaway is in order for a man to give us what we want and need in bed, he has to be open to learning as much as possible about us. Yes, we can do a lot of the teaching, but there is nothing wrong with him opening up a book or two too. In fact, according to this study, him doing so can be oh so very right.

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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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