I write about sex—a lot. That's because I read and research the topic, even more. Sometimes, while I'm out here perusing, I'll happen upon something that'll immediately evoke a light chuckle or a "For real? That's crazy" internal response. Today, I'm about to share 10 semi-weird things that caused me to do either or—sometimes both. While the overall objective is just to provide some food for thought, I'm thinking that if you actually apply a few of these things to your own sex life, it could prove to be beneficial for you. Are you ready to check out some totally random things that could improve copulation for you and yours? Let's hit it.
1. People Who Make Their Bed Have More Sex
I'll be honest. When I heard Oprah say a few years back that she hardly ever makes her bed, I felt that in my spirit. Because I make sure to get 6-8 hours of sleep and also because I am totally unapologetic about taking a nap during the day, it's rare that my bed gets made either. And since I'm currently not getting any, when I read that people who make their bed have more sex, for now, all it did was cause me to Kanye shrug. Oh, and want to share it with folks who actually are.
Apparently, there was a survey conducted that said, not only is it a total turn-off to 55 percent of people to have sex with someone who doesn't make their bed, those who actually do so are participating in coitus 25 percent more too. As a bonus, bed makers tend to get more quality sleep. So, if making your bed isn't something that you're big on, but you want to have more sex than usual, pulling that comforter up and fluffing a few pillows could be the solution to this particular "problem".
2. A Man’s Girth Is More Important than His Length
Earlier this summer, I wrote the article "BDE: Please Let The 'It Needs To Be Huge' Myth Go" for the site because, well, it's the truth. While I've indeed had my fair share of "big ums" in my day, the man who gave me the most vaginal orgasms actually had the smallest member of them all. That's why I'm not sold on the fact that a big penis is all that necessary when it comes to sexual fulfillment; especially since our most sensitive nerve endings are actually two inches into our vagina.
That's why it actually makes perfect sense to me why a man's girth (the width of his penis) would make more of an impact than his length.
From what I've read and researched, our vagina is covered in stretch mechanoreceptors; those are receptors that give our central nervous system information as it relates to things like touch, pressure and vibration. Because our vaginas are capable of stretching wide enough for a baby to come through (another reason why size is "eh"), it would make sense that the width of a man's penis would help to stimulate our mechanoreceptors more than the length of one would. So, if you're wondering what kind of penis would work more in your favor…now you know.
3. Heels Can NEGATIVELY Affect Your Orgasms
Gasp if you want, but I'm not big on high heels. It's not that I don't think they're sexy; it's just that I know what they can do to our backs over time and, the older I get, the more I care about that kind of stuff. Something that confirmed my sentiment was learning that wearing heels can also work against us in the bedroom. The bottom line reason is, many shoe companies have designed the arch of heels to match the arch of our pelvis. The problem with that is the heels can create a contraction in our pelvic floor that actually makes it challenging for us to fully climax during sex. Hey, I'm not saying you need to toss out all of your stilettos or anything. I'm just saying that wedges and sneaks might be your better bet on non-special occasion days. If you wanna have more orgasms, that is.
4. The More Water You Drink, the More You’ll Be Able to Get Off
This point isn't really "weird" so much as it is a reminder. We're made up of around 60 percent water, right? So, rather than immediately reaching out for lube, every time you have sex, how about committing to drinking more water throughout the day, every day? Hydrating your body from the inside out is a proven way to make you wetter, which ultimately makes sex oh so much better.
5. The “P” and “V” Are Low on the Erogenous Zones List
If you're someone who likes a lot of foreplay, even if it's more than intercourse itself, don't think that it makes you a high-maintenance lover. The reality is, as far as erogenous zones go, the penis and vagina count for 10 percent of "importance" when it comes to sparking sexual stimulation. That's probably why a lot of us don't get turned on if our partner immediately goes for "her" without taking a few pit stops along the way. The more you know.
6. Certain Sleep Positions Can Ramp Up Your Sex Dreams
I once read somewhere that if you want to engage in more morning sex, you can significantly increase your chances of that happening by dreaming about coitus the night before. If you just read that and thought to yourself, "Great. But who can actually 'will themselves' to have a sex dream?", it's funny that you would ask that. Word on the street is, if you sleep on your stomach, with your hands over your head, you actually have a really good chance of dreaming about copulation. It might sound crazy but before you totally write it off, try that position tonight. Report back in the comments if it sparked anything.
7. Sitting in a Chair Can Make You Hornier
All of us have something called a pudendal nerve. It runs from the back of our spine, right down to the base of our genitalia. It's a nerve that is able to send messages to our brain via our vagina (or in men's cases, their penis) and anus. Coincidentally, it's also what controls our sphincter muscles whenever we go to the bathroom. Well, when we sit with good posture in a chair, that nerve that can get stimulated which can arouse us. So, if you've been wondering why you can't seem to stop thinking about sex while you're at work, you being in your chair all day could very well be why, sis.
8. Big Guys Are Better and Last Longer
I'll be the first to say that a six-pack is really nice to look at, but if you wanna have a better sex life, you might wanna go the beer belly route instead. Yep. Apparently, men who have a little more jiggle around the middle are not only able to last longer (roughly around five minutes), they also produce more of the hormone estradiol which can also prevent them from cumming before they are ready to.
While this certainly isn't license for a man to pack on the pounds (because obesity can cause health issues up the road), it definitely is enough of a reason to not nag your partner if his body isn't picture perfect. His gut just might be able to please you more than any body builder or model ever could. Tell your man there's no need to thank me for sharing this with you. I was more than happy to help. #wink
9. Sex Can Regulate Your Cycles
Is your menstrual cycle all over the place? Something you can do to naturally regulate it is to have more sex. No joke. A part of the reason is because sex releases the natural hormone oxytocin which can reduce your stress levels. The less stressed out you are, the more balanced the rest of your hormones are so that the regularity of your period becomes more consistent. As a bonus, sex can also make your menstrual cramps less intense and sometimes, even shorten your period too. Engaging in intercourse, around once a week, is all you need to (hopefully) make this happen.
10. A Headache Can Be an Aphrodisiac
Got a migraine? Guess what can be better for you than ibuprofen? You guessed it—an orgasm. Apparently, the same brain chemical that causes us to feel horny is the same one that can also give us a killer headache. And so, what some scientists have discovered, is folks who are prone to migraines actually have an elevated libido. I actually know some migraine sufferers who can't get enough sex. I never made the connection until I read a study surrounding it. Interesting. Very interesting, indeed.
BONUS: Being in Love Makes Sex Better
Let me close out with something that isn't weird; just a reminder. Last fall, I wrote "Experts Believe Passion (Not Love) Makes Sex Better. You Agree?" for this site. I must say that, as someone who has counseled many sexless married couples who do love each other but still ain't having good sex, to a large extent, I would have to agree. That still doesn't mean that love isn't a really important ingredient in a lasting and fulfilling sex life, though. When you love someone, you trust them, you feel OK sharing all of yourself with them and you care more about being with them than setting unrealistic expectations—and yes, that makes for a much better sex life. To seal the deal on this, I wanna share an article that I read on Thought Catalog's site entitled, "18 Men Explain Exactly How Sex Is Different With Someone You Love".
So, if all you pretty much engage in is casual sex, maybe give waiting until you love someone a chance. It could be what stands between the "cool sex" you've been having and the climbing-the-ceiling sex that you're truly deserving of. You might get the sex you've been looking for without needing to personally apply all of this…weirdness.
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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Having Quitter's Regret? Here's How To Ask For Your Job Back
We all heard about the Great Resignation, where millions of professionals quit their job during the pandemic in order to find balance and pursue fulfillment. Well, today, among those who took the leap, 80% regret ever quitting in the first place. Sometimes we have to actually make a move before finding out it’s the wrong one, and that’s okay.
If you’re experiencing a bit of quitter’s remorse, here are a few tips on how to ask for your job back with your pride intact:
1. Be sure you’ve weighed the pros and cons of going back to a former employer.
Maybe the new job you quit the old one for just didn’t stand up to the interview hype, or you just miss your old gig and coworkers. Write down all the benefits and possible pitfalls of going back. Will you have to settle for less money? Did you leave the company on good terms? Is this something that will advance your career? Do you just need the money to pay your bills? (In that case, you might want to just consider applying for a whole new job elsewhere.) Before asking for that job back, be sure you’re aware of all outcomes of your decision.
I once considered going back to an old job after hitting a slump early in my self-employment journey. After talking with a few friends I still had in the industry, they highly recommended that I push through and find other ways to bring in money while boosting my client roster. Looking back, it was the best decision not to return to an old job because I would not have the flexibility or job satisfaction I have today as a digital nomad, nor would I be earning the money I am today.
2. Reframe the ask.
To ensure you’re not coming off desperate, be sure to start off by emailing your former employer or HR department, briefly detailing what you loved about the position or company, and expressing that, after some reflection, you’d be interested in reconnecting to be rehired.
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3. Request a meeting to discuss your options.
This is a good idea since you can better pitch yourself to get back into the fold with an in-person or phone conversation. It’s much more personal, and you can really let your former manager or HR rep know the details of why you want to come back and why you would be an asset to the company if you did. This is especially important if your position hasn’t already been filled, if you took major contacts or connections with you when you left, or to leverage better pay or benefits this time around.
4. Be authentic and honest.
Oftentimes, people respect honesty, especially company leaders, with integrity. I once resigned from a job, thinking I was going to pursue higher education full-time. I didn’t want to have to juggle my studies with holding down a job that I really loved and wanted to give my all to. After a bit of thought, I decided that missing out on the opportunity to really thrive in that role and continue the work I’d been doing just wasn’t worth quitting to go back to school full-time, so I was honest, and I got the job back. My manager was very encouraging and actually was happy I’d asked to rejoin the team. If you left the job due to what you thought would be a good life pivot or for reasons that are positive, just keep it real with your former manager and allow them the chance to offer understanding and grace.
5. If the position has been filled, apply for another one.
Many companies keep employee files in their systems for quite some time after someone resigns, and there may be other opportunities for you to get your foot back in the door. If you find that your position has already been filled, apply for another position with your former department or another department altogether, either through your former company’s HR portal or via a recruiter. Talk to your former colleagues or industry friends and find out about what’s available. They might even be able to give you a heads-up when a position is opening that’s perfect for your comeback.
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