Let me just say, before we deep dive into this particular topic, that I'm pretty sure that it's not going to go in the direction that a lot of you think that it's going to. In fact, the inspiration for this piece came from a series of conversations that I've had with a male friend of mine who is in one of the dumbest (meaning it's counterproductive, so not what he truly wants or needs and is proving to be a total waste of time, even as we speak) relationships ever. So, why is he in it? I would say about 70 percent of the reason is because he and his girlfriend have, what he calls, some really amazing sex. What brought me to this conclusion? It's because when he's complaining and I ask him why he stays, something about the sex almost always comes up. I mean, always.
Listen, I will be the first one in this class to say that you can easily confuse great sex with a solid relationship (check out "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners," "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner," and "What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be"). I will also say that there comes a time in all of our lives when we have to learn what the difference is. And that's where the subject of sexual soulmates comes in. So, if you've ever wondered if such a term exists and/or if you've ever truly had one before, I'm gonna take a few moments to share a little food for thought.
First Up: Disney and Rom-Coms LIED to You
Before we get into the sex part, let's talk about soulmates first. Y'all, if there are two things that irk the entire mess outta me, it's when folks talk about following their heart (when the Bible says to do the exact opposite — Jeremiah 17:9-10) and when folks just toss "love" and "soulmate" around. Just because someone makes your heart and/or body feel good, that doesn't mean they are your soulmate. Not by a long shot. For one thing, a soulmate's purpose isn't really about giving you butterflies all of the time; that's simply what Disney and chick flicks want you to think. If you really want to take the "grown approach" to having a soulmate, they are someone who helps you to become a better version of yourself. And sometimes? Sometimes that is going to be uncomfortable. Sometimes, you're gonna be challenged like a mug. Sometimes, you're probably not going to like your soulmate very much. Doesn't matter though, because, unlike any other person, they are able to help you along your journey in some very powerful and incomparable ways.
Yeah. I already know. You've probably heard that a soulmate is like a mirror reflection of you; that you are so drawn to them because they are like another version of yourself. Eh. And why am I so firm that it's not this, in spite of how many Google links say otherwise? Because I've looked deeper into certain words that are connected to it. This brings me to my next point.
Are You Familiar with What a Bashert Is?
Something that I've been super fond of for many years now is Hebrew culture. The Scriptures were originally written in Hebrew. My name is Hebrew; it means "Mine; Belonging to Me" (meaning God) and it's such a rich culture (one that has gotten super whitewashed but that's another topic for another time). And so, the more I learn about it, the more enlightened I become. Take the Yiddish (interestingly enough, a language that was used by Jews in Europe before the Holocaust) word "bashert," for example. It means "soulmate" which translates into "destiny."
Because I work so much in the area of relationships, folks ask me often if I believe that we've all got one person who we're destined to be with. Personally, I do believe that there is a "one best" (who most people are too impatient or not tapped into the purpose of relationships enough to recognize/accept); however, realistically, you can probably be married to at least 100 other people on this planet and live a pretty good life (I venture to say that most marriages are an example of this). I also discern that it's important for people to remember that when you're picking a person, you're also picking a life path. And that's why the word "destiny" is so important because, it's not just about things being predestined for you; it's also about your fortune and one definition of fortune is "a power or force, often personalized, regarded as being responsible for human affairs." In other words, your bashert ultimately is a driving force who plays a role in how your daily life is lived. And y'all, that's a pretty big deal.
That's why I'm not a huge fan of the flippant attitude behind casual sex. For one thing, I know what "casual" means (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'"), and secondly, life is too short and too precious to be out here just giving our heart and parts to folks who can literally reroute our destined paths. So again, before getting into what a sexual soulmate is, first ponder what a bashert is. Then build upon that with this next point.
What Is the Purpose of a Soulmate?
Next up. Twin flames. While both it and bashert (and soulmate, really) can all get articles of their own, probably the short-long of this definition is it's when one soul (check out "I've Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul") is dwelling in two people. What I like about twin flames is they complement the responsible perspective of a soulmate pretty well because they are considered to be someone who challenges and heals you, almost at the same time.
What are some signs that you've encountered a twin flame? You complement each other well. You both want to see the other evolve. You both bring each other closer to fulfilling your lives' purpose (if you are caught up in someone who is hindering you from purpose fulfillment, that IS NOT a twin flame, sis). There is typically quite a bit of intensity (not drama, but intensity) between the two of you. Life seems to bring you back to each other, one way or another, kinda like a form of serendipity (not because you're forcing it to happen either; it's more like a series of coincidences). The connection feels very sacred; divine even. And, perhaps most importantly, twin flames help you to learn how to love yourself, usually better than anyone else has in your entire life.
When you let all of this really sink in, soulmates and twin flames are basically the opposite sides of the same coin. Romance isn't really the (ultimate) point of either one. Personal growth and progress, while being in a safe space…is. With this in mind, let's get into what a sexual soulmate is, shall we?
From a Holy Book Perspective, Your Sexual Soulmate Is Your Spouse
It's no secret that all three major holy books say that sex is for marriage. A part of the reason is because sex isn't just a profound pleasure; sex is a HUGE responsibility and when you're in a dynamic where someone has fully committed to you, you tend to feel more at ease to trust, to give your all, to thrive. At the same time, I also know that not all people subscribe to a religion (check out "7 Signs You're Spiritually Compatible With Someone"); still, I do think that it should go on record that if you factor in all of what I just said about soulmates, basherts, and twin flames if there is a common thread among them all, it's that a soulmate has a spiritual component and a profound effect on a person. And you know what? So does sex. Oxytocin alone speaks to that; that's why it's got the nickname, "the love hormone." Yep, just sleeping with someone can make you feel bonded by them because this natural hormone elevates in your system. So, just imagine how much more this intensifies when there is a mental, emotional, and spiritual connection there too.
That's why, I do believe that when you take in the purpose of a soulmate, bashert, and twin flame when it comes to who your sexual soulmate ultimately is, it's probably your spouse.
They might not be the best you've ever had (in bed). They might require some sexual adjusting to (check out "8 'Kinds Of Sex' All Married Couples Should Put Into Rotation"). Yet still, if it's all about bettering you as an individual, the person you share life with and (in most sexual agreements) only have sex with? How could they not, as time progresses, become your ultimate sexual soulmate? The two of you are becoming one and consistently participating in an act that makes that possible (check out "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important," "10 Simple Ways Married Couples Can Make More Time For Sex," "The 'Seasons Of Sex' That Married People Go Through," "8 Sex-Related Questions To Ask Your Spouse ASAP" and "What You Should Do If You Find Yourself In A Sexless Marriage")? So yeah, that's a huge part of the reason why I've come to this resolve.
From a Broader Perspective, a Sexual Soulmate Impacts Your Life — Even Outside of the Bedroom
So, what if you're not married, you're divorced or you have absolutely no intentions of ever jumping any broom? Does that mean you can't — or have never had — a sexual soulmate before? Remember how I said earlier that I do believe there is a best for you and then there are 100 others that you can build a solid life with? Again, the commitment that a spouse makes, both in and out of the bedroom to their partner, yes, qualifies them to be a soulmate of sorts, even sexually. However, I do also believe that there can be people who still reveal some really deep things to you about yourself, who you have a really strong connection with, who teaches you how to love yourself quite deeply, in a way that others cannot — and a part of it came from being sexually involved with them.
Because I'm not married (yet), I have yet to have the peak sexual soulmate experience. However, there is a guy from my past who — whew. While I was initially involved with him, I thought it was all about how in sync we were sexually (never get two Geminis in the same room, chile. It's something fierce!). Looking back, though, he came at a time when I had recently lost my fiancé, he listened, he affirmed, he helped me to see the situation and who I was becoming due to it in a way that no one else was quite capable of doing. And although he was (and continues to be) fine and some mo' fine, I get that the sex was so passionate and satisfying because I felt a connection deeper than just the physical act. And to this day, when I think back on my sex life, he is someone who I have very little regret. He is someone who I still think fondly of. He is someone who cultivates a lot of inner peace.
Yeah, that's something else to keep in mind about sexual soulmates. Let the media have its way and you'll think that if you and someone are tearing each other's clothes off one day and then acting out some version of a crazy Lifetime movie the next, for months or even years on end, the two of you must be sexual soulmates.
Chile, a soulmate — a true one — is a blessing and benefit NOT an addiction or obsession. Being a-dick-ted doesn't make someone your soulmate. However, if you know, that you know that you know, that you can directly associate what happens in the bedroom with how you're shifting, for the better, outside of it and you've never really quite been able to say that about anyone else before, you just might be onto something. Real talk.
This topic could be a series. I just wanted to make sure that in a world that wants to cheapen sex at every turn, that we all remember that the act can — and should — go so much deeper than the surface. A sexual soulmate can be a really beautiful thing…so long as you keep it in its proper perspective. Your body is precious, so please make sure that you do.
For more love and relationships, sex tips and tricks, and marriage advice, check out xoNecole's Sex & Love section here.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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