Call it an occupational hazard but I really do dig words. I mean, more than average person (I think). That's why it kinda tripped me out that when I initially came up with the title for this piece and I went with the word "cozy", who knew that it had some crazy definitions attached to it? While cozy does mean "snugly warm and comfortable" (which is what I was going for), did you know that the word also includes definitions like "convenient or beneficial, usually as a result of dishonesty or connivance", "suggesting opportunistic or conspiratorial intimacy" and "discreetly reticent or noncommittal"? What in the world, y'all?
That's why I swapped out cozy and replaced it with "comfy" because, the goal here, is to offer up some tips that can make sex between you and yours (especially as the colder temps are starting to set in) feel comfy, which is short for comfortable, which is a word that means things like content, at ease, relaxed, snug, warm, healthy and happy. Sex that can feel like curling up in your favorite blanket, as the snow falls outside and you enjoy a cup of warm cocoa indoors? That's what I'm aiming for. Because, as crazy as it might sound on the onset, the reality is that the more comfortable we feel with our environment and our partner before sex even begins, the better the experience tends to be overall.
So, are you ready to learn more about how to have some "comfy sex" this fall and winter season? Yeah, I figured you would be.
1. Invest in a Comfy Comforter
When's the last time you treated yourself to a new comforter? In the name of comfy sex, how about investing one that is solely about how good it feels to be wrapped up in it? If you want one that provides moisture-wicking (so that you won't overheat) warmth, go with one that has some wool filling in it. A fluffy feel? Down filling is a great choice. Silk creates a feeling of sheer luxury while a cotton and polyester blend is a "lighter fluff". Whatever you decide to go with, make sure to get one that is a size up from the size of your bed (like I have a king comforter on a queen bed). That will leave extra material for you and your partner to be able to curl up in. Trust me, it's divine.
2. Determine to Leave ALL Drama Out of the Bedroom
OK, before going deeper into these comfy sex tips, it doesn't make sense to offer up a ton of hacks if you and yours can't use words like serene, pleasant and agreeable (which are synonyms for comfortable, by the way) to define your mindset before sexual activity even begins. You know, I've got clients who are under the totally delusional mindset that the best time to have deep chats is during sex. According to them, that's when they feel like they can "catch" their partner. No, no, NO.
A part of the reason why I agree with interior designers (and a lot of marriage therapists) when they say that the bedroom is for nothing other than sex and sleep is it reminds couples to see that room of their house as a place for pleasure and rejuvenation — no more, no less. When you know that there is a space that's designated for nothing other than that, it makes it an area that you find yourself constantly looking forward to being in. So, in the name of all things comfy, check issues, problems and drama at the door. Literally.
3. Put Some Jasmine, Vanilla or Cinnamon on Your Bedding
Now. Back to prepping. Did you know that there are scents that can help to make you feel more comfy too? Jasmine is awesome because it's considered to be an aphrodisiac — one that has the ability to put you into a better mood and give you more energy. Vanilla is great because it promotes relaxation, relieves tension and improves your quality of sleep. Cinnamon oil is cool because it helps to relieve achy joints and muscles, stimulate blood flow and reduce feelings that are associated with irritability or head tension. As a bonus, if you add a little bit of cinnamon to your feet at night, it can help to increase blood circulation and keep them warm. Just sprinkle one of these on your bedding. You won't want to get out of your bed for days if you do.
4. Enjoy Some Blackberry and Ginger Mocktails
If you and yours like to sip on a lil' sumthin' before or after gettin' it in, have you ever had a blackberry and ginger mocktail before? While both of these foods have a ton of health benefits, the reason why I'm mentioning them today is because blackberries are a good source of magnesium which can curb stress-related feelings while relaxing your system in the process. As far as ginger goes, it's full of antioxidants and bioactive compounds that can improve brain health overall so that you're in a tranquil state. Sipping on a drink that's made of both of these can help to "get your mind right" which is always a good thing when you're about to put your body into action. (Three great mocktail recipes for this particular drink are located here, here and here.)
5. Or Share a Bottle of Chocolate Wine
If alcohol is what you're after, if it's been a ROUGH day and you and/or your partner just can't seem to get your mind to stop racing, when's the last time the two of you shared a bottle of chocolate wine? Dark chocolate contains polyphenols that are proven to help increase feelings of calm and contentedness while wine plays a direct role in suppressing your nervous system which, in turn, can reduce stress and worry. Total Wine is just one site that sells a few different brands for a really affordable price. You can check out their list here. For tips on how to find the absolute best brand of chocolate wine, Vina Del Vido breaks it all down on their site here.
6. Massage Each Other’s “in Need of Comfort” Pressure Points
A massage is always a smart foreplay move. If you and/or your partner are feeling fatigued, irritated, restless, worried or even a little bit tense, give each other a pressure point massage. While on the onset, it might seem like I'm referring to erogenous zones, I'm actually not.
Some of the pressure spots where anxiety stores up include inside the upper ear, around the shoulder blades, in between the index finger and thumb, on the wrists and at the part of the feet that are right underneath the toes. If you mix a carrier oil like sweet almond, avocado or grapeseed with 5-7 drops of the essential oils that I mentioned earlier, warm the oil up in the microwave for 10 seconds and then massage these areas, it can literally feel like a pampering slice of heaven.
7. Express Something About Your Partner, That Day, That You Appreciate
A couple of years ago, I penned an article for the platform entitled, "10 Creative Ways To Express Gratitude In Your Relationship". Y'all, I can't tell you how many times a husband or wife has told me that they've got one foot out of the door because they feel totally taken for granted. Again, when someone is comfy, they feel mentally and physically comfortable. One way to put your partner into this kind of mental state is to verbally state something that you appreciate about them; not in general, but that they say or did that day. Doing this shows that you're paying attention to their efforts. Doing this reveals that you are proactive about being thoughtful. Doing this will also cause your partner to feel valued in your life. How can you not want to get closer to someone who is intentional about making you feel this way?
8. Cuddle While Taking a 30-Minute Nap. BEFOREHAND.
Whenever a couple tells me that they are too tired for sex, I usually say what I'm about to say to you — take a nap first. While it might sound strange at first, there is all kinds of data to support the fact that a 30-minute nap can help to boost energy levels, strengthen cognitive function, make you more creative, better your memory and put you in a far better mood — all of which is needed for satisfactory sex sessions. And if you nap while you're cuddling with your partner underneath that comforter that we talked about (check out "Fall's Coming: 8 Wonderful Health Benefits Of Cuddling"), the rise in oxytocin levels that can come from it can actually make you desire your partner even more. Just set an alarm. When it goes off, roll over and start kissing. This is the kind of sex hack that is truly unsung.
9. Get into Some Stress-Reducing Sex Positions
While sex, in general, helps to release stress (which is just one of the billions of reasons why you should do it as often as you can), there are positions that encourage less physical tension, more cuddling and greater feelings of comfy-ness. Spooning is wonderful because there is nothing like being the "little spoon" and feeling enveloped in your man's embrace. The Lotus is dope because when your partner is sitting in a pretzel position and you're sitting on top while facing him, how can you not feel super close and intimate? I always encourage having sex in the "cat position" (which is like doggy style but you're lying flat on your stomach) because your partner is literally taking you all in.
Having sex while hugging each other (lying face to face) makes it so much easier to kiss and squeeze one another (it can actually be very sweet). Then there's the good old-fashioned missionary position that is always great for eye contact. Plus, all of these positions are pretty easy on both bodies, so that neither of you are throwing your back out or putting unnecessary stress on your already-tired limbs and muscles in the process.
10. Praise Your Partner for Something Satisfying That Just Transpired
Recently, I was talking to a husband client; he had me cracking up. We were discussing favorite artists and songs. When Jill Scott's name came up, he said, "'Whatever' is my joint." When I asked him why, he said, "Who doesn't want to hear how good they were in bed? That woman told her man that he put it down and then cooked him some breakfast. That's what I'm talking about!" Remember how I said that being comfy is about being at ease? A good lover wants to make sure that their partner is pleased. Whatever yours did to fulfill you, don't waste any time sharing it. It will relax him and make him feel really comfortable with affirming you in return.
11. Turn on the Ocean
I've shared before that until I started sleeping to the sound of rain, I preferred silence. But baby, now that I've found 9-plus-hour videos on YouTube that has real rain falling on them, sleep has never been so good!
While having sex to the sound of rain can be sexy and romantic for sure, since the focus here is comfort, consider going with ocean sounds instead (whether it's before, during and or following copulation). There are many studies to support that listening to things like waves crash or rain on the water can reduce stress and cultivate a sense of calm.
Hey, you'll never know until you try it…right? (Go to YouTube and put "ocean sounds" or "ocean ASMR" in the search field for a list of options to choose from.)
12. Spoon Yourself to Sleep
We already touched on spooning from the sex position standpoint. That said, once you both have "culminated" (wink), getting into the spoon position in order to fall asleep is pure bliss too. It's relaxing. It keeps the feeling of closeness and intimacy going. Oxytocin boots can also help you to fall and stay asleep. Dopamine (which enhances pleasure) and serotonin (which helps to regulate your moods and sleep patterns) are natural hormones that are also released when you spoon as well.
From a very practical angle, you significantly decrease your chances of snoring when you're on your side (vs. your back). While you may not remain in that position all night long, it's definitely a way that conveys "I adore you and tonight was amazing." You can go into sex feeling comfy, experience sex being comfy and end it being in that same head and heart space. And it really doesn't get much better than that, chile.
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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If you followed Beyoncé’s career, then you know how hair has played an important role in her journey. Her mom, Ms. Tina Knowles, owned a hair salon when the multi-Grammy award-winning artist was growing up, and she has shared on several occasions how it impacted her life. We’ve also witnessed her many hair transformations throughout her career, from braids to her signature long, straight honey blonde tresses. However, it was her pixie cut in 2013 that had everyone talking.
Beyoncé and Tina launched Cécred (pronounced sacred), a hair care line that includes a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub, a hydrating shampoo, a nourishing hair oil, and much more. The mother-daughter duo opened up about their latest business venture together to Essence in its March/April issue, and the “Alien Superstar” revisited her haircut and how it reflected a life change.
“It did. That’s right. I love how we associate a certain hairstyle with moments in our lives, like that short-hair moment. I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn’t have a particular style in mind,” she explained.
“It wasn’t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through. So much of my identity as a performer has been connected to flowing hair. Cutting my hair off was me rebelling against being this woman that society thinks I’m supposed to be.”
Beyonc\u00e9 to ESSENCE Magazine on her 2013 pixie cut:\n\n"I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn\u2019t have a particular style in mind. It wasn\u2019t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through."\ud83d\ude2d\ud83e\udd79— (@)
She continued, “I was a new mother, and something about the liberation of becoming a mother made me want to just shed all of that. It was a physical representation of me shedding the expectations put upon me. I just wanted it off.
Neal Farinah, my hairstylist and friend, was freaking out because it was really long, really thick and really healthy. I just got the scissors and chopped it off. It was very intentional. And it was what I needed to do. And after that, I became super brave. It was the first step to many more audacious decisions I made in my life and my career that have led to who I am now.”
Throughout the interview, Beyoncé shared how her new hair line is her “legacy” and how she wants to use her line to highlight the versatility of textured hair.
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