So, you and your partner aren't on the same level sexually...what do you do? Well, it depends. There's isn't one answer to this, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Ordinarily, when we talk about not being on the same level sexually, it is in reference to sex drives not being in sync. But sexual incompatibility can go beyond sex drives. In fact, two people can be sexually incompatible for a variety of reasons. Things like experience, patience, communication, love language, and even who your partner is to you and how you define that can come into play.
While some people might be able to drop the situation like a bad habit, others might find themselves in more committed partnerships like a long-term relationship or a marriage. If that's your reality, what's the solution? To further shed light on the conversation around being sexually incompatible, I asked four people who have experienced being on different levels sexually than their partners, and it went like this.
When it came to Angie's experience, she felt like she didn't have enough. She had been dealing with a sexual partner who treated sex like a chore and got straight to it — no foreplay, kissing, or any physical build-up to sex. "He would call me, we would smoke and that was everything that gave me that feeling," she explained. "I wanted foreplay. I wanted everything and I didn't know how to come out and say I need more sexually."
As a solution, she brought the issue to his attention. She explained that she needed more to get her in the mood so that she could fully enjoy the experience. Unfortunately, he never made any improvements or attempts to fulfill her needs and she felt like it was starting to affect her sex drive.
"You just need that energy to feed off of and if us just smoking is the only thing giving me that drive, I can't give you anything else. If he gave me that energy back, it could have been a really good experience. Why would I give you all of this and you're giving me the bare minimum?"
With Donny, he experienced this in two different situations. The first time it happened, he was dealing with someone who wasn't on his level sexually. He felt prior to leading up to sex it had been overhyped and when it finally happened he was disappointed because the talk didn't match the action. "Sometimes women talk their sh*t like, 'You're not ready for this' or 'I'm going to put it on you' and when the time comes you don't know what you're doing. She was off her game."
"Maybe we weren't flowing, but the second time around you need to bring your A-game. It didn't happen and I just chalked it up to maybe she didn't have that many sexual partners."
As for a solution, he never found one. It goes back to what I mentioned earlier about the solution depending on who your partner is. For both, this was a casual thing, so he didn't care to tell her or try to resolve it. However, there were cases where he saw things could be better and sent suggestions. He explained, "I'll send some links and gifs that will spice it up. I'll say, 'This looks fire, you think we could try it?' or something like that before I tell you it's wack. We all have the internet and I've learned how to use it to my advantage."
On the other hand, when he was dealing with someone who was older and more experienced, he found it fun and it made him appreciate the experience even more. "It was exciting and exhilarating because shorty went into at least two or three positions that I wasn't really ready for. She kind of wrapped her legs around my waist and did like a handstand but was still throwing it back. I was somewhere in between trying not to nut because it's so lit and figuring out what I can do to challenge this because I didn't really have any moves."
With this, there wasn't a solution either. He couldn't keep up with her and didn't pursue the sexual relationship any further.
"She bodied me. She definitely told me about myself and had every right to. She was like, 'I don't know if I can give this to you again.' This is why I don't do the bragging and I keep it super humble."
Ron also experienced not being on the same level as his previous partner. At the time, he was younger and less experienced than his partner. During their sexual relationship, he wasn't quite comfortable with all of the things his partner wanted. She wanted things that he didn't know if he was ready for. "It became an uncomfortable situation because she wanted oral, anal, and all these different things, and I was just on the first step. So it can feel like the person is taking the lead or you're not pleasing them and it becomes more of a chore instead of an experience with one another. It was definitely uncomfortable. I think that that definitely ruined the relationship."
Before things went south, he did make an effort to salvage the relationship while trying to find a solution that would please both of them. When Ron brought up the issue, his partner started to compare him to her other partners. Unfortunately, things continued to get even more uncomfortable and they ended up going their separate ways. Although they didn't find a solution, he learned a lot from the experience. Ron explained:
"If there was more patience, more of a gradual growth towards things, and open-mindedness about the situation in the first place before anything occurred, I think that I could have understood more of where she was and she would have understood where I was instead of having expectations for one another."
He also learned that when it comes to sex and dealing with people, there's so much that correlates with it and people's sex drives. If you really want to make things work, you may have to sacrifice some things, be understanding to your partner, and have a level of patience if finding a solution is important to everyone involved.
Last but not least, I was able to speak with Monet and she highlighted the importance of listening to your body. She emphasized that being spiritually aware and attuned with your body and vagina allows you to get a better sense of what your vagina wants. She continued, "I'm a very spiritual person and I do a lot of meditating with my vagina, so me and my vagina are on the same page. I can literally hear when she's not interested in something and so she will literally tell me, 'Yo, this is not where I want to be and this is not what I want to be doing'."
In a time where she was sexually incompatible with her partner, she felt one of the reasons was because she rejected what her vagina was telling her. She explain the experience like this, "We were really cool, we had a great relationship as far as being able to communicate [and have] great energy. It was like a best friend relationship but there was chemistry. So we did decide to try to make it into a sexual relationship, but the energy when we started to get intimate was thrown off. There was no chemistry, it was awkward, and it became a forced situation."
Monet ended up ending the sexual relationship and because she realized this is not what her vagina nor body wanted. She ignored what her body was telling her and learned that she need to be more disciplined with what her body was telling her and try not to force anything.
"We can be spiritual our whole lives, have that intuition, and a voice within us but until you become spiritually aware with that voice, able to really listen to it, and be disciplined enough to listen to that voice, a lot of decisions that put you in situations you don't want to be in can be avoided if we just listen to our intuition and voice."
You may not have to end every relationship, but knowing when to say when is paramount. Additionally, with each interview, communication has proven to be key when overcoming a situation with sexual incompatibility. It's important to communicate what you're feeling (or not feeling) with your partner and determine if sexual incompatibility is something you both are willing to work through.
If sexual incompatibility is something you want to work on with your partner, here are a few things to consider:
You'll need to understand that finding a solution won't be easy and it will take some time. You have to have patience and move at a pace that both of you are comfortable with.
Exploring other forms of physical intimacy
If getting in the mood is an issue, there are many ways to feel stimulated aside from penetrative sex. You can explore different types of physical intimacy like kissing, cuddling, massaging, etc. to reinforce sexual activity. Start with this and add more once the time feels right.
Creating a sex menu
You can also explore different sex postions and activities. Whether this be solo or together, there are ways to improve sex and find a happy medium where both partners are satisfied.
If none of these options seem to work, you may also want to consider rethinking monogamy. There are several options like polyamory, open relationships, or even inviting others to the bedroom (threesomes). Be open-minded when it comes to finding a solution that works best for you and your partner.
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Freelance writer, content creator, and traveler. She enjoys the beauty of simplicity, a peaceful life, and a big curly fro. Connect with Krissy on social media @iamkrissylewis or check out her blog at www.krissylewis.com.
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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Chilli Opens Up About Flak She Received For Refusing To Settle In Dating And How Matthew Lawrence Has Everything On Her 'List'
Rozanda "Chilli" Thomas' dating journey displays how refusing to settle, and setting standards could lead one to find their ideal partner.
Over the years, The TLC group member had high-profile relationships with music producer Dallas Austin, with whom she shares an adult son, and R&B singer Usher.
Since then, Thomas has confirmed that she’s now dating actor Matthew Lawrence. Thomas and Lawrence, who were romantically linked in the summer of 2022 when they were spotted vacationing in Hawaii amidst the Boy Meets World star's grueling divorce with Cheryl Burke, would confirm their relationship in January 2023.
In a statement released by Thomas' representative, Christal Jordan, toPeople magazine, Jordan revealed that the couple had been dating since November 2022, two months after Lawrence's divorce was finalized. Jordan also shared that since Thomas began dating Lawrence, the singer is the happiest she's ever been.
To date, the couple has showcased their love by uploading various dancing Instagram posts on their respective accounts and talking about their whirlwind romance in numerous interviews.
Recently, Thomas opened up about her relationship with Lawrence during a virtual interview with The Tamron Hall Show. While recalling her VH1 dating series, What Chilli Wants, which aired on the network from 2010 to 2011, the 52-year-old provided information about why she set such high dating standards in the form of a list known as "Chilli's Checklist" and the steps she took to prepare herself for love.
Chilli On Matthew and Her Dating List
During the May discussion, Thomas disclosed that she wanted to show women the importance of setting standards, and although, at the time, she received massive backlash for it, she refused to settle when it came to love.
Thomas received scrutiny for her list because many thought some of her standards were unobtainable. Thomas' requirements for an ideal partner included not wanting someone that drank, smoked, or ate pork.
In addition to all those qualities, the star also wanted someone that loved God. Because of Thomas' determination to find her perfect match, the "Creep" vocalist claimed that she "waited it out."
"On my show, I always hoped that women see the importance of having high standards. I got a lot of flack from that, but I don't care. For me, I just waited it out. I'm like, 'Lord, if it happens, wonderful. If it doesn't, I'm still okay," she said.
As the topic shifted to Lawrence, Thomas raved about her new beau and shared that the 43-year-old had met all the qualities she wanted in a partner, from his physical appearance to his love for God.
"Matthew, honestly, he's the list... He is my entire list, and so I thank god every day for this," she stated.
Even though it may have taken years and several failed relationships, it is inspiring to see that Thomas refused to settle and worked on herself along the way until she found her person.
Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas’ Next Chapter & Romance With Matthew Lawrence
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