Earlier this spring, I wrote an article about the several reasons why marriage is quite different from dating. One of the things that I mentioned was sex. Listen, I know that you've probably heard that the leading causes of divorce center around things like poor communication and financial drama and yes, while that is certainly true, intimacy challenges rank right on up in there as well.
It makes a lot of sense when you stop to think about the fact that, for most of us, when we say "I do," we're publicly declaring that we're entering into a state of monogamy. And if you're going to sleep with just one person, for the rest of your life, you had better be prepared for all that comes with doing just that.
So, let's tackle this today, straight from the mouths of married women. While the mechanics of sex are basically the same regardless of the kind of relationship that you're in, when it comes to the responsibilities, expectations and commitment level that married sex entails, baby, that takes intimacy to a whole 'nother level, chile. 10 wives break down how.
Gayle. 33. Married Four Years.
"I was very selfish when it came to sex before I got married. I didn't know it until about six months after marriage, though. When you're single, everything is on your terms. When you're married, you've got to take your husband's needs and, to a certain extent, expectations into account on a whole 'nother level because something that marriage means is that you're making your spouse a top priority and that you both are agreeing to only have sex with each other. I wish our marriage counselor had really driven this point into my head. Seeing sex as a staple in my relationship and not just something to do 'randomly' or 'whenever' has honestly taken some real getting used to. Maybe the past year have I really settled into it."
Jemise. 42. Married 11 Years.
"I grew up a good church girl. I wasn't a virgin when I got married but I had only been with two guys and my husband and I waited until we jumped the broom to consummate the relationship. Because I was taught that sex before marriage was wrong, sex when I was single brought a lot of guilt and shame and, although I was proud that my husband and I waited until marriage for sex, it took a long time for the guilt and shame from my past to go away. That caused me to struggle with certain positions, sex toys and even oral sex, to an extent. My advice to women who want to get married is to make sure you know what your spiritual and emotional views on sex are. Discuss them with your partner. Make sure you're on the same page.
"Sex isn't just a physical act. Marriage will definitely teach you that."
Erika. 25. Married Two Years.
"The reason why it's really easy to find your husband handsome and not always sexy is because, once you're married, you get to discover EVERYTHING about someone. Their nasty habits. If or how they clean the bathroom. Hell, if they've got skid marks! When you're dating, usually, a guy will withhold these things from you because they are trying to impress you. After marriage, that all goes out of the window. Even if he's the cleanest guy on the planet, you're gonna see a log he forgot to flush or something that can definitely spoil the mood. It takes some real maturity and finessing to be able to accept that the person you know everything about is the one you've got to remain sexually attracted to. It takes some doing. At least it did for me."
Aryn. 29. Married 10 Months."Being married is all about not letting the little things become huge. For me, it's the fact that I'm a morning person while my husband is a night owl. As far as sex goes, he wants to do it at 2 a.m. while I'd prefer 6. That four-hour window may not seem like that big of a deal. Girl, get married, though. At 2, I am dead to the world. At 6, he is. For a long time, this meant only really having sex on the weekends. Both of us have a fairly high [sex] drive so it made us resentful. We both had to compromise and make some adjustments. That's what marriage is all about. If you're not ready to compromise, DON'T DO IT."
Regina. 44. Married 12 Years.
"If you're engaged, listen to me. You've got to prepare for how much you and your man will change over the years. You will change physically. You will change hormonally. Your lives and schedules will change. And this means that your sex life will change too. Sometimes, when you're married, you can find yourself living in the past of what your dating relationship was like. Yeah, don't do that. Marriage brings a new normal, even when it comes to sex. And once you get used to that normal, another one will come. Be flexible. Not just physically. That's my advice."
Rochele. 30. Married Two Months.
"I had to get used to going to bed differently. You ever see that A Different World episode when Whitley would wake up before Dwayne to brush her teeth and do her hair? That was me for the longest. When my man would stay over, my hair was laid, flavored lip gloss was on and I had on some cute stuff. When I slept alone, girl it was all about the bonnet, granny panties and a ratted T-shirt. The first time I came to bed looking like that in my marriage, my husband about freaked out!
"It wasn't because he didn't find me attractive. It was because he had never seen me that way and it wasn't exactly sexy. We've been working on finding happy mediums. Like I have been getting some boy shorts that are one size too small and he's been learning how to do a woman with a bonnet. Ladies, that bedtime attire is important. You don't have to look like you're going to the prom. Don't be out here looking like a total train wreck either."
Blaire. 27. Married Six Years.
"I'm glad that you're going with middle names because I'm pretty sure that my hubby and mama don't want me going on and on about my single sex life! To protect the innocent and guilty, I'll just say that when I was out here, I was doing my thing and the sex was good. I mean, GOOD. Now that I'm married, I won't lie and say that my man has the biggest d—k I've ever experienced or that the head is the best or anything like that."
"What I will say is knowing that your lover is permanent and not transient can cause you to experience some of the most pleasurable and intense sex because you're totally relaxed and at peace with your situation. Is my husband the best sex I've ever had? No. Is he the best lover I've ever had? No one else even compares. Get married and you'll learn what I mean by that."
Zen. 40. Married Eight Years.
"Don't expect your partner to make you feel good about your body if you don't. The stretch marks. The tummy. Body acne. Cellulite. Whatever you've got going on, sometimes we as women will think that it's our partner's job to compensate for where we don't love ourselves. That is too much of a burden for any one person to carry. My sex life suffered after my second child because my body wasn't the same. And the more self-conscious I was, the less I wanted to have sex and the more uncomfortable my husband was because of it.
"I made a big mistake by thinking that if he made me feel beautiful, our sex life could get back on track. He didn't have the problem with my body. I did. I had to get into a good headspace. Once I made peace with me, our sex life got back on track and it's honestly been better than ever. Loving yourself doesn't stop in marriage. You should actually need to do it more, in my opinion because the relationship requires that you be mentally well to endure all that comes with it."
Lavell. 36. Married Five Years.
"This is what my ass wasn't ready for. A ninja who had a lower drive than I do. Don't get me wrong. When my hubby and I were dating, because we were in two different cities and four hours apart, whenever we would see each other, it was non-stop sex. But we only got together 1-2 times a month. Anyway, because we had so much sex, I thought that it would surely be 5-6 times a week after marriage. This ninja might give it to me 2-3 times a week. Yes, I've been salty about it for all of our marriage. Check the libidos, sistahs. Your man may not be as 'down' as you'd assume."
Crystal. 46. Married 20 Years.
"Married sex is a bit of a roller coaster ride. Some seasons, you can have it every day. Some seasons, weeks will go by and you didn't even notice. It's still my favorite kind of sex because it's with someone I love, someone I'm closer to that anyone else and someone who totally accepts me and I totally except them.
"Married sex is for grown folks. Don't attempt it if you're not ready to be selfless, mature and intentional about it. Oh, and nothing can fully prepare you. Like marriage itself, you learn so much once you're in it. It's worth it, though. If the marriage is worth it, the sex will be even better, even years later."
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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. ;)
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.
In the crazy world of dating, so much attention is placed on the behavior during actual dates. Whether it is choosing the right outfit or making a good first impression, the focus tends to center on the in-person time spent together. But something that often gets overlooked is the significance of "between date behavior (BDB)." BDB is not just generic good morning text messages (that can be sent to 10 women in one minute), but rather text check-ins during the day and even nightly phone calls. This is the time when two people are apart but still find time for connection.
It is during these in-between moments that the foundation of a truly meaningful relationship is often built. A glaring example of what happens when there isn’t BDB is the early relationship between Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. At the beginning of the series, she was so hyper-focused on the time she spent together that she ignored that Big wasn’t calling or texting her often between dates. Instead, he would reach out and send cars based on his convenience… and not hers.
When it comes to dating, don’t be Carrie!
BDB in Dating
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Please realize that 80-90% of your time will NOT be with your partner while seriously dating, so the BDB will also be a significant part of your relationship. Here are some other reasons why what happens when you're not together is just as, if not more, significant than the hours spent face-to-face…
One of the key factors that makes BDB so crucial is authenticity. When we are with someone on a date, it is easy to put on a front (show one’s representative), showcasing our best qualities and concealing our flaws. But it is in our day-to-day interactions, the text messages and phone calls, that our true selves shine through.
Consistency in behavior is an indicator of authenticity. And authenticity builds trust. And trust is the cornerstone of any meaningful relationship.
Speaking of trust, it is one of the foundations of a successful relationship. Building it doesn't happen in a single evening. It's the consistency in behavior between dates that solidifies trust. When your person consistently communicates, shows interest, and keeps it respectful in the moments between your dates, it is reassuring that your potential partner is seriously interested and invested in the relationship.
Also, in between dates, the channels of communication become lifelines that connect two people and nurture emotional intimacy. How you communicate and what you choose to communicate about can significantly impact a growing relationship. Consistent, thoughtful messages and meaningful conversations like sharing your thoughts, dreams, and vulnerabilities can help create a strong emotional bond. Being supportive and understanding during difficult moments can bring you closer together.
While the time spent on a date is super important, the BDB, I would argue, should not be slept on. It's the glue that holds the connection together, builds trust, and sets the stage for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that next date, remember that the journey between those dates is just as significant, if not more so, in the grand scheme of building a meaningful connection.
Hope this helps!
Coach Anwar is a certified dating and relationship coach who has 13 years of experience helping Black and brown women date with strategy, meet relationship-ready men, and get into the best relationship of their lives.
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