My first kiss probably should have been an episode of "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl". A very short episode. I was 17 and had just started to date. Before that, it was just chillin with my homegirls and maybe hanging out with this group of guys that we were cool with. Well, I happened to click with one of the guys from that and we started "talking". We went out to eat one night and a good time. On the way back to my parents' house, he offered me a peppermint. I shoulda known something was up. He had some gentleman qualities, so he walked me to the back door. So we were in garage, standing there, doing the " date is over and there's nothing left to talk about, so let's look and smile at each other nervously until one of us does something" thing. Now, imagine this next part in slow motion because that's how it felt to me. He leans in for the kiss and I'm trying to decide whether to stop him, run, or go for it. Too late. There are lips AND tongue on my face. I tried to reciprocate what he did buuuut, I'm pretty sure that just made it even more awkward. It felt like the longest kiss ever (not that I had anything to compare it to). I can only imagine how my face looked... I'm thinking a combo of confusion, terror, and embarrassment. A hot mess. I mumbled thanks and QUICKLY made my exit into the house. He did call again though. Either he had low standards, or it wasn't that bad. I'm going with low standards.
February is Heart Health Month. So with this being said, I decided to write a little about the benefits of sex as it relates to the organ that keeps our natural rhythm going.
1. Sex is exercise. It's like going to the gym, but WAY more fun! Sex increases your heart rate and blood flow. This is especially important because heart disease is the number-one killer of women. Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more! Sex is a form of exercise especially if you get creative and try different positions. I'll take sex over the P90X!
2. Sex relieves stress. A study published in the Biological Psychology journal found that frequent intercourse was associated with lower diastolic blood pressure in cohabiting participants. Yet other research found a link between partner hugs and lower blood pressure in women. So sex, and maybe some yoga incorporated in your regular routine can take you to your “happy place” (and keep you there).
3. Sex reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month. Though more research has been done on men than women, medical experts say it's fair to assume a similar heart benefit in women who engage in frequent sexual activity as well.
4. Sex can reduce pain. Skip the tylenol and jump in the bed! When we have sex, we release the hormone oxytocin which in turn releases endorphins, naturally occurring neurochemicals in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions. See? No pills necessary.
5. Sex helps your immune system. In this cold and flu season, sex can be the last thing on your mind when you have the sniffles or that annoying cough that won't quite go away. Though it's not the cure for the common cold, it sure can be of assistance in protecting your body. Individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30 percent higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system. Sure beats that nasty cough medicine. So wash your hands, snuggle up, and get frisky!
There you have it- a few ways that sex and your heart health relate. Note that these tips probably work best in stable relationships and work best when combined with an overall healthy lifestyle. Take care of your heart, your health, and each other!
Eric Benet, David Duchovny, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton?? What do these men have in common? They are deemed sex addicts by some in society. The term “sexual addiction” is used a lot these days, especially when celebrities are involved. It's almost like it's the “in” thing to do. But because people throw this term around, some are questioning if sex addiction is a valid issue. Is it a cop out for those with especially busy hands? For a select few, maybe. But I'd like to argue that just like drugs, alcohol, and gambling, sex can also be addictive. Addiction itself is about the inability to maintain self control, and when behaviors aren't maintained, problems occur. Unlike physical disorders where symptoms can often be pinpointed, sex addiction is more about compulsive behavior. That “high”, or good feeling has be matched and/or exceeded. So with that being said, an addiction to sex is absolutely plausible.
I suppose sex addiction has been around as long as people have. We just have a name for it and now it's weirdly popular these days. But in this new-found popularity, it can be tough to decipher between a person actually displaying addictive behaviors and a person who can't keep his or her pants on. In the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the psychologist's Bible, this condition is not listed. This, in my opinion, does not mean that it is not “real”. It's one thing to like sex, or REALLY like sex. It's another thing when a person's mind is consumed by sexual thoughts to the point of significant distraction. They become obsessed and only focus on the next sexual conquest or the next “high” (usually an orgasm).
There is debate around this subject. Clinicians, psychologists, and the like all have varying opinions. Oddly enough, though sex addiction is not recognized by any major associations, societies, or councils, there are several therapists and centers with highly developed rehab programs for those who suffer from it. On the other hand, could this be a way for the “addicted” person to fill some kind of deep, emotional void? The verdict may still be out.
Q: Can bad sex ruin a relationship even with a good connection?
A: Dear Reader,
Yes, it absolutely can. But it doesn't have to. Sex is one of those relationship factors that people barely talk about but expect to be on the same page when it comes down to the act. You mentioned that there was a good connection between the two of you. Use that to your advantage. Hopefully you and your partner have open communication with each other and are able to talk openly about how you think and feel. Otherwise, holding your feelings in could lead to resentment towards your partner. And unresolved resentment is bad business.
There are a few things I want you to think about. How important is sex to you? Is bad sex a dealbreaker? There are some requirements that every person absolutely must and absolutely must not have in a partner. These are what I call “non-negotiables”. For example, some people must date someone of the same religion. Some people will not date someone who smokes. Think about what you need sexually and the flexibility of those needs. Also consider your partner's sexual past may be limited or she/he may have a long history of bad sex and not even know it. Here's where you come in. You can teach your partner how to please you without bruising the very fragile ego. Make it fun and creative; I'm sure you'll even learn a thing or 2 about yourself and your partner. Note that this may take some patience and a little compromise. But if you have a relationship that is sturdy, then this can been seen as a way to bond and be closer to your partner.
Reader, you are going to have to take control of the situation because you, like the rest of us, are responsible for our own sexual happiness.
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Life's timeline: be born, grow up, go to college, graduate, maybe go to college again, find a job, work that job, save money, find a mate, get married, have kids, STAY married, spoil the grandkids, grow old. I dont know about you, I'm pretty sure NO ONE I know has followed this timeline! We all know that life happens, and that each of us has our own path to walk in career, in family, and certainly in love.I truly believe that each one of us wants to experience love. We marvel at our friends engagement rings and wedding pictures on Facebook. We coo over ultrasound, baby shower, and newborn pictures. It can feel like the well is running dry and that you'll be old watching game shows with your seven cats named after the 7 Dwarfs. But it doesn't have to be that deep. Beside getting married is a CHOICE in this country. We can date multiple people, find our soulmates, and get married when we're ready. But my question is, what makes one ready for marriage? Is there a checklist of some sort? And is anyone ever COMPLETELY ready for marriage?
I polled some engaged and married people that I know ( and don't know) about marriage preparedness.
Of the selections presents, love was the top choice (90%) of those when deciding to marry someone. The runners-up pertained to feeling ready, whether it was the "right" age for the individual, finishing school, or being financially stable. The full survey can be seen here:
I'd like to argue that no one is ever 100% "ready" to be married. But I also think that's perfectly fine. To me, it's part of life's adventure and it would be no fun if we had all the answers. I also think that because we may not feel fully ready shouldn't be a reason that we don't "tie the knot". I think that cheesy phrase "follow your heart" would apply. No, we won't always know what's around the corner, and unfortunately relationships don't always go the way we'd like, but that's life. Love openly, be honest, and put forth a great effort. That's all anyone could ask for!
This blog is about those grown-ups that are in what I call “ pre-relationships”. This includes, but is not limited to: talking, kickin it, chillin, and any other type of ambiguous setup that we commit to. Let's say you and someone else have been ________ (fill in in the blank with one of the terms above) for any amount of time and decide to have sex. Now, “decide” can span from 'we talked about this prior to getting down' to ' we were both hot and bothered and fell into bed naked'. After the deed is done, do you leave? Stay for a while? Sleep over? What about the morning? Do you the other person in your place as you go off to work? Is there breakfast involved?
Ideally, I'd like to think that before we get to the sexual point in our relationships that we've considered the 'big picture' and all of the benefits and consequences. But of course, that doesn't always happen.
So how do we avoid an awkward situation? It must be clear that just because you have sex with someone does NOT mean that you are in an “official”, if you will, relationship. Just like with any contract or commitment, terms and conditions do apply and should be discussed, right? (this is where you nod your head in agreement.)
The psychologist in me doesn't want to leave this subject without touching on the meanings and feelings behind 'staying over'. I know, I know, no one wants to talk about meaning and feelings but I promise I'll be brief. Inviting someone into your space can be one thing, but having sex PLUS allowing him/her to sleep over can portray a stance you may or may not intend to display. He or she may think that you have increased your investment in whatever you both started. Many-a-people have gotten their feelings hurt assuming more of a situation than may be actually there. Realize that you are probably not the first person that they have dealt with and that they may have some carry-ons and totes. (baggage)
Is there a way to prevent potential conflict? Why, of course! Making sure both parties are on the same page is essential. This is done by:
*having open conversation, multiple if necessary, about what you both want from each other and the relationship. (whatever kind it may be) Once you've talked,
*stick to the agreement! Follow whatever boundaries you have set up. If your current agreement no longer works for you, another conversation needs to happen to adjust things accordingly. Keep in mind to:
*be realistic and don't settle! If you really want more or less from someone, SPEAK UP. On the flip side, don't alter your feelings just to be with someone You'll only end up resenting yourself in the end.
I may get some feedback for this one (which is welcomed), but hear me out. (clears throat)
Generally speaking, I feel like we have a collective view of how the sexual process should go. There's some foreplay, some kissing, and a dramatic scene of intercourse leading up to this amazing explosion of an orgasm. That's great, but is it realistic? We can blame these ideas on magazines, movies, novels, or our own fantasies. Either way, I believe that we focus too much on the orgasm. (or lack thereof) There are TONS of books, articles, videos and the like instructing us on how to achieve and/or give orgasm. And because we always want more, I've seen plenty more media focused on achieving multiple orgasms! When it comes to sex, we are an orgasm-driven society and we know it! Now, don't get me wrong, orgasms are awesome; I totally get that. But my question is, what about the process leading up to the “big O”? As a woman, I know that an orgasm from vaginal intercourse is not a guarantee. In fact, 50-75% of women do NOT orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone. But we keep having sex right? I'm just saying. There must be SOMETHING to the journey, so let's give it some love!
You're asking, “Jaali, how can my partner and I have fun on this “journey” you speak of?” Well my friend, I'd gladly share my insight. My thought is that the sexual experience should be about the connection between the people involved. The stronger the connection, the more intense the sensations and feelings will be. Believe me, you will be far less concerned about that orgasm because you would have been in tune from the first second. As a matter of fact, that's what Tantra is all about. (Tantra will be covered in another blog.) Think about the experience as a whole.Think about the anticipation. Think about what you find sexy about your partner. Think about the smells, tastes, and sounds. See? It's already working! You have to:
1. RELAX!- And have fun. Sex should not be a test, nor should it be a competition. So chill, get sexy, and go in!
2. Get creative.- There is no "box" when it comes to sex. There are no boundaries. Try something new, and break the routine!
3. Keep the journey in mind.- Think about why you are with your partner and how much you want to please her/him. Know that this journey does NOT have to be a long experience, nor does it have to be the same every time. ( refer back to #2. )
I'm telling you, the journey can be just as or more fun than the destination....if you let it. What do you think?
Sexy people rock.