Ready to turn up the heat in your bedroom? Our ESSENCE.com intimacy intervention columnist, Abiola Abrams, answers your juiciest questions.
I've been getting more letters than ever from women who are feeling sexually unsatisfied. Sex seems to be everywhere in this era of 50 Shades and swipe right, but genuine sexual pleasure is often lacking. The good news is, we are clear that we deserve to have it. Let's delve into your biggest issues.
#1. I just don't feel sexy
My first rule of sexiness is, "Know thyself, love thyself, honor thyself." Everything else is just geography. Sexy begins with self-confidence. Sex appeal is delighting in your own mojo, and flirting is enjoying your Black girl magic in the presence of another. Embracing your sexiness is not just for the bedroom.
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"Sexy isn't something you do, it's something you feel," shares Alexis Rose Artis, burlesque dance teacher and owner of Rock N' Stilettos. "I have a faithful client who never missed a class. I could tell she was out of her comfort zone, but she always gave 100 percent. Later I found out she was in a near-fatal car accident. She broke down in tears and said, "You have helped me to become the person I knew I could be again."?" Commit to being sexy even if you are celibate. Flex your flirting muscles with your morning barista, for example.
#2. It's awkward to talk to my boo about sex
If you find it too embarrassing discussing sex with a guy, then rethink being intimate with him. How can you share your body but not your heart and mind? Partnership should be a protected space. Safe sex is more than just a condom. Safe sex means feeling safe mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
#3. I've been faking it
Write this down: "Your bedroom is a fake-free zone." When you pretend, you cheat yourself out of the experience. Instead, try tantra. "Foreplay, deep breathing and slowing down while he's inside you help create longer, stronger orgasms," shares Tracey R. Bryant, sexual empowerment coach and owner of Sensual Honey Feminine Wellness. And you don't need a partner for a great adventure. "Self-pleasure increases self-awareness and your levels of self-acceptance," she adds. "Love yourself and touch yourself right. You are 100 percent responsible for your own orgasm."
#4. We've been together forever and we're in a rut
You may be due for a sexy-time upgrade. Not only is Damona Hoffman a coach on FYI network's new series #BlackLove, but she's also a busy wife and mom determined to keep her marriage steamy. To help your union, the love strategist says to reset your SST—Sex Standard Time. Some studies suggest that "your libido and sexual attraction change during your menstrual cycle," she says. "Throughout the day, hormone levels can also fluctuate, so set your sex schedule according to your libido."
#5. I don't feel comfortable sexually because I hate my body
I receive e-mails daily from women who are insecure about being too skinny, too fat and everything in between. We must learn to be at home with our beautiful bodies. We do that with self-love, body love and soul care. My great-grandmother was a midwife and a women's fertility healer, so I have reverence for the healing power of the yoni. I've continued her legacy by creating The Sacred Bombshell Self-Care Kits. Our organic Wombcare Kit includes an aphrodisiac perfume, a body oil elixir, Womblove Tea, a yoni steam herbal bath and a Jade Egg, which helps tone and strengthen the pelvic muscles. So much happens in our sexual organs, from pregnancies to fibroids to endometriosis. Loving yourself is the first step toward satisfaction with your partner.
#6. What's up with the toys
How exciting it is that we have access to all the toys in the queendom! Author and Bedroom Kandi Boutique consultant LaDawn Black encourages women to keep things exciting with a little buzz. "Our Ignite Me arousal gel and Big O spray are two of my favorites if you just want to be more orgasmic," says Black, who's also a radio host, wife and mother. "For my couples, our Rise & Shine vibrating ring provides a bullet-based vibe for the both of you. Our Love Triangle sex pillow is the perfect wedge to place you in the right position."
From the time we're born, we're trained to be the object of someone else's gaze. Make the switch from object to star and fulfill your fantasies in the bedroom—or anywhere you desire!
Abiola Abrams (@abiolatv) is the author of The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love and creator of the African Goddess Affirmation Cards. Her Sacred Bombshell Self-Care Kits are available at sacredbombshell.com.