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Give your sex drive a tune-up while staying safe.
This feature originally appeared in the July 2017 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine.
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“There is a reason why the words emotion and motion have the same root. When you move with purpose, you shift your energy,” says Abiola Abrams, founder of Womanifesting University. “Ignite your bold, sexual energy by taking a sexy dance class, hitting the club or just twerking it out in your mirror.”
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Our biggest sexual organ is the brain. For many women, fully enjoying sex requires letting go of any shame or pain from the past and feeding our sensuality. “Your sacral chakra is the energy center that houses your sacred yoni, clitoris and reproductive organs,” Abrams says. “If your sacral chakra is closed or unbalanced, your sexual power can be blocked.” Download Abrams’s Sacral Chakra Meditation free at youareasexygoddess.com.
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Being empowered in the bedroom includes BYO condoms. Trojan has made that easier with the new XOXO by Trojan line, designed with women in mind. “The freedom and peace of mind of using a condom allows you to mentally focus on pleasure,” says Stephanie Berez, group brand manager for Trojan. “When women can focus, we can get greater pleasure. So much of sex is confidence and communication.” XOXO features aloe-infused lubricant and thin Softouch latex, along with a discreet box and mini travel pack to make your condom appear like a compact. TSA will never know. And buying your own condoms makes you look responsible or smart to the majority of people, according to an Indiana University survey.
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Use the long days of the season to locate your pleasure points. “There’s nothing sexier to a guy than a woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to show him how to do it,” says Rachael Ross, M.D., Ph.D., author and former cohost of The Doctors. “Knowing what it takes for you to orgasm is the key to making it happen during the throes of passion. Is it friction, penetration, oral, auditory, visual or something else that does it for you?” Think back over past encounters and try new fantasies to see what you like.
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“Stress has been associated with weight gain, hypertension, cancer, depression, joint pain and an altered immune system,” says Ross. And sexual pleasure is our body’s natural way to alleviate stress. “An orgasmic moment leads to a flood of stress-relieving hormones, including oxytocin and other endorphins that have a sedative effect,” adds Ross. “Stress relief and a good night’s sleep without a bottle of wine—what more could you ask for?” Release and rest. Doctor’s orders.
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Pamper the skin you’re in. Before you buy more shoes or summer dresses, invest in bras, panties and sleepwear that feel good—even luxurious—against your skin. “Treat yourself to beingU nude lingerie, made especially for Black women by Sierra Leone–born designer Sadia Sisay,” suggests Abrams. Shop chic pieces for your skin tone at beingU.me.
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Before checking underwater loving off your bucket list, consider these tips from Chamin Ajjan, a sex therapist and the author of
Seeking Soulmate: Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection.
Sex in the hot tub, pool or ocean can be pretty hot—and pretty dirty. When there are poor pH levels in pools or hot tubs, a lot of bacteria can exist, even with chlorine present. Natural bodies of water can have even more germs, along with sand winding up in unwelcome places. However, your risk is generally low for infection. Before chancing irritation, check the water. If something smells or seems off, tread lightly. And remember, water is not birth control. Bring extra condoms and plan for some form of contraception.
If you have your heart set on an erotic underwater experience, make sure to bring lube. Surprisingly, sex in the water can leave your vagina dry, as water washes out your body’s natural lubrication. Without lubrication, friction can cause tears, leading to pain and increased UTI risk. Water-based lubes can wash away, and oil-based options can damage condoms. Grab a silicon-based lubricant to keep things smooth.
Sex starts from a knowing glance from your partner or the first touch that pulses through your body. If underwater sex seems complicated, consider water play as an appetizer. Get things slippery and steamy, then make your way to a drier location for the main course. Oral sex can be a great alternative. Sit your partner on the side of the pool, in the shallow end or on the stairs. Let the buoyancy of the water be an aphrodisiac.
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