The State of HIV Among Women: A Special Report


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March 10th was National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. As I sit here a reflect on the state of HIV among women and girls, I am very disheartened. There is still so much work to do to around empowering women and girls to reduce their risk for HIV.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 280,000 women aged 13 and older are living with HIV in the United States, and 7,402 women were diagnosed with HIV in 2015. Black/African American women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 61% of recent diagnoses but only 13% of the female population. Though most women who get HIV get it through vaginal sex, women who inject drugs are also at risk for HIV.

With these alarming statistics, it is apparent that although the current prevention messages, programs and interventions are not working. The miseducation and misinformation that exist, about HIV and AIDS, within our society is distressing. In addition, the unsympathetic and insensitive tone that exist within our society when it comes to HIV and AIDS helps to continue to create an environment where people are suffering in silence. The lack of education and fear breeds judgement and only continues to further stigmatize individuals who are infected and affected by HIV.

Once viewed as an individual problem, HIV is now also being viewed as social, economic and/or structural barrier that women must navigate in order to receive quality services and treatment. Race and ethnicity, alone, are not risk factors for HIV infection. Policy, poverty, cultural, social and structural influences are associated with higher HIV/AIDS incidence among Black and low income women. Black and low income women at high risk for HIV often sustain the brunt of racism, gender inequality, culturally and social constructed gender roles, discrimination, poverty, lack of access to health care, lack of transportation, economic inequalities, lack of childcare, lack of stable housing sexual violence, etc.

These social determinants may be influencing factors which can contribute to their decreased ability to reduce their risk for HIV transmission. Ending the HIV epidemic will require developing interventions that will empower women and their families with the knowledge, skills and tools that will help them get out of poverty, offer economic stability, provide secure stable housing, and secure access to health care.

Suffering in Silence: Who’s in? Who’s out?

In the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic because it was characterized as a gay, white man’s disease, researchers and pharmaceutical companies began research and testing based on their disease manifestation and progression. Black and low income women living with HIV were unaccounted for in prevention efforts, clinical research and treatment efforts; although the rates of infection were continuously increasing. For example, women living with HIV were excluded from experimental drug testing, clinical research trials and denied financial assistance because eligibility was based on men who were living with HIV. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) definition of AIDS was originally based on the clinical research and data based on the disease progression and manifestation in gay white men; who had been the basis for research. The problem with this definition is that it did not account for the differences in disease transmission, manifestation, progression and/or unique characteristics of HIV specific to women. As a result, policy makers, advocates, physicians and other care providers did not understand nor know how to treat women living with HIV.

The limitations of this definition contributed to HIV- related morbidity in women.
Failure of the CDC and NIH to address and support comprehensive studies for HIV manifestation in women made it extremely difficult for women to get early diagnosis and treatment, prevention education, Social Security Supplemental cash income benefits, access to Medicaid coverage and federally funded HIV initiatives for women. The definitions have become symbolic of systematic neglect of women’s needs and concerns in the HIV/AIDS epidemic: women are still forgotten in research agendas, and lack access to care and early intervention.

Finally, after strong and collective advocacy efforts by community-based organization (CBO), AIDS service organizations (ASO) and HIV advocates and those living with HIV, the CDC and NIH expanded the AIDS definition in 1993 to include language that addressed female specific symptoms, nevertheless many of the HIV policies and programs that were created and implemented still failed to address the unique challenges, social determinants and structural barriers that women faced. As a result of this lack of representation, women continued to suffer in silence and isolation. Among those suffering in silence were HIV positive advocates and trailblazers like The Women’s Center for Women’s Policy Studies (CWPS), Patricia Nalls (The Women’s Collective), Dázon Dixon Diallo (Sister Love, Inc.) and Rae Lewis Thornton. Together with the assistance of allies such as Bettina Campbell (YOUR Center), Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee and Debra Fraser-Howze (National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS), who would not back down and kept women’s HIV issues at the fore front; much progress was made. It was because of their tenacity and perseverance, that HIV and women’s concerns were given much consideration.
Now granted we have come some long ways in the field of HIV and AIDS. And yes, people are living longer and managing to live a quality life within the spectrum of the disease, as results of HIV treatments, I cannot help but think that we are still missing the mark when it comes to HIV efforts among women. Despite this progress, the CDC still emphasizes that women, especially Black women continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic. To begin seeing a reduction in the numbers of women becoming infected with HIV and other STIs, we need to begin to rethink how we see HIV. There still needs to be a sense of urgency placed on HIV outreach, education and prevention messages.

We must do a better job of implementing holistic, comprehensive and culturally relevant programs and interventions that address the entire woman, including her environment and her lifestyle. All programs/interventions must incorporate knowledge, skills and tools in all the Dimensions of Wellness: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and economical. In addition, such programs and interventions should also address institutional, political, social, cultural and economic barriers that women must face in order to access quality health care.

We must come together as women, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins and friends, and begin to take control of our sexual health! We must get informed, get tested, build skills, and change behaviors. Our lives matter! We must demand more! Advocate for better access to health care! We must love ourselves enough not to settle for someone else’s man! We must support each other and honor sisterhood. We must set a standard from which we will not deviate! We must take back our families and communities! We must break the cycle! It begins with us! It must begin with us! And it begins right here and now! “The Best Defense Is a Good Offense.” Take steps today to protect yourself and your partners against HIV.


Is Being “Superwomen” Killing Us?


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Strong, independent, nurturer, caregiver, wife, mother, sister, adult, employee, co-worker, family doctor, playmate, friend, and the list goes on! Oh yes! We have rightfully earned the title of “superwoman” because we have the uncanny ability to meet all the demands, from others, that have been place on our lives. But is being “superwoman” killing us? In trying to live up to this superwoman persona, we have unconsciously allowed our needs and wants to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, by the time we get around to caring for ourselves, we are so burnt out that we don’t have enough energy left. Sadly, this leaves us fatigued, bitter, angry, feeling guilty and so on. It also makes us more susceptible to mental health challenges, physical illness and even death.

Societal beliefs, cultural norms and unhealthy intergenerational patterns that have been passed down from great-grandma and nem have in many ways indirectly and even directly contributed to this superwoman persona. We try relentlessly to live up to this image; which in turn creates all sorts of internal chaos and dysfunction. Meanwhile our spouses, partners, children, co-workers, etc. continue on thriving while we’re barely surviving.

While as very flattering as it is to be all things to everyone, we need to lovingly shift our focus and attention back to meeting our own needs first. Is this selfish you ask? Absolutely not, it is what I like to refer to as the law of self-preservation! During a flight, the flight attendant clearly states if there happens to be a loss of cabin pressure during the flight that you must first securely fasten your own masks before assisting others. “First securely fasten your masks before assisting others” is the exact approach we need to take for our lives. In essence, the bottom line is that if we are not whole, healthy, happy individuals then we are not in a position to be of support or assistance to anyone else.

It’s time to reclaim the number one spot in our lives. Loving ourselves first has to become the priority! I’d like to share with you some practical ways to begin your journey today. Keeping in mind that this journey may be one of challenges and change, so I encourage you to be gentle and forgiving of yourself as you learn to love yourself first.

So How Do You Reclaim Yourself?

Self-Acceptance. To thine ownself be true! In order to love yourself, you must be true to who you are! This can be achieved by embracing and honoring who you are and where you are at this very moment in time. Self-acceptable also means understanding that you are not perfect and knowing that’s ok. Beauty is not defined by perfection but rather character. However, if you find something within your character to be unfitting, self-acceptance empowers you to actively seek out ways to improve that which you find unfitting. It also gives you the strength to change. And during this time of transition and growth, self-acceptance allows you to find peace and appreciation within the process because self-acceptance understands that it’s not about the destination but rather the journey.

Self-Esteem. Self-Esteem is powered by self-acceptance. Once you can accept yourself you can begin to love yourself flaws and all! When you are operating from a high level of self-esteem, you are less likely to put yourself in harms way and more likely to take care of yourself. You do not allow your integrity, dignity, safety or health to become comprised. A woman of distinction yet meek and humble in character; reputation does not become you. You do not allow others to define you. “If you don’t define yourself for yourself, you’ll be crunched into other people’s fantasies of you and eaten alive” Audrey Lorde

Self-Efficacy. In addition to having high self-esteem, high self-efficacy is an essential element of loving yourself first. Self-efficacy is a belief in your ability to succeed in any given situation. Your sense of self-efficacy plays a major role in how you set goals, approach tasks, handled challenges and overcome obstacles. A woman with high self-efficacy believes that she can do whatever she put’s her mind to. Even if she doesn’t know how to do something, she has enough dignity to ask, without feeling threaten or losing sight of who she is and her capability. However, she realizes there is strength in vulnerability and uses it as a platform to success. She utilizes her talents and gifts for a purpose beyond herself.

Self-Care. Operating from a place of self-love includes maintaining balance within the Five Dimensions of Wellness: physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional and social. The intention of self-care lies in its focus on preventative care versus treatment.

  1. Physical Dimension. Getting routine annual medical screening and exams such as: physicals, pap & pelvic exams, including monthly Self Breast Exams (SBE) helps the early detection of the onset of any medical conditions. Additionally, early detection can help to increase the quality of life by employing secondary prevention measures and early treatment options. Participating in some form of physical cardio activity 30 minutes per day, helps to maintain weight. Try taking a yoga, dance or aerobic class to make fitness fun! In addition to physical activity, watching what you eat is also a part of self-care. Create a balanced diet that includes appropriate servings from the basic food groups. Together, these things will help to maintain balance in the Physical Dimension.
  2. Spiritual Dimension. Connecting to your spiritual center on a daily basis is an important part of self-care. Maintaining this connection to your belief system and the universe helps you to stay grounded. It also helps to provide the energy you need to move forward in faith. Learning to protect your energy is essential! Your energy is the vitality of life. Allowing someone to negatively impact your energy will ultimately drain you of your power. Learning to use the arts of meditation, visualization, journaling and/or prayer helps to serve as a means of protecting and guiding your spiritual dimension.
  3. Mental Dimension. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Feed your mind with positive thoughts. We tend to contribute to our own demise by allowing negative thoughts to enter into our mind. If we allow negative thoughts to take over, it begins in one way or another; to affect those that we are around through thoughts and feelings transference, and through body language. Once mind-binding spirits and strong holds attack, it is hard to break free from negative thoughts and behaviors. When you begin to sense negative thoughts entering your mind, learn to redirect your thoughts. Learning to engage in activities that are positively stimulating to your thought process will help to bring inner peace and reduce stress while increasing success, improving relationships, better health, and overall happiness and satisfaction with life.
  4. Emotional Dimension. Women are sometimes unfairly labeled as emotional creatures of habit. Keeping emotions under control helps to create a well balanced environment. Identifying and understanding your triggers is critical in helping to maintain this environment. Learning to balancing your emotions is very important so you do not become overwhelmed. Tapping into your spiritual and mental dimensions will also assist in developing a stable and secure emotional wellness. Also, keep in mind that a little therapy never hurts anyone! As a matter of fact, therapy may be just what’s needed to help you begin to sort through your emotions and find balance. Don’t worry about what to say or how to say it, just take the first step and walk through the door.
  5. Social Dimension. This is the dimension most people forget about. We assume that because we are out and about in the world that we are connected. This thought couldn’t be further from the truth. Being outside of our homes does not make us whole and healthy in the Social Dimension, it just means we’re out in the public. Wellness in the Social Dimension involves developing healthy, meaningful relationships with others. It also involves spending quality time with family and friends. Refrain from isolating yourself! Find a social network to become actively engage with. Take a fun class to mingle with other like-minded individuals. While the Social Dimension is very important, understanding the importance of “Me Time” is equally important. Setting aside at least 5-10 minutes per day to do only what you want to do is imperative! Although the goal is to be socially fitting, you still want to always make your wants and needs your priority. Always remember it’s ok to say no to others in order to say yes to yourself!

As you embark on your journey to reclaiming yourself, it’s important to keep in mind that unhealthy patterns develop over time and can be difficult to face or change. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to take on too much all at once. Focus on loving yourself and putting yourself first one step at a time. This journey is authentically yours and yours alone. Move through it with grace, humility and integrity. You will be so glad you did!

Now, give yourself permission to take off your cap! That’s the first step to saving yourself!

I know I certainly have….

It’s Not Pee! Everything You Wanted To Know About Female Ejaculation


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So, you’re right in the middle of having some really hot, intense and passionate sex! Your partner is hitting all the right spots and then suddenly, you feel like you’re about to pee! Afraid you’re going to urinate on your partner, you immediately push them off of you and run to the bathroom only to realize that nothing is coming out! So you sit there wondering to yourself what happen? Well…. you just stopped yourself from experiencing the eighth wonder of the world….female ejaculation!

The elusive female ejaculation, commonly known as gushing or squirting, is a phenomenon that has been popularized by the adult entertainment industry and it is actually more real than you think — that is, of course, minus the lights, camera, props and the beauty of editing!

What is it?

Female ejaculation refers to a watery fluid that originates in the G-Spot and is secreted by the Skenes/Paraurethral Glands through the urethra before and/or during orgasm. Although the fluid released during female ejaculation comes from the urethra, rest assured it is not urine. The fluid is female ejaculate, and it comes from the ducts around the urethra, not from the bladder, where urine is stored. The reason people may confuse female ejaculate with urine is the fact that female ejaculate can also sometimes travel back up into the bladder, which is called retrograde ejaculation. And because the female ejaculate may mix with urine and even share some of the same properties of urine- -urea and creatinine– many people think that it is urine; however that is not the case.

Female ejaculate is also distinctly different from normal vaginal fluid. Normal vaginal fluid can vary in taste, smell, color and consistency, depending on menstrual cycle, hormonal levels, food intake, presence of infection etc. Female ejaculate on the other hand is fairly consistent in taste, smell, color and consistency. It is a sweet smelling, watery type of fluid and is not the typical fluid that one sees when a woman is wet from sexual arousal or having had an orgasm.

What causes female ejaculation?

During sexual arousal the G-Spot becomes enlarges and the tissue surrounding the urethra becomes engorged with blood and the Skenes/ Paraurethral glands begin to produce and fill with fluid. The rhythmic pressure from fingers, toys, a penis, or the contractions of an orgasm push the fluid out through the urethral opening causing ejaculation. The amount of fluid expelled during ejaculation can vary from woman to woman however the average amount is somewhere around two tablespoons. This depends on how hydrated a woman is and how much she pushes while ejaculating.

Can every women experience female ejaculation?

All women have the Paraurethral / Skenes glands so all women are capable of producing this fluid and can eventually achieve female ejaculation! Interestingly enough, many women experience ejaculation during sex, but do not realize what’s happening and as a result, they cut the experience short for fear of “urinating on their partner.” That fear in turn leads to clenching down of the PC muscles which stop the fluid from coming out. The inability to relax, bare down and push prevents the release of the ejaculate. This inability usually comes down to a matter of inhibitions regarding sexuality, embarrassment, guilt, unfamiliarity with the female reproductive system, not being in touch with one’s own body, not having a thorough understanding of female ejaculation, lack of connection and/or sexual compatibility with one’s partner, and stress.

How can a woman increase her changes of experiencing female ejaculation?

The first step is to stop trying! Like exploring everything else new in your experience of sex, you should work towards it but not put unnecessary stresses on yourself or your partner by making it your goal. Having goal-oriented sex almost always ensures that you will not reach your sexual goal. Addressing any psychological barriers that may contribute to your inability to fulfill sexual desires may also be helpful and/or it may be just be a matter of finding the right technique.

The most simple and effective way to bring yourself or your partner one step closer to allowing the waters to flow from within is by including some of the following tips into your regular sex play:

  • Strengthen your PC Muscles. Being able
    to contract and release your PC muscle
    can help with achieving female
  • Add clitoral stimulation to your G-spot
    stimulation. Multiple forms of
    help to increase levels of arousal.
  • Locate your G-Spot. Try using a g-spot
    stimulator to help locate your G-Spot.
    Additionally, the G-Spot is usually much
    easier to locate after the first orgasm.
  • Try to urinate before sex play. Emptying
    your bladder will help to reduce anxiety
    around urinating on your partner.
  • Bare down and push when you feel like
    you are about to have an orgasm rather
    than clenching tight. This will help to
    force out any fluid that has built up in
    the Skenes/ Paraurethral glands.
    Whatever you do, don’t stop pushing
    just allow the fluid to flow. The orgasm
    will be very intense and pleasurable.
  • Seek the advice of a professional sex
    therapist or counselor. There may be
    some deeper issue blocking your ability
    to experience your sexual desires.

So the next time you are in the midst of sex play, give yourself permission to let go and experience the orgasmic intensity of a g-spot orgasm. Don’t worry it’s not pee — unless you didn’t empty your bladder first. Try to make yourself as comfortable as possible and try to enjoy what the experience has to offer you. Give yourself permission and freedom to let go and most importantly, have fun! Remember the journey is just as important as the destination!

Yes! Black People Are Still Becoming Infected and Dying at Alarming Rates!


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February 7th is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. It’s the one day has been set aside to honor and commemorate those who are infected and affected with HIV. In case you were wondering, HIV is still very much here! And Black folks continue to be disproportionately impacted by the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blacks/African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses, those living with HIV, and those ever diagnosed with AIDS, compared to other races/ethnicities. In 2015, African Americans accounted for 45% of HIV diagnoses, though they comprise 12% of the US population.

Why is that?

Black people have a long and complex history when it comes to sexuality. What happened on that auction block centuries ago is still unfinished business for Black people today. Slavery ripped into the hearts and soul of African folk, altering their culture, their families, and most intimately, their sexuality. It would be naïve to think that time has healed those wounds, or to believe that they are no longer relevant to the sexual experience of Black people today. The effects of slavery left Black men and women feeling ashamed of their bodies and their sexuality. They were left to negotiate the burden of years of sexual humiliation and degradations. With limited avenues for discovering that the pain, ambivalence, and/or shame they felt from the shame of this shared experience of exploitation, these experiences became the catalyst for the negative intergenerational patterns, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes regarding sexuality within the Black community. This degradation contributed to the modern conceptual framing of sexuality. The psycho-sexual trauma of slavery is embedded in our black people’s collective memory creating stigma, shame and negative feelings associated with sexuality. In addition to this disjointed relationship with our sexuality, there are other factors and social determinants that put us at risk. In order to be effective in reaching the Black community with HIV education and prevention efforts, we first must understand what’s lacking from existing HIV messaging.

What’s lacking from existing HIV messages?

Lacking Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
As a society we are oversexualized and undereducated. True, barrier free, comprehensive sexuality education is missing from our families, schools, religious organizations, just about everywhere. So unfortunately, the education we receive about sexuality is oftentimes inconsistent, misleading, inaccurate and confusing. On one end we have heavy-value laden, judgmental, bias condemnation messages that can lead someone to engage in risky behaviors. On the other, we have hypersexualized messaging in music, reality T.V., social media and host of mediums that can often lead to or persuade someone to engage in unhealthy, risky behaviors. Where’s the healthy balance? Due to the absence of comprehensive sexuality related programs, we must work tirelessly to counter the current messaging of categories to focusing solely on behaviors. We must also reframe messages into a sex positive messages that address all the dimension of sexuality. If we put more focus on messaging that is medically accurate, relevant, demonstrates cultural humility, incorporates skills building and other social determinants of HIV, and less on “categories” we will see a reduction in the number of Black people becoming infected with HIV.

Lacking conversation. Sex is one of those things we all like to do but no one likes to talk about. But in a day and age where HIV is still deadly, gonorrhea has resistant strains, celebrity sex tapes are the norm, sex sells everything, and casual sex is glamorized, we cannot afford to not have the conversations about sex. The dangers of not talking about sexuality is that it puts people at risk. Sex is a natural part of life. It’s who we are! It encompasses every dimension of our lives. The urge and desire to have sex does not go away. So, then why don’t we talk about sex? Shame, secrecy and stigma continues to be one of the major reason Black people do not talk about sex, not to mention HIV! In many Black households, sex is just one of those things that we know happens but rarely is it ever talked about. It’s one of those things that’s swept under the “intergeneration rug.” These unspoken intergeneration patterns passed down from “Big Momma and them,” keep us from being able to have open and honest conversations about sexuality. Growing up we’re often told, “what happens in this house stays in this house.” While I appreciate the sentiment behind the thought, it inadvertently contributes to the risks for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections because people don’t have the knowledge to talk about sexuality and the skills to keep themselves safer. Regardless to whether the conversation is awkward or not, these conversations must take place. We talk about religion, war, politics, or the state of the economy but yet we won’t talk about healthy sexuality; something that can save or end our life!

Lacking Focus. Existing messaging about HIV tends to focus on categories of people rather than sex behaviors. This type of misleading messaging affords privilege that doesn’t truly exist. It leads people to believe that they are not at risk because they are in a privilege group, i.e. heterosexual, lesbian, transmen. Current branding dictates that only those at risk for acquiring HIV are young men who have sex with men, particularly those of color, “addicts,” gay-white men. Black women get thrown into the mix, only because they must have gotten HIV from an “addict” or a man on the “down low.” The challenge that I have with this categorization of HIV is that many folks feel that if they don’t fit into those categories; which are based on gender identity, sexual orientation and/or identity. This gross assumption is that if I do not fall within either of those categories, then I am safe for getting HIV. Wrong! The reality is that ANYONE who has anal, oral, or vaginal sex or any combination thereof is at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. HIV risk is not about gender identity, sexual orientation and/or identity. It’s about engaging in unprotected sexual behaviors and/or sharing unclean needles…any needle (piecing, tattooing, etc.) with an infected person! THIS is the message that we must be conveying not the misleading messaging.

Lacking funding. Lack of focus and funding goes hand and hand. Given the current message around HIV risk, funding priorities tend to focus on those identified categories, which creates a lack of focus and funding for other categories. And because there is a lack of funding, several things happen: 1) people in these categories are forgotten. Programs and services tend to focus on categories that offer funding. As a result, programs and services to the forgotten category become limited or non-existent. This creates more burden of HIV in the forgotten categories because the mindset become, “if I’m not at risk, then I do not need to practice safer sex.” 2) people in these categories tend to believe that they are not at risk because there isn’t a focus on them, thus perpetuating the myth that HIV is no longer serious or a threat, and 3) those of us who know differently are left scrambling to find funding for prevention, education, and treatment programs to provide services for the forgotten categories.

Lacking involvement from faith communities. There is a critical need for sexuality education among faith communities. However, because of negative religious and moral attitudes about behaviors associated with sexuality, many Black churches are reluctant to address concerns regarding sexuality. Unfortunately, this antiquated ideology helps to contribute to engaging in behaviors that put individuals at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. It is imperative that black churches begin to view HIV/AIDS and STIs as not only a moral issue but a public health epidemic that is destroying communities; because although the individual may be infected, the community is affected. Historically faith organizations have been the foundation of the community, a vehicle for dissemination, and a conduit for providing social services for their congregants and the surrounding community. Faith organizations are a place that people trust and turn to in their time of need, for healing, and for support. Given the fact that faith, spirituality, and religious beliefs are such an important aspect of many people’s lives, it is extremely important to provide the faith leaders with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make their organizations a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental. Black church leaders and faith based organizations must become agents of change and move from being barriers to healthy sexuality education to facilitating and leading prevention efforts.

While, Black National HIV Awareness Day is great and educating Black people on this day is important too, Black people need to be included in the conversation more than one day a year! Because there are 364 days a year that we are lacking support, suffering in silence and dying with stigma. So perhaps instead of just focusing on us one day a year with all the hype and dog and pony show, consider make all black lives apart of the daily HIV prevention education, treatment and care efforts and responding with messaging that’s effective! Here are some action steps to increasing HIV awareness and prevention messaging within the Black community: 1) Partner with an agency like The Center to host an HIV awareness event at your faith organization, 2) Lobby for more funding for HIV prevention and education, 3) Donate to an HIV community organization, 4) Partner with and organization, such as The Center, to create seminar or training for your organization, and 5) end the silence and address the stigma. If we do this, we will begin to see a reduction in the number of lives claimed by HIV. Our lives matter…well at least to me anyway!

10 Reasons Why Black Women Think Differently About Sexuality!


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[Trigger warning: This article contains language, historical context and other truths that may piss you off, strike a nerve or make you “big” mad… thoughts…so! Get over it, just like “you folks” have asked us to do over the past 400 years.]

Black women have a complex and painful history when it comes to sexuality. What happened on the auction block centuries ago is still unfinished business for Black women today. Slavery ripped into the hearts and soul of African women altering their culture, their families, and their sexuality. It would be naïve to think that time has healed those wounds or to believe that they are no longer relevant to the sexual experiences of Black women today.

The psycho-sexual trauma of slavery is forever embedded in our subconsciousness. The shame, stigma and other negative feelings are still associated with sexuality even today. Under the system of slavery Black women were often considered chattel property and were bred like animals. White men sexually coerced and abused Black women. Black families were frequently torn apart. Legal marriages between slaves was often prohibited. The trauma of slavery left Black women feeling ashamed of their body and their sexuality. Black women were left to negotiate the burden of years of sexual humiliation and degradation. The trauma embedded from years of exploitation became the catalyst for the negative intergenerational patterns, thoughts, beliefs and attitudes regarding sexuality within the Black community. This degradation would lay the foundation for the modern conceptual framing of Black women’s sexuality. It also contributes to the 10 reasons why Black women have to think differently about sexuality.

1) They labelled us! The white imagination still produces toxic caricatures of Black women’s sexuality. Much like the four women that dance between the bars of the famous Nina Simone song “Four Women,” Black women’s sexuality has been determined by the conceptual framing of white folk’s ideals of how Black women should embody sexuality. These labels help to restrict the exploration and celebration of Black women’s sexuality. They evoke fear, while providing comfort to the labeler. As a result, the sexual script Black women have been given includes: jezebel, baby mamma’s, mammy, Madonna, siren, “Hottentots” etc. Given these narratives of our sexuality, Black women have had too constantly battle the stigma, shame and guilt of being a sexual being. Unfortunately, Black women have bought into this notion that we are no more that our bodies or erotic capital that has built and continues to build this country and many others. Additionally, these labels have contributed to the internalized self-hate or self-barriers that Black women have placed on ourselves and our sexuality.

2) The Music and the Media. We continuously allow music and media to capitalize on our sexuality as if we are still nothing more than oversexed, irresponsible, out-of-control women who create havoc with our sexualities. In many ways, the sexual images that represent us in music and media places right back on the auction block for sale disguised as entertainment; our bodies exploited, objectified, on display for all to see. In our minds and in the minds of others, these degenerative images of women have become the defining factor of Black women’s sexuality and relationships. We have bought-in to this belief and now we are selling ourselves at a huge cost to ourselves. But what we fail to realize is that the price we’re paying contributes to the reasons why Black women continue to be disenfranchised, marginalized and continue to remain on bottom in every area: careers, education, marriage, etc. Finally, this hyper sexualization of women’s bodies contributes to the rape culture, sexualization of little girl’s bodies and places women and girls at increased risk for sexual assaults.

3) The institutional breakdown of Black love and relationships. According to Dr. Joy Degruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, we must also consider the complexity of black relationships and their deterioration because of the trauma caused during slavery. Degruy explains that when black women were repeatedly raped by slave masters, they understood intellectually that black men could not help them for fear of retaliation, abuse, separation of families or worse. Nevertheless, that did not stop them from distrusting black men. Alternately, while black men understood that black women could not fight back, they resented it anyway, and began to distrust black women. This dichotomy created a struggle with their values and their sense of manhood. They would begin to project this onto women. This distrust from both parties has been carried with us over centuries creating a strained relationship between Black women and men; thus altering the black family.

4) Spirituality conflicting message about sexuality – abstinence, abuse, silence and stigma. Often times, the church preaches one thing – refrain from sex until marriage- but demonstrates another. Everyone from the choir stand to the backdoor, from the pastor to the youth usher board individuals are engaging in some form of “sinful” sexual activity, nevertheless it’s swept under the rug. Female congregants are often judged more harshly and treat unequally when it comes to sexual indiscretions i.e. when the young lady gets pregnant she is expected to come before the congregation and acknowledge her sins of fornication, while the male partner does not. This sends the message that only the female is to be held accountable for her unacceptable sinful behavior. In addition, bible beating with scriptures, religious guilt-tripping and sin shaming forms a barrier. It creates this virgin/whore dichotomy that teaches women to lie about, hide, be ashamed of and deal with their sexuality in silence. It is this type of learned silence, shame and stigma that makes us vulnerable and puts us at higher risk for unintended consequences of sexuality. In addition, it does not equip us with the tools we need to protect ourselves from sexual abuse – inside or outside of the church. Nor does it prepare us for sexual relationships within marriages and other partnered relationships.

5) Good girls don’t have sex myth! This message is reinforced time and time again to many young Black girls. Abstinence is great and we all wish that our girls were but, that’s just not the case. We cannot turn a blind eye to the situation. It only adds to the problem. We need to equip our girls with the truth, so they can not only protect themselves but embrace and own their sexuality. When we categorize sex as something that only bad girls do, we subconsciously send the message that “good” girls should not enjoy sex. The challenge that this creates is that as our “good” girls grow up and become women who get married, and still are harboring the “good girls don’t” stigma. As a result, they are less likely to experience sexual pleasure with their partner; which can ultimately contribute to significant problems in their relationship. In addition, many girls who grow up with this belief may suffer from sexual dysfunction which may have been prevented if they grew up with a healthy view of sexuality. This good girls don’t have sex belief reinforces the shame, stigma, guilt, embarrassment and taboo that surround sexuality. The negative consequences of this are that as our girls grow up and become women, they tend to be less likely to have healthy and positive feelings regarding their body and their sexuality.

6) The misogyny of it all. Penis play equals notches! Boys are socialized from a very early age to embrace their penis. They are encouraged to sow their royal oats and have as much sex as one man can take. This patriarchal thinking and sexist gender role have been passed down as some sorts of a rite of passage. “Locker room banter” is suggestive of negative connotations and references to women and it’s even accepted as proper protocol by the President of the “free world.” Misogynistic, white, male heteronormative privilege dominates and dictates societies response to Black women’s sexuality. It’s the same conceptual framing and narrative that began during slavery when the white slave masters, overseers, etc. felt the need to force themselves upon Black women. Black women’s bodies became their territory to occupy at their discretion. This unapologetic abuse of power and sexual violence would forever change the trajectory of how we would experience our sexuality. All these factors combine contribute to the degradation of Black women’s sexuality.

7) Keep your panties up! This old antiquated way of thinking fails just as much now as it did back then with grandma and nem. The message of remaining abstinent until marriage only ended with a lot of girls being sent on “vacation” down south or up north to Big mama’s house for nine months. It also contributed to a lot of shame, secrecy and empty church confessions from young women scorned. Or it created resentment from kids who grew up only to find that their “big sister” was really their mother. Finally, this out-of-date mindset, resulted in damaged wombs, infections and emotionally scarred women who received back alley abortions trying to maintain that “good girls don’t” image. Now of course some young ladies did keep their panties up, however they ended up pulling them to the side, which also opened the door to shame, secrecy and guilt. This misguided message only added to the layers of trauma that many girls experienced trying to navigate the complexities of their sexuality.

8) Cutesy names for the female body parts. We’ve been taught to call our vagina, vulva, breast every cutesy name in the book instead of the medically accurate name. Vajayjay, twat, slit, pussy, beaver, kitty, punany, coota mama, coochie, black box, deep hole, down there, honeypot, titties, watermelon, twins, boobs, jugs are just a few of the slang names that we use when referring to our body parts. When you stop to think about it, many of these names are not cute at all! They are downright negative and derogatory. They send the wrong message about the female body. Not only that, some of these words are very uncomfortable to hear. When we use cutesy names instead of using the correct terminology for body parts and functions, it takes away the value of our body. When we devalue something, we do not respect it and take care of it. This lack of respect or value of our body places us at risk for sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy because they don’t value their body enough to protect it or for that matter even know how to protect it.

9) Nasty Woman. We have been taught that our bodies are dirty and worthless and because of this we disassociate ourselves from our bodies. There are countless commercials and products on the market that help perpetuate and support this myth of the “unclean” woman. Even dating back to the Old Testament biblical times, there was the woman with the issue of blood who was ostracized. And even in many counties today, women and girls are oftentimes ostracized and separated from the males in the village when they have their menstrual cycle. We have come to loathe our bodies so much so that we try to alter the vagina’s natural smell and/or alter the look and feel of the vulva and vagina. In fact, some women have even died trying to create the “perfect” body that society has deemed sexually acceptable and desirable. In addition, because we have bought into this belief that our bodies our nasty, many women have developed an aversion to touching their bodies. The shame placed on touching and even enjoying touching one’s body ultimately contribute to unhealthy ideals about sexuality. This internalized self-hate contributes to risks for the acquisition and transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

10) The -isms… The -ism play a contributing factor to Black women’s sexual health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Issues such as race, gender, ethnicity, class and sexuality cannot be ignored. Black women, more so than any other race, gender, or ethnicity, experience the brunt of racism, sexism, classism, erotic capitalism, etc. This intersectionality of gender, race, sex, class, and capitalism produces and perpetuates systems of oppression and domination. This social, systemic and institutionalized oppression creates barriers to accessing and receiving care, services and treatment and contributes to the already existing distrust of government. In addition, these misguided and sometime violent system further exacerbates the social determinant such as poverty, lack of education, under or unemployment, lack of insurance, income, etc. that keep us disenfranchise and disproportionately impacted by HIV. Additionally, these -isms and systems of oppression indoctrinate and reinforce shame, stigma, secrecy, guilt, etc. all of which contributes the denial of our sexual selves.

Prior to enslavement of the African people, sexuality was treasured, protected as a rite of passage. The initiation of slavery irrevocably altered the sexuality of the Africans and their descendants. The permission to be a sexual being was ripped and stolen from our very being. Over the next several hundred years, a new sexual order emerged for Black women. Stigma, shame, secrecy and guilt has become the dominate themes dictating Black women’s sexuality; such that we have experienced it as something outside of ourselves resulting in an existential crisis. Our sexuality is not something that happens to us! It’s who we are. We must be actively engaged and present in who we are as sexual beings. We must not be afraid to tackle the taboo, debunk the myths, contradict the stereotypes and disavow the beliefs that have become the modern narrative for Black women’s sexuality. Failure to do so, can result in the continuances of lifelong trauma that has been passed down for generations, and has kept Black women from experiencing the best life possible.

Finally, I leave you with this thought….My Beloved Sister! In order to be sexually free, sexually empowered, we have to move beyond the pain. We have to be active and intentional in dismantling the oppression – both internally and externally. Our sexuality is something that is inherent to our person, and it’s something that we should be allowed to freely define, claim, embody and experience without the influence of those who are not Black women. I give you permission to do just that! Discover, explore and unleash your sexuality in a healthier, safer, and unapologetic manner….that you and only you define!

Wait….Did I Just Come? How To Know The Different Types Of Orgasms


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There’s a lot of pressure on women regarding orgasms! Many articles, books, etc. can make a women feel inadequate. But the interesting thing is that woman are experiencing orgasm but because they did not receive proper sexuality educations, not in tune with their body or are often not informed on the various types of orgasms that she can experience, in her mind….she has not.

But wait…What exactly is an orgasm?

An orgasm is a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual response experienced at the height of sexual activity. Orgasm is also a biological release of chemicals and tension followed by pleasurable involuntary muscle contractions.

There are several types of orgasms a woman can experience: clitoral, vaginal, A-Spot G-spot, anal, full body, blended and multiple! I know you are probably thinking wait..I can have all those different types of orgasms? The answer is yes! Check out the description of the various types of orgasms below.

Clitoral Orgasm
The clitoris is the pleasure spot specially designed for women. It is the most sensitive area on the female body, being one of the most nerve rich – over 8,000. The vast majority of women experience clitoral orgasm through direct stimulation or indirect stimulation of the internal structure of the clitoris. Intensely pleasurable feelings start within the clitoris and send waves of pleasure throughout the body.

Vaginal Orgasm
This kind of female orgasm begins deep in the vagina near the cervix and either stays focused in the pelvic and lower stomach areas. In fact, many women do not even realize that are experiencing a vagina orgasm because it begins so deep inside of the vagina. A vaginal orgasm may or may not happen in unison with a clitoral orgasm. During a vaginal orgasm the uterus and pelvic muscles contract. The contractions are so strong that they can actually push anything that is inside of the vagina out, i.e. penis of sex toy. A vaginal orgasm takes longer to achieve. Continuous rhythmic thrusting is often the best way to bring a woman to a vaginal orgasm.

A-Spot Orgasm (The Anterior Fornix Orgasm)
The A-Spot is located deep in the vagina, about 4-5inches, on the front wall of the vagina. An A-Spot orgasm is achieved by stimulating this small patch of sensitive tissue which is located near the cervix. When stimulated, the A-Spot can lead to rapid vaginal lubrication and arousal.

Also referred to as the Epicentre, this is a patch of sensitive tissue at the inner end of the vaginal tube between the cervix and the bladder, described technically as the ‘female degenerated prostate.’ (In other words, it is the female equivalent of the male prostate, just as the clitoris is the female equivalent of the male penis.) Direct stimulation of this spot can produce ferocious orgasmic contractions. Unlike the clitoris, it is not supposed to suffer from post-orgasmic over-sensitivity.

The G-Spot is located about 2-3 inches inside the vagina on the front wall. The G-Spot is about the size of a nickel and the texture of the G-spot is much more spongy and coarse than the rest of the vagina. At first, it may be difficult for a woman to locate her G-Spot, however it becomes much easier to find after she has had one orgasm. During sexual arousal, the tissue surrounding the urethra becomes engorged with blood and the Para-urethral / Skenes glands produce and fill fluid. The fullness of the gland stimulates the feeling of needed to urinate, this is partly because of the pressure of the fluids surrounding the glands of the urethra. Additionally, G-Spot orgams is also responsible for the elusive female ejaculation.

Anal Orgasm
The Anus is an erogenous zone full of sensitive nerves. Additionally, the sphincter muscle creates intense sensations when it contracts. However, because the anus does not lubricate itself naturally, lots of lubrication – water-based or silicone-based, must be used during any anal play. There are several ways you can reach anal orgasm: manual stimulation, sex toy such as a vibrator, dildo, butt plug or anal beads, and/or oral-anal sex and/or penile penetration.

Cervical Orgasm
The cervix is the entrance to the womb, the uterus. A woman’s cervix is related to her feminine core, her sense of self, her heart, her creativity, and to her entire being. According to the Tantric tradition, a cervical orgasm is probably the most profound, meaningful orgasm a woman can experience. A cervical orgasm is characterized by contractions of the deep vaginal muscles and uterus. The sensation of cervical stimulation and orgasm feels different from clitoral stimulation, because they are responding to two different nerve-systems. A cervical orgasm will feel deeper, more intense and is accompanied by strong emotions, love, oneness with self, partner and god, ecstasy and transcendence, tears, crying and a feeling of deep satisfaction on all levels.

Blended Orgasm
A blend orgasm is one of the most powerful orgasms a woman can experience. It offers a woman the best of both worlds. A blended orgasm is a potent combination of two or more types of orgasms occurring at the same time.

Multiple Orgasms
Contrary to popular belief, multiple orgasms do exist, and they are entirely possible to achieve if there is little to no interruption in arousal or stimulation. Multiple orgasms come in quick succession, one after the other, usually with mere seconds to minutes between them. The challenge with multiple orgasms is that due to the heighten sensitive, continued orgasm may become uncomfortable if stimulation is continued. There are two types of multiple orgasms: sequential and serial. Sequential orgasms are orgasms that occur after one another with a few minutes in between. Additional stimulation is often required to get from one to the next, but there is no limit to how many you might have during one encounter. Serial orgasms are one orgasm experienced immediately after the next and the next and the next.

Full Body/Expanded Orgasm
A full body/expand orgasm is associated with Tantra. It an be describe as a true floating-on-cloud-nine outer body experience. A full body/expanded orgasm is the experience of feeling your whole body vibrating with orgasmic intensity and contractions that last from a few minutes to many hours. These contractions and energetic sensations pulsate all over the body, especially in the abdomen, inner thighs, hands, feet, and genitals bringing about deep emotional release and rejuvenation, profound spiritual experiences, and an keen awareness not normally perceived in other types of orgasms. Full body/Expanded orgasm uses the body, mind, emotion, spirit and sexual energy to be creative in life.

How do I increase my chances of experiencing the ultimate orgasm?

The quest to experience the ultimate orgasm is a challenge that many women will face throughout their lives. Below are some additional suggestions to enhance your orgasmic pleasure.

  • First and foremost you may want to consult with your physician to rule out
    any medical condition that may be contributing to your inability to
    experience an orgasm.
  • Mind play. Keep in mind that sex begins in the brain. If there are any
    emotional or mental blocks during fore play and/or intercourse, then it will
    make it difficult to experience an orgasm.
  • Know your body. Always be aware of how you enjoy being touched sexually
    and you must communicate this openly and honestly with your partner.
    Share with him how you liked to be touched. Lovingly teach him and guide
    his hands all over your body.
  • Seduction is the key! Women need to be engaged in a lot of fore play prior
    to intercourse. Set the mood. Don’t just jump right into it. Take your time
    and allow your intensity to build up as this will help to increase the
    intensity of your orgasm.
  • Try different positions. This allows for different types of stimulation of the
    vagina, G-spot, A-Spot and clitoris.
  • Try using sex toys to bring yourself to orgasm. There is a variety of sex toys
    on the market designed for specific usage. You may consider a clitoral
    vibrator or a g-spot vibrator to start you on your journey.
  • Take your time- Don’t rush to the orgasm. Enjoy the full sexual experience,
    and slowly build up to your orgasm. If you can hold out, try to “edge” –
    control yourself just shy of the actual orgasm for as long as possible. The
    result of edging can be an extremely intense orgasm that will be
    accompanied with stronger contractions and a longer lasting climax.
  • Strengthen your PC muscles. Pubococcygeal muscles are a big part of the
    female orgasm. Try exercising your muscles using Ben Wa Balls, vaginal or
    Kegel Exercisers. The stronger the PC muscle the more intense the orgasm.
    *Understand the Human Sexual Response Cycle. Having an understanding of
    how your body responds during each phase of the human sexual response
    cycle will help to increase your chances of experiencing an orgasm.
  • Stop having goal-oriented sex. Don’t focus so much on the goal but rather
    experiencing the sensuality and pleasure of your sex play.
  • Delay the pleasure. Women can delay orgasm through a variety of ways.
    For example, Tantra, which emphasizes sexual intercourse as way of co-creation and reaching our highest self and connecting with your partner—techniques allow some individuals to control ejaculation and orgasm.

When it comes to orgasms, it is important to note that orgasms vary in intensity, and women vary in the frequency of their orgasms and the amount of stimulation necessary to trigger an orgasm and even what type of orgasm she experiences.



Is Celibacy The New Sex


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Has being celibate become the latest trend? All the hottest radio shows, magazines and celebrities are now speaking up and having the conversations about celibacy. More and more men and women have jumped on the celibate bandwagon and are taking to social media to proclaim vows of celibacy. With all the hype about celibacy, I can’t help but wonder has celibacy become the new sex?

So what does it really mean to be celibate?

First things first, let’s clear up the confusion between abstinence and celibacy. Although the words abstinence and celibacy are often used interchangeably, but are not necessarily the same thing. Sexual abstinence is defined as choosing to abstain from some or all sexual activity for a period of time, regardless of martial status. Sexual abstinence also usually implies that a person who’s choosing to practice may be open to engaging in sexual actives sometimes in the future. Whereas celibacy technically refers to an unmarried person who has chosen to not to marry and to avoid all forms of sexual activity for religious beliefs or spiritual reasons; such as a nun or priest.

To break it down even further…

If a person is “saving themselves for marriage” or sexual abstinent until after getting married then that person has taken a vow of chastity. The difference between celibacy and chastity is that the person who is celibate does not plan to get married whereas the person who is chaste eventually plans to someday marry.

So let’s clear up the confusion…

There is much debate around the question whether or not a person is truly celibate if they are using sex toys, self-pleasure, watching porn or other forms of sexual activity that do not include a partner. The answer to the question is no. Celibacy in its authentic form is an unmarried person who is avoiding all forms of sexuality for religious or spiritual reason. Once a person marries and/or engages in sexual activities including: anal, oral, vaginal intercourse, self-pleasure/masturbation, using sex toys, watching porn, hugging, kissing and for some individuals, it may also include thoughts and words, they are no longer considered celibate but rather abstinent. Even if a person divorces or separates from their spouse and decides to stop engaging in sexual activities, they are still considered to be practicing abstinence.

Aside from religious or spiritual reasons, why do people choose not to partake in sexual activities?

There are many reasons an individual may decide to make a vow to abstain from sexual activities. Here are some of the most common reasons:

*Cultural, moral and religious beliefs
*Experienced a trauma
*Legal reasons
*Ethical reason
*Medical reasons
*Reproductive health conditions
*Reconnect with self
*Tired of unhealthy relationships
*Saving self for marriage
*Emotionally overwhelmed

Benefits of Abstaining

For those who choose to sexually abstain, the benefits are plenty and well worth the commitment. Below are some of the benefits.

Emotional Stability
Sexual encounters can have lasting effects which may include the inability of a person to form strong emotional bonds of love, intimacy, attachment and/or trust. Often people engage in sexual activities because they are longing to have a connection with someone, however, having sex for the wrong reasons can leave a person feeling emotionally emptier than before the encounter. Choosing to abstain from sexual activities helps to clear the mind and balance the emotions.

Protection from sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies
There is no such thing as “safe sex.” The only “safe sex” is no sex! There is always the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and unintended pregnancies whenever a person has sex. Even though condoms and dental dams are considered effective, when used consistently and correctly there is always a chance for failure especially if there is alcohol or some other substance involved. Abstinence is the only way to be 100 percent safe from STIs and unintended pregnancies .

Deepening Intimacy
Sex clouds judgment and can sometime create a barrier to achieve true intimacy in relationships. Choosing to abstain from sexual activity helps to remove that preoccupation of sex and allows you to develop a true mental, emotional, spiritual and physical connection with your partner.

Cut the Soul Ties
Soul ties are real! Sex is emotional, mental, spiritual and biochemical. Sex conjures up all sorts of powerful feelings, and it’s impossible to be immune to them. Every time we have sex with someone, exchange those energies, chemicals and hormones that keeps us tied to that individual indefinitely. Abstaining from any kind of sex play, helps us to cut those soul ties and allows us to begin to cleanse those energies and spirits from our being.

Channeling Your Sexual Energy
When two people have sex, there is an exchange of energy. While it can be life affirming if enjoyed in a healthy way, it can also be very draining. When it comes to sexual intercourse the receiving partner literally receives something inside of their body. In addition to the fact that every time you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone that they have sex with as well and that energy transfers from person to person. Channeling the energy that you would otherwise put into sex into your creative endeavors can be a profound impact on your the quality of your life.

Learn to focus Yourself
When you’re partaking in sexual activities, it is very easy to lose focus and become lost in the other person. Practicing abstinence is a great way to reconnect with yourself. A sex-free lifestyle frees up a tremendous amount of mental and emotional space that our sex lives often fills. Without the distraction caused by sex, you will be able to focus more on yourself and the things that matter most to you.

Control of Sexuality
Choosing whether or not to do something gives us a sense of control and purpose in our lives. Our sexuality is no different. When we make a conscious decision to become sex free, it can be liberating and empowering. When we feel a sense of empowerment, we are more likely to make healthier choices, in and out of the bedroom, that will increase the quality of our lives.

Here are some tips to keeping the vow?

  1. Understand why you want to take this vow before you do so. There are many reasons why people take this vow. You have to remain intentional with your decision and remember why you made the vow in the first place. Desires aren’t going anywhere. They’re natural. We were created as sexual beings and will have desires from the time we’re born until we die. So it’s important to keep your mind focused and stay busy.
  2. Talk It Over with Your Partner, if you have one. Making the decision to stop knocking boots can definitely create some serious tension between you and your Beloved! Taking it over with your partner and creating a “transition” plan can help to reduce the drama in your relationship. Spend time focusing on different types of coupled activities that are not sexual or physical in nature will help to strengthen the relationship, build trust and enhance intimacy. You might just find out how much you really like each other. However, if your partner is not supportive then perhaps you may want to reconsider the relationship.
  3. Choose Your Dates Wisely. Take time to get to know your partner. What is the rush? Sex, especially casual sex, does not come without a cost and that cost could just be your life. Be selective with whom you choose to date. Trying to abstain from sexual activities while dating someone who is sexually active is a recipe for disaster. It’s probably best to consider dating someone who has also made the decision to be abstinence, this way you both can support each other in maintaining your commitment.
  4. Know Your Triggers and Avoid Temptation. This may be really difficult especially if you’ve been sexual before. However, its extremely important that you learn to avoid temptations. Do not put yourself in situations that might tempt you to give in to your sexual desires such as being alone with someone to whom you are attracted. Even hugging and kissing can lead to much more, therefore it is extremely important that you avoid putting yourself in situations that may trigger your sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  5. Get New Hobbies. This period of sexual abstinence is a great time to reconnect with yourself! Pursue your favorite hobby activity. You may avoid people and things that may turn you on sexually. For example, if you know that when you hang out with friends and go to the club that you’re likely to have a few drinks and end up leaving with someone to have sex, then you need to replace that club and perhaps those friends with a more healthy hobby that less likely to incite sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  6. Find Support. The decision to be abstinent can be challenging at times. Having support from people that have embarked on similar journeys can be really helpful and encouraging, especially on those days when you feel like giving into those sexual urges.
  7. Control Your Thoughts. Remember the brain is the biggest sex organ! Now, is not the time to go back down memory lane and reminisce on your ex-beloved. This is the time you must filter your thoughts! Our thoughts can produce vivid memories which can sometime lead us down the wrong path, because out thoughts become our actions. If you find yourself wandering back to how it used to be, take control of your thoughts and decide to think about something different like watching paint dry! Boring, right! But you get the point.
  8. No Popping Bottles. Hold off on the substances! Anytime we over indulge in substances, prescription, legal or illegal, our mental state becomes altered. When we are not in our sober frame of mind, our judgment may lapse. We tend to make decisions that we would not normally make if we were not under the influence. (i.e. having unprotected sex or even having sex with someone we normally would not). In addition, our hormones are more active after a night of drinking or drugging and partying therefore we are more likely to give in to the animalistic urge to have sex.

At the end of the day whether a person decides to use the term abstinence or celibacy, or both is a personal choice. Nevertheless, both abstinence and celibacy are a serious commitment that requires will-power, self-awareness and self-control. When making the vow to sexually abstain, remember why you made the commitment in the first place and that will help you to be more successful on your journey.

8 Tips For Staying Sexually Empowered This Year!


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It’s a new year and a new you and you’re ready to embark on a journey to discover, explore and unleash your sexuality! However, with all the crazy media messages about sexuality that bombard us on a daily basis, it can be confusing for women to determine what it really means to be sexually empowered. Sexual empowerment simply means owning every aspect of your sexuality. It also means being aware of how your sexuality impacts your life. When we buy into the negative messages that society imposes on women, we somehow lose our way by trying to fit into these stereotypic images of sexuality that subdue our self-esteem and confidence. Well the great news is that you don’t have to stay bogged down by these messages and images, you can reclaim your sexual self today! Check out these sexually empowering tips:

1. Become Intimately Acquainted with your Body. Knowing your body and maintaining your sexual health is extremely important. In order to experience pleasure, you have to be intimately acquainted with your body. Understanding your reproductive system, sexual response cycle and how your body changes during each cycle is the hallmark of sexual pleasure. Learning about what feels good to you can increase your chance of experiencing sexual pleasure with sex partners because it enables you to communicate your sexual turn-ons to your partners. Our bodies are a temple. We only get one, and there is no refund or exchange policy on our body, so we have to treat it with the utmost care and respect. If we do not take care of it, then who will?

2. Embrace Your Sexuality! Be comfortable with who you are as a sexual being and your sexuality! That begins by first loving ourselves, understanding that we are sexual beings, and giving ourselves permission to discover, explore, and unleash our sexuality. You cannot truly share your sexuality if you are not comfortable with who you are, you cannot negotiate safer sex nor can you talk to your physician about your sexual health. Honor your sexuality by creating an empowering sex-positive mantra. Make it a priority to look in the mirror each day and repeat the mantra. This will help you to reaffirm your sexuality on a daily basis.

3. Let Your No Mean No! Part of being sexually empowered means making a decision and sticking to it. If you are not ready for a relationship or ready to have sex; Don’t settle! Stay true to your real desires. If you give in to your hormones just for the sake of an orgasm, you will end up regretting it later. Learn to identify your triggers so that you can put a plan in place to avoid those pitfalls. For example, if you know that when you go out to the club you are likely to have a few drinks and end up leaving with someone to have sex, then the club is a trigger that you need to avoid and replace with a less sexually charged activity.

4. Take time to get to know your partner. What is the rush? Sex, especially casual sex, does not come without a cost and that cost could just be your life. With every potential sexual encounter you must ask yourself if this orgasm is worth my life. Are you willing to die for sex because that is essentially what you are saying when you fail to ask your sexual partners questions about his or her sexual past. When you enter into a sexual relationship, it is extremely important that you take the time to get to know your sexual partner. As difficult as it may be to ask these questions, it should become a habit. At the end of the day, if you cannot ask your partner these questions then maybe you should not be having sex with them.

5. Love Yourself Enough to Not Put Yourself at Risk. Practice safer sex. Failure to do so may result in dire consequences, like becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Learn how to negotiate safer sex condoms, dental dams and lubes! Eroticize safer sex and turn it into a game that both of you will enjoy. Above all, know your value and worth, respect yourself and your body and be very cautious about who you share yourself with. Remember in addition to HIV, there are three additional sexually transmitted infections – HPV, Hepatitis and – Herpes, that do not have a cure. Being infected with an STI that does not have a cure can cause signicant implication on your future relationships. Don’t allow love or your hormones to get the best of you. Take time to protect yourself. You are responsible for your sexual health. Ten, fifteen maybe twenty minutes of pleasure is not worth your life.

6. Keep It Sexy Even When No One Is Looking. Being sexy is just as important for us as it is for our partner(s). When we look good, we feel good and are more likely to exude confidence. Another important aspect of being sexy lies within our attitude. Sexy is absorbed by character. Sexy is laughing, it’s crying, it’s patience, it’s a look, it’s purpose, it’s the way you move, it’s confidence, it’s passion, it’s knowledge, it’s love, it’s living, it’s owning who you are and so much more! The core of who we are as women lies in the unique way we express ourselves. It is the attitude of confidence. It’s celebrating yourself, flaws and all. While the word sexy may include the word sex, it does not mean that sexy is synonymous with sex! Push yourselves to move pass society’s definition of sexy. Create your own brand of sexy this year! One that involves your mind, your self-esteem, your confidence, your positive attitude, your spirituality, and your passion and zest for LIFE!

7. Communicate With Your Sexual Desires. We all want to have great sex! However, great sex doesn’t just happen like it does in the movies. It requires some work and effort on our part. While it may be challenging to communicate your sexual desires to your Beloved, it is absolutely necessary! Often times we set our relationships up for failure because we don’t to talk to our partners. We just “expect” them to somehow know everything about us. Don’t expect your Beloved to be a mind reader! You have to communicate with each other about what turns you on and off because what worked with one partner may or may not necessarily do it for the current partner. Be very specific about what you need. Rather than criticizing your Beloved about the things that you don’t like, instead tell them what feels good and that you want more of it.

8. Give Yourself Permission To Experience Pleasure. Growing up many of us was taught that sex was something “bad,” “wrong,” or “sinful.” We were taught that good girls don’t, and if we do that we are sluts. It’s time to let go of all that negative baggage you’ve been carrying around for years and give yourself permission to enjoy sex! After all, we were created as sexual beings. In fact, women have the only organ in the human body that solely designed for pleasure so why shouldn’t we enjoy it?

My Beloved, this year, I challenge you to let go of all that “stuff” that you have learned about sexuality over the years! Open your minds, do the work and begin to see yourself in a brand new light – as a sexually empowered woman who is taking control of her LIFE!


Grand Opening Of Vegas Chick Fit!


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Many of you know that I originally started my business, Beautifully Me, LLC in 2004 when I lived in LA, against all odds, support and understanding of how and why I wanted to incorporate pole dancing into a business. At the time, I rented from and shared space with other dance studios, first in Marina Del Rey and then in Santa Monica. My hope was to mainstream pole dancing as a tool of empowerment. However, during that time, I got divorced and I struggled to run Beautifully Me. And sure enough as life would have it, I had to leave LA in May of 2008. Over the years, I have had an on and off love affair with the beauty and the art of pole dancing, but the one thing that’s for sure is that it never left my soul. This on and off affair with Nola Darling, as I called my pole LOL, has always lingered; burning intensely and passionately! Here we are 2017 in Vegas baby and my love has resurfaced! And this time it’s mine all mine! It’s been more than 13 years since I feel in love with the art of pole dancing and guess what, the affair, the love and the passion burns more intensely than ever before! I am so grateful that God has brought the art of pole dancing back into my LIFE! And I promise this time to never let go! It’s so amazing and a testament to the fact that no matter how far away you get or no matter how you try to let go or ignore it, God will always bring that which is meant for you back to you! Viva Vegas Chick Fit! Here’s to you, my love! Now shall we dance this beautiful dance the rest of our lives! Thank You Jesus! I owe it all to YOU! I got my love back! I shall call her VEGAS CHICK FIT!

Vegas Chick Fit is more than a pole dancing studio, class, workshop, product or service! Vegas Chick Fit is life! It embodies who we are and how we were created as women. All the classes, workshops, services and products are specifically designed to meet the unique, sometimes complex and intricate needs of women. Years of research has gone into creating a space totally dedicated to helping women become the best version of themselves by teaching them to live inspired and feel empowered. To learn more about Vegas Chick Fit, click here.

Why Putting The Head In May Not Be A Good Ideal


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So, he convinced you to just let him put the “head in.” And of course in the heat of the moment the head turns into the entire penis and before you know it, you’re getting busy, switching positions having sex. As he’s ejaculating, he tries to pull out and now you’re both laying there wondering if he pulled out in time. Check out the real deal facts below to find out how just how effective the withdrawal method really is.

The withdrawal method, commonly referred to as the “pull out” method has one of the lowest rates of effectiveness. According to statistics, 4 to 27 out of 100 women will become pregnant using the withdrawal method. Why such a huge gap? It depends on the accuracy and consistency of usage. The withdrawal method has such a high failure rate because it relies heavily on the male partner ability to be able to “pull out” at the height of ejaculation which can be extremely challenging especially if he is lost in the moment or if he suffers from pre-mature ejaculation.

Another reason that this method has a high failure rate is because of the pre-cum, which has sperm in it- that may be in the tip or head of the penis prior to ejaculation. This means that there is still a potential for getting pregnant even without ejaculation. But pregnancy isn’t the only thing that you have to be concerned with, the withdraw method doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.…That is an epic fail!

The withdrawal method is definitely not a good method for inexperienced men who are not familiar with their body and/or do not understand how to control their ejaculation, for men who suffer from premature ejaculation or for men who lack sexual self control or an inability to control their muscles responsible for delaying ejaculation. This method can also present challenges for women who are not intimately acquainted with their body and who are not as familiar with ovulation and the menstrual cycle.

However, if you’re still hell bent on using the withdrawal method because “you don’t like how condoms feel,” here’s how to increase the effectiveness of this method. One of the keys to increasing effectiveness of this method is understanding the difference between orgasm and ejaculation. Increasing the male partners ability to maintain muscle control is also important in using the pull out method. Also any position such man-on-top, spooning, etc. that allows the man the ability to “pull out” quickly, will help to increase effectiveness. Finally, getting in sync with your female partners menstrual cycle and understanding ovulation will also help reduce the chances of getting pregnant. Consider using a menstruation tracker to learn when she’s ovulating. Practicing the withdrawal method during those times when she is NOT ovulating will help to reduce the chances of pregnancy.

Additionally, the withdrawal method is a much more effective method of birth control if practiced consistently and correctly each and every time during intercourse. The effectiveness relies heavily on the male understanding his sexual response cycle, the point of ejaculation and being able to delay/control ejaculation – which takes great muscle control. So, unless the male partner has great understanding and control, this method may not be the best option and you better have a secondary method that you’re using or else you may be one of four to 27.