Rolling Hills and Other Things...

I like to people watch. Voyeurism? Naw, let's just call it people watching. I love to study how and why people do what they do. What's their motivation? And what could provoke change?

I was driving to work a while ago and although I consider myself a pretty good driver, I still look at folks while driving, but I limit it to stop lights so I don't get into any accidents. So I'm driving down Kingshighway near St. Louis Ave. (in St. Louis, MO) and I see a group of young women who have amazing bodies. I mean, the Commodores sang songs about these girls. The three of them all had on waist-length shirts and leggings which explains how I could easily see their physiques. And as I saw these girls cross the street---as I saw their faces, I realized they were a bit younger than what their bodies communicated---the first thing that popped in my head was this song. If you're not familiar with Jill Scott's lyrics, here ya go:

Maybe you don't recognize what you got between ya thighs, come on
So I'm gonna set you right
And I'm starting here tonight well
Shine like the moon
And strong like the sea
More expensive than money, more valuable than anything
Juicy mango summer peach
Make a lame man walk and a full man hungry

And if you don't know what I'm saying then baby I'm telling you

There's power in them rolling hills, come on
You're a prize possession, not everybody's worthy
Only reason I know is cause I headed down that road
And it'd be a shame for you not to have your own glow, Come on

Maybe you don't recognize what you got between your eyes
So I'm gonna set you correct so you can get what you should get
Intuition's something sweet
Let you know what you know, let you find before you seek
Spirit of discernment, pray for it everyday
Let you know who should go and who you should let stay

So there it is. There's power in them rolling hills. I think too often, women underestimate the power they possess. Maybe we don't realize that the same Power that created the universe is the Power that resides in us. Scripture reminds us that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And if we believe in the triune God, then that same exact God is within us. But we don't always act like it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that women should wear sheath dresses that don't touch anything. Trust, all my clothes touch me! However, there's a difference in wearing something because you're confident and comfortable in your own sexual self versus wearing something to gain acceptance. I see so many women who easily share themselves, not for their own sexual satisfaction, but to gain acceptance, a semblance of love, or anything else, tangible or otherwise. And when they don't receive it, they're left feeling depleted as though power has left them.

It's like letting someone use your electricity. I'm not saying I've experienced this, but I've heard of neighbors running extension cords if their electricity is cut off. However, at the end of the month, after that neighbor gets their power and no longer needs your charge, you're left with a bill. ...and it's like that with sex. If you allow people into your temple to recharge but there's no deposit, you're left depleted with a "bill" of emotions that needs to be settled/reconciled.

So how do we proceed? Simply put: get connected to the Source, stay connected, and realize the Power that works within you. There's power in them rolling hills.

Scriptural references:
I Corinthians 6:9 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English) Do you not know that your body is the temple of The Spirit of Holiness who dwells within you, whom you have received from God, and you are not your own?

Ephesians 3:20 (New King James Version) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.


Two Virgins?

I like @KevOnStage. His videos are generally pretty hilarious (Check out thePlaymakers1 on YouTube). Also, I appreciate his candid answer to this question.

So I've heard lots of opinions about this topic, and what I generally hear from men and women vary. From most women, I hear they don't want to marry a virgin because they feel their skill level may not be up to par. On the other hand, I hear men say they don't necessarily have to marry a virgin, but they don't want a woman that is too experienced. So is there a happy medium or a magic number?

Honestly, I think two virgins (or people who don't have much sexual experience, even though they may have had sex) can get married and have fulfilling sex lives. This could provide a great opportunity to learn about each other and what truly pleases your partner and yourself. I mean, really, even if you know all the tricks of the trade, your husband or wife may need different tricks to satisfy them and you'll be starting from where they are anyway.

So yes, I think two virgins getting together and learning about sex together can be a great thing. Does it happen often in our society? Probably not, but I still think it's an opportunity people too readily dismiss.


Luggage and Sex

I had the opportunity to go to the annual conference of AASECT, the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists in Austin, TX this past weekend. I had a great opportunity to reconnect with colleagues, meet new ones, and expand my knowledge within the wonderful field of sexuality. I observed many things at the conference, but before I could even get off the airplane in Austin, God provided yet another opportunity for me to learn something by watching simple things I tend to take for granted.

My plane arrived in Austin, TX after a pretty decent flight and as we sat on the tarmac for a moment, I could feel the temperature from outside and tried to prepare myself for the heat I would soon experience. I had a window seat, as I usually do, and was just sitting there, watching as crewmembers on the tarmac unloaded our plane’s luggage. There was nothing special about it until it clicked in my head that they were less than careful with the bags. They’d grab them and just kind of toss them into the trams they use to transport the bags from the plane to the baggage claim area. I made myself look away, thinking that if I don’t watch them throw my bag, I won’t get an unnecessary attitude. However, I couldn’t help but watch them. And I mean they were throwing these bags. It didn’t matter what kind of luggage it was: Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, or my bright pink set I got from Macy’s several years ago. Hey! That’s my bright pink suitcase! I’m thinking that maybe they won’t throw it. ….but they do. They just throw it like it did something wrong to them. And I noticed my bright pink suitcase was a bit dirtier than when I checked it. Hmph. At least my luggage arrived in Austin the same time I did.

So what’s sexy about folks throwing my suitcase? Nothing. But it does make me think about sex.

I didn’t date a whole lot. I had one serious boyfriend in high school and one in adulthood that will become my husband in about three and a half months. However, I did have “friends.” Y’all know what “friends” are, especially the type that are in quotation marks. I had a few undefined relationships that weren’t necessarily good for me, but I don’t regret them because they taught me valuable lessons about myself and my luggage. No, not baggage, but luggage.

I thought about how the luggage and handlers stood as metaphors for something deeper. Often, we enter (and remain in) undefined relationships where we are not clear of our expectations. Do I feel everything needs a label? Absolutely not. However, I do think it’s important that boundaries and goals are set and shared if a relationship, undefined or otherwise, is to flourish.  What am I saying here?

To me, the luggage symbolizes your body, your temple. It houses the Holy Spirit and hopefully the Word in your heart. However, if you let just anyone handle it, they may not do so with care. Does that mean that every person is the boogeyman and we should put up brick walls? No, no, no. That’s definitely not what I’m trying to convey. But it does mean that you should be careful about who you let handle your luggage.
What I realized is that the crewmembers had no investment in my bright pink suitcase. They didn’t know (or care) who I was and, therefore, weren’t really concerned about carefully handling my bag, keeping it nice and clean. Their job was to just unload it from the plane, and load it onto the tram. It was hot outside and they were just doing their job, so I’m not mad at them and I promise, I’m over it. BUT, they illustrated how we sometimes put our most valuable possession in the hands of people who don’t have our best interest at heart.

Like I said, they weren’t more careful with the Louis Vuitton luggage than they were with the Target specials. And sometimes, we can’t help if we accidentally choose the wrong luggage handlers. However, I’ve learned that people will treat you how you allow them to treat you. If you notice that someone is not fully vested in you and you want a deeper relationship, stop giving them your most sacred being. It’s okay to walk away when you see that something isn’t working. It’s even better to do so before they throw your luggage and possibly damage something. Once a suitcase is damaged, sure it can be patched together with duct tape (because it fixes everything), but it’s never the same. Stepping outside the metaphor, once you allow someone into your sacred space, a little bit of them is left behind. Sure, you can cleanse yourself of their “handprints” but that’s a process that probably won’t be quick and easy. Anywho, just be careful out there girls and boys. Don’t be so cautious that you’re a closed fist, but in being open, test the spirits to see whether they are from God. And even if they are, make sure you give your luggage to the right one; lost luggage is horrible to deal with.

Scriptural references:
I Corinthians 6:9 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
Do you not know that your body is the temple of The Spirit of Holiness who dwells within you, whom you have received from God, and you are not your own?

I John 4:1 (God’s Word Translation)
Dear friends, don’t believe all people who say that they have the Spirit. Instead, test them. See whether the spirit they have is from God, because there are many false prophets in the world.


The Number

Yeah, the number. I remember when I first saw this webisode. I thought it was hilarious and laughed out loud. I viewed all the episodes, watching the development of the story and subscribed to Black and Sexy TV on YouTube. They have a really funny show called The Couple, yet I digress. Anyway, when I showed this show to my fiancĂ©, he didn’t find it so funny. If anyone knows me, they know I’m pretty liberal in my opinions about things, specifically sexuality, and can be pretty strong in my opinions. So we spoke about it for a moment and ended the conversation…still engaged. But in all seriousness, we discussed a lot of issues regarding stereotypes and if the Melissa’s number had been lower than the Jason’s, there may not have been such an issue (and this show, not as funny). I’m always one to challenge stereotypes, but that’s not what we’re going to do today in this here blog. What I want to explore is if it’s important to share your number of past sexual partners with your mate.

When I was thinking about this, I decided to make a pros and cons list, just to see something concrete. I even asked friends their opinions. Here’s what I came up with:

Safety—I’d want to know the number of sexual partners my mate’s had so I can gauge my possible exposure to STIs.
Knowing the number of past lovers may change your opinion of your partner.
Full disclosure—You won’t have to worry about holding anything back from your partner if everything is on the table. Now, I didn’t say you should give names, but I think a number is okay.
Will the new partner start to compare themselves to past loves? Well, maybe I shouldn’t give this information if it’s not pertinent….
What are some others?

Personally, I feel it’s a good idea to share information. For some people, it may be devastating to learn a specific number. Is the number itself important? Eh. For me, I’d like to know, but it may not be necessary for everyone in every relationship; it’s just my personal preference. What I do think is mandatory is getting tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Whether you’ve had sex with one person or fifty people, you may have been exposed to various illnesses, especially if you did not utilize safer sex practices (latex condoms/barrier methods for intercourse and oral sex) in every sexual encounter. AND even with safer sex practices, there’s still the possibility of exposure to other infections such as Herpes. Now, let’s get real. In previous posts, we’ve explored why God designed sex for marriage, so I won’t go into that here. However, research shows us that abstinence only sex education is not effective because those who chose to have sexual experiences before entering a marriage covenant may not know about safer sexual practices and then expose themselves to STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

Now let’s think about it: if you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with someone, you obviously love and care deeply for that person. Don’t you want to give them the best you possible? Don’t you want to shield them from harm if possible? Point blank: get tested. Know your status and don’t compromise. If you’ve had sex (including oral, anal, and other forms of foreplay), g’on ahead and get tested. Insist your partner does as well. Hey, go get tested together! No, it’s not a romantic date, but it’s an opportunity to truly show your love for someone. Getting tested says, “I love you so much that I don’t want to give you any diseases.” And even more, it says, “I love me so much that I want to know my status.” And y’all know I’m all about loving yourself.


What I Think of St. Valentine's Day

Eh, I’m not a fan. I know, I know, you probably expected something different. I’m in love, nose wide open as one of my friends calls it, and engaged and I’m not a fan of V-Day. Strange, huh? Well, I don’t think so. Growing up, my mother always made February 14th special. When my sister and I woke up to get ready for school, we always had some type of chocolate candy and a card, generally signed “Love, Mama.” This was my constant Valentine. I might not have received any expressions of affection from a boy, but I always left the house knowing I was loved. Then I’d get to school. In high school, the choir had a Valentine’s Day fundraiser where they’d sell balloons, candy, etc. and deliver them to the desired recipient in class. And these were BIG gifts. We’re talking bundles of balloons (or at least a really big one) and stuffed animals of some sort, typically teddy bears wearing red bow ties or something. Anywho, although I never seriously dated anyone from my high school, I always hoped I’d get a simple acknowledgement or expression from someone telling me how wonderful I was. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but I’m being transparent here!

 So then I’d get back home, maybe with candy from teachers or my good girlfriends, but without those big mylar balloons or teddy bears. Feeling a little down like I lost my puppy, I’d look on my dresser and see that simple present from my mom, reminding me that I was, indeed, loved. Fast forward to February 2003. I reconnected with this guy I knew while in high school and we were just friends. Actually, we weren’t even that. We were cordial, no real conversations that I remember, so I didn’t expect any type of sparks to fly, but he asked me to go on a date with him the next Friday, February 14, 2003. He originally asked me via notes on Blackplanet.com (don’t front like y’all don’t remember BlackPlanet), but said he wanted to call and officially ask because he felt the Internet was still a bit impersonal. So a day or so later, I’m sitting in the middle of my bed, writing in my journal, watching SVU and writing that I’d probably be doing the same the following Friday. And my cell phone rings. It’s him, “officially” asking me on a date. Of course, I said yes and now, February 14th is the anniversary of my and my fiancĂ©’s first date. Was it magical and crazy electricity between us? Absolutely not. It was more awkward than anything. We didn’t say a whole lot. …Weird for a first date. I mean, you know how you’re supposed to talk a lot and get to know each other, right? Well, we kinda knew each other, so we just didn’t really know how to proceed. It was cool nonetheless.

 So what’s with my aversion to Valentine’s Day? I think it’s just entirely too commercial. I mean, the price of a dozen roses seems to skyrocket and let’s not talk about the bounty of red and pink colored cheap-tasting chocolates that now dominate the front of most grocery stores. All the florists LOVE this time of year because this is the time when everyone expresses their love, right? Well, I think that’s my problem.

 I love my family. It could be a random Tuesday and if we see something we think another family member would like or appreciate, we get it for them and give it to them. No, we don’t wait and save the gift for Christmas or a birthday, but we take that moment to express love and care for each other. My Aunt De-Rance loves angels, so if I see one I think she might like, I get it for her and share it the next time I see her. It’s not necessary to wait until a special day because my love and appreciation for her aren’t bound to those days.

So I woke up today, not really feeling February 14th but the texts were rolling in as early as 6:30am and I responded with a “Happy Love’s Holiday to you too!” …but I just wasn’t feeling it, ya know? Well, as I was getting ready for work, my mom went to warm up her car before I did and when I got outside, my mom cleaned the snow off my car for me. That was a great expression of love. My mom has had serious foot pain since she broke her heel last year (she still doesn’t know how she did that), but the fact that she took those extra steps to clean off my car meant so much to me. It wasn’t my usual card and chocolate candy, but it was that expression of love and care that brought me out my funk and made me smile and be thankful to God for the love that’s expressed in various ways.

 What do I think of St. Valentine’s Day? It’s February 14th. It’s just another day. However, it’s another opportunity to share love with those around you. Take advantage of it, but don’t get so caught up in the commercialism of it all. Love each other as Christ loved us and just have a good day.


As silly as a fly in a light fixture...

Those who know me know I tend to have irregular sleeping habits. Well, last night, I resolved to get a good night's rest and failed miserably. I got in the bed around 8pm but woke up around 10:30pm, wide awake and could not immediately get back to sleep. So what did I do? I read a book, watched TV, and, of course, perused my friends' posts on Facebook and Twitter. And yes, I did all these things at the same time.

In the midst of my adult ADHD bliss, I noticed a buzzing sound and located the fly that was making it. It was a huge fly and was moving around my room, attracted to the main light source. I watched it for a while and had to laugh at myself because I was seriously concentrating on this thing. It came in through my Southeast facing window and landed on the ceiling, inching closer and closer to the light fixture. I'd seen it happen many times before: a fly or ladybug would get in my room, fall in love with the light, and fall in the light fixture. Sometimes it would get out. Other times, it just laid there and was burned by the bulb's intense heat and I had to stretch my arms to again clean the light fixture. Well, I really paid attention to this fly to see if I could learn something. Hey, don't judge me; by this time, it was about 1am and I was kinda sleepy but still intrigued.

Well, this fly did just as I thought it would: it inched along the ceiling closer and closer to the light until it got so close it fell in the light fixture. It sat there for a few minutes, but after realizing it would be burned, it struggled to get out the lamp. Although the sides were slippery, it would continue to attempt to climb up the sides but would slide down. It took this fly several attempts before it decided to try to fly out. When it finally escaped a sure death, it repeated the process. I watched this fly again and again face destruction and, although I seriously despise flies, I was kind of hoping it would learn its lesson and not get so close to the light. Well, you know what happened. The stupid fly fell back in the light fixture, chilled for a few minutes, then burned, then struggled to get out, then got out but again flirted with disaster as it inched closer and closer.

Ok, so I decided to help the fly out...and experiment. I turned off the main light to see what Mr. Fly would do since he'd fallen in the light fixture. He stayed there until I turned on my desk lamp, then flew out and inched closer to that one. So of course, I had to play with the fly and I turned off the desk lamp and again flicked on the main light. And of course, the cycle started all over again: flirty walking around the light on the ceiling, getting close to it, then falling in. By this time, it was almost 2am and I put my book down, turned off my light, and went to sleep.

So why am I talking about flies here on a sex and relationship blog? Well, because sometimes, we can be just as silly as a fly in a light fixture. We'll be in relationships we know are destructive, yet we stick around for the benefits, whether real or perceived: companionship, body heat, or the flood of emotions we feel when we're held. Then we get burned. The partner might step out or just isn't good to us and we'll leave for a while, but try to stick around just enough to get those benefits...only to fall back into a situation that may burn us.

Sounds kinda hopeless, eh? Well, it's not. God ALWAYS provides a way of escape. I Corinthians 10:13 tells us that whenever we are tempted God will provide a way out. However, you have the choice to exit. If you want to stay there and get burned, it's totally your choice. Howbeit, God provides that open door and He tells us to flee temptation (2 Timothy 2:22). Nope, don't power walk away from it, don't walk briskly, but RUN! AWAY! IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! Again, it's completely your choice though. Just like with this silly fly. The opening of the light fixture is HUGE and at any point, it could fly out, but it would try to scale the slippery sides and would fall right back to the danger zone.

We will always be met with tempting situations. I'm reminded of Jill Scott's song "Across My Mind." At the end, she says, "In the end, you were never good for me and I was never good for you. I just remember what we used to do." Yep...I know it's tempting. "Can't nobody hold me the way he/she did!" "You can't even imagine how great the sex was!" You're right...but if you don't remind yourself of the danger you left, you might be sitting at the bottom of the light fixture, just like that fly still is because I was too lazy this morning to get it out....

Scriptural References
1 Corinthians 10:13
Amplified Bible (AMP)
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.

2 Timothy 2:22
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.