By Brittney M. Walker

We are both in college, on track to be the first in both of our families to graduate. We are both virgins. We are both diligent church-going Christians. We both loved each other, but I never admitted this while we were together. I wanted to wait until we were married to have sex. But it was too tempting, sleeping together in the same bed sometimes. We both had cars and this new found freedom as adults. No parents around to tell us no. We spent days and nights together. We knew we were going to be forever. First loves.

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Our first time having sex, wasn’t at all like the movies. It was a little awkward. We aren’t even sure if we are having sex. I’m not even sure if a quarter of his penis is in. Then he climaxes. He doesn’t know what happened. I’m not sure either.

A few weeks later, my period hasn’t come. We ditch school that day. He drives us out of the city to a place no one would recognize us, by the beach. We drop into the local drug store and purchase a pregnancy test. I go into the bathroom, pee on the stick. It is positive. I am pregnant. We are pregnant.

We sit on the beach, crying. Unsure of what we are going to do.

I don’t want to have a child, repeating the cycles that have plagued my family for decades. My mom had me at 20. Didn’t finish college at the time. My aunts have the same or similar stories. I am the eldest of the next generation. I can’t start us off like this. I have to graduate. My cult-like Christian school wouldn’t allow me to attend if I appeared pregnant and unmarried. I don’t want to raise another human. I am just a child, tasting adulthood for the first time. I just turned 20.

I convince him that we don’t want it. So I start to research abortions. But during that process, his position begins to change. Unable to hear his pleas, I soldier forward with my research, trying to abort it without going to the clinic. I read about natural herbs that induce miscarriages. I want to miscarry before it has a heartbeat. Eventually, though, I make an appointment with Planned Parenthood. Their office is located right in the hood, where a lot of their centers happen to be.

The night before the appointment, we stay together, discussing our future, crying a bit, having sex. We figured out how to have sex by now. The following morning looks like we feel, dreary. He drives to the center, being supportive, but also mentioning the option to keep it.

On the way there, I am afraid there’s a protest in front and people will shame me with their signs and jeers about aborting a baby. I just want to go to school and graduate. We arrive. There is no protest. The clinic is tucked away in an unassuming office complex. We park and go inside the building. The lobby feels sad. There are mostly women waiting there with a smattering of men. I get checked in, test positive for pregnancy, again. The woman proceeds to share information about my options, and I think somewhere during her spiel mentions that I can change my mind at any time.

I am eventually led over to the ultrasound station where the doctor or nurse, confirms the pregnancy. The woman says something like, “It looks like you’re about 12 or 13 weeks pregnant.” Her voice is neutral.

I am then led over to a waiting area and I sit beside another Black woman. She looks around my age. Maybe a bit older. We start to chat and she says she’s already got five kids. She doesn’t use birth control. She’s also allergic to latex. So, this is her third abortion. She’s quite light hearted and chipper. Just part of the routine I guess. Somehow she brightens me up. She’s a statistic too. It’s not so bad, I guess. There’s life after.

It’s my turn to go. A woman calls me into the next room. I am prepped with a gown and a bag or something for my belongings. The woman herding all of us women in the area is Black and looks like she could be my grandmother or someone from my family’s church. I can’t remember if I had imagined it or if it was real. Sometimes memory works this way. I pose some question about how she feels about working at Planned Parenthood and about abortions and things. Her answer is something along the lines of,“ I don’t judge anyone. That’s between you and God.”

I am lying on a table with a bright light overhead. There are maybe three or four people, including a white male doctor, in the room. The last time I was in this position was to get my wrist snapped back into place after I broke it as a kid after sneaking out of the house to roller skate with a girl in the apartment complex.

Someone starts rattling off some information about what drugs they’re getting ready to push through my veins and that they’re gonna suck the fetus out of my uterus with a giant vacuum. I remember my calm quickly changing to anxiety. I start to ask questions like, “What do you do with the baby afterwards?”

The doctor, hovering over me, turns abruptly and sternly. Staring sharply in my eyes, he says, “There is no baby. It is a fetus.”

I wake up in what looks like a death ward with lots women in gowns on gurneys, wildly bunched together like a bumper car ring. I hear sobs and quiet prayers in Spanish and cries for boyfriends and mates. A nurse comes over and says some stuff I don’t remember. I ask for my boyfriend. She says he can’t come back because there’s a bunch of undressed women in the space. Makes sense. I need to get out before the sadness settles.

When I am conscious enough, I am allowed to gather my things and exit. I see him there.

We cry.

Years later, after we break up and I finally admit to him that I was in fact in love with him when we were together, he opens up and says he was hurt by the whole ordeal and didn’t really want to have the abortion. He thought he really didn’t have a choice in the matter. He wanted to get married and thought we could work it out, college, a baby, my family’s dislike for him. He expressed his deep sorrow. He would text or call on Mother’s day for years, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. He’d remind me of how old our child would have been.

I was annoyed by it. I remember sitting on the couch with the next boyfriend when I received a text from him that read, “Do you regret having the abortion?”

“What the f*ck man!” is how I reacted internally. He wants me to feel bad for my choice. He wants me to wallow. I responded in probably some snide, dismissive way, holding my position and feeling no regret. Later, though, it dawned on me that he was probably in pain from this.

I hadn’t considered his experience much. In fact, I don’t think it really mattered more than my moral conflict with it all, at the time. After I broke up with the next boyfriend, I saw him. It was maybe five years after the abortion. He was going through a lot. We talked about the abortion. He was definitely challenged by the whole thing and in fact experienced some depression around it. Conceiving children wasn’t as easy the next time he tried with someone else.

In some ways, he felt like I was ungrateful and undeserving to have a healthy womb that could carry. It’s not so easy for some other women, he learned. I understood why he was so angry with me for a long time. I understood him feeling powerless. I had tunnel vision. I had a mission. Whether or not he could have made a compelling argument to keep it wouldn’t have mattered. My mind was made up. We weren’t having this child. I was not having a child.

I still don’t regret it. But I do think about it often. That doctor visit question comes up every time I change doctors or give blood or get an STD test: “Have you ever been pregnant? y/n.” I think about how it affected him so greatly. I think about how my life would be different. I also think about the shame around abortion I experienced initially.

After it’s done, some women, me, … and men, him, go through shit. They cry, some weep, some are angry, some are scared, some feel like God will punish them, some feel undeserving of a happy life or a child in the future. Sharing these feelings and these thoughts with others is complicated, kind of like saying you’re a conservative voter and you’re Black and like guns and are pro-choice and a feminist.

I eventually told my mom. He eventually told his. Then I told my little brother and sister. I told my boyfriends. I told some close friends. He did the same. His mother was sad. Fortunately, none of these people stoned me or even attempted to make me feel bad about it. If they did, I missed that message.

It’s almost 11 years later and I thought I was pregnant a few of weeks ago. My first thought was, “I can’t have a baby right now! I just got a new job.” Then I thought about this whole experience. Then I thought about my man. Then I calmed the f*ck down. I’m grown-er now and having a kid wouldn’t be so bad. In fact, it would be a delight. My mom has been anticipating her first grand-kid after all. When I got over my panic and finished woefully replanning my life, I embraced being a mom, especially with a man I love and match. In fact, my man and I started to get really excited about the idea and began gleefully talking about my pregnancy diet and a home birth.

But, my period was just a week late. We were disappointed that it came at all. We theorize the ancestors were testing out our attitudes. Anyway, abortion provided me with choices. I have been able to live life super poor because I don’t have to feed anyone else. I have had the opportunity to pursue career options without worrying about childcare. I have traveled the world and slept in hostels and gotten into cars with strangers, because no one is depending on my return.

But my choice also came with some serious consequences. I think if either of us felt safer to discuss our options and had the proper relationship and emotional tools, we probably would have dealt with it differently.

How you dealt with having an abortion?
Brittney M. Walker is a journalist based out of New York. She writes on social justice issues within the Black community, travel, business, and a few other topics. These days she’s focusing on holistic living through experiences and storytelling via her blog, Unapologetically Brittney M. Walker.

                  Beyonce vs. Russell Westbook

By Solomani

To the left, Ms. Bootylicious-in-chief.
Bee type personality. Fierce.
Velvet curves meet Iron will meet very high heels, she don’t compete no mo.’

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Beyonce GQ Magazine
Now she télé-competes, meaning her halo is so powerful she can get others to do her pushups. Remember how Kanye went after Taylor like he asked her out and she said no? Or when Solange battered a baffled Jay-Z in the elevator, and man-handled him as if she was a boy? Exactly!
So if you feel like your déja-vue is having déjà-vues you are totally right, for you have seen her many many times before. Without anymore delay! I’m gonna say her name!!
BE-YON-CE!!!


And now for the challenger...
The good Lord was in a basketball state of mind when He made him. Almost got drafted by NASA because of his stratospheric vertical leap. He is the $233 million dollar dunking machine, the only player in the history of the NBA to play one against five because he NEVER passes the ball, doesn’t have to. A competitive beast who once challenged his own shadow to a game of one-on-one and won. Alpha of all alphas, all he needs is one ball...Ladies and gentlemen meet the One, the Only, the Russell, the WESTBROOK!!!!!!!!

Now both are at the top of their game on the stage, the court, and the catwalk. And it was just a matter of time before these two titans would go head-to-head in a very risqué game of “Underboob-who wore it best?”

                                         CAST YOUR VOTE IN THE COMMENT SECTION!

By Julia Austin via Madamenoire

I’m not going to sugar coat this for the single ladies: sex is good for you! Really good for you. It boosts your self image, it sends all sorts of relaxation chemicals through your body, and it’s a nice little reminder that you’re totally desirable. When you haven’t had a play date in the bedroom in a while, your body and brain take a hit! Here are signs you need to get laid and soon.


1) YOUR BED’S A MESS
There is a nice, designated spot where you clearly curl up every night, and around that is scattered candy wrappers, magazines, takeout receipts, your dog(s) or cat(s) and all of their toys.

2) YOU FORGOT WHERE YOU KEEP YOUR CONDOMS
That really big Costco pack you bought forever ago, maybe when you last became single again, yeah—you don’t remember where you put that thing.

3) YOUR UNDERWEAR IS GETTING RAGGEDY
The truly nice underwear is usually delicate and needs to be hand washed. But if you haven’t been bringing anybody home lately, you’ve probably been sticking to the full-butted, period-perfect panties. And since those need to be machine washed, your underwear is getting raggedy and worn out.

4) YOU NEED SCISSORS TO SHAVE
If you’re a shaver instead of a waxer, when it comes time to maintain your va-jay-jay, you need to bring in a pair of scissors before razors can even go near the area! And then you need three razors.

5) YOU DON’T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT SEX
When your girlfriends start dishing about their one-night stands, or even making jokes about how they haven’t had one in a while, you don’t want to talk. You’re too depressed about not being laid, that you don’t even want to talk about being depressed about not being laid. It’s not even funny anymore.

6) YOUR MOM’S CONCERNED
Even your own mother is making hints that a little human contact of the carnal kind would do you good.

7) YOUR FRIENDS STOPPED ASKING
Usually when girlfriends get together. the conversation starts with “How are you? How’s work? Are there anyguys???” But, your friends end it at, “How’s work?” with you. Even they know it will depress you to be asked about men.

8) YOU’VE FORGOTTEN HOW TO DO THINGS…
If you try really, really hard to visualize it, you can’t exactly remember how to handle that very special part of the male anatomy.

9) YOU’VE DONE NAKED EXAMINATIONS
You’ve stood in front of the mirror, sometimes for fifteen minutes, examining every part of your body. This usually ends with the words, “Could be worse.”

10) YOU FORGET TO WEAR A BRA
When you go to the grocery store or run an errand, you forget some of the most basic parts of making yourself look decent, like putting on a bra, taking out your curlers, and putting on some freaking lip gloss! You’ve totally forgotten that meeting a guy is a possibility.

11) ADULT VIDEOS MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE
Or even a sex scene in a movie. You’ve started to turn your face away during sex scenes, like you would if your mom were in the room, but nobody is there…Sex is just such a foreign thing to you now, it makes you uncomfortable to see others having it.

12) YOU’VE GAINED WEIGHT
A relatively active sex life is great motivation to stay in shape. You usually forego large dinners or late night snacks when you know you’ll be active later, plus you can’t keep your giant comfy t-shirt on to cover up those wobbly parts during sex. So if you’ve gained a few lbs. it could be time to get back into lingerie shape.

13) YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE YOU’RE TOO BUSY
You’ve begun to compare yourself to grand and impressive women that probably don’t have time for sex, like the Queen of England, Hillary Clinton or the females in the Doctors without Borders programs. Here is one little problem: you do have time for sex. Plenty of it.

14) YOU’VE ORDERED EVERYTHING ON NETFLIX

Do any of these signs resonate with you? 


By Vince Lake

She said I love you...and I was an asshole. An asshole like that episode of ‘Friends' with Ross when he said I love you to Emily, and she replied, “Thank you.” No, more like an asshole by telling her, “You don't love me.” I tried to dictate her feelings for me when the funny thing is, I hate it myself when someone tries to dictate my feelings. What was I supposed to do? Tell her I love you too? That wasn't happening. I can't reciprocate what I don't feel. I never lie about my feelings, so why should I start now? Embrassas her, I did...but am I an asshole?

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At what point are you going to claim responsibility for your actions?
Most men have been in this position before knowing it would come to this point. When getting involved with a woman, a man must be upfront with her on what his intentions are. That way she can make the choice on whether or not she wants to proceed with what he has in mind. Due to whatever work/career position she might be in, some women don't mind having a physical relationship. Other than being gay, no man in history has turned that option down. Let’s be honest though, in my opinion; women aren't built for just a physical relationship. They're not wired like that. (Sidebar- Hate to tell you but, Spike Lee’s “She's Gotta Have It” is fiction).


So what does a physical relationship consist of? Sex...lust...the fulfillment of pleasure when requested by either party with no strings attached. That pretty much sums it up. It’s what I like to call a “Service Plan.” A “Service Plan” is like your cell phone bill. You pay (your time/attention) for the amount of service you feel that's best for you. For me, at the time, the unlimited nights and weekend plan worked perfectly. But my day time minutes were limited. And she was cool with this. We both were busy. The issue with the unlimited nights and weekend plan is someone on either party expects to spend more time than agreed too.

Sex is simple, right? Wrong! What makes it complex is when feelings gets involved. Who’s to blame for this? You are!

Yes you! You think throwing it back on him, dancing, busting it open..licking, sucking (and for some swallowing) isn’t grounds for making him fall in love? Yes, Eve did pick the apple, but she didn't eat it alone. Men are just as guilty. Deep stroking, kissing, licking, sucking, eating, making squirt, lifting (a chosen few perform such an act) pulling hair and changing position as if you're a yoga instructor. Oh I forgot, plus bathing her and cooking for her afterwards too! If his service plan includes all this, not only would a woman proclaim her love for him, sh*t! She done moved in with him and he doesn't even know it.

It's easy to say what we will and won’t do at the beginning of an affair, but trust; it never remains the same from when it's first initiated. If it's a physical thing, know your limits. Meaning, he or she shouldn't be treating either party as if they’re more than what they are. Granted, if you he/she wants more than what's presented, communicate that and move on from there. They both start with the same letter and are four letter words, but love and lust have two different meanings. As young adults some of us don't know how to differentiate the two until we’re older. I believe experience and maturity will teach you what defines these two words.

So who's really the asshole then? The naive person trying to switch up the “Service Plan” or the one who's sticking to it? Just a little advice ladies and gents, either you stick to your “Service Plan” or upgrade it. Otherwise...your Uber is waiting.

Does someone always catch feelings in physical relationships?
Renaissance man from The Bronx, NY, Vincent "VJ" Lake creative career started in fashion, and expand through fitness and the military. Vincent is also an entrepreneur with his own active-wear lifestyle apparel brand; "PURESPORT ATHLETIC aka PSA". Currently, he is finishing up his first non-fiction book of short stories titled,"I've Had My Share."  The book is scheduled for release in early 2018.

By Veronica Wells

A couple of months ago, I was interviewing three women about sex over the age of 50, for my website NoSugarNoCream. During the conversation, the youngest woman in the group explained that she was so thankful that when she’s not in the mood, her husband doesn’t cop an attitude. She said, “A man can be very mean when he can’t get what he wants.” For some reason, the words and the sentiment behind the words stuck with me. There were nods and grunts of agreement from the other two women, and it made me wonder, was this something other women had experienced as well?

The responses were sparse because it’s a sensitive and intimate topic, women don’t want their man to look bad, they don’t want their sex lives to become a case study. I get it. But there were a brave few who decided to share, anonymously of course.

First, I started with a friend named Yvonne. Yvonne is single at the moment but has been in more than a few non-committed or loosely defined relationships. So I asked her if the men from her past ever copped an attitude when she refused sex.

She said, one man, Peter*, used her unwillingness to have sex as a way to attack her character.
“He said I wasn’t affectionate enough and he resented the fact that I wouldn’t send him pictures of myself. He would use my lack of emotion/not being sexual with him when he demanded as an excuse for him to ignore me. He would say sh*t like ‘he’s a man” and he isn’t going to beg me to be a woman for him because other women would do it at the drop of a dime.”
I should note that while Peter made all types of requests from Yvonne, she couldn’t even get him to return a text message. She concluded that this man viewed her as a toy.

The women of “The Real,” addressed this topic on their show one day and said that the men in their lives had been known to get a little attitude but nothing like what Yvonne described.

I’m not here to play relationship hierarchy. But the women who were in more committed, defined relationships had different experiences. One woman, Shanice, who had been with her man, the father of her children for over ten years, spoke about how her mental state affects her desire for sex for extended periods of time and how her man responds to that.
“I often put off having sex because my moods are so inconsistent. I'm bipolar manic, (and untreated because I refuse to take meds, but that's another story), so it can take the smallest thing to just turn me off and not want to have sex for long periods of time, or it can be opposite and I want it a lot. However, Kareem* has never acted out against it, or done catty things. He has a very mild temper and just goes with the flow. However, when it does begin to bother him that I won't have sex with him he speaks out on it. He just makes comments about how he has needs too. Or he’ll say something like, ‘Who knows when I'll have sex again.’ So I'll feel bad and give up the booty within 48 hours. There are also times where I promise it, and then say, ‘Oh I'm tired. Etc.’ It makes me feel like crap at times, but sometimes I don't care. He just takes his frustrations to sleep. I don't have any experience where he has been cruel, or made threats about getting it elsewhere.”
This state of sleep theme came up more than once in my little focus group. I spoke to a man, about one of his married male friends. I should note that while this man is an excellent father, he’s a serial cheater. He told our mutual friend that when his wife refuses sex, he sleeps peacefully because he knows he has options, options he’ll act on. I don’t issue that as a cautionary tale. I’m willing to bet that even if his wife never rejected him, he would still be out here. It’s just interesting to note that he’s not pressed.

Another married woman, Karen, who’s been with her husband for 13 years said that while her husband never does or says anything cruel to her, she can tell that he gets a little “crunchy.”
“If it's been a while, say like a week or two, he gets irritable. Sex in general, for us, takes off the edge. Without it, we both get crunchy. After we connect, issues seem to calm down. He's never gotten mad though if I say no, and there are definitely times when I'm just not in the mood. If I'm not, sometimes I'll go ahead anyway- because once we get started, I’m good- but I don't always give in.”
Like Shanice, Karen spoke more about the pressure women feel when they’re not in the mood...at all, but also want to satisfy their husbands.
“I have never really felt the need to have sex after having my two babies, but did because I know that he'd been waiting and he was clear about his excitement once the doctor gave us the go ahead. (The recommended time for sex after childbirth is four-six weeks.) I didn't want to make him keep waiting, and I also wondered if I'd ever 'feel' like it after a baby. I didn't want to become one of those women who has the baby and they lose their sex drive altogether. Now did he 'pressure' me? Maybe a little because he wasn't necessarily asking me how I really felt. But never has my husband acted like I have no choice, or treated me mean when I've said no."
Obviously my sample size was particularly small, still the relationships that had weathered some "life," who had experienced the real, messy, practical elements of the real world understood that life can affect their partner's sex drive. And while they weren't always happy about it, their partner's refusal didn't warrant cruelty.


Do you think men in committed relationships have more realistic expectations about how life can influence sexual desire for their partners?


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.