My First Book 'When A Purple Rose Blooms' is Available NOW

I am beyond excited to announce that my FIRST book When a Purple Rose Blooms is available!! You can order copies directly from my publisher Nomadic Press. Order here
The book is a collection of essays and poetry about my experiences with black womanhood. There's lots of humor, pain, and love on every page. This book wrote itself. I had no intention of releasing a book of poetry and essays, but when I saw how much I've written over the last 20 years I thought, "why not?" and went for it. 
The book launch is tonight, 7pm at the Oakland Peace Center. I will be launching my book along with 6 other new writers to Nomadic Press. I'm in great, literary company. 
Thank you to every person who has read this blog over the years, attended my readings, listened to my radio stories or read my articles. Thank you for your support. I hope you enjoy the book! 

Bump and Grind for the Mind: Black Women, Sex and Mental Health

Photo by Cynthia Berridge 

For the entire month of November I'm bringing you my Black Women &  Sexual Empowerment series. Follow at #BlackWomenSexuality.

After Work by Jenee Darden 

It’s Monday, the least favorite day of the week. Work has been stressful. You’re worrying about that project you hope leads to a promotion. Your shoulders and back ache. You’re tired of the tough job scene. The commute home in the rain doesn't ease you. You arrive home and  leave the umbrella on the porch to dry, You unlock the door to your home. You’re greeted by your honey, Bae, your boo, your lover—whatever you call them. They’re standing in their underwear with a potholder and a big sly smile.  What is Bae up to? Then the aroma makes it’s way to your damp nose—smothered pork chops, rice, fresh green beans and corn bread. Bae embraces and holds you. The feel of their heartbeat against your chest and the warmth of their arms was just what you needed. “Take off your clothes, slip into something more chill.” You go to the bedroom, put on your favorite silky nightgown. Dinner is served with a chilled bottle of Stella Rosa.

The food, the company, the laughs with your lover are making you forget about your crazy day. Then the wine gets into your system. You’re feeling good, like hella good. Bae dims the lights, gets the candles and puts on Maxwell. Your lover notices your shoulders have been tight so they start massaging them. Your brown skin melts into their magical palms. Bae’s hands put a spell on your shoulders, then your arms, then your back. “Ooooooh, don’t stop," you mumble. Bae’s hands caress your back, your breasts, your stomach. You giggle a little because you’re ticklish there. Then your honey looks at you and lays you on your bag and inches your gown above your knees. Your lover slides down to the floor between your legs and asks, “Baby, you mind if I lick the stress away?” 

I hope you liked my story.

Life is not easy and sometime you need to relieve stress. Some of us get cranky when it’s been a while since we let our hair down/ are Afros out and indulged in physical pleasure. Sure thing like exercise, talking to your girlfriend or watching your favorite movie can help. But oh, what an OOOOOOOOO can do. Sex plays a role in mental wellness.  I write about mental health on this blog and have talked about living and managing my own depression. A low libido for me is one sign that I may be getting the blues. Whether you’re stressed, depressed or anxious--a little bump and grind boosts the mood. In the must-read Men’s Health article, “Understand What Sex Does toYour Brain,” neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Amen wrote that orgasms are like antidepressants.

"Orgasms cause intense activity in the deep emotional parts of the brain, which then settle down when the sex is over. Antidepressants calm the same part of the brain. This calming effect may be why people who regularly have sex experience less depression."

Sex releases those feel-good brain hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. I read in another article that even small intimate actions like holding a lover's hand or hugging your partner can improve your mood.  

Foot massages are good too. Rubbing the right spot, can hit just that right spot in the brain.

According to Dr. Amen of Men's Health, "The foot-sensation area of the brain is next door to the clitoral (and penile) region, which may be a big reason that women are so focused on shoes—yours and hers.

Sex is always better when you feel good about yourself.  If you're depressed and not feeling sexy, you won't be in the mood to do it. Or you won't enjoy it. So it's important to be in good mental shape for pleasure. Remember, the largest sex organ in your body is the brain.
I’m not arguing that sex is the solution to your problems. Sex you can be a tool in your life to help with your emotional and mental wellness. If you’re single, you can get the same results with a 1-woman show. Self-pleasuring is a stress reliever too. The clitoris has about 8,000 nerves. Isn’t that amazing?! The penis has roughly half the number of nerves.  What a wonderful thing the Creator gave to women. Sista, enjoy ALL of those good feelings from that small, special place.

Nightline aired this amazing story about women and orgasms. There are 80 regions of the brain. When a woman has an orgasm, all 80 regions of the brain all hit their maximum activity.
"Orgasm is one of the most all-encompassing phenomena in the brain. The only other thing that is known to produce such widespread [brain] activity is epilepsy," said sex scientist Barry Komisaruk.

All the more reason to work on releasing that oxytocin.