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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to The Incredible Edible Akynos, international stripper and executive director of The Black Sex Worker Collective, about setting boundaries, the ways white supremacy perverts Black culture, sex worker representation in media and how we can all support sex workers.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Kenrya: Hey folks. Today, we are talking to the Incredible Edible Akynos. Pronouns whore king, divine goddess sex worker. The Incredible Edible Akynos is executive director of the Black Sex Worker Collective, an international stripper, a world traveler, and a professional procrastinator. I love all of that. I also used to be a professional procrastinator.
Akynos: How did you get over it?
Kenrya: Man, I had one too many nights where I had to stay up and get shit done and freaked out because I have anxiety, and it was too much. So now my goal is always to finish things the day before they're due. I tell myself that they're due the other day and put them in my calendar that way. That is the only way that I eliminate the anxiety of being behind all the time. That's it.
Akynos: Got it.
Kenrya: Yeah. But all that to say, thank you for joining us today.
Akynos: Thank you for having me.
Kenrya: Yes, we're very excited to have you on the show.
Erica: So we're just going to dive right in, Akynos. What did you want to be when you grew up? As a little Akynos, what did you want to be growing up?
Akynos: It depends. When you say little, you're talking about five-year-old me or 16-year-old me?
Erica: Whatever comes to mind, yeah.
Akynos: Well, five-year-old me wanted to be a teacher, and my grandma was a seamstress. So I would always try to teach her rolls of thread. I'd like play teacher with the rolls of thread.
Kenrya: That's really cute.
Akynos: So at five, I was doing that. A little bit older, maybe a few years later I knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I wanted to dance and act and sing. That's always been there. Then by the time I got to my teens, I wanted to be a nude model. I wanted to be an adult entertainer. So I'm living all my life dreams right now.
Kenrya: Yes. So how did you get there? How did you make that transition from I'm out here teaching these little pieces of thread to, “This is what I want to do?”
Akynos: Well, I always wanted to be a dancer, and I went to school across from LaGuardia Performing Arts High School. I went to King, and I was in their performing arts program. So I've always been dancing. I've always liked entertainment. And at the time I was growing up in the '90s, the nude magazines were a big thing, the Hustler and Playboy and all those. Those were a really big thing, and I was always fascinated by those women on the cover. I always thought they were so beautiful and badass. I was like, "That's exactly what I want to do." I was going to school around the corner from the Playboy offices. I was always dreaming of going up in there and having a conversation with Hugh Hefner, as if he was even there, and trying to get into the mansion. But I was always told I was basically too short or whatever.
Akynos: But yeah. I'm not even five foot. I just say five foot because it's easier than trying to 4'11" and half and three quarters. So I just put five foot, but I'm just under five foot. But yeah. That's what it was. I was seeing all those nasty nude magazines on the newsstand when New York wasn't so PG13, and I just wanted to be one of them. I eventually would. Not for those magazines because they're white, but I eventually would. So all about the environment. The environment influenced me to be a whore. So job well done, world.
Kenrya: Which actually leads to my next questions. Can you tell us... We've obviously read quite a bit about your work, which is how we ended up asking you to come on the show. But can you tell our listeners and viewers what do you do?
Akynos: Now, I just do this organization now in the times of COVID and whatnot. But I'm a nightlife artist. I perform a lot in drag and burlesque shows here in Berlin and when I was in New York. So yeah, I'm a nightlife person, but I've also worked a lot in the adult entertainment business. So I've been in the gentleman's clubs and the strip clubs. I've been a phone sex operator. I've done a little bit of domination. In the final years of me doing the work, because I haven't worked in a while, I was a full-service escort. I still do some kind of sex work now. I'll take orders for custom photos and things like that. But I haven't seen anybody, person in a while because this...
Akynos: When you're doing the organizing, the Sex Worker rights organizing, it takes up a lot of time. So that's kind of where all my energy goes, and it's really hard to switch personalities and go from this office worker into this companion. And I just also don't have a lot of patience for the men anymore. So I just want to focus on fundraising for my group and helping the community deal with all the issues that they're having as a result of being in the industry. So that's my main focus now.
Erica: Okay. A modern-day Josephine Baker.
Akynos: I guess.
Erica: When you were speaking about leaving the US and Berlin. So badass. I love it.
Erica: So how did you get your start?
Akynos: In what? Whoring or what?
Erica: I think that it's so... Because we're talked to a few people, and I think I feel this way about seeing sex workers. I always saw them as, "Wow, they're badass. They're beautiful." They command a room. They're comfortable enough to show it off, and that kind of thing. But I was always the little weird kid from the Midwest who kept thinking about what her granny was saying in her ear and never took it there. But how'd you do it?
Akynos: How'd I get my start? I mean, poverty.
Kenrya: A lot of stories begin that way.
Akynos: Yeah, I wanted to just have a regular job. For a long time, I was also in office work, and I had a degree in computer science. I was studying administrative stuff as well, how to be an executive secretary, things like that. So anyway, I wanted to, but for a whole bunch of different reasons, I couldn't get my paperwork to... It's a long, tumultuous story. To get a job. The summer youth stuff. Long story. Eventually one of the easiest things for me to get into was just to walk into a strip club.
Akynos: So someone had approached me when I was about 17 about going into the strip club and becoming a dancer. So that was it. I just met some random dude in a train station that was like, "Are you a dancer?" And I was like, "Yeah, I am." But I really meant I was a dancer because I was studying dance at school. He's like, "Oh, you can come to this club." And it took 10 years for me to realize that when he was bringing me into the club to dance, I was thinking it was more like burlesque, like Josephine and whatnot. It took 10 years, I'm so slow, for me to realize that's what I thought I was walking into, but I walked into a fucking gentleman's club in the Bronx.
Erica: You're like, "Where are the feathers? Where are the..."
Akynos: Right. Yeah, I was. Yeah. But when I walked into the club I think one of my first nights, there was a feature dancer on stage. And I was like, "Yeah, I want to be her." That's what I thought it was all about, but it wasn't. It was string bikinis and very specific kind of exotic dance. So that's how it happened. Somebody just randomly approached me and brought me into a club. So basically I was trafficked because I was 17 at the time, and this guy was at least somewhere in his mid-20s. So I was trafficked. I say that jokingly.
Akynos: So I was trafficked into the strip club, then it's kind of a slow progression from there. So you're in the club and these guys are coming in the club and they've got different connections. They're like, "So do you want to do... You want to pose for pictures? Do you want to do a dance video?" It's like, "Yeah." They're paying good money. So yeah. So then you do that, and then I would have bouts of where I would go back into office work.
Akynos: That wasn't working out because when you're trying to do conventional employment because it's so built around patriarchy and just the male idea of what it means to be human, there's not a lot of room for parents, especially when they're women. So they kind of force you to either completely drop working all together or do something that's going to allow you more flexibility. So it wasn't working out because I had small kids, and the way things are now where people are getting support from the community was not like that in the '90s, early 2000s. That's just new revelation from society.
Akynos: So I would have to leave, and then I would have to go back to work. So I dabbled into the strip club, and then I found a phone sex operating place in New York City when they still had the centers. So it was this slow progression of back and forth. And then eventually I quit the last office job I had, which was still in adult entertainment, but the guy I was working for was super abusive. So I finally quit after working with him for several years, and I had already said it to him. I was like, "Once I leave this job, I am not going back into any other form of conventional employment. I'm just going to become an escort," and that's exactly what I did.
Kenrya: I'm always curious, and I feel like we ask everybody this question because we talk to folks who have really taken charge of their sexuality and how that relates to the rest of their parts of their lives. I'm always interested in what the prevailing attitudes toward sex were when you were growing up and how that jives or doesn't jive with your current self.
Akynos: Well, I'm from the Caribbean, so I didn't grow up with any sexual shame or anything like that. As far as the dressing and the dancing is concerned, you know what I mean? So there wasn't all of that. I dressed how I wanted for the most part. Growing up with my parents and I went to the Caribbean Day Parade and all of that. We danced. That was normal for me.
Akynos: But was there a lot of shame around being promiscuous? Yes. Because I was accused of that a lot when I was young when I really wasn't promiscuous. It's just that I had a very shapely body as a young girl. So growing up... Did you ask about growing up sexuality. What's that? What was the attitude when I was growing up, right?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Akynos: Yeah? Yeah. So yeah, there was definitely shame around being promiscuous for women, but especially growing up with my dad, there was none of that cover yourself up attitude in my household. I was 14 wearing fishnets with bras and poom poom shorts. My dad would buy me that shit, so it was... Kind of had that kind of freedom. So yeah. No shame from what I remember unless they thought or heard a rumor that I was being sexual, then you're a slut.
Erica: Then they saved all the shame for that and heaped it on.
Akynos: Yeah, exactly.
Erica: When there was word of actual sex happening.
Erica: It's something that reminds me of just... We're from the Midwest, but have very southern roots. So you talk about twerking and kids in the front yard dancing and all of that. We're just dancing. we're having fun. But you have put your patriarchy, white supremacy on it to turn it into something it's not.
Akynos: They perverted it. It's pretty disgusting what they did with our culture where we're just having social fun, and we're doing this thing. They turned it into a whole monster that it wasn't, and that's what's so disappointing about that. It ruined everything. It was so much fun until they came into the room.
Erica: You ruin all the fun.
Erica: Okay. So you walked us through the different, I want to say different chapters of what you do. So you were doing dancing, phone sex-
Akynos: Graduated. I graduated to a whore.
Erica: And now you're like mommy whore, and you have this Black Sex Worker Collective.
Kenrya: Why does that freak you out?
Akynos: Because I've got one of my BSWC members, she's like, "Mother," and I'm like, "Girl. Girl, no the fuck I'm like your big sister."
Erica: Okay. So you have all your little chickadees that you're taking care of, and I want to know what's your favorite part about what you do? And what you do meaning now with the Black Sex Worker Collective.
Akynos: Yeah. I really like giving people money. It's very rewarding. It feels really good to be able to support people because when I was growing up and in the sex work game, I was super young. There was not a lot of support. So it brings me a lot of joy to be able to support people even if it's just like a small something here and there and not put them through all the fucking red tape that they typically would go through trying to get money, especially from the government.
Akynos: So yeah, it's really rewarding being able to help folks.
Kenrya: Actually, I want to back up a little bit. Sorry, I know.
Erica: No, no, no. Because you're probably going where I am.
Kenrya: Yeah, okay. How did you get started? How did you come to say, "You know what, I'm going to do this," with the Black Sex Worker Collective and tell us exactly what you do there.
Akynos: It kind of helps to be an entrepreneur because I've always been that, but I started organizing, I don't even know what year it was. In was in the early 2000s. So at least a decade I've been organizing, and I started organizing with one of the major sex worker orgs in New York, SWOP, Sex Worker Outreach Project. Basically because they have different chapters in different parts of the country, and for their New York branch or chapter, when I was trying to take over that, when they were... The leaders of that group, they were not able to keep taking on the work, and I was trying to come in and take that over. They wouldn't let me, white people. They wouldn't let me. They were like passing it on to each other.
Akynos: I also started college at that time too. So I was in my 30s. So this is my first time in a college art school because the first college I went to was all technical stuff. It was like computer stuff, secretarial stuff. So I finally went into an art school, a progressive learning environment, and that's kind of where I started discovering myself and learning the truth about my reality. "Oh, that's what I was experiencing, racism and it's because I'm a woman, and all that shit." So that's when that starting waking up.
Akynos: So I started thinking about all the stuff that I went through as a single parent, as a Black woman in the industry, and I was like, "There's got to be more people like me out there that really could use some help." So then I started developing the idea to start this collective. Then I tried to take over the SWOP, SWANK because there were two different groups that worked together in New York, and they were just like, "Nah. No. Just going to give it to this person." It's like, "Okay." This is like volunteer. It's like, "Okay then, bitch."
Akynos: So then with the help of one of the other activists who is a senior organizer, seasoned organizer that's helped build other groups and was like executive director of other groups and also a super genius, super smart woman. With her help, that's when I developed the Black Sex Worker Collective because I was talking about it for a while, and there were a couple of moments where I was like, "Oh, this would be a good time to start. This would be a good time to start." And then SESTA-FOSTA happened. I was like, "It's either now or never." So that's how that happened.
Erica: Okay. So you mentioned you like giving people money, and the first thing that came to mind was how now during COVID, there are all these programs to help people out, and the one thing that I do like about the DC area is that they recognize that there are a lot of gig workers, there are a lot of people with unconventional ways of making income. So they may not necessarily be able to produce the last three years of taxes and that kind of thing. So how has COVID affected the work that you're doing now in the Collective?
Akynos: If anything it's helped it. It affected it in a good way because unfortunately the best way to get help and attention to a lot of issues for marginalized people is when it's a tragedy. So thank you, COVID. Thank you. That's all I can say is it's helped us get grants. It's helping us build infrastructure. It's helping people donate. Right now it's a little bit quiet because unfortunately some Black person has to die before they're like, "Let's give some more money to these Black-led groups." Super quiet. We just actually got a big donation from another sex worker group, which is fantastic, but overall it's been kind of... People getting vaccines now. They don't give a fuck. They're just like, "The world is great." So until the next big tragedy happens, it's sad, but unfortunately that's how it happens, which I don't get. But I'm going to have the group just work on trying to get people to just do without there having to be this real reckless ass situation that happened. So it's actually been pretty good for us because that's the only time people really care unfortunately.
Erica: Unfortunately. So what's the most challenging thing about what you do?
Akynos: About organizing. Getting people to not support, not like public support, but kind of getting... Well, first of all, getting the general public to come to our events because they think that all they can do is they need to do is just give money. It's like, "Oh yes, I donated." Great, but can you come and listen to us because a lot of the issues that we're having is really societal issues. It's a microcosm of what is going on out there in the world. So they give money, and they think that's where it stops and that shouldn't be. So we need more than sex workers coming to... We have webinars and different events. It really should be more of the general public coming in to listen and to support in that way and to help us organize. So that's a really, really big challenge because so many people think that sex worker issues are isolated from what's going on in their life. It could be nothing further from the truth. So trying to get people to understand that that connection with sex work.
Akynos: I don't know what people's issues with sex, but when they see that, they just automatically think it's something separate. They're distanced and they're not making the connection. And they might give money because they feel bad, but they don't realize that they also need to show up to these events, listen, and then implement some of our strategies into just the regular world.
Kenrya: Yeah, because folks don't really truly realize that all of our liberation is linked, right?
Akynos: Yeah. It's crazy.
Kenrya: Folks, we are so used to being othered that other and other people just happens. We just fucking keep moving.
Akynos: Yeah, that's the problem. So trying to get people to recognize that link. It's rooted here. Come on. You can't be fighting for labor rights and think that sex workers is not in that argument. You can't fight for immigration and think sex workers are not in that argument. You can't fight for Black liberation and think sex work is... It's fucking crazy. It's like how do we get this message out? That's the most-
Kenrya: Like having you on the show.
Akynos: Yes, yes. Exactly. Yeah. Trying to get that message out. So actually I'm trying to put some artists together because I don't draw. I have a lot of imagination. But I'm trying to work with some visual artists to put a campaign out for May Day to try just link these issues together because people are just not... They're not really getting it.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Wow. So we asked you on the show in large part to talk about what we were just talking about but also because last week we read a book called “Fans Only,” and it featured a Black woman who does sex work. I don't know if you read the book, but more broadly... Whatever.
Akynos: I can go pick it up.
Kenrya: Although it is a fantastic book and we had a really great conversation around it last week, but what it makes me wonder while we have you is what are your thoughts on the ways that Black women who do sex work are portrayed in media, books, TV, movies, all of that?
Akynos: It's getting better. So there's a lot of what I think is good representations of Black women sex workers in media right now. I liked what “Queen Sugar” had done with us when they portrayed that sex worker in one of the seasons. I think she got raped by one of the main characters' husbands or something like that happened.
Kenrya: Oh, in the first... I ain't even finished the first season, but yes, that was in the first season.
Akynos: So they handled that really well. Then there's a show called... Ah, shit. “The Damnation” on Netflix right now where they have a Black sex worker, and they're handling her really well. She's not like victim. She is falling in love with a client, which I don't recommend that shit. But it does happen. Sex workers do marry their clients.
Akynos: Then you have, oh my God. What is that fucking actor's name from “Son of Anarchy”? He played in a show where he was I think... Was he a minister or something? I can't remember the name of the show. I'll look it up and tell you in a minute. But there's a Black sex worker on there. Actually, I just posted her to the BSWC page. I need to go look that shit up. But they portrayed her really well. She didn't tolerate his shit. She had her rules. She stood her ground.
Akynos: So they're doing a lot better now with sex workers in media, which I'm really excited about, especially the Black sex workers. The stuff that I'm seeing now is really progressive, and there's none of that she got trafficked or she got beat up or she comes from this fucked up background. I can't really hate on it right now.
Akynos: I also feel like I can't remember it because I haven't watched it in a while. I also feel like “Harlots,” that series on Hulu, has done a good job. I think they have one Black sex worker in there. I'm really happy with what they're doing in the past several years with Black sex workers in mainstream entertainment, but the past portrayals have been depicting us as drug addicts with broken homes, whatever the fuck that shit is. America puts so much emphasis on men's existence. I can't. But they would portray us a lot from these broken homes or drug addictions or we were forced. Look, that can happen in any industry, and drugs addicts are not just limited to being in sex work. There's so many people that are coke functioning-
Erica: Wall Street.
Kenrya: I have walked into offices of VPs at magazines and caught them wiping off their noses.
Akynos: Exactly. Yeah. That's not a result of the industry. So it's very good that sex workers are really just... We've been speaking out for a long time, and it's finally building some traction. So those shit narratives, they exist. It's real. There are drug addicts. There are people that come from abused homes, women particularly. But how many women you know that haven't been sexually violated by somebody? So that narrative is changing.
Akynos: I'm really happy that they're giving a different perspective. I really don't want them to act like we're a monolith and we come... I want it to be some dynamic. I don't want it to be right from drug addict to oh, their lives are actually perfect because that is not true, especially when you're talking about women, whenever you're talking about trans people that are in the industry. No, there's no fucking way that our lives could be perfect. We all come from these really different backgrounds. So I'm glad to see that.
Akynos: I'm glad to see the way they're portraying us in mainstream entertainment now in the media as strong, powerful people that know what we're doing. So that's really refreshing. So a lot of the things I'm seeing now, and I'm paying real close attention to it. It's really brand new. It's like, "Yes, she's Black and she's taking no shit, and they're just portraying her as a person falling in love or whatever." So it's actually a really good...
Kenrya: That has a job.
Akynos: Yeah, that has a job. So it's a really good time right now to be watching Black sex workers on television.
Erica: That's dope. So when we started this, we're going through the typical where are you, what's the weather like, blah, blah, blah. You mentioned that you are currently in Berlin. How did you end up there, and yeah, how the hell did you end up from homegirl from around the way in Berlin?
Akynos: Berlin. The city of all seasons one day. Seriously, it's bright shining earlier, then... First, wait, no. I woke up to rain, then sunshine, then hail. Now it's calmed down and it looks pretty decent out there. I might be able to go for a fucking walk. This city's so weird. Winter it's fucking winter. It's dark. It's gloomy. But when it starts going into spring and summer, baby, it changes. It's just like I'm going to give you all the seasons. All the seasons.
Akynos: So the long story is that I travel a lot. I'm a world traveler. So it's particularly in 2019 when I left... No, this is 2021. So yeah, 2019. No, when the fuck did I leave New York? I've been here almost two years. So 2020. Top of 2020 I left New York. So SESTA-FOSTA had a lot to do with that. So I was working as a housekeeper. I had stopped really sex working because again, I told y'all earlier, trying to switch from one personality to a not... I don't have the capacity for that. Those people that can tap into all those personalities in the same day or same week are amazing. I can't. It's just too much.
Akynos: So I was working as a housekeeper since 2015, and SESTA-FOSTA happened. I was housing insecure, then SESTA-FOSTA happened. When you're an independent worker, when you're an entrepreneur, sometimes you could be working a lot. Sometimes you just ain't getting no goddamn money. So with the SESTA-FOSTA thing happened, that now limited my options of what I could do to get money in case I was having a slow month. For the most part, I probably never really had a slow month as a housekeeper, but sometimes there would be breaks in between.
Akynos: So it kind of just faltered me. I'm just like, okay. So if I need to make ends meet by seeing a client, now I have... Because they took down Backpage. Now I have no place to go because all the other sites that people were posting on never brought me any clients. They just never did or they were too expensive to post on the Eros.com, which was a big thing at that time. You could spends hundreds of dollars trying to get one client off that site, at least in my experience.
Akynos: So okay, this is not going to fucking work out. Then I had a big falling out with a client, my main client because I was making probably most of money with this one housekeeping client. Not a sex work client. He was a housekeeping client. Big falling out, some racist bullshit, and I was like, "All right. America's wilding. They've got this fucking new legislation, and they just turned this bill into law. They're trying to complain our work is trafficking. They took our major site," because Backpage at that time if you weren't making money from Backpage, you just were not making any money. I don't give a fuck what none of them hoes said. The big, what's the term I could use for them? The elite sites like Eros at that time, unless Backpage was bringing you money, Eros wasn't going to bring your ass no money either. So it was just Backpage was it, kind of the market. If Backpage was busy, you were getting money on Backpage, you could make money on all the other sites. So that's just how it was.
Akynos: So I was like, "Okay. Backpage is now gone. All these other sites are bullshit. I got my housecleaning, which is great. Sometimes it slows down, and I need to be able to pay my bills on time. And now this client just fucked me over." I was like, "Yo, fuck this." I was pregnant at the time. I was like, "You know what, I did the barefoot pregnant broke bitch. I ain't doing that shit no more." So I had to get an abortion. I had to get an abortion, which I don't care. I've had eight. I don't give a fuck. You do what you got to do. So I had to get an abortion. I was like, "Yo, I'm getting the fuck out of this city. I'm just going to go travel the world, and I'm going to figure out which city's going to take me."
Akynos: At this point, I had been to Berlin twice already. I come here for a festival one year, and another year I came here to visit because I was in the Netherlands for a conference. The conference was buying me a plane ticket, so I was like, "Can you just send me into Berlin?" They did. So I got a free flight to the Netherlands, into Berlin, then back to New York. I was like, "Yeah." I went to Berlin on vacation.
Akynos: So I did that, and then I knew a lot of Americans here. There's a lot of American artists here. They call them ex-pats. I call them fucking immigrants. Fucking Americans love calling themself fancy shit. You're a fucking immigrant, bitch. Please just fucking stop it. There's a lot of American immigrants here that are artists.
Akynos: So this was the one city, not the only one because there's also Australia, parts of Australia where I was connected to. New Zealand had good options for me and parts of Canada. But Berlin, I was like, "Okay. I know a lot of people here," and it was one of the easiest places for me to get my visa, next to Hong Kong. Hong Kong was the other place. I was like, "I could easily get into Hong Kong if I wanted to," because Canada was a bitch. New Zealand was also easy, but New Zealand is kind of like the shows are like sporadic. So Berlin was just like, "Hey girl, you said you want to come here. Come." That's how it happened.
Akynos: So I come here twice, and then by a third visit... When I was on my world tour, I went literally all the way around the world, and I landed back in Berlin. I was like, "All right. This is it." Everything just aligned. Unlike most people that come here right away, they can never get their own apartment. I got that shit within three months. It takes people years to find housing here, and I got it in three months.
Erica: Why is that?
Akynos: This city is wild. The housing situation here is out of control. Everybody wants to be in City Center. You go to apartment viewings and they'll literally be thousands of people looking at one fucking apartment because here they've got housing laws, number one. You got some places where the rent is still how it was 10-20 years ago. Some of it is inclusive. So some people will have an apartment that's 500 Euro a month or 800 if you want to get really high and everything is included, including it's warm. They got the cold rent, which is like the base rent. Then the warm rent, which is including your utilities and everything. So people are fighting for that. You would not believe.
Akynos: There was a big story I think last year where maybe like 800 people showed up to one apartment viewing because the rent was like 400 Euro. All inclusive. So 800 fucking people showed up to that shit. The city's just like everyone wants to be here now. Everyone is looking for affordable housing. A lot of us are artists or other independent workers. This city is wild, and now because they have that housing laws, they care about tenants here. They lowered a lot of people's rents through... I don't know how to say the general world, but I'll just try to explain it. They lowered a lot of people's rents like mine went down like 200 bucks because they're in war. The city's trying to figure out what to do with the rent with the landlords. So the landlords are pissed the fuck off, and they taken a lot of their apartments off the market because they're just like, "I'd rather not have the apartment on the market then have it for cheap."
Akynos: So a lot of apartments are not on the market right now, so people are fighting so fucking hard to get an apartment. But that's their fucking problem that they want to be in that fancy ass Midtown. They come where the fuck I'm at which in the middle of no goddamn where, but I'm still right by the train. Maybe your ass would have a fucking apartment too, fancy bitch. So that's how I got lucky. I'm the same way as I was in New York. Everybody wanted to be in Midtown, which is great, or they want to be in the city next train to the train, fantastic. But I was in East New York, Brooklyn because I had a two-and-a-half bedroom duplex. Bitches got one room for the price I was paying for my a two-and-a-half bedroom duplex.
Kenrya: Sharing the bathroom and shit.
Akynos: Hello. So I'm the same person I was then. So I'm further out, but listen, I'm in a two bedroom apartment, bitch. What you doing? You over there crying. That's what the fuck you doing.
Akynos: So I got really lucky, and I was also relentless. So being [inaudible 00:37:15] helped.
Erica: New York grit. So it may it happen.
Akynos: The New York welfare queen grit. When you've had to manage the welfare system growing up, you're just like, "Oh, I got this. You think I'm going to be spending five months, a whole year or two looking for an apartment? Watch this." And I would literally go see shit three, four times a day, have somebody helping me. "Yo, I can't be there. You go over there, and then you get me the application. I'll fill it out." Voila! Three months. Actually, I started looking and two weeks later I found this place.
Erica: See, and also I feel like when you're moving in the way that you're supposed to be, things fall in place.
Akynos: Things fall into place. So yeah, it was meant to be. So I'm like, "Hey yeah." People are like, "When are you coming back?" I'm like, "I'm not, bitch. I'm not. I got a whole ass two bedroom fucking apartment. One room's a closet. What are you talking about? I'm not fucking coming back there." You know?
Erica: She knows how she wants to be treated. I love it. I love it.
Akynos: Exactly, exactly.
Erica: So back to the book. In the book...
Akynos: Right, OnlyFans.
Erica: “Fans Only.” But in the book-
Akynos: “Fans Only.” Right.
Erica: In the book, there were two characters that went on this OnlyFans journey, and the relationship between the two of them suffered partly because of their decision to do this. It makes me want to ask you how has the work you have done and the work you do affect your relationships?
Kenrya: And vice versa, how do your relationships impact your work if at all?
Akynos: Oh, that is a really good question.
Erica: I probably didn't read it how Kenrya wrote it. She has and vice versa. My bad.
Akynos: Those are two very important questions. I'll start with the last part. So the work for me, it's really... Because I told you it's kind of hard for me to play multiple personalities, so when I was dating, it made it really hard for me to work, which is why I don't like dating when I'm working because I just want to be all up into my relationship.
Akynos: One of my friends had accused me of... She's like, "This is not meant for you because when you get into a relationship, you don't want to work." It's like, "Bitch, I'm actually a human being." And I don't know about y'all, but if you've ever been at your job and then you get into a new relationship, how much time you want to spend with your new partner. That's just how it is.
Akynos: So I would want to be just loving up on my partner, and I'm totally monogamous. So I just want to give all that energy and all that love to that person. So it would really impact me wanting to work because I just wanted to be a girlfriend.
Akynos: The flip side of that is that a lot of people, they can't handle it. They don't understand that the work sex is work sex. That shit is like a therapist seeing her clients only and being super intimate with her clients, and the going home and having to give her family a different kind of energy. So people can't understand that. It puts so much on sex.
Akynos: So yeah, it makes it very difficult. It's not the easiest thing to do unless your partner's super open. And unfortunately unless you're dealing with somebody that's like poly or whatever... As a monogamous person, I'm not going to get that. So I made a vow basically. Right now even though I'm not working, I'm like, "I'm not dating anybody." Most of these niggas aren't worth it anyway. So they can go fucking kick rocks. Unless they're paying me, I'm not dating anybody.
Akynos: But it's really difficult on both ends of that because people just don't... I get it. When you grow up into this environment where people put so much... They give so much to sex. When I'm having work sex, that is work sex. I'm not even there. Please. Well, partially. I try not to operate too much outside of myself when I'm working, but it's work sex. It's like give me a break, please. He's paying me money. That's it. Or even if I'm in a strip club, that's work energy. I'm giving them that actress part of me. But when I come to you, I'm giving you me in this whole other form. But folks, they don't understand.
Akynos: They don't understand that doctors are doing this. Listen, the gynecologist is looking in my pussy versus when he goes home and looks at his wife's pussy. What is it? Is it the same? It's not going to be the same energy. But people don't understand that. They don't understand everyone puts on a different face for when they're at work versus when they're in these other intimate relationships, whether it's with the children or their spouses or their friends. You know what I mean? So they can't separate that. So it's hard either way. I personally when I was working, I just kind of don't like it. If I'm working, I'm working with my clients. I just like to give my clients that energy. And if I'm with somebody, I just like to give them that energy. For me, there was no real easy balance. So I'm just single and cuddling my stuffed animal pig. Lonely life.
Erica: You described my life. So it's okay. I see you. I see you.
Kenrya: So we talked a little bit about the work that you do with the Black Sex Worker Collective. I'm wondering what can our listeners do? So you mentioned they can give money, they can come to y'all webinars. But what else can we do in order to really improve the space that Black sex workers are working in?
Akynos: I think it's super important that people look to having us in more conventional spaces. Because it's stigma when folks are thinking about including sex workers into different spaces is often very stereotypical. It's like, "Oh, you can teach a sex ed class." It's like, "Yeah, that's great. But do you know I could teach a business class too? Do you know that I do investing? Do you know that I understand financing? Do you know I understand advertising? Do you know I understand copy editing and things like that?"
Akynos: So yeah, sure we can talk about sex. We can teach you how to ride. Adult sex education. We can teach you how to suck a dick properly, but there's also these other things that we do that we're really capable of doing. So I think it's really important that they let go of their idea of what they think sex workers are. Just understand we're regular people, and there's a whole bunch of skills in there that we have. You have to try and bring us into those spaces because if society really cares about sex workers or if they really wanted to eliminate the industry, they'd do a much better job of doing it. They just accept that there are these people that are doing this thing that have a lot of skills, and where else can they be useful?
Akynos: We're all so talented. We're writers. We make clothes. We're artists. We're all these things, but then folks keep trying to pigeon hole us into these very narrow spaces, even when they think they're being helpful. They're like, "Maybe you can teach an oral sex class." That's great, bitch, but I also know how to clean the fuck out of a house. I also know how to travel on a dime. Come on. Because a lot of us tour. A lot of us have to tour. We have to become really resourceful because touring is really, really, really fucking hard. I also could tell you how to fucking travel and take care of somebody's fucking house when you're going to be Airbnbing someone's place. Think about that shit.
Erica: I love that because I do think that often it's, "Teach us how to suck a dick." It's like, "Yeah, but here I am I've lived and have figured out how to stretch this dollar into 20," that kind of thing.
Kenrya: And you're an entrepreneur and all the things that go into that.
Akynos: And I've done that. I've literally turned $1 into $500. Literally I have done that. But no one thinks that I do that because they're like, "Oh, all she does is fuck different men." Actually, yeah. But I didn't have to be a sex worker to do that. I was doing that shit long before I became an actual hoe. I was fucking multiple men a night before I actually started selling pussy. I was doing that for free. That's easy. Even your mother could do that shit. You know what I mean? There's so many other things that we do. It's a pity that people have these hang ups about sex, so they can't see past that. That just goes to show you how many people don't know how to fuck. That's all. They think that sex is just this thing, and it's about getting off. They don't think it's all these other things. It's how you smell. It's how you walk. It's your energy. It's how you interact with people. It's so fucking stupid. That's why so many women ain't fucking. Those motherfuckers don't know what they doing.
Akynos: These niggas think sex is just hard dick and pussy. No, my man. No, it's not.
Erica: It's a lot-
Akynos: It's a lot more than that. It's a lot of it that goes into it.
Akynos: That's why they're wack.
Erica: I'm a sex educator, and I really pride myself on removing the other person from the situation and focusing on yourself. Let's play with ourselves because at that point, when somebody show up, they're just there for the ride. I know a lot of people going, "You can join us or not."
Erica: Okay. So you have touched on... I was going to ask you what myths do you want to dispel about sex workers, but I feel like this entire interview has been that. But is there something that you touched on that you just got to get off your chest about sex workers? We don't, we do, we don't like, we like, whatever. Again, y'all are not a monolith, but yeah.
Akynos: Yeah. I saw this question earlier, and a thought came to mind. But now I can't remember it. Let me see. Myths about sex workers. What was I thinking about? Gosh. I don't know. We can cook too.
Akynos: I can't remember. Sex workers also know how to cook.
Erica: You will be laying in bed tonight and you'll remember.
Akynos: Like, "Damn, that was it. That was it." Yeah, I can't remember because I've been drinking. If I didn't dilute my fucking liquor, I could remember. But now I can't remember. But yeah, I don't know. There's so many things to... Look, I do interior design. Oh my God, my fucking roses, they're so sad because this house is so hot. Whatever. I cook. Sex workers do a lot of shit.
Akynos: Sex is not just intercourse. That's a myth. People don't understand that sex is not just intercourse. Y'all need to stop that, and once I think we can get past that, maybe we can start passing some legislation that legitimizes us in mainstream society so we can just get the fuck on with our lives. We just want to work, and we pay taxes. That's another myth. "You bitches didn't pay no taxes." Yes, the fuck I do. I've always paid my taxes. Always.
Erica: You probably pay more in taxes than some business owners, Jeff Bezos or whoever.
Akynos: Right. Hello! Yo, listen, part of why I've been so tired, why I've been working from my bed, I have been fighting with the IRS over some bullshit, a big ass tax bill they're trying to hit me with. So you know what, call me too if you want to know how to handle them because they send me a letter like, "Okay. You pay your taxes on time. So we're going to eliminate these fees." Yeah, you better, bitch, because they were... They were trying to run game over here. So I'm dealing with that. So yeah, we pay our taxes, people.
Erica: Okay. So macaroni and cheese recipe, how to get baseboards clean, travel on a dime, and fight the IRS.
Akynos: Yo, there's a big ass pot of macaroni and cheese sitting on my counter right now, and I'm actually going to Portugal for art residency and the work I'm doing now is around food history. So yes, sex workers cook, and we decorate. My whole house is pink.
Erica: I love it. Do you have any advice for Black women or nonbinary people that want to get into this industry?
Akynos: I think this industry is for people with a lot of life experience. When I became a stripper, I was super young. But when I became an escort, I was in my 30s. While I understand there's people that get into this industry at different stages of your life, I really think it's a grown person's industry. It's a young person's business really, but you have to kind of be mentally mature to be in the industry because what happens a lot of times is, and this is because of stigma. And this is because of the laws where they separate us and we can't really convene in some spaces legally, otherwise they'll call it brothel or whatever, and that's illegal in a lot of places.
Akynos: But I feel like you have to be super grounded, and you have to set rules. You have to have some boundaries set. Like what are you going to tolerate and what you're not. This is also good for your just personal life, just living.
Akynos: So if you've got shoddy boundaries, you're always going to find yourself into problems. And a lot of times too you don't know what your boundary is until you end up into a situation. Then you know a person can't really cross that line. But you still have to have a basis that you would work from.
Akynos: So people who want to come into this industry, I would say right that there, set some boundaries. Know who you are, know what lines if a person crosses that you're not going to deal with, speak to other workers where you can because that's a lot of it. I just actually got blocked yesterday on Facebook trying to tell somebody kind of sort of this. Set your rules, know what they are, say it with conviction because they can totally smell when you're vulnerable. That's with any industry. We can smell it, all of us. When somebody's vulnerable and especially if you're the kind of person that likes to take advantage of people, which I personally am not. There's a lot of people out there that when they see vulnerability, they don't look like, "Oh, they have to protect this person." They're like, "We have to use them." So you always got to remember that.
Kenrya: Yeah. So we always like to bring it back to books. So I'd love to know if there are any books or any resources that you would recommend that our readers get into or listeners get into?
Akynos: So I'm a burlesque performer, burlesque show stripper I like to call it. I hate saying burlesque performer because it tries to clean up the fuck what I'm doing. Like, bitch, you're a fucking broke down stripper because I'm a broke down stripper. I strip in burlesque shows now.
Akynos: What I try to do in my classes because I work from a oral history standpoint, and I try to make the connection that people always like, "Oh, let's go to these performance books." It's like that's fucking great, bitch, but really what you need to do is you need to study race, class, and all of that because it's still pertaining to the same industry.
Akynos: The work that I've done, thank God, got out of college, finally finished. But I did my presentation this summer. A lot of the intersectional work that I've done is about Black history basically. So a lot of racial history class and things like that.
Akynos: So you can go ahead and read all the hoe books you want, but you also need to read some shit about Black bodies. So one of the books that I like, which I didn't finish. Don't judge me. I don't finish reading shit because I like the social media. I like to learn from social media. But one of the books I really loved is... Let me take these god damn stickers off. Is this book here. This is “Fearing the Black Body” by Sabrina Springs, which I've got a lot of things here. A really good book to talk about where fatphobia comes from, and she talks about a lot of race science in one of the chapters. I think it's super important. No matter what work you're getting into, especially if you're getting into entertainment, and fortunately to some people's surprise, sex work is entertainment industry. It's the adult industry. It kind of brings some insight into your work, into why as Black women that look a certain way, why you're going to have to charge less. Or why you're going to feel compelled to charge less because this is why this is happening. It kind of gives you a more in depth understanding.
Akynos: Another book that I partially read is “The Delectable Negro,” which I don't remember the author's name. But it talks a lot about the racial violence of white people and how they would believe consume Black flesh and just give you some insight into your oppressors and probably makes you feel more compelled as a Black entertainer to take their money. Because if they could, at one point, they will eat your ass after they fry your ass. So those are my two books that I swear to God I'm going to finish reading before the summer ends.
Akynos: The other book that I didn't finish reading is “The Second Sex” by Simone de Beauvoir. Simone the Beaver basically. That's really what it is. It's a big-ass 800-page book that a friend loaned me a while ago. She's like, "Can I get my book back?" I'm like, "No, I'm still reading it." She's like, "What page are you on?" I'm like, "One." I'm not done yet, bitch. Calm down. You're not going to read this shit.
Erica: But one is after the Roman numerals. So you at least a few pages in technically.
Akynos: You're not reading this shit. I'm taking care of it. It's sitting in that corner catching dust, and it's beautiful. No one's touched it. It's great. I did have to read the opening chapter for something I was doing, and basically she kind of breaks down why you just shouldn't call women females, which I fucking despise with a fiery burning passion. I don't use it at all. Wherever female should go, I just see woman, period. But she kind of really breaks that down into a way you can really understand. One day I will finish reading that 800-page book. One day. It ain't going to be today though.
Erica: I literally buy books nonstop, and they-
Akynos: I like try to order more books. Bitch, you're not going to read them. Stop.
Erica: I wrote down your books. I'm going to order them, and-
Akynos: And you ain't gonna read them shits. One chapter.
Erica: The books behind me are going to suck their teeth when I bring like, "You guys have new friends." They're going to be like, "This bitch."
Akynos: I know. I read a lot of nonfiction books, but I want to really get into the Octavia Butler and some other books I saw. But they're going to sit there forever because I really love my nonfiction. But I swear to God I'm going to finish reading these both, I swear.
Erica: Okay. Well, it's okay. We won't tell nobody. Just between us and a few other friends.
Erica: So what is turning you on today?
Akynos: I love food. I love, love food. I'm trying to get better with my cooking. I did a food event here last September, which went over really well because the food here in Germany is trash. You got to go through so much hell to find your seasonings. I'm ordering seasonings from the UK. I'm waiting on an order to come right now.
Akynos: There's a bunch of hating ass bitches on my Facebook timeline because I ordered a Jamaican black cake from London, rum cake from London. They're like, "Bitch, you ain't never going to get them." I'm like, "Whatever, bitch." I just had a dream about eating that fucking cake today, bitch, and I'm going to be eating that shit on camera in your fucking face because they're like, "It's going to come next year." Whatever, bitch. My cake's going to be here next year, and I'm going to eat that whole fucking cake on camera right in front of y'all face.
Akynos: So I really like food. It's why I'm so thick now, and I'm trying to trim down a bit. Just because I don't like the way I look on camera when I'm performing, I don't like the way I look. It's fine for regular life, but when I'm on stage, it's like, "Ew, what's that?" But I do get turned on a lot by food. I don't like the act of cooking, but I do like the act of eating. I do cook. I invite people over here a lot. I won't go to anyone's house, but I will invite people over for dinner and I do cook for folks. So food turns me on a lot, and I'm trying to just learn a little bit more about how to compose some really good meals because I do like feeding people. So I like food.
Erica: Okay. So three questions for you. Finish the sentence. Well, three sentences, finish them. I am happiest when...
Akynos: I'm happiest when I'm eating.
Erica: It's so funny you said this. I was getting out the shower today, and I said out loud, "I really like food." I don't know where it came from. I was just like drying off like, "I like food." So yeah.
Akynos: Yeah, it might be an emotional issue, but I don't give a fuck. It's delicious.
Erica: Yeah. Everybody got a vice.
Akynos: Especially African. Oh my god, love African food.
Erica: I saw this tweet, and it was like you know how everybody's doing that African Ancestry and all that. They were like, "You know what, we just need to give everyone jollof rice from a bunch of different countries. And whichever they like most is their..."
Kenrya: That's where they people from.
Erica: ... That's where you're people from. Exactly.
Akynos: I'm Jamaican, so we're probably Ghanaian. Even though ancestry's also bullshit, and they will like... My first test was basically a Cameroonian and from Benin, and then they did it again, they revamped it, and it was like I'm from Nigeria. I was like, "No, I'm not."
Kenrya: They don't have enough. I've read that they don't really have enough information from various countries and tribes in Africa. So their results are not super accurate.
Akynos: No, no. You're first one-
Erica: So there's this company, African Ancestry.
Akynos: That's the one that I... Is that the one I used? No, I didn't use African Ancestry. Go ahead. Sorry.
Erica: I really like African Ancestry. I haven't done it, but I'm going to order it. Full up.
Kenrya: I'm just so worried about privacy issues.
Erica: So they say that they destroy it [crosstalk 01:01:43]-
Akynos: They be taking your DNA.
Kenrya: But I just...
Erica: Yeah, they're like you don't have to even put your real name to it. They destroy it once they get the information. So that makes me a little more... But yeah, I'm afraid I be walking down the street and see like a baby Erica. Then I'm going to have to size her up and be like, "I'm going to raise you because you need to..."
Kenrya: Even beyond cloning, although that's a big one, these other companies have been supplying information to the government. They've used that to arrest people's family members.
Erica: Girl, the way my family situation's set up, I be... Uh-uh (negative).
Kenrya: Half of Cleveland would be in fucking jail which is why...
Akynos: Was it the “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise where they just were like looking into the future arresting they ass. It's coming to that. Yeah, but I mean, I already gave my spit. So it's like whatever.
Kenrya: It's out there now.
Akynos: It's out there now. But I don't give a fuck. We're from Jamaica, so all of us are Gandhian. I don't really care. I know I'm from Africa. I'm African. There's no denying that. Especially when you see these coils, you're like, "Yeah, bitch. Yeah."
Erica: Same. They bleached out, but they there. They there.
Erica: Okay. So I need to...
Akynos: I need to... God, I can't say that. I need to go someplace else because that's going to turn into a whole ’nother conversation. I need to clean this fucking house though. For somebody that used to clean houses, I don't be wanting to clean this shit. I really should get a housekeeper, but I don't really want nobody in my shit like that.
Erica: I don't want nobody cleaning it. Can't nobody clean like me, but I don't feel like it.
Akynos: They can't. No, they really cannot. This is why I became a housekeeper. I hired some housekeepers when I moved into my last apartment in New York, and I was like, "What?" I had two of them. What did this bitch do?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Akynos: What are you doing, bitch?
Erica: I totally understand.
Akynos: All these bitches say they can clean a house in two hours. No, you can't. It's at least a half day.
Erica: You ain't cleaning right.
Akynos: You can wipe down. You can wipe down a table with two hours, but you ain't cleaning this shit for real, for real. So yeah.
Erica: So Kenrya, she is a... Wait, the way it was going to come out was that Kenrya doesn't use bleach. Yes, she will get down with some old fashioned bleach. But I believe if your eyes ain't stinging, you ain't cleaning.
Kenrya: See, I got asthma, and I got a limit to what I can use to be able to fucking breathe.
Erica: But we smell all the different chemicals.
Akynos: I got into a debate about this with a friend. He's like, "That's how some people think the place is clean." I was like, "Well, then they can fucking hire somebody else because I'm not fucking doing it. I'm not using bleach." You can use hydrogen peroxide, but it will burn the fuck out of you if you don't handle it properly. But also, you shouldn't really let the stuff sit there to where you need bleach. That's why you're supposed to clean regularly, so you can easily get that shit off with some soap and water and some other kind of disinfectant products.
Akynos: They don't have a lot of access to bleach here. It's very difficult to get bleach in Germany.
Erica: Oh wow.
Akynos: Yeah. It's really difficult. They're fucking weird as fuck here. They even tried to sue me, but they sent me a letter like, "Oh, you tried to get Vicks VapoRub sent into this country. You could face up to $1,000 in fines, but we'll let you slide because we think you didn't know." Yeah, they fucking crazy over here.
Kenrya: For Vicks?
Akynos: Yes, girl. Camphor and fucking menthol. And Vaseline.
Kenrya: But what else is you supposed to put on your neck when you sick? What do you put on your lips when you ashy?
Akynos: You better use some fucking essential oils out this bitch because they tried to... Somebody tried to send me some, and they destroyed it. Really, bitch? You destroyed my fucking Vicks? So that happened. So I have seen bleach here, but it's not easy to find it here. But they do have a bleach kind of product that's a disinfectant thing that will bleach your stuff. But it's not like the bleach that you know in America. So count your fucking blessings. No, count your blessings. They are wild out here with the whole bleach situation.
Akynos: But yeah, no, I don't believe in... Because I used to clean with essential oils a lot. I would use bleach, but that's because if I went somebody's house, I was really bitches, wiggas is nasty. Not niggas, wiggas. Wiggas is extra disgusting. I walked into some places like just throw the whole fucking bleach, all the bleach that exists. Just throw all of it in this bitch because I'm going to be in here for the fucking rest of my life cleaning this shit.
Erica: Okay. All right. Last one. I like it when...
Akynos: I like it when I have easy access to money.
Akynos: Because I can do so much. I have so much competence. I don't give a shit about nothing. Like whatever, bitch. I got money in my bank account. Are you mad? That's too bad, I got money in my bank account.
Kenrya: And speaking of money, you are giving our listeners a special gift, right? They can get a discount on Black Sex Worker Collective merch if they use the code Juneteenth, right?
Kenrya: The site for your merch is Teespring.com/stores/thebswc. Right?
Akynos: Yup. And the link to the store is on the BSWC.org. So we're getting ready to do our Black Sex Worker Conference in June. So yeah, we can totally give a little discount on some of our stuff because I'm going to try... I'm a procrastinator, but there's a lot of... According to what they say, there's a lot of unresolved issues why you're procrastinating. So I've got a lot of unresolved issues. There's new merch that I want to go up, which I might not be able to get it into Teespring, but we'll see. Yeah, we're going to have some new merch just in time for our conference.
Akynos: So yeah, sure, people can get a little discount.
Kenrya: Love that. Thank you so much for doing that for our folks.
Kenrya: And more importantly, thank you for joining us.
Akynos: Thank you for having me. I love talking to humans.
Kenrya: It's been lovely. So for folks-
Akynos: It's different these days.
Kenrya: Well, that's real shit. For the folks who want to keep talking to you, where can they find you online?
Akynos: If they want to argue, they can follow me on Facebook. There's a lot of arguments break out there. I'm on Twitter @akynos. Actually, I'm Akynos everywhere. They can go to Akynos.com and all of my links should actually be there.
Kenrya: That's A-K-Y-N-O-S.
Akynos: N-O-S. Yeah. All my links should be there where I can be followed, stalked, and yeah. I get into more arguments on Facebook because it's easier to have a long-form arguments. I won't get into a big battle on Twitter or Instagram. I'll just block you. But if you want to argue, we need to have friends in common because if it's like not enough friends in common, I'm going to be looking at it like it's highly suspicious, especially if it's a man because I don't really add men to my pages because men are trash. I don't fuck with the patriarchy like that.
Akynos: But there are some men on my timeline, and I do go back and forth with them. But I'm getting older now, so I don't really have time. It's like I got other things to do. So I just don't respond to their fucking stupidness. They've been saying the same shit for fucking forever. Why am I arguing with these idiots? Nothing is going to change.
Kenrya: If folks want to know more about Black Sex Worker Collective, they can go to BlackSexWorkerCollective.org. They can follow the organization on Twitter @TheBlackSWC, and on IG @TheBSWC. Right?
Akynos: Yeah. The website I think is BlackSexWorkerCollective.org and the BSWC.org, which is a lot easier. And yeah, we're there. We're on Instagram and we're on Twitter. We're wherever pages are allowed. We even got a Clubhouse room.
Kenrya: All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us this week. It was lovely to have you, Akynos.
Akynos: Thank you for having me.
Erica: Our first guest of season one.
Kenrya: Season four.
Erica: Season four. I don't know why I said season one. First guest of season four.
Akynos: That's great. Thank you. Thank y'all for having me because I had to rush. I had to put my face on. So now I can record the video that you want me to record.
Kenrya: See, now you already ready. You can just go on and do that.
Erica: Now you ready. You all ready.
Kenrya: I like it.
Akynos: I'm just going to eat some chips. I actually don't want to do this. I'm tired. Alcohol made me tired now.
Kenrya: Well, it does like to do that. But I feel like it was probably worth it. You enjoyed. So thank you for coming on, and thank you all for listening. That is it for this week's episode The Turn On. We will see y'all next week.
Akynos: Thank you.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Now you can support The Turn On and get off. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, then drop us a five-star review and you'll be entered to win something that's turning us on. Post your review and email a screenshot to us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today, and access lots of goodies, including two-for-one raffle entries. Don't forget to send us your book recommendations and sex and related questions. And follow us on Twitter at @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram at @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you soon. Holla.
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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read B. Love's "Fans Only" and talk about Only Fans, mindreading, waiting for a potential partner's mask to drop and learning to trust your intuition.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Erica: Hey you all. So welcome to this week's episode of The Turn On. This is our first episode of season four.
Kenrya: Welcome back folks.
Erica: And for a little bit of extra-ness, you can see us.
Kenrya: If you're watching us.
Erica: That's my Walter Machado.
Kenrya: And for those of you who are listening, you can head to YouTube and search “The Turn On podcast” to see us.
Erica: Of course Kenrya knows to do the important stuff. I'm just over here, acting the fool. So, this week, we're going to read “Fans Only,” which was written by B. Love, well, published by B. Love in 2020. So sit back, relax, get your wine, your weed, and whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: “Fans Only” by B. Love. Watching Aries struggle against the bondage had my dick throbbing. We decided tonight that we would try toys and I honestly didn't know how much more I could take. At first, I didn't think getting a fuck machine was a good idea but as I watched the dildo pump in and out of her as she moaned, I was starting to think she knew exactly what the fuck she was talking about.
Kenrya: Her wrists and ankles were cuffed together and she was on her hands and knees in the middle of my bed. The mechanical dildo was on a medium speed, her pussy lips were swollen, sucking the shit out of the dildo each time it pressed in and out of her. She was so fucking wet. The chocolate-colored, veiny, plastic dick had damn near turned white. The sounds of her moans permeated the room and it was taking everything in me to not cut it off and dive deep.
Kenrya: Crossing my legs, I looked at her lips as they trembled. She bit down on her bottom lip before moaning again. "That thing fuck you better than me?" I asked, standing and walking over to the bed. "No. Never." "What's the difference?" With a smile, she looked at me with fluttering eyes. "This provides a good curve but it doesn't offer the intimacy, sensuality, and connection you do. I can't kiss this, hold this, look into its eyes. There's no connection between me and this. It feels good, it's a fuck, but no one or nothing has ever fucked me better than you."
Kenrya: Having heard enough, I put the small box of toys on the edge of the bed before cutting the machine off. After unlocking the cuffs from her wrists and ankles, I placed Aries on her back. She drew in deep breaths, smiling, as I spread her legs. "Remember your safe word?" She nodded. "What is it?" "Blue." "All right." I pulled the nipple pinchers from the box and placed them around her nipples. As soon as they were applied, she was moaning quietly and squeezing her legs together. I cut the vibrator on and placed it on her clit, moaning deep within my throat the moment she began to squirm.
Kenrya: "How does that feel?" I checked, rifling through the box for something else to use on her. "So fucking good, Titan. Kiss me." Lowering myself to her, I kissed Aries, inhaling her moans. I moved the vibrator softly, pressing it into the top of her clit. She broke our kiss, mouth forming an O shape as her back arched. I never knew pleasing a woman could make me feel so damn good. The more I pleased Aries, the more satisfied I felt.
Kenrya: I pulled away, tugging at the nipple pinchers. Loud moans erupted from her mouth as she fisted the sheets underneath her body. "I'm about to cum, baby," she warned, trembling legs closing against my arm. I spread them again, looking back at the box. Using my free hand to grab the curved dildo that was inside, I looked down to her to gage how long it would take her to cum. Based on her trembling legs and bottom lips, I knew it wouldn't be long.
Kenrya: I set the dildo down and focused on pinching her nipples and massaging her clit with the vibrator until her pussy walls began to pulse. Lowering my lips to her, I kissed her for as long as I could before her moans made it impossible. Once Aries came down from her high, I began to fuck her with the dildo, still playing with her clit and nipples. I never thought I'd see so much fucking cum. A woman so aroused and I wasn't even going that damn deep and fast. I guess it was the combination of stimulation on so many sensitive parts of her body. Whatever the case, there was no doubt in my mind that this was going to be our most viewed video.
Kenrya: When I couldn't take it anymore, I grabbed the butt plug and flipped her onto her back. "You trust me, Bella?" "Yes," she moaned, running her fingers through her hair and pulling it out of her face. "I need you to relax. If it gets too intense, use your safe word." She nodded, looking back at me with a smile. "I can't wait to feel your dick inside me." With a low groan, I arched her back and lowered myself to her asshole, licking it hard and slow, I kept her cheeks spread as she pushed into me and moaned. My tongue slid across her opening and swiped her folds, licking up every drop of cum that has settled at the center of her.
Kenrya: As I lashed onto her clit, I wrapped my arm around her waist to keep her in place. I loved drawing her with my tongue, just to wet her all over again. When her moans turned into whimpers, I covered the anal plug with lubricant and got behind her on my knees. Slowly, I pressed it into her ass, leaning down on her back to whisper into her ear. Aries inhaled a deep breath, gripping the back of my thigh. I continued to ask her if she was okay as I entered her, not stopping until the full plug was safely inside. "How do you feel?" "Full." "Good." I leaned up, settling at her opening. After running the head of my dick up and down her slit, I slowly pressed my way inside.
Kenrya: She was tighter, hotter, and wetter than normal and I didn't know how much I could take. Still, I dove deep, pulling her hair with one hand and gripping her waist with the other. Whimpers and moans poured from her as curses and moans poured from me. She felt so good. The tightness of the plug intensified everything. Her body was shaking every time I dug deep. And the more she cried my name...
Kenrya: My hand wrapped around her neck, pressing her face into the bed. The clear juice turned into white cum as her walls began to pulse. I tried to focus on anything, think of everything other than how good she felt but it did me no good. The moment she fell into the bed as she came and those walls tightened against me, I was a goner. My seed shot deep into her core as I jerked and moaned her name, her real name. That would definitely need to be edited out.
Kenrya: "Oh, my God, Ricky," she slurred, gripping my thigh as I rested my back on her chest. "What are you doing to me?" "Making sure you lose your damn mind just at the thought of me." She chuckled, pulling in deep breaths. "You're doing more than that." And I was but I didn't want to admit it. I was grounding and planting myself in her soul, going beyond the soul-tie. I was rooting myself there. And I wanted to stay there because with Aries, that was the safest space with a woman that I had ever been in. I needed that safety, that security for as long as I could experience it.
Erica: Okay, y'all so we are back. Thank you, Kenrya, for that fabulous reading of what was a sexy motherfucking scene.
Kenrya: Yeah, spicy.
Erica: Yeah, it was real spicy. When I was reading this book, I was like, "Oh, oh, oh." It was like scene after scene after scene we got to pick, so.
Erica: Some books we just have one scene, this book had a good number of them and they were great.
Kenrya: I mean, there's penis touching right out the gate.
Erica: Five star. So, yeah, I loved it. So just a little bit of background on the story. It's about these two people, Aries and Merrick. They are part of a larger friend group, they kind of have this love-hate relationship. I mean, I don't want to go as far as saying enemies to lovers but a bit of that. And they both have dreams of success and all dreams need capital. And they were like, "You know what? Fuck it. Let's start an OnlyFans account." And they do, and hijinks ensue.
Kenrya: Dot, dot, dot.
Erica: Dot, dot, dot. Okay, so, first, let's talk about... Well, first, the sex scene was [inaudible 00:10:23]. Now y'all can see me acting the fool. The sex scene was dope as fuck. I think this is one of the first scenes that we've read where they've actually used toys on each other, like they did some bondage and-
Kenrya: Yeah, I think so. It's so funny because we talk about toys so often. But you're right, I think we actually haven't had a bunch of books where they were used in the course of the story.
Erica: Using accoutrements.
Erica: But, I think one of the things that we say... One of the reasons that we say we like toys, or at least the only reason I like toys, is because it adds a little variety, a little extra.
Kenrya: Yeah. And you're right so I can make sure that you always finish exactly the way that you want to finish.
Erica: Exactly. Okay, so let's just jump off into this OnlyFans thing, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: And we're going to have a guest on and she's going to kind of... we're going to talk more about actual sex workers and sex work. But I have heard a million times, and maybe it's just me, because I'm Erica and I am a sex person, so I get, I mean, random woman come up to me and be like, "My husband don't like me sucking dick." So I get it. But-
Erica: I have heard more times than a few people say, "I would totally start an OnlyFans. I would totally start an OnlyFans-”
Kenrya: What's the if?
Erica: “... if I can hide my face."
Erica: Yeah, yeah. And it's just like, okay, I mean, I get it, but to me it's kind of like it just adds to the stigma of sex work.
Kenrya: Sure, but I think... Remember when we started this show?
Erica: No, you’re so right. [crosstalk 00:12:19]. Because when we started this show, I was definitely on some, Erica will stay somewhat anonymous. [crosstalk 00:12:31]
Kenrya: We even had illustrated headshots.
Erica: Yeah. And if you know Kenrya... One trip on her Instagram account and you know who I am. And then cancer hit. I was just like, "Fuck it."
Kenrya: Fuck it, yeah.
Erica: But I feel like there... Not to be like "not all hos," because I'm not all hos, but I feel like that there was a difference between okay, I got to keep this shit quiet because I don't want to fuck up my job and I got to keep this shit quiet because I think that's what dirty people do.
Kenrya: Ah, so that's the vibe that you're getting is that they think that OnlyFans is dirty as opposed to I don't want my boss to know. Okay.
Erica: Yeah. Or I don't need my family to know, which again... We all fuck, right? [crosstalk 00:13:25]. To me-
Kenrya: My dad, he knows about this show but I told him don't listen. He said, "Okay."
Erica: Oh, my aunt has... I don't know if she's listened to any recently but she definitely [crosstalk 00:13:33].
Kenrya: I remember.
Erica: Yeah, she was so excited to find this show.
Kenrya: Didn't she have her white friend help her find it?
Erica: She had her white friend, shout-out to her white friend, that helped her find this show. She called me, she literally called me, "Get off! Come here! Get off! Come here!" And I was like-
Kenrya: No, no.
Erica: Not quite, but okay.
Kenrya: I'm fairly certain that my dad's wife listens. Because she's always liking posts, especially because she a Facebook person. And I'm like, "Okay, girl. Enjoy. Don't tell him nothing."
Kenrya: But it's not because I'm ashamed, it's just because I don't think he wants to know and I know he don't.
Erica: Yeah, yeah. So, it irks me when people are like, "I'll do OnlyFans, but I want to hide my face." And it's like, don’t nobody wanting to see your half limp fucking. Because as someone that records herself having sex, I will tell you it is never what you think it looks like. I mean, I like it. I like to record, but in my mind I was like [inaudible 00:14:41]. And then I run it back and it was like [inaudible 00:14:47].
Kenrya: Just like when we were dancing in the backyard the other day.
Erica: Oh, my God. So we had some girlfriends over, and we did a socially distanced backyard thing. And we were playing music-
Kenrya: And by girlfriends we mean it was like five of us.
Erica: Yeah. So it was like five of us in a circle around a fire pit. And we were playing music and in my mind I was like, [inaudible 00:15:16]. In my mind I was really fucking it up like, "Go DeMarcus, go DeMarcus, go DeMarcus, go DeMarcus." But then Kenrya sent me a video and I was literally like this, "Go Ethel, go Ethel, go Ethel."
Kenrya: Your feet didn't move. You weren't the only one.
Erica: Yeah. But it was even more fucked up, the next morning I woke up and my thighs were hurting like I had been doing something. You would've thought that I was a Luke dancer the way my body felt. And I was literally like just [inaudible 00:15:47]. It was horrible.
Kenrya: Yeah. Well, at least you got up. I sat in my chair until “Wipe Me Down.”
Erica: Was it “Wipe Me Down”?
Kenrya: Something [crosstalk 00:15:59].
Erica: But even then... Okay. “Back That Ass Up.” For a woman of a certain age it is your mating call, it is like the cuckoo, cuckoo and I'm so mad I get to see this.
Kenrya: Yo, did you see somebody... Did you see this? It was sweet but also made me feel really old. Somebody Tweeted at us last night, they were like, "Listening to older ladies talk about sex makes me talk about having good sex."
Erica: What the fuck?
Kenrya: I know. "Makes me afraid of what I got to go through to get there." And I was like... one part of me was like, "Oh, my God, thank you for listening and I hope that this is helpful!" And the other part was, "Older lady?" But we are going to be 40, so, I guess, technically, I mean [crosstalk 00:16:48].
Erica: What the fuck? What the fuck?
Kenrya: A shoutout to you for listening. This is not at all meant to... We're not upset with you or anything but it was definitely a moment.
Erica: Oh, no, I fucking appreciate it. But yeah, uh-huh.
Kenrya: I was sitting in the bed with my partner and I was like, "What am I supposed to say to this?" I closed it. I was like, I'll let Erica respond. Because that was kind of fucked up.
Erica: Okay, I'll help her, it's fine. But, yeah, damn, we are older. In my mind I am young, I am fucking it up. Look at this show.
Kenrya: Look at this shoulder.
Erica: Look at this shoulder. Is this the shoulder of an old bitch? No.
Erica: In my mind, I am fucking it up, like, "Go DeMarcus, go DeMarcus." Do you know what that is? It was some-
Erica: It's a Vine or maybe a TikTok, "Go DeMarcus, go DeMarcus, go DeMarcus." And yeah, I was like an old lady.
Kenrya: But we had fun.
Erica: Hitting a body roll. I'm sorry. Okay.
Kenrya: Yeah. You can't go wrong with a good body roll.
Erica: So, Lord. Okay-
Kenrya: Yeah, older ladies. It's been playing in my head since last night.
Erica: And now I ought to see it. Okay, so. I am thinking about... Oh, so the sex stigma, if I could I'd do OnlyFans, blah, blah, blah. Poses a question: Would you do OnlyFans if there wasn't a stigma around sex work?
Kenrya: No, because I don't think it necessarily... I don't think anybody wants to see that.
Erica: It's not your jam.
Kenrya: Yeah. I mean, listen, I enjoy myself, I got the things that I do, but also because I have the things that I do I know what I got to do to make me cum, and I know what I got to do to make my partner cum. And you only want to watch that a couple of times, honestly, because it's the same thing.
Erica: And, I mean, I am definitely a don't give a fuck, fuck y'all, I'm on my own shit type of bitch. But I do feel a little judgy about this. When I cum, I don't need you to see how my fucking legs lock like a goat and I fall off the dick, right?
Erica: I don't need that. I don't need that. I don't need that.
Erica: But, yeah.
Kenrya: And one of the best parts about my sex with my partner is the talking and the laughing and him making fun of me because of what I do when I cum, and that kind of stuff. And that's not going to be fun to anybody except for us, so.
Erica: And I don't need y'all talking about the way I cum. He can, but you can't.
Kenrya: Exactly. So yeah, I just don't think it'd be interesting. And then, also super honest moment, I'm very critical in some ways on some days about my body and I don't need everybody seeing nothing, so.
Erica: Yeah, I don't need you to-
Kenrya: I share my body with the folks that I want to.
Erica: Yeah. But those people that do, that can and do, I appreciate it because it's you are a very intricate part of my situation. But I don't think I'll personally do it.
Kenrya: Yeah. It's literally just because I don't think anybody really wants to see it and it's fine, I enjoy it.
Erica: Somebody does, but yes.
Kenrya: Probably, but-
Erica: Because there is a scratch for every itch, and your scratch maybe a whole niche in injuries... industries niche.
Kenrya: Yes, injuries. ’Cause I'm an older lady?
Erica: I'm literally going to screenshot this and put it... I mean, I'm not going to take her out but, yeah. Okay.
Kenrya: For real, for real though, shoutout to you for listening. I don't want it just to feel like we're upset; we're not.
Erica: Yeah. I'm trying to see how old is Black, queer, feminist ones. Yeah, you're already adorable.
Kenrya: Yes. Our baby. Yeah.
Erica: But, yeah, but all right we're some old bitches. We're some old bitches.
Kenrya: We've been through some things that got us here.
Erica: We've been through some things. Okay-
Kenrya: And honestly, so I know, tangent, last night my partner was like, he was like, "I saw somewhere and it asked if you could be 25 again forever, would you?" And I was like, "Fuck, no."
Erica: Fuck no! If I had this mind.
Kenrya: He was like, "Okay, what if it was if you had your 25 year old body?"
Kenrya: Right. I was like, "I'll take my 25 year old body," because I worked and I worked out, that was it. I had no money so I wasn't going out a lot of places to eat, I was living in New York and broke as hell, so I literally worked out more.
Erica: I was hungry today, so I'll order sushi.
Kenrya: Yeah. I worked out three days a week at work, five days a week at home. My body was my favorite at that point. Although, looking back I needed some sandwiches. Which is what I ate for lunch every day because a bitch was broke.
Erica: Ooh, I could go for a good tuna sandwich.
Kenrya: But I was a dummy.
Erica: Girl, as a box of rocks. God protects babies and fools and His ass was out protecting my foolish ass, so.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. And I'm enjoying my life so much more now. I have so much actual joy that I wouldn't trade that, so yeah.
Erica: Okay. All right. So there was one line in this book that, you didn't read it, but it stood out to me. And this is one of my central questions. Now as I date, particularly with the podcast that gives you an inside look at Erica's mind. So there was a line, it says, "Even if we were dating," this is Aries talking to Merrick, "Even if we were dating, I wouldn't feel comfortable telling you what I need because you could use it to trap me and then stop when I love you or when we're married." And that was woo. Because that's how I feel. How do you balance not expecting your partner to understand what's going on in your head? Not expecting your partner just to guess what you're thinking, with at the same time not giving this nigga a playbook to fucking carry me. You know?
Kenrya: Yeah. I don't balance that because... I'm not going to say, oh, because my man is great, although he is. No, I'm going to say because I've gotten to a point where I put time and energy into someone who I could trust in that way.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: I have not always done a good job of balancing that before and ended up in relationships with people who had not earned my vulnerability in that way, and my trust in that way. And so I'll say all I have to say is it's hard as fuck.
Erica: I mean, because my question is well, how do you know if they've earned it? Or could they just be window dressing until they "gotcha bitch!"?
Kenrya: Okay, so going back to that whole process that I went through with our therapist, right? First I had to abstain from talking, texting, dating, everything. And then, once I started dating folks, there was a 90-day probation period in which I had to really not give up too much, not move too fast, really dig into who this person was and spending time with them because-
Erica: And that's not a 90-day sex rule, right?
Kenrya: Oh, no, I was fucking.
Erica: All right, all right.
Kenrya: It takes about 90 days for a mask to drop, to slip. So look to see if something falls. And it was also going back to that whole list, those two lists that we talked about last season, right? The list of does this person meet these not superficial criteria that I've put in place but more importantly, how do I feel when I'm with this person? And really getting to learn how to trust myself again. And I think that was really the key for me because before I could learn to trust a partner, I had to learn how to trust my intuition. Because so often, alarm bells would be going off right from the beginning with people. I mean, I remember I went on that one date and had a panic attack as soon as I got home. And still went on another date. The fuck?
Kenrya: So doing the work and therapy, honestly, to get to the point where I could trust myself and so then if I had any inkling... I think people, and I know I've done this, look for a reason. You have to have a reason to not want to be with someone instead of realizing that any reason that you have is a reason. And I used to need them to do something for there to be some reason for me to leave as opposed to just saying, "This doesn't feel right. My stomach hurts when he calls. Something, I can't put my finger on it, but something just doesn't feel like it's right for me.” And once I started actually trusting my gut... that's why we joke about me being the queen of blocking niggas, but that's really what it comes down to is that I started listening to my gut the first time it said something. Whether that was while we were still on an app, the first time he texts me, the first time we're on the phone, if anything doesn't feel right, I send my, "It was really great getting to know you but I don't think we're a good fit. I wish you well." And I send it, and I hit block and I keep it fucking moving.
Kenrya: And so that was about trusting myself. And once I learned how to trust myself, I was able to give people that time to then get to decide if I could trust them. And once I got there, which has only been with this one person in all this fucking time that I was trying to date, then it allowed me to be able to let my guard down and be vulnerable. But it really started with me.
Erica: Yeah. So remember last season, weeks ago, we worked-
Kenrya: It's so long ago.
Erica: Do you remember last season there was a pleasant guy?
Kenrya: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Erica: Or he was nice, but it was just pleasant and I was looking for passion?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: So I finally cut things off with him.
Kenrya: I figured because you hadn't mentioned him.
Erica: But the thing is, I was a bitch about it. I could've been more upfront. I just kind of slowly creeped to the back, and he was like, "Hey, you're pulling back." And I was like, "This is why." But part of what made this-
Kenrya: Good for you for saying something.
Erica: Oh, and that's the thing, everything was right about him, it just didn't feel right. And that's what I had to tell him. I hate to be on some it's not you, it's me type shit because most of the time it's you, nigga. But he checked all the boxes. He was nice, he checked literally all the boxes. He would be great for someone, it's just-
Kenrya: Just not you.
Erica: It wasn't there. And I think because I went through kissing so many frogs that when I did meet... I mean, I say kissing frogs. Some of these niggas was just not for me. Somebody will love that fuck shit, just not me. You know?
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah.
Erica: Needs to really hit all... fire on all four cylinders, six cylinders, eight. How many cylinders? Fire on all cylinders.
Kenrya: I don't know. You're asking me?
Erica: Firing on all cylinders. He had everything but it just wasn't there. And it wasn't even a bad feeling, it was just like a-
Kenrya: It's not it.
Erica: Yeah. So it was difficult because people-pleaser Erica, codependent Erica, was still... I mean, the bitch ain't always there but she was in the back and I was like, ugh, so. But, I got through it and I'm very proud myself.
Kenrya: Yeah. And I think doing that sets us up to be able to let our guard down and trust the right person, let the right one in. That's a title of a horror movie.
Erica: That's what she said. Let the right one in? No?
Kenrya: Oh, oh, yes. That works.
Erica: Jeez, Louise. [crosstalk 00:29:47]
Kenrya: Where is my shirt? Do you still have yours?
Erica: No, because it was... I think it got a hole in it. But also, you bought it when I was a much smaller person, so I look very... like a sausage. Very sausage-y in it.
Kenrya: I don't know where mine is. I think I might have had to let it go because I know the lettering had started to crack. We have that's what she said shirts. I wore them when I was pregnant.
Erica: It said, "That's what," and then it's like, "She."
Kenrya: She said.
Erica: No, it was just, "That's what," and then, "She."
Kenrya: That's what she. Yeah, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, so it was cute. All right.
Kenrya: Yeah, we were cute. Like almost 10 years ago.
Erica: On a tangent, “The Office” had the best series finale out of any series that I've watched thus far. Not saying it was the best... I mean, I love “The Office” but-
Kenrya: I'm trying to remember the finale.
Erica: Huh? You don't remember series finale?
Kenrya: I'm trying to remember. Was it a wedding?
Erica: It was Dwight's wedding. They finished the tour, I mean, the show and then they did a reunion and everybody came back. And so it had enough of the reunion-y aspect with also the we're wrapping it up and putting a bow on it. It was definitely not that bullshit “Game of Thrones,” but it was great.
Kenrya: I'm still angry about that, honestly.
Erica: And that is why “The Office” is always on my TV. “The Office”-
Kenrya: Yeah, we watch it a lot on the weekends.
Erica: “The Office” is like my “Matlock.” You know how you'd always go to Granny’s house and “Matlock,” or “Perry Mason.” That is me. I wake up and I turn on “The Office.” When I finish up working today, I'mma go and turn on “The Office.”
Kenrya: So we do that with “Golden Girls” on the weekends. We wake up, and we put on “Golden Girls.”
Erica: “Golden Girls” is definitely an ultimate, but “The Office,” nonstop. My child will be old and gray and be like, "My momma used to watch ‘The Office.’” So. That won't happen.
Kenrya: Why not?
Erica: Okay. Do you think that there is a level of... So one of the things that I do when I'm dating, somebody drove down the street, bumping Keith Sweat,
Kenrya: Is that what they were playing?
Erica: (singing). All right-
Kenrya: It's a good, sunny day for it.
Erica: It's cold as fuck, though.
Kenrya: It is. I went out to the porch for a second to get the mail and I was deceived. I needed my fucking coat.
Erica: So when I'm dating, I try not to overthink it, I just do what feels natural to me. And I'm like, "If this isn't enough, or if this is too much, then obviously I'm not the person for you." And that's how I feel with guys doing stuff or people doing stuff.
Kenrya: What do you mean?
Kenrya: I'm asking for clarification.
Erica: Yeah, so I shouldn't have to ask you... And this is the whole balance thing. I shouldn't have to ask you, "Hey..." I can't think. You know, but like, "Hey, do this." If it's not in your nature to do this for me, then... And so that's what the balance thing because it's like, yeah, you're not going to know everything but at the same time you need to have it in you a little bit.
Kenrya: Yeah. Okay. So I'm going to disagree with you. And I'm going to disagree because-
Erica: I mean, I need feedback. That's why I'm asking.
Kenrya: Because they ain't mind readers any more than you are. Yes, basic courtesy like don't let the door hit me when we walking out or basic stuff, but how is somebody supposed to know that one of the things that you want your partner to do is to drive on every date or that you... I don't know. You know what I mean? People-
Erica: Yeah, see that would be some shit that I would be like, "He made me."
Kenrya: Yes. “He made me meet him.” Well, nigga, you didn't tell him that that's not what you want.
Erica: Could you mind your business, bitch?
Kenrya: So I'm just saying-
Erica: Yeah, that's the thing.
Kenrya: Yeah, and so that's what... I think that so often when people are in the getting to know you stage of dating, they shy away from the compatibility conversations. So you might talk about what happened at work that day or, I don't know, what your mamma told you today. But are people having, and some of this is deeper, right? But the “do you want kids, do you have kids, how many kids do you want” conversations. They're avoiding the “I'm really unhappy in my job and I want to make this transition to this thing, the I think I only really want to be in this area for another year or so and I probably want to move to California” conversations. The “it's really important to me that my partner be interested in moving in together within the next year.” Those conversations that will fundamentally let you know whether or not somebody is for you, I think we don't use those three months, those 90 days in an intentional way to actually try to figure out-
Erica: You're just existing.
Kenrya: Yeah. You should be using that time to figure out if someone is a match for you, not just if y'all have fun in the bedroom or on the couch or in the car. That's an important part of that but if y'all like the same restaurant that's cool but it's not the only thing, right? How often are you at home? My partner likes to be out and I like to be in the motherfucking house. So we had to figure out what our balance is and how do we make that happen. So before pandemic we would always go out-
Erica: I was about to say, after pandemic you'll have to give him a little bit more, just for a good, smooth 90-days. 90 days to six months. He needs to make it up, bitch.
Kenrya: Yes. But we used to go out every Friday and Saturday because that is what he loved and the rest of the days we was in the motherfucking house unless there was a specific event on a week day because I don't like it. And so that was how we figured out our balance. And so you can't figure out your balance if you're not talking about it.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: So asking the questions that feel difficult or asking the questions that are important to you. They don't have to be difficult, but if being able to go out to eat is important to you, you got to say something. Maybe he don't even like to cook every night. Or maybe he expects you to cook every night. Right. Conversations.
Erica: Okay, okay, okay. Well, I like it. Side note: they had a shout-out to Olive Garden in this book. They were like, "We're going to roll over to Olive Garden." I literally highlighted it, underlined it, and wrote in all caps, classy.
Erica: I love Olive Garden.
Kenrya: They're so good. It's so good. We've gotten it like, I think, twice during the pandemic. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, I love Olive Garden and I know how to prepare it. That's how you know I'm like [smacks lips]. Because I know exactly how I want it done. I get lasagna, and then I get the meat sauce on it, but then I also get a side of the Alfredo and pour it on top too so it's like a cream sauce-
Kenrya: Yeah. I've had to place that order for you. Remember we did Olive Garden on New Year's day one year we had the kids? Yeah.
Erica: Yeah. So I was like, "Make sure we get..." Yeah. It's pretty-
Kenrya: I mean, you know what you like.
Erica: And you know, that's why I'm old, when I have my mouth set... when my mouth is fixed for something, it needs to deliver or we're going to have a problem.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So you're just going to be really disappointed. Either way, it sucks.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. So on this kind of friends to lovers, not quite. Not friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, but not quite. Merrick and Aries, they're part of this bigger friend group. And it's more like a, "Why you always fucking with me?" That kind of conversation.
Kenrya: Yeah. He pokes at her all the time.
Erica: Yes. Now there's another story that I'm reading for this show and that shit I'm like, I would've donkey kicked that motherfucker square in the forehead, right here. But, anyway. But at one point, she was like... when they started fucking and doing their OnlyFans together. At one point she was like, "Why are you being so nice? Why have you changed stuff up?" And this nigga said, "As long as you are letting me into your sacred space, I am going to worship you." That was so beautiful and hotep-y in not a hotep way.
Kenrya: It makes me internally roll my eyes, but also I like the turn of phrase. As a writer, I like it. But as somebody who has been with hoteps, I'm like [inaudible 00:39:21].
Erica: And I think that that's important because, again, we go on this whole boys are assholes because they like the attention. And it's like, no, if this motherfucker, if you're letting him be a part of your space, part of your body, just even that-
Kenrya: All in your body in various places.
Erica: In your orbit. If I'm letting you in, if I'm going to fucking pull down a drawbridge and let your ass in, nigga act like you got some fucking sense.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. So he got some act right.
Erica: He got some act right in the way of pussy. Pussy. And he knew what to do. I thought that was really sweet.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Okay. Final piece. This is a spoiler, okay? This is a spoiler. If you haven't read, and you want to read stop listening now because this is a spoiler. But it's something that I need to address because it kind of bothered me about the book. This is a spoiler.
Erica: Okay. I love this book. B. Love is an amazing writer because with me, it take me a minute, like egh. I was hooked from the moment that I started the book. Love the book, love the book, love the book. But at the end of the book... So Aries and Merrick, Merrick wants to be a music producer so he's scraping up his OnlyFans money, and he's saving his OnlyFans money so he can build a studio. Aries wants to be a fashion designer. And she's saving her money because she lives in... Oh, also, I love affluent Black folk. Or just Black folk that take care of the kids, and not in a... Wow, that came out really fucking wrong. But Aries is in her mid-20s, still living at home. Why? Because her parents was like, "Why are you worrying about being out in the world?"
Kenrya: Which, honestly, is something we need to normalize.
Kenrya: I mean, my partner's, his family's immigrants and he's like... I mean, he did move out at 18 but his sister still lives at home. And he was like, "It lets you get your shit together before you go out into the world." Why wouldn't you give your kids that gift if you could?
Erica: Yes. And so I love that part about it. But one of the things that she was doing was she was at home, saving her money so that she can move to California and be an intern under this fashion designer, whatever. And so dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. Happily ever after. They're together and she gets the internship and it's at some fashion show they announce it and she gets her internship. And it's like [inaudible 00:42:10]. And then cue the music. But then, this nigga, Merrick, gets down on one knee and proposes to her.
Erica: And I get it. I understand how I love you so much and I want you to... I want this to be the cherry on the top, right?
Erica: But on the other hand, I'm like, yo, just give her two really special days, right?
Kenrya: Yeah. Don't combine them, but also don't make this about you.
Erica: Yeah. But I don't think-
Kenrya: That that was his motivation but oh, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. That it makes it about him. They look at it... They probably look at it like, I'm making it about her because she gets a really nice ring and dah, dah, dah, dah dah. But, yeah. I was just like, aw man.
Kenrya: And there's also this, always this little piece of me that's like, so now I'm worthy because I just accomplished this thing? You know what I mean? Would you want to [inaudible 00:43:16]? Would you just carry it around until I tiptoed over the you earned it barrier? You know what I'm saying?
Kenrya: Do it another day. That's also how I feel about people who propose at other people's weddings.
Erica: Yeah, yeah, yeah, girl.
Kenrya: It's like a huge movie trope and I hate it. Happens in books, actually, a lot of these books too. I hate it.
Erica: Because, I think also we have all been in a relationship where... I mean, we've all been at the point where you're at a wedding and you're just kind of swept up in the love. And you're like, oh, this is nice. Nigga, I don't want you to feel [crosstalk 00:43:52].
Kenrya: Does somebody pay for it?
Erica: Yeah. I don't want you to feel like you swept up [inaudible 00:43:56]. No, nigga. Sleep on that shit.
Kenrya: Right. [crosstalk 00:44:03]. Especially if you don't have a ring.
Kenrya: Don't put no fucking Froot Loop on my finger.
Erica: I love Froot Loops.
Kenrya: A gummy worm.
Erica: Let's not speak ill of Froot Loops.
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't think I've had Froot Loops. We used to get the little boxes, the little tiny-
Erica: Yeah, your daughter's had Froot Loops in the past year, I can promise you.
Kenrya: Oh, I know, at your house.
Kenrya: I don't think... And she had some at my sister's house once too.
Erica: And then she'd be like, "Can I get a little bag to take home?"
Kenrya: I bought her some organic Froot Loops, and she won't eat them.
Erica: I'm sorry.
Kenrya: She didn't even taste them, though. I'm certain they sound good.
Erica: Beet with dye. Red dye made from beets and ain't the same as fucking-
Kenrya: Yes. Red dye is dangerous. Red dye number five is dangerous.
Erica: In large quantities.
Kenrya: Yes. I was trying to let her have the best of both worlds, let her have-
Erica: There is no best of both worlds with Froot Loops, it's either a fucking Froot Loop or you're eating ashy loops.
Kenrya: Then I guess she ain't going to have it, I tried.
Erica: Fructatios Loops. She'll get Froot Loops when she come down here. Okay. So, yeah. That just kind of made me, ugh.
Kenrya: Yeah. Yeah.
Erica: But, I mean, it was a great story. I loved it. I thought it was great. I do like the idea of the OnlyFans being kind of the jumping off point for it because everybody know OnlyFans. Well, I don't know. I feel like everyone's on OnlyFans, right? But because I am in a world of very sex-positive people, maybe they're not and it's just in my world everybody's on OnlyFans. It's kind of like when you're in DC and you're like, "Oh, there's Black people." And you go out and you're like, "Oh, wait, that ain't it."
Kenrya: There's a lot of white people. Yeah. I don't know. Because I'm also in this situation, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. But I feel like there's been-
Kenrya: I don't know. My guess is that everybody had to know somebody who knows somebody, whether they know it or not, who has an OnlyFans, right?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
Kenrya: So it's just a matter of how open people are about what they're doing.
Erica: Yes. Well, if you have an OnlyFans and want to tell us about your experiences, particularly why you chose to do it, let some players know.
Kenrya: Yeah. Email us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com.
Kenrya: Then maybe we'll have you on.
Erica: Yes. So with that, we'll take a quick break and then we will go to our next segment: What's turning us on?
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Erica: Okay, so what's turning us on? What's turning me on right now? Sometimes they're called jiggle balls, sometimes they're called Ben Wa balls, I don't know. But here are mine. These are mine.
Kenrya: Oh, I should've got mine. Mine are silver and-
Erica: You see the clickle clackle?
Erica: So these little balls, you put them up your vagina. You know how they say when you do kegels it kind of helps you? This is the same concept. You put it up there, just a little way and you kind of...
Kenrya: You start walking around with them. You know those ankle weights which I had on for when I walk?
Erica: Yes, exactly.
Kenrya: It's like having ankle weight, but for your pussy.
Erica: Up your pussy.
Kenrya: Yeah, it helps to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Erica: Yes. So some of them, like this. Can you hear that? The rattling?
Kenrya: Little bit, yeah.
Erica: Some of them have a little tiny ball, like a hard ball, more compact ball inside if the bigger ball, which is what mine do. So if you're on a boat and then it's like...
Kenrya: And mine has a jingle bell in it. I wish I had it. It's like tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.
Erica: So I like it because, yes, it also helps keep that grip, that ultra monkey grip tight, but I like it because I mean, it's not necessarily a sex toy but it can be because I like mind control, Deebo mind control. I will text a picture of this to a boo in the morning, and by the time they see me, they'll be like *kiss*. And this is just all excited knowing that. I mean, I usually don't wear it all day. I don't think you're supposed to wear it all day. But-
Kenrya: It's not necessary.
Erica: These niggas don't know. They don't know. So anyway, I like it because not only does it help keep the coochie grip on Gorilla Glue status, but it also serves as kind of a cute little reminder to your bae or boo that I got some things going on. You're thinking about some things, so. There you go. Jiggle balls, Ben Wa balls.
Kenrya: Yes. I watched a movie... Ah, shit. I told you my partner and I have been watching Korean movies. God. Oh, it was “The Handmaiden.” So those figured quite prominently. Mm-hmm (affirmative), it's a very good movie and I don't want to say shit because I don't want to give it away because it's one of these where you don't know what's happening. But a set of those figures quite prominently as an actual sex toy in that movie.
Erica: All right.
Kenrya: Highly recommend “The Handmaiden.” Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: All righty. All righty.
Erica: Okay. Well, we will include a link for these in our show notes so you can go there, click, and shop to your heart's content.
Erica: And also support The Turn On. So with that said, I think that's it, right?
Kenrya: That's it.
Erica: Of our first episode of season four. This is Erica and Kenrya. Two hos... Come on Kenrya.
Kenrya: Really? Okay.
Erica: Erica and Kenrya. Two hos making a clap.
Kenrya: Making it clap.
Erica: See, this is why. Dear listener, this is why this happens this way. Bye, y'all.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited by B’lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Now you can support The Turn On and get off. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, then drop us a five-star review and you'll be entered to win something that's turning us on. Post your review and email a screenshot to us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today, and access lots of goodies, including two-for-one raffle entries. Don't forget to send us your book recommendations and sex and related questions. And follow us on Twitter at @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram at @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at heTurnOnPodcast.com. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you soon. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.