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In Episode 2.5 of The Turn On, we talk to “Push the Button” author Feminista Jones about BDSM, labels and building community.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Kenrya: So today, we're talking to Philadelphia based social worker, feminist writer, public speaker, and community activist Feminista Jones. Feminista is an award-winning blogger and author of Push the Button, which we're reading from today, a poetry collection called "The Secret of Sugar Water," and the newly released "Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing The World From The Tweets To The Streets." Feminista's work centers Black American culture, critical race theory, intersectionality, and women's health and wellbeing.
Kenrya: Hey, Feminista.
Feminista: Hello. Thank you for having me.
Kenrya: Thanks for coming on. We're excited to talk to you. I feel like we've been following you and like sending each other stuff that you've tweeted for years.
Feminista: That's dope.
Kenrya: It's cool to have you on.
Erica: Yeah, you're definitely my home girl in my head. So thank you for-
Feminista: Well, now I'm home girl on the mic.
Erica: Thank you so much.
Kenrya: So, first can you tell us what are your preferred pronouns?
Feminista: She and her.
Kenrya: Awesome. Thank you.
Feminista: And yours?
Kenrya: I'm she and her. Erica?
Erica: I'm she and her but I also appreciate all around bad bitch, so if that could be somehow incorporated.
Kenrya: Got it.
Feminista: I'm going to try my best.
Kenrya: Okay. I just read that long, like yes, bad bitch bio, but in one sentence, what do you think of what you do, like if you could sum it all up in one succinct sentence, what is it?
Feminista: I do bad bitch things.
Kenrya: Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Feminista: You know what, honestly I think at this point in my life I just am somebody who is trying to live out her dreams and help people along the way, if that makes sense.
Kenrya: It does make sense.
Feminista: I've had a lot of questions lately about "Is this what you've always wanted to do?" And for as long as I can remember yes, I've wanted to be a writer and I've also wanted to help people and this is like since I was like six years old, seven years old, and I've been lucky enough or committed enough to be able to do both and be successful at both. So, I think where I am right now, having recently turned 40, I am enjoying the fruits of my labor, being able to do both of those things.
Kenrya: Word. That's what's up. So okay, you're based in Philly now, where are you from originally?
Feminista: I am from New York City, born and raised. I was born in Queens, my mom and I, we moved around a lot when we were in Queens, but I went to public school there for elementary school and then we moved to The Bronx, and I really tell people that The Bronx really made me who I am. Queens was kind of an early introduction to things, particularly on the hip hop side because I always loved all the Queens artists from hip hop, but The Bronx really made me who I am and I lived most of my life in The Bronx. So everything from there, every time, whether I went away to school or college, every time I came back, it was always living somewhere in The Bronx. So I've spent the majority of my life in The Bronx and I definitely am a Bronx girl.
Kenrya: Word. Would you ever go back, like to live for real?
Feminista: I don't want to ever say never but that is not what I have. Living in New York City is no longer my ministry.
Erica: I was just about to say "not your ministry."
Feminista: No, it is ... I had this, and people ask me, why did I leave? And I said I feel like I have given New York all that I can and I have gotten from New York all I can get from it. A lot of that is under the context of being a social worker. I spend pretty much all my career there being a social worker in New York City and in a city that big there's all these different organizations, they're all kind of doing the same work. You're like just kind of drifting around but in Philadelphia where there are a lot of pressing issues, there's the opportunity to kind of be a big fish in a small pond and I felt that I could take a lot of what I had learned as a social worker in New York and bring that to Philadelphia and possibly help work on some of the issues going here.
Kenrya: Word. What made you choose Philly in particular?
Feminista: Well, I went to undergrad here. I went to he University of Pennsylvania for an undergraduate, and when I was here I had done some volunteering in west and north Philly and learned a lot about he issues, and I had friends here that were still here, I dated someone here for a few years, so I've always been closely connected with Philadelphia and so when I was thinking about where I wanted to move, thinking about proximity to my son who's still in New York City, Philadelphia really topped the list, cost of living is lower, fewer people.
But it's a Black city. A lot of people don't talk about Philadelphia in those terms. They always talk about Washington, D.C. is chocolate city but Philly is like 43% Black right now, I think, and we have the highest Black Muslim population, there's so much about this city that is just quintessentially Black and I just love that. It's really hard for me to be in spaces where I'm one of a few or the only one. That really destroys my spirit.
It's funny, funny story, I've been on tour for a few months for the book and I've gone to ... and also my speaking tour, and and I've gone to some really interesting places, and I remember going to Terre Haute, Indiana, to speak at Indiana State, and for the first 24 hours I was there I didn't see a single other Black person.
Feminista: And I was talking with students and professors there, I was like how do you do it? And they're like, "Look, you've got to find your tribe but it's still really taxing." I was like I just can't do that. I can't go a whole day and not see Black people. That's not the life I want.
Erica: And I notice it so much more. I'm originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to D.C. and I've been here since college. And now I'm so ... And I don't think I was as aware of being in such white spaces until you kind of get home and you breathe and you see ... you're so used to seeing so many Black people that you're so much more aware of the absence of them when you're not around them.
Feminista: I was just in St. Louis two weekends ago for a wedding and I had been there, like a few weeks before that, for a speaking engagement. I like St. Louis, I like the people there. The Black folks there were real cool. I really appreciated them.
Erica: It was a good place to grow up but I definitely had to leave and I love my family but I needed a little bit of space.
Feminista: I understand, I understand. I can see that. Yeah. But people were really nice to me there and I say that because that doesn't always happen. So I appreciate St. Louis.
Erica: Oh wow, wow. I'm glad they put their best foot forward for you.
Kenrya: I wonder how being in the city, living in a place that is very intentionally Black, like how much being in that space feeds your work?
Feminista: It feeds it so much. When I first moved here I worked for a university doing anti-poverty policy work and pretty much 99% of the people I worked with were Black, right? So we have the highest poverty rate in the country of any large city, and so it's a serious issue here. So Blackness and poverty are so linked up here, it's kind of ridiculous. Not to say that there isn't a Black middle class or upper class but it's obviously racialized here in many ways. So that definitely informs a lot of my work and particularly with activism and things that I do around the city still, working with women and things like that, that Blackness is always present.
Then as I'm connecting with different people and I'm sure we'll talk about more kink stuff but I've been able to find a very strong kink community here that is all Black people, and that's been really, really helpful, and finding those kind of even underground alternative kind of communities has been really great. So it's given me a lot of inspiration to finish the sequel to "Push the Button," which I've been working on.
Kenrya: Oh good, we were definitely going to ask you about that.
Feminista: No, it's actually been really dope. Hacking away, I cut my nails down, I was like I've got some writing to do. I was like, but definitely feeding in from that ... You know what it is? It's a comfort level. I think when I was in New York City I wasn't comfortable anymore. I was struggling. I was like I shouldn't be struggling. Making as much money as I was making I shouldn't have been struggling, like living paycheck to paycheck.
Kenrya: It's a hard city.
Feminista: I shouldn't have had all the mental health issues and struggles that I have. Not to say that I haven't had them here but in New York it was just a whole different level and then having to go outside and be around so many people all the time, it was just so draining. How do you go home and then be creative and be productive when you're just so drained? So Philadelphia here ...
And then you know, Black folks here are nice. So you walk down the street, Sisters will randomly be like, "Oh girl, I love your skirt. Oh, I love those earrings. Oh, I love that hair." And they'll start a conversation like it's kind of like what people say about the South, you know how that is, but here in Philly that's just how people are, and when they say like brotherly love and sisterly affection, that comes from the Black people here. So I've definitely felt more comfortable, I settled in, I got a house, like I love my home. So definitely feeling it.
Kenrya: Yes, that's dope.
Erica: So, we've been ... I've been following you, like I said, you were my home girl in my mind, so I've heard you talk on other shows about your Dominant/submissive relationships, and so my question to you is how did you realize that one of the hats you'd come to wear was that of a submissive? Like how did that come about? Because I think we all have a bit of that in us but how did you realize this is who I am and what I want to do?
Feminista: Well, it's a funny story because I no longer identify that way because I divested of the patriarchal bullshit, but anyway.
Feminista: There was another show I was talking about that. Listen, I've been in this lifestyle, this kink and BDSM lifestyle for 21 years now. Evolution is going to happen, growth is going to happen. I've always identified as a switch, to be quite honest because I-
Kenrya: Can you tell our listeners who don't know?
Feminista: Oh, sure. A switch is somebody who can function as a submissive type and can also function as a dominant type. For me, it fell along gender lines. Like, I would be dominant with women and I would be submissive with men. And I really had to critique that. Like, as a feminist, I could come up theoretically with all the ways in which it was fine to be a submissive and here's where ... You know, I've written about it, it's not an issue, and I don't have an issue with it, trust me, but what I had to do was really challenge myself and say, "Are you really submissive or do you just engage certain men this way?" Because when I would be out and about in the community I wouldn't be ... I wouldn't bow my head to any of them other dudes, like no, I'm not doing nothing you say, I ain't going to call you no sir, nothing. I was just like yo ...
Then it took a partner being like, "You don't have a submissive bone in your body." We said that, it was during an argument. I was like, "Well, that's actually true," and I started having to deconstruct that. Then what I realized ... And this is something that I actually now do workshops and stuff about, is I had to reconcile enjoying being a bottom for more of the physical things, like I identify as a sadomasochist so I do enjoy receiving pain, but that didn't make me submissive. And that's challenging a lot of the norms and the standards that we have in our community. Like, we equate a bottom with a submissive. And it's like, no, I actually just like the way these things feel and I like having someone else kind of inflict that on me or what have you. There's certain scenarios where I like to be choked, does that mean I'm a submissive? No. It means I like being choked. If I want a man to pay for things, does that make me a submissive? No. It means I like having men pay for shit.
So I had to challenge a lot of what I already believed, and I was like no, you know what, there's part of me that with a particular partner I may curl up like a little girl and do whatever, but that is not my standard or my general way of being. I am actually quite dominant and I would limit it only to women but then I realized, no, I can be dominant with men too and not just in the bed. I found that outside of the bed is when I really got the enjoyment of dominating men.
And so I allowed myself to evolve over the years and fully embrace the fact that I identify as a Dom who happens to be a sadomasochist.
Feminista: Yeah. So after 21 years, that's where I am right now.
Erica: So, just to dig a little deeper into that piece, did you deal with a ... I mean, when you thought for so long, I am this type of person, and then slowly come to realize no, that isn't who I am anymore, or who I ever was, how did you ... what was your thinking, what was your thoughts behind it? Did you feel like you were having some sort of crisis or ... I don't want to say crisis but how did you handle that?
Feminista: Honestly, I think my biggest concern, because I am so well known, because I'm well known in the community and also out, it's like how will people receive this? Like, will they think that I was a fraud or they think I was whatever, and that's why I'm very delicate about how I explain this process and for those who are maybe newer to this lifestyle or newer to kink, letting people know you have permission to change. Like, you may identify one way now and then a few months from now you're like you know what, that doesn't really work for me, and it's okay. Don't let anyone pigeon hole you.
So for me, I think that was probably the biggest concern because people look up to me, and then I wrote this book but then I realized when I started writing the sequel, I started writing the sequel three and a half years ago, believe it or not, and I wanted my primary character to be a Dom, a woman Dom. And I said, "I'm going to explore this." And I actually think through writing that I was like, you know you're writing yourself, right? And I'm like, but how am I writing myself? So it wasn't crisis, it was more like just let the spirit move you-
Kenrya: Get yourself that space, yeah.
Feminista: Get yourself that space, go with what feels good and what feels right, and I had fallen back from the community a bit, I was in a rather tumultuous relationship, and when I ended that I said, you know what? I need to reconnect with my people but I'm going to do it in the most authentic way. So people who had known me in my previous form, they accepted and they have embraced it because again, I've always identified as a switch. So there's always been that there, it's just now I fully embrace it and you'll see more of that with me.
Kenrya: That's awesome.
Feminista: But if you're the right person then you might bring that other part out a little bit, you never know. I'm just open to whatever feels good. Are we fucking right? Is it good? Who cares!
Kenrya: That actually makes me think more broadly just about your career in general, from addressing street harassments, writing erotica to speaking at colleges and advocating women's health, I feel like you do a really good job of being your whole self in public and reflecting all of those pieces of yourself in your work. I'm wondering what the biggest challenges that you face in making space for all the things that you are and all the things that you do.
Feminista: Honestly I think the biggest challenge has been the sex part, because that's how I came on the scene, right? That's how people knew me, from my early, early days, back 2010, 2011, and I really was trying to make this mark as a sex positive Black feminist. And I did. And that's what a lot of people came to know me for. And then I was like, but I do have all these other things that are really important to me too, and since now I have this platform let me start talking about these things too, and I started bringing more of my daily life as a social worker, as an activist online.
I was like, well, I also do this stuff too people, and realizing that social media specifically could be a valuable tool to help me in my day-to-day life. So I was like, I got to bring all of this. And I fell back a bit from the sex stuff as much because I was having my own personal kind of revolution. There's a lot of things ... Not a lot, but there are some things that I wrote or said about six, seven years ago that I wouldn't agree with right now when it comes to feminism and sex and things like that.
I talk about, in the book a bit, "Reclaiming Our Space," how I felt like it was my job to get more men to approve of feminism or to support it and I felt like sex would be the way to reach them. And it was very effective, I'm telling you, to this day I have just as many male fans and supporters as I have women. And in many things, the men support more than women. So it worked.
But then I was like why am I doing that? Why do I care about their feelings like that? Like either you're down with feminism, either you believe that we are equal or you don't. I shouldn't have to sugar coat things, I shouldn't have to spoon-feed it to you, I shouldn't have to make it appealing. And so part of why I fell back from the sex stuff was because I was like I don't want that to be the only reason you believe that women are valuable.
But I didn't fall back completely, it was just kind of like ... but the more public I became, things like that, I was just kind of like, this is risky. It is risky because now I'm out and about and sometimes when you talk about sex people feel entitled to you, you know what I mean? So that was a big thing and anybody listening, I feel like I've never explained this before, so you guys are the first to hear this but I started becoming concerned about my own safety because if I would look at my DMs, if I would look at the emails, all the unsolicited dick pics, all the things, I was just like, this is not what I want for me. And here I am posting where I'm going to be in these different spaces, the last thing I need is somebody who is infatuated with me or has been fantasizing about me to show up and we have a problem. So, that's another reason and one of the major reasons why I fell back from that.
But then in the last couple of years I was like, "yeah, man, I'll shoot you." I'm going to do me, and this is important to me. When we think about things like what's happening with abortion right now, all of that is related to sex and sexuality. So I feel like ... Especially because I retired from social work last year, I said you know what? This is the arena I need to get back into. I need to get back into talking about sex and sex positivity. I need to get back into talking about kink and BDSM, I need to get back into talking about sexual liberation because it is so relevant to what is going on right now in our country and across the world and I feel like I have a strong enough voice for that.
So I've been doing more of that lately and it's been good, it's been feeling good. So I think it all connects. When you are a queer Black feminist woman, it's hard to divest any part of who you are.
Kenrya: Right. That's one of the things we talk about on this show, it's never just sex, right? Everything is sex and, race and, all of these things are interconnected.
Kenrya: You can't leave any of them behind because they literally are you.
Feminista: It's sex and race, sex and gender, sex and class, sex and orientation, sex and religion, all of it is so intertwined, we can't divest. Here's the thing, if we're talking about liberation, like as a theory or a practice, we have to talk about bodily liberation. If your bodies are still in these kinds of theoretical chains, one of the biggest ones being related to sex, we're not getting any other type of liberation. You know what I'm saying?
So, I feel like I have a strong enough voice in this particular space, especially with SESTA and FOSTA stuff happening, like nah man. I think that renewed my vigors, too, like when they started cracking down, when they started cracking down and like you can't put nipples on Instagram and everything got to be family friendly and all the stuff like that, the porn folks in porn and sex workers are getting locked up and in trouble and all kind of ... I was like nah, we got to do something about this.
Erica: Got to come back out.
Feminista: Got to come back out.
Erica: So you talked about how your sexual self evolved over the past 20 plus years. As a mom and mentor, what do you think is the most important thing you want to instill in young Black people that are still trying to figure out their sexual selves and what that looks like?
Feminista: You know, it's funny because I feel the real work starts with their parents and I feel like we need to really get to young people, as young as five years old, maybe even four to really kind of educate them about sex and sexuality. My ex-husband was an adolescent health educator and he developed age-appropriate stuff. They were talking to kindergartners about this kind of stuff and it was working, it was making sense.
We have to get in early because a lot of times parents will pass on their own misguided notions about things and then we've got a whole other generation that's messed up. But I want young people to know that freedom, like personal freedom is about being able to enthusiastically say yes and having your no be respected. I think that that's a fundamental lesson that, as a parent, I have worked on with my son.
Let me tell you something, I tell parents because I do some parenting writing too, I've told parents, "Listen, when your child comes and asks you for a cookie and you say no, and he's like, 'Please, please, please,' and you're like 'No,' and then they're like, 'Oh, I hate you,' and they start screaming and then you give them the cookie, you just taught them about coercion. You've just taught them that all they have to do is push a little harder and they'll get what they want."
A lot of parents are just like, "Wow, I hadn't thought about that." Yeah, that's where it starts, don't even have to talk about sex. You just have to talk about boundaries, autonomy, and respect for other people. Young people have to know that they can explore things and feel free to, while at the same time understanding that it's important to talk to an adult who can give you context. That was an issue with my kid when he first discovered porn, right? He was like seven. I was like, so this is a no. But here's why, here's why. It's like Mommy does not think that this is appropriate for you to look at right now. Not that porn is bad-
Kenrya: Not this is dirty, not that you're bad for watching, yeah.
Feminista: I just don't think that this is appropriate for you to watch right now. Then it happened again a few years later and I was a little more stern, I said, "We talked about this. I do not want you watching this and getting your ideas about sex from this. If you want to talk about sex, talk to me and Daddy, we'll give you some more information." And I think he understood that. I mean, he's 12 now, like I got my first vibrator when I was 14, look I'm not going to hold my kid to some ridiculous standard, but we've raised him to know that if he has any questions he can come to us.
Feminista: We've also raised him very open. I've never once been like, "Is there a girl you like?" I've always asked, "Is there someone you like? Do you have a crush on anyone?" So a couple of weeks ago we were walking and he said, "Mom, you know, I've just got to tell you something." I was like, "What?" He was like, "I think I know that I'm straight." I was like, "Damn." I was like, "Well what does that mean to you?" He's like, "I like girls." And I was like okay, well that's fine. But he's like, "Not that being gay is bad, I just don't like boys."
And it was a conversation. I didn't have to pry or anything. Then he tells me that he likes this Puerto Rican girl and a white girl, and then I was like, "Okay, listen."
Kenrya: Let's have a conversation.
Feminista: "Let's have a conversation right here." I wasn't mad about anything else, I was just like ... I was like ... But do you know what it is? All his closest friends are Black girls. And the way he explains it is he's like, I don't know what's going on with these guys' heads, but girls are just smarter, and I prefer to have them as friends.
Kenrya: Where is the lie?
Feminista: So I was like, I feel you bro, like I get it. So I think that's something for him. I don't know if the girls that he likes being not Black kind of helps him juxtapose things, I don't know. But he does have love for Black girls and always has, so I'm not like mad or anything.
So, yeah, we talk about it, I talk about it, we talk about it all the time, I bring it up, I let him know, "You can talk to me about anything," his sister, I had talked about this publicly, his older sister had a baby as a teenager and she was only 14, and she's 16 now, and so talking to him about that, like what does that mean? Like your "Sister was having sex and she got pregnant and she had a baby very young." He's like, "I ain't doing that." And I was like okay, all right. But it's important to have those conversations.
Kenrya: Yeah. And to have them early. Awesome.
Feminista: Have them early.
Kenrya: So let's talk a bit about Push the Button.
Feminista: Yes, let's talk.
Kenrya: So we were definitely in from the opening line, "I want to see you." I'm wondering where the ... I mean so obviously we talked a bit about how the idea of it, the Dom/sub relationship at the core of it came from where you were at that part of your life, but where did the inspiration for this particular story come from?
Feminista: So the book is almost five years old, and I am blessed to say I get my little Amazon royalties every month, people are still buying it, I'm very happy about that. It came out around the time that 50 Shades of Gray had come out, and that garbage really infuriated me. It infuriated me.
Kenrya: So awful.
Feminista: It was terrible, it was poorly written, it was not about BDSM, it was about abuse, and in the community we were all just what the fuck is this? And I think for me I have this theory, and a lot of people may not agree, but I feel like if you're a good writer you can write anything. I said to myself, you know what, I can do better than this and I can represent for our community and I can represent for Black people in our community because so much of BDSM erotica is just so white. So I said I'll write a short story. My Aries brain, I can go for a short story, anything beyond that ...
Kenrya: Yes, Aries.
Feminista: Yes. I'll be like, all right man, you've got 2000 words, there you go. So I wrote a blog and that was supposed to be it, so chapter one was supposed to be it, and then people were reading it and I got ... the biggest question I got was, "So what happens next?" I was like, "There is no next." I was like, "That's it, what are you talking about?" I just wanted to prove that a story about BDSM with black people could be written better than that 50 Shades crap. But popular demand, the fans were clamoring and so I started releasing a new chapter every holiday.
So it got to the point where people would hit me up, they'd be like, "Yo, July 4th is two weeks, we getting another chapter? Hey, it's Easter, are we getting a chapter, because Easter's coming up. It's National Hotdog Day. Asian Pacific Month, what are we getting here?" It was really funny, but I would, and it held me accountable, I got to thank the fans because Aries in and out, we are over stuff really quick but the fans held me accountable and I just kept writing and developing these characters and developing this story until I got to all but the last chapter and by then my following had almost tripled and I took it off the blog. I said I'm going to make this a book. Why not, right?
And I waited a year, intentionally, to build it up and then by then more than half of my followers had never heard of Push the Button. They'd never seen, they went to my blog, it wasn't there, they'd never heard of it. So when I added the final chapter and released it as a book, the old fans were just like, "Yes, this is it! We love it, "Oh my god, I can't believe you did this, what is going on?" It was really great to see because what was happening was with every chapter I started having people download it so I could track it and I was there, I would have like 2,800, 3,000 downloads in the first [inaudible].
Feminista: Oh dropping it. So I knew there was a fan base there, and I was like, okay, this is going to do numbers. So when I created it, originally it was going to be just an ebook, but I said no, I made a paperback. The version that's out now that people can buy is actually the fourth version, I had to do a lot of editing. I had never done anything like this before, I had never self-published and everything like that.
Kenrya: That's impressive.
Feminista: Thank you. So I went back and I did a lot of editing, I actually changed some sentences and fixed the syntax, a lot of spelling and grammar things and stuff like that, but I cleaned it up. So what you have now is the fourth version and people just loved it. I was being asked to come places to talk about it, to speak about it, and that really helped launched my speaking career. First I was just kind of in kink spaces, but I was recording myself and putting it on YouTube or online and more people were like, "Oh, can you come talk about this? Can you come talk about ..." And it grew from there.
The best thing was I was at Weekend Reunion, and for people that don't know what Weekend Reunion is, it was an annual gathering of people of color in the lifestyle and they asked me to come and sell the book there and I had an elder in the community come up and she was just like, "Thank you so much for this, I've never seen us represented this way. Really appreciate it." That meant a lot to me because as they say, representation matters. Right? You want to see yourself in media, whether it's literature or film, TV, and so I felt like I'd done something special for the community and it went from there. This book has sold thousands and thousands and thousands of copies around the world and it's been a blessing and it's great and I love it and I'm halfway through the sequel.
Erica: So, do you have any tips or resources for our listeners that want to explore kink? I think that often we tend ... If you're not familiar, you tend to think that kink is that white people shit but somebody chokes you out during sex and you're like, "Can I have some more?"
Feminista: Yeah. That's the thing that I guess gets me all the time because people of color, we are very much obviously involved in this. We have huge communities across the world, especially in the United States, we have gatherings, we have all kind of conferences, I'm actually speaking at a conference called the Journey Con this August in Atlanta. We are there, but I think there's also that part of us that likes being underground a bit, and likes being in the margins because it still feels freer. The more mainstream something becomes, the more prying eyes you have and peering eyes, and so when the 50 Shades thing came, all the white mommy bloggers were just like, "Oh my god, I want to be spanked." And I was like, "You don't want me to spank you, child. I will send you right back to Mayberry and you'll never think about this again." You know?
So there was an explosion of our community around that, that was trickled off a bit. I would say folks could go to fetlife.com, F-E-T-L-I-F-E.com, FetLife is like Facebook for kinksters, you can create a profile, you can talk about what you're looking for, tell a little bit about yourself, what you're into, but there's also an events page so you can find events that are happening near you, everything from workshops to demonstrations to munches, what we call munches, and a munch is when you get together with other people in the lifestyle but you're not doing anything kinky, you're just having dinner or lunch or drinks or something, just to get to know people.
You can go to conferences, you can go to play parties, they list parties at the dungeons. For people that don't know what a dungeon is, it's where you go and there's all kinds of apparatuses around and people are engaging in their kink. FetLife I think is a really valuable resource, it can be a mess because there's always going to be some white dude who's going to come be like, "I just want you to sit on my face, I worship the Black Queen"
Kenrya: My face is all screwed up right now.
Feminista: Yeah, no, it should be, because it's gross, and I'll be like, not saying that having a white man ... But whatever, it's just a lot sometimes.
Erica: It's not your thing.
Feminista: Right. You get brothers whose default picture is a picture of their dick, and it's like, I don't need that.
Kenrya: Because dicks are abundant and low in value.
Feminista: They are so abundant and short. So they have an events page but then you also have groups, so you can check out the groups, there's a lot of message boards. Really just kind of learning. The other thing I would recommend for people is to go to workshops. I know in Philadelphia, for example, we have a number of groups and parts of the community where there's always a rope demo going on, there's always a flogging demo, there's always some kind of conversation about what it means to be a person of color in kink. There's always something going on that's either free or low charge that you can just go, and you don't have to participate, you can just sit in the back and listen because I think that the education is really so important, learning from people that have been doing that. And I would say going to munches, like I said, meeting people that are near you, you're a mess but meeting people that are near you.
Kenrya: No, she keeps laughing because ... So she calls my daughter, who is her goddaughter, Munch.
Feminista: Oh God. Thats awkward.
Kenrya: And she's also a child. So every time you say it, she over there giggling because it makes her think.
Erica: But the funny thing is I am Auntie Munch, so like I call her ... Because she was a munchie baby, so I called her Munch and I'm Auntie Munch, and I'm like, now I feel like that title is so fitting for me. However, I need to reevaluate it for her. But yeah. I am drunk Auntie Munch, okay.
Feminista: That's kind of funny. But yes, those are things, that's what we call them, and I think also there are people that maintain ... Facebook has a ton of kink groups, I'm in a couple of them in which people are discussing things all the time. It's one of those things like if you want to know, you need to go seek it out, you need to be proactive about it.
Then some people are not big on being involved in community stuff and that's fine, too. We are in the information age, you can go to Google, anything that you want to learn about related to kink, maybe you and your partner want to just kind of sit down, watch some videos, there's rope tying demos on YouTube, you can find stuff on YouTube, you can find blogs and read and experiment yourselves.
Erica: So we are rapping up but I do have one question, one silly question for you. So, I want to ask you a would you rather question. So, would you rather be a sub to someone with no short-term memory or a sub to someone who can only speak in whispers.
Feminista: Oh my god. Wait.
Erica: Have you watched-
Feminista: So no short-term memory or whispers
Erica: So kind of like Awkward Black Girl that got in the office that can only...
Feminista: Oh my god.
Erica: Like, "Get over here, bitch. Would you like me to speak up?"
Feminista: Oh wow. You know what.
Erica: Or he repeats everything.
Feminista: If I can them a portable microphone or like a bullhorn or something.
Erica: It'd just come out like a really loud whisper like, "HEY. LIE DOWN BITCH."
Feminista: I think actually I'd probably choose the no short-term memory.
Feminista: Because no short-term memory means they have long-term memory so if they don't remember it Monday at 4:55, they'll remember it Tuesday, so I'll be all right.
Erica: But if she or he says, "Go sit down, go get on your knees in front of the couch," and then goes and uses the bathroom and comes back he's like, "But why you on your knees?"
Feminista: I'd be like, "I don't know."
Erica: "I was looking for something on the floor."
Feminista: That's the first thing I thought of, is like, well I wouldn't have to do shit. I wouldn't have to do much of anything. But the if I was truly being a submissive type and really kind of connected with that I would say, "Well, you told me to be on the floor and so here I am." So we'd just kind of ... I feel like I would try a lot throughout the day. "You told me to ..." It'd be like, no, because like can you imagine being in bed, right, and they're getting out the paddle and the flogger and stuff and they put it on the bed and then they go to the bathroom-
Erica: Who's this for?
Feminista: And they come back and they be like, why are you laying there with all that stuff on the bed? When you said you were going to use it. And then they go and they use the paddle and they step away and they come back and use the paddle again, it's like, "You just used that! Like ow, man!" Oh my God. I would choose that, though, that'd be fun. I don't think I could deal with the whispering because eventually it would probably ... It would take me ... I would respect you but it'd take me about 20 minutes to be like, "Can you just shut the fuck up?"
Erica: That'd be it.
Feminista: Don't make me laugh, I just started going back to the gym, my abs hurt. I got so fat, listen, but I started back at the gym now, so when I laugh now that shit hurt.
Kenrya: It's just letting you know that the work is working. You're putting in ...
Feminista: But you know what, I'm going to put this in this group, I'm going to put that same question in this group that I'm in because I want to see the answers.
Erica: You've got to tell us what they say.
Feminista: I will, will. Oh my god. I'm going to be like, so I was recording a podcast about kink and they asked me ... That's hilarious. All right.
Kenrya: This is awesome. So, we're so glad that you were here. See? I didn't even know we was going to laugh so much. This is dope.
Feminista: Thank you very much.
Kenrya: So your newest book is "Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets." Where can people find that book and you and all the rest of your work?
Feminista: So the book is everywhere, you can go to a bookstore, library, online, anywhere, it's in a bunch of countries. People haven't had much issue getting it. A lot of times they've gone into stores and it's been sold out, so you can always request it. Just request it and they'll order it for you. I think it's ... I would actually tell people to order it at the library because libraries are the biggest book buyers so if you go and request it ... One woman told me there was a 30 person wait at her library for the book-
Kenrya: Because they probably had like two copies.
Feminista: Yeah. You should probably order more copies. So you can do that. I am on Twitter, @feministajones, Facebook is Feminista Jones Official, I am on Instagram, @feministajones, and my website is feministajones.com. If you want to know what's going on with me, you can go to my events page, feministajones.com/events and you'll be able to see what's coming up. Yeah.
Kenrya: Awesome. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us before you go on your break.
Feminista: Thank you. I appreciate you all having me. I always do. I love doing this stuff, it's fun.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. Every five star review posted on Apple Podcast between now and July 31st, 2019, will be entered into a raffle to win a copy of one of books we read on the show. We're giving away five books, just post your review and email a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter. And please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter, @theturnonpod, and Instagram, @theturnonpodcast, and find links to books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at theturnonpodcast.com. Holla.
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In Episode 2 of The Turn On, we read an excerpt from “Push the Button” by Feminsta Jones. Then we talk about our own experiences with dominant and submissive roles in relationships.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Erica: Hey, y'all, welcome to this week's episode of The Turn On. Today, we're reading Push the Button, by Feminista Jones, which was published in 2014. Sit back, relax, get your wine, get your weed, get all your stuff, your accoutrements, and enjoy.
Kenrya: Push the Button, by Feminista Jones.
"I want to see you." Though the words can be taken as a request or a simple expression of his wants, she knew that they were heavier than that. Five typed words, one command, sent via text message, and she had but a few minutes to comply completely. It did not matter that it was 4:07 AM, or that she had been deeply asleep for at least five hours. She knew that keeping her phone under her pillow was necessary, as he could summon her at any moment, and she had to be available, ready, and willing to do whatever was asked of her.
She groggily rolled off of the side of her bed, stumbling over her shoes, then regaining her composure and made her way to the bathroom. She splashed water on her face, removing remnants of her nightly facial mask, brushed her teeth, removed her scarf, and fluffed her hair a bit. Staring briefly at her reflection, she thought, "This will have to do."
She turned on her computer and while it booted up, she went to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. She glanced at the clock, 4:14 AM, not bad. She hurried to the couch and signed onto Skype. Within 30 seconds, her screen flashed with an incoming call. "Good morning, beautiful girl." She smiled at this greeting and put her headphones in. For some reason, listening to his voice through her earbuds made her feel closer to him.
She sat up straight, stared at his chest, and noticed that he wore no shirt. She could see the chest hairs she had fallen asleep against many times before. She felt familiar warmth slowly begin to spread across her skin. "You may speak." She continued to look at his chest, having not yet received permission to make eye contact. "Good morning, Sir. It is an honor to be at your service. May I ask how you are?" "You may." "How are you, Sir? How was your day? Is there anything I can do for you at this time?" "I'm well. My day was long, rather exhausting. Look up."
She raised her eyes without hesitation, meeting his sleepy but focused gaze. "I'm being pulled in so many ways at work. I know I can handle it, but some days, some days it's just too much. I must have clocked 15 hours today." "Oh, Sir, I'm so sorry to hear that. I know you've been dealing with a lot at work lately, and I hate that it's overwhelming you this way. How can I help you in this moment?" "It would help if you followed my instructions and appeared on screen prepared," he began, a tinge of frustration in his voice.
"I've mentioned this before, so, you're not unaware. Have you forgotten? Lost your rule book? What?" She felt the chills of disappointment prickle down her spine. In her sleepy disorientation, she'd forgotten to fully remove her clothing and attach her collar. The last time, she'd gone to sleep with the collar on because he demanded she do so. This time, it was beside her bed, in the drawer of her nightstand. "Get it." She scurried to her bedroom and withdrew collar, she hastily fastened it to her neck and ran back to her computer.
"I don't remember telling you to put it on. Take it off. Now. You think you deserve to wear my collar right now? Nevermind, don't answer that. I don't want to hear a word." The bite of the last word forced her eyes to cast downward, shamed. Embarrassed, she removed the collar and held it in her hands, her thumbs nervously rubbed over the ridges in the leather. She received the purple collar on her birthday, nine months prior. After a year of training in service, she received her most coveted prize, his collar.
She'd known better than to ask for it, but several times during any given week, she would catch herself fingering her neck longingly. When out with her friends in the life, she would often feel tinges of jealously while looking at their beautiful collars. She would only hope that her submission pleased him sufficiently and that he would, one day, bestow upon her his symbol of ownership.
When he took her out for her birthday, during a walk in the park after dinner, he surprised her with the collar. He sat her down on the bench, stood behind her, and clasped it around her neck, whispering only "You're mine." It was one of the best nights of her life, and she cherished his gift and his appreciation of her. She never wanted to disappoint him, but there were times, like this, when she faltered and made simple mistakes.
"I'm sorry I," she began. "Don't be sorry. Do what I ask of you and prepare yourself accordingly when I summon you. It's rather simple, actually. Do as you're told. Look up." She looked up and met his eyes, this time seeing a smile. She didn't immediately understand where the smile came from, but she felt comforted, and that was enough for her for the moment.
"Take off your clothes." This was not a new request, and she knew very well what he wanted when he commanded it. He enjoyed her slow movements, never breaking eye contact, focused, deliberate, dancing on the bridge between coy sensuality and gratuitous sexuality. She was wearing an ivory satin push-up bra and white boy shorts, so she didn't have much to remove. She reached behind her back and gingerly unhooked the latches of her bra. She then delicately hooked the index finger of her right hand under the left strap and guided it down her shoulder. She did the same for the other side, never breaking eye contact.
She watched him shift in his seat a few times, which she recognized as the onset of his arousal. She was pleasing him. "Show me." She fully removed the bra and cupped her breast. They weren't overly large, but not small either. They were full C cup and he deemed them perfect for his taste. When he made this simple command, she knew that he meant that she was to present them to him, playfully and sensually. So, she began massaging her breasts and rolling the nipples in between her thumbs and index fingers. "Nice."
She watched him lean back in his chair and slowly place his hand atop his groin area. She could see slight twitches in his boxer briefs, but dare not let her enjoyment of his new predicament show on her face because he could read her so well. She lifted her left breast toward her mouth, preparing to suck the nipple when he stopped her. "Where's your toy? Go get it. Now." She rushed to her bedroom again, opened the same drawer, and pulled out her lilac G spot vibrator.
She hurried back to her computer and looked at the screen, she saw that he removed his boxer briefs and was holding himself, slowly stroking, back and forth, up and down. She knew what he needed. She sat back on her couch and laid back, spreading her legs. "Push the button." She turned on the vibrator and it began to buzz in her hands. She looked up at him, meeting his eyes again. "Sir, may I play with myself?" "Yes. Do what I need you to do, what you need to do."
Angling herself for a better view, she began to move the vibrator along the outer lines of her vagina. It slid in easily as she was naturally well-lubricated. With her left hand, she spread the lips wider, and with her right hand, she massaged herself with the lilac color device. With every moment, she slipped deeper into the moment and allowed herself more enjoyment of it. At least he'd given her permission to do so this time. He told her to do what she needed to do and she proceeded to do just that.
She broke eye contact with him when her own eyes began to roll back into her head. Her hips slowly began to gyrate to the rhythm her hand and toy had started. After a few minutes, and at least three low groans from him, she inserted the toy inside. "Yes, baby girl, that's it. Show me. Good girl. Make my pussy come for me. Now." Hearing the urgency in his voice, she knew he was not far off from his own release, and she knew he needed her to give him the visual stimulation he needed to get over and release completely.
Making him cum was one of her greatest pleasures. To be able to serve him in such a way catered to his pleasure, she felt so lucky and honored to be the one he chose and to be the source of his pleasure. She widened her legs and pushed the toy deeper until it hit her spot. She knew it would be any second now, she moaned once, and then again, and finally a low guttural raw sound came from her throat as she felt the wave of an intense orgasm take over her body.
She felt her body jerk as her back arched, and just then, her body released its juices and she squirted them all over her keyboard, some of it hitting the screen. She knew better than to be embarrassed by this though because he loved every drop that came from her. She opened her eyes just in time to see him making his final feverish strokes as he erupted into a handful of tissues he had. She hated to see his cum go to such waste, but what could she do?
"Did I please you, sir?" "Oh, yes. Yes, baby girl, you were fantastic. You always are." She beamed with pride, despite her temporary weariness. "Good girl."
"Thank you, sir. I'm glad to be of service to you." She lowered her head again, gathered her belongings; she'd clean it up tomorrow, she was too tired now.
"Nicole." She looked up, having heard her birth name. She saw his hand extended, open palm, toward the camera.
"Yes, David?" "I love you. So much."
"And I adore you, my love."
"You are so fucking beautiful. I wish you could have come on this trip with me."
"I know, honey."
"I'll be home Friday."
"I can't wait."
"You may put your collar on, sleep well with it until then."
"Okay, I will."
She blew him a kiss and signed out of Skype, she patted back to her bed and stretched her limbs a bit to work out the kinks from their awkward positioning during their session. She laid down, heard the notification ring on her phone, and she glanced at it and saw a text from him, "You're mine." She typed the only response he needed and expected, "Always." ...
So, you just heard us reading Feminista Jones' Push the Button.
Erica: So, the part of the story that we read was the opening scene in the story. This is a much longer chapter book, and I highly encourage everyone to actually read the entire book.
Kenrya: Yeah, because it's not at all what you think it's going to be. The story is really interesting.
Erica: It definitely turns into something else, and word on the street is there will be a Part 2 soon. So, I'm very excited to see what the Part 2 will look like, considering the conversation we had with the author-
Kenrya: Which you'll hear next week.
Erica: And knowing her developments. So, I actually really liked this because it drew me in immediately, with the "I want to see you" part.
Kenrya: I was like, "Who wants to see who? Why?"
Erica: Yeah, like, "What's about to happen?" And there's something about a woman willingly submitting to someone, where it's kind of like ... it's kind of like how if you find out people are paying a whole lot for a particular something, you're like, "Ooh, that must be good, if they're paying all that kind of money." So, like, he must actually have some good dick if she willing to go through this shit.
Kenrya: There must be something.
Erica: If she willing to do all this submissive shit, wake up in the middle of the night and stuff. I mean maybe not necessarily for just dick because, as we say, dick is abundant and low in value.
Kenrya: And low in value.
Erica: Yeah, it was the ... The story definitely drew me in from the beginning, and I liked it. It's interesting seeing that kind of power play-
Kenrya: Yeah, that dynamic.
Erica: Act out. We'll kind of get into it, but I am ... well, maybe we won't get into it, I'll just open it up now. In relationships, I am ... Well, in life, I'm a very dominant person, and so I want to be a submissive person in relationships. However-
Kenrya: I'm sorry.
Erica: You're laughing?
Kenrya: Bitch. Okay.
Erica: No, I want to be a submissive-
Kenrya: In relationships, or in sex?
Erica: Sex and relationships.
Erica: I want to. The problem is I don't quite know if the DNA makeup of me-
Kenrya: Allows for that shit.
Erica: Allows for that to happen. See, now we're about to get into some whole therapy-type shit, but I feel like-
Kenrya: It's never just sex, right?
Erica: Right. So, I feel like in relationships, I desire to be submissive, and so I find myself throwing my submission to men that aren't worthy of said submission.
Kenrya: Yeah, he can't-
Erica: And then that's how you get off of that.
Kenrya: You can't follow where a nigga can't actually lead.
Erica: Exactly. Exactly. And so now, it's like how do you play that line? So, to me, this story reads like a fantasy because it's like, wow-
Kenrya: Yeah, you can stress this nigga this much?
Erica: She's got a dominant that's really doing the shit a dominant is supposed to do. So, I actually really like it because, like I said, I crave to be a submissive in a relationship. However-
Kenrya: What is it about that that attracts you? Like, why do you want to be submissive in a relationship?
Erica: Because I want to turn my brain off, I don't want to have to think about shit. But, again, I find myself being a dominant person because I know I can trust myself-
Kenrya: Yeah, you're competent.
Erica: I know I can depend on myself.
Erica: I know that if shit go left, Erica can make it happen. And it'd be really great to hand that over to someone.
Erica: And I think this also has a lot to do with the whole gender roles and growing up and having in my mind ideal gender roles. But, yeah, that would be really great, and so, to me, this is like a fantasy because it's like, wow, this shit is working well. But it's like, how does this really play out in real life?
Kenrya: Right. I mean, it's interesting to me, I like the story, and, on some levels, I like the idea of being submissive-
Erica: No, you're just a sadist, you enjoy-
Kenrya: I enjoy pain.
Erica: Yeah, you enjoy ... So, I've been reading a lot about submission and all of that, so in this book I read, they essentially broke it down into three buckets. The first bucket being a bottom, and bottoming, for the purposes of the book, and I'm probably fucking it up-
Kenrya: Fucking it up, and y'all will let us know.
Erica: Please correct us. But bottoming is enjoying receiving pain in sexual situations only. So it's like I can bottom, but when this scene is over, "Nigga go make some pancakes."
Kenrya: "Get the fuck up off me." Right.
Erica: And then, there is the role of the submissive, who is maybe not necessarily a bottom, but takes direction from their dom in the relationship. And so it's like make sure my drink is fixed when I get home, or my coffee's prepared this particular way-
Kenrya: Did you see how big my eyes just got?
Erica: You should see Kenrya's face right now.
Kenrya: Wooh, nigga.
Erica: To me, that's a turn-on.
Kenrya: Make sure what? I'm not your mama.
Erica: But, see, yeah, to me, that's a turn-on. And then, there's a slave, which is like, "Nigga, you ain't got no choice in this, you're going to do what I tell you when I tell you, sex, whatever."
Erica: And, also, in the book, it was, and I'll reference it once I remember what it was, but in the book, it was also important to note that the power in being a submissive is that you are giving your power to this person-
Kenrya: Right, you're trusting them and you're giving it to them, right, yeah.
Erica: It's a gift. And the power in that is that you can take that shit back any time. So, I think you're a bottom, and not a submissive, at all.
Kenrya: Yeah, that makes more sense to me.
Erica: Like, "Fix your face."
Kenrya: Well, but it's interesting because I don't want it to sound like I don't do for my partners because that's obviously not the case. But, I have dealt with codependency for so long, where the way that that looked was that I would put myself out, I would do harm to myself in order to help other people, particularly men, who didn't fucking deserve it, like as we were talking about trying to follow behind niggas that don't know how to lead, and putting myself in, sometimes, fucking in like real-ass peril, in the case of abuse and things like that because I was trying to meet the needs of someone else and subjugating my own needs. And so I've come through that, right, with the help of lots of therapy, shout out to therapy.
Erica: Shout out.
Kenrya: And I ain't going back. So, now, it's this really interesting balance of, you know, when we're just out here living our lives in a relationship, of making sure that there is a balance, and I even like to think of it as power, but a balance of doing for each other so that it doesn't feel like one person is always doing for the other because I'm partner right now with someone who's as sweet as I am and who has often found himself in that situation where he was the person who was doing everything for everyone, and so it's been kind of cool to see how we navigate that, as both of us being that type of person.
Kenrya: And it almost is like a competition to see who can do the sweetest thing for each other, but we do it, don't roll your eyes at me, bitch, but we do it in the context of we're not hurting ourselves to do it, and it feels ... it's healthy, it's the first time I've been in a healthy, you know what I mean, situation like that. But when it comes to sex, I'm like-
Erica: "It's okay to hurt a little bit."
Kenrya: Yes, do that, I literally will say, "Yeah, you need to suck that like you're trying to hurt me," and he does it, and that is what works for me. And so it's interesting because I'm still telling him what to do in that instance, but, also, it's because I enjoy the pain of it, so it's a ... I don't quite know what that-
Erica: Well, I think, one, as you guys continue to "partner"-
Kenrya: You hate that word.
Erica: I know. As you continue to partner, you will learn each other, and so it'll be a little more just ... shit will happen.
Kenrya: Well, stuff has happened, but he like to do some new stuff, he gotta get some direction.
Erica: But, two, I think it's just important about knowing yourself, your partner knowing you. And I mean and shit, if this is the person you're with, they should understand that you have ... Ideally, for me, I will be in a situation with a dominant that understands that I have a history of codependency, and will care and do just as much to look out for that as I will. And, also-
Kenrya: Right. And that's the one thing you can trust to lead you.
Erica: Yeah. And, also, I think that it's important to remember that your service should not be to the detriment of who you are, you know? And I think that's ... If there's anything that I learned in this whole codependency journey-
Erica: Is that codependency is putting yourself at harm to help-
Kenrya: Somebody else.
Erica: Somebody else. And I think that-
Kenrya: And so often Black women do that, it's what we're taught to do that as little girls.
Kenrya: We're socialized to put everybody else's needs before our own, and that's why I always hate that strong Black woman shit because I'm like, I was literally just having a conversation about this, like we are taught that we should not feel pain, or at least if we feel it, we shouldn't express it, we for damn sure shouldn't tell people that we're hurting, and at least to us, not ever feeling like we can really be vulnerable, whether it's when we're having sex, or it's when we're talking to our friends, or when we're trying to be in a relationship, an intimate relationship, with somebody.
Erica: And if you can't express that whole range of emotions, like if I can't express to my partner deep pain and deep sorrow, I think it's also difficult for you to express extreme joy and extreme happiness, you know? I feel like you should be able to express all of those emotions.
Kenrya: Well, and feel them all, right? Because oftentimes it's like you can't even feel that shit. Like, my kid is ... well, first of all, she's a Gemini, like you, so take that how y'all want to. But she's like-
Erica: That's the Gemini theme song.
Kenrya: Dramatic as hell. But, so, she'll be having a reaction that, to me, as an Aries, who is like, "Okay, girl," is overblown. But I tell her all the time, the first thing I always say is, "It's okay to feel that. You can sit here and you can have those feelings, feel all of that emotion, and then when you're ready, we can talk about it." Like, I never tell her that it's wrong to feel a way because for so long I think I was told that in ways both explicit and implicit.
Erica: Yeah. I was with this guy, and going through my shit, going through my emotions, and he just sat down, looked me dead in the eye, was like, "You are so fucking emotional." He was like, "I'm not used to it, but I'm going to deal with it, and I appreciate you for it,"-
Kenrya: Okay, I guess?
Erica: And I was just like, "This is sexy." See, I found it sexy because, again, it's just like-
Kenrya: I guess, relatively, like have you experienced men who are like, "Oh, fuck, I can't, this is too much"?
Erica: I mean, people, not even men because, again, I am an emotional being, I will be very excited about going at 9:00 AM, and then by 7:00, I'm like, "You know what, I'd rather stay at home."
Kenrya: Yeah, we know, the people know.
Erica: Anyway, bitch. Again, put your eyes back in your mouth. But nonetheless ... So, it's really nice to have someone ... because I know it's a little off-putting to people, when you're not used to such extremes in emotion.
Kenrya: Y'all feel things so deeply.
Erica: Exactly. And so for somebody to be like, "Yo, this shit is fucking wild, but I'm here for the ride, and I appreciate it," it was just like-
Kenrya: That's pretty cool.
Kenrya: And it wasn't, "Well, I'll fuck with you anyway," you know what I mean?
Erica: No, it was just like-
Kenrya: It was like, "Okay, this is what it is, and I'm down."
Erica: "This is what it is, I'm learning it, all right."
Kenrya: "Got to adjust, but it's cool."
Kenrya: Okay, I dig that.
Kenrya: So, you like to be submissive when you're having sex. I was going to say "in the bedroom," but who has sex in the bedroom?
Erica: In the room.
Kenrya: Yes, in the room. In the room where it happens. But, do you like to be submissive outside the room?
Erica: Yeah, I do, to an extent.
Kenrya: Can a nigga text you at 4:14 and say, "I want to see you"?
Erica: If those are the established rules, yes.
Erica: But, see, the thing is, I want to ... So, I was a kid, growing up, that I clearly remember being at a birthday party in somebody's basement, you know, had a little ghetto birthday party in somebody's basement.
Kenrya: Where they just put all the kids in the basement?
Erica: And I clearly remember looking around for emergency exits-
Erica: Like, if some shit go down, how we getting out of here? And that's how I am in the context of ... That's how I see myself being in the context of a submissive relationship. Haven't gotten there, but, you know, like I am perfectly fine submitting because, one, I require a lot, so it's not like there's this, "Oh, I submit, and"-
Kenrya: Right, it means that you're taking care of me on a certain level.
Erica: Exactly. And so I'm kind of like on ... For me, it's kind of like, "Okay, I'll submit, but the minute this shit start feeling weird, or like you ain't got it, bro, I'm out, deuces." Or like, "No, nigga, let me tell you what you going to do." So, yeah, that's where I am with that. Like, it would definitely have to be established rules that we both agree upon, that kind of thing, but, yeah, I would be fine with it.
Erica: Yeah, I think I would be okay with it. But, again, you got to hold shit down, I got to be taken care of, in order ... because I feel like, also, submitting is me taking care of you.
Kenrya: Right, like how she was talking about she had to do what he needed and what she needed.
Erica: Yeah. Like, I am a very detail-oriented person.
Erica: I have no problems with ... In previous positions, I've served in roles where I was a number two to someone; the number one took care of the big picture, the vision, whereas I was responsible for executing, and those were the most satisfying jobs that I had.
Kenrya: Yeah, because you get shit done, you got shit you can tick off your to-do list.
Erica: Exactly. So, you come back from a meeting and say, "This is the direction we're going in, I want 10 widgets. As long as I got 10 widgets, make that shit happen." That's how I see an ideal submissive relationship for me; you look at the big picture, you see where we going, setting that, and then look to me to take care of the details, but, again, I have to be comfortable in you setting the major goal. So, what about you? I mean it's clear that you're not really willing to ... I don't want to say willing to submit. Talk me through this.
Kenrya: I'm sitting here thinking about it. I mean-
Erica: Because, also, knowing your background, I feel like there is this reaction to "I'm so not going to be this, I'm going to completely run from it," and maybe I'm being a little too extreme, so talk me through your thoughts of how you feel on that.
Kenrya: I mean, I think some of my trepidation goes back to something you said earlier, which is that you are following somebody who is not really leading you anywhere. So, you know, I was married to a nigga who I should not have been married to, who wasn't leading us no fucking where, to be quite honest-
Erica: To the BET awards.
Erica: Everybody's a rapper.
Kenrya: Everybody's a rapper. And I ... So, I've always described myself as not necessarily an A-type, but I am, I forget what it's called ... like, I step up when I'm required to, I do not need to run the show, I don't need to be out front, I like to be behind the scenes like you, just kind of getting shit done. And in relationships, typically what happen is that I ...
Kenrya: You know what, a good analogy: if there's a class project, and we all have shit that we have to get done, if a natural leader emerges and handles the shit, I'm cool to just do my part and turn it in and keep it moving; but if nobody steps up, I will step into the role and I would do a great job at it, that's really how I treat relationships.
Kenrya: And so, in that marriage, and a lot of other relationships I've been in, I've been kind of forced to step in the role because the man who I was with was not able to do it, or not willing to do it, or whatever. In the case of my ex, what I found out over the course of years was that he really did just want somebody to fucking take care of him. His mother had taken care of him for years, his sister had taken care of him for years-
Erica: And that's the thing, it's difficult being comfortable with the person you're submitting to because submission ... I see submitting to a guy, not taking care of a nigga, but, no, you have to be a strong person because you got both of us riding on your back, it's not just you.
Kenrya: And that was the thing, we were all riding on my back. And then it was like-
Erica: And then mad because the nigga riding on your back.
Kenrya: Exactly. You know, you got an attitude because I'm the one that's making the money, you got an attitude because I'm the one that's working and can't fuck around and do nothing with you and listen to you rap all the goddamn time. So, eventually, it got to the point where it just wasn't really sexy for me. I got to a point where I didn't really have a lot of respect for him, to be quite honest.
Erica: That's the worst.
Kenrya: Right. And it wasn't even about gender roles, I don't think. I think it was more like, "Okay, cool, you're not the one that makes the money, bet. Could you do something around the fucking house? Could you take the kid to do something so that I can get this work done and then we can all go out and have dinner together? Yeah, I mean could you finish painting the fucking dining room that I ended up having to get up on the ladder and do that shit myself?"
Kenrya: And that was my thing, you know, you ain't got to be the one taking out the trash and, you know, doing all of that, but you need to do something, and then not be on my case about it. And so it got to the point where even if I had wanted to be submissive, there was no one to really submit to. I couldn't trust him to lead me any fucking where. And it spilled over into the bedroom, or wherever else we was going to have sex because I didn't really ... I wasn't wet for him no more.
Kenrya: And so I think my fear is slipping back into a situation with anyone where I am doing all of the things, and that if I attempt to be submissive, which is where I try to ... you know, I was making plates, I was doing all of that shit and, again, I don't have any problem with doing that, and I do that with my current partner, but it's because he is worthy of it.
Erica: That is so ... Yeah.
Kenrya: And so while I don't think of it necessarily as being submissive in this relationship, it really does feel like a equal partnering, which is pretty fucking dope. And in the bedroom, we just nasty, I can't even-
Erica: We just nasty.
Kenrya: I can't even label it, we do the stuff that he likes to do, we do the stuff that I like to do, there's no complaining, there is just a willingness to do all of the shit, and that just works for me, you know, without a label, it just works really well for me.
Erica: So, in the story, middle of the night, wake up, "Let me see you play with yourself," do you do ...?
Kenrya: I would do it.
Erica: Computer love.
Kenrya: I have.
Kenrya: I have had a partner who was once ... he was away for some kind of training, this is the last time I can remember doing it, he was away for some kind of training, he was gone for like seven or eight weeks or some shit, and we was both struggling. So, we literally did this, but it was an app on my phone, and so I just propped the phone up, I had gotten a little thing, like a little suction cup with a ... like, how you had the tripod, where you can attach it, set that up, pulled out the toys, he put his headphones in, and I gave him a show. I got to cum, he got to enjoy it, fantastic, good times.
Erica: I might have to look for that particular suction cup-
Kenrya: Oh, it's in the Amazon cart, or in the order. So, we share an Amazon cart.
Erica: Yeah, we are those Black people, we share Amazon, Netflix, we're a shared economy.
Kenrya: Hulu. We share everything.
Erica: We were Ubering before, well, not like that, but, you know-
Kenrya: Yeah, no, fuck Uber.
Erica: We were Ubering before Uber was Uber.
Erica: Living in the shared economy.
Kenrya: The share economy, yes.
Erica: Okay, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, I am ... I do it all.
Kenrya: Wait, bitch, I just sent, you're going to be so proud of me, I don't think I told you this-
Erica: You send nudes?
Kenrya: I sent my first nudes.
Erica: Oh my gosh, I have like literally like fucking vaults of that shit. Like, vaults of that shit.
Kenrya: Oh my God.
Erica: Yeah, yeah. I do lots of ... Yeah, my friend now is not here, and so we do lots of that shit: videos, not Skype, FaceTime, sending pictures, we have this great little app, it's a-
Kenrya: That photo vault thing?
Erica: Oh, yeah, we do that.
Kenrya: Yeah, I have that.
Erica: Well, I have that. Well, you don't have anything to put in it.
Kenrya: Well, no, no, see, that's sending-
Erica: You take pictures while you're in the act, too?
Kenrya: I'm about to say, I've made videos, and then-
Erica: Oh, yeah, we do lots of-
Kenrya: Save that on my phone, and then we can rewatch it later, we like to watch ourselves.
Erica: I think I'm own Jenna Jameson.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. But as far as sending things-
Erica: Yeah, you don't send it.
Kenrya: I've never felt comfortable ... because, you know, I had pictures stolen from me before-
Erica: I know.
Kenrya: So I was kind of skittish about.
Erica: See, that's the thing, I have so much shit out there-
Kenrya: That you're like, "Fuck it."
Erica: That I'm just like, "Fuck it." And then the other thing is everybody got them, and I got a good body, so, I mean I've got a little gut, but fuck it-
Kenrya: Girl, who don't?
Erica: Somebody like it. Niggas from the South like it.
Kenrya: I hate you.
Erica: Where was I going with ...
Kenrya: You said that you have no problems with it, and I'm saying that I am very proud of myself when I first did it.
Erica: We also have this ... it's a Bluetooth vibrator.
Kenrya: Oh, that he can control from his phone?
Erica: Yeah. But the thing is, it's a little-
Kenrya: Is it any ...
Erica: It's a little difficult because I have to have the app open, he has to have the app open, so-
Kenrya: Then how do you see each other? Or I guess then you got to set up your laptop or your iPad or something.
Erica: Yes. But within the app, you can chat-
Kenrya: Oh, okay.
Erica: Because we do that, too, I mean like ... I guess that ... You know what, that was my first intro to erotica.
Kenrya: What? Sexting?
Erica: Self-written erotica.
Kenrya: Bitch, that ain't the same.
Erica: I am an author. Thankfully, for our listeners, you will not hear any of my self-written erotica because it's trash.
Kenrya: At least you know yourself.
Erica: Oh, no, yeah, girl, we ... wooh, yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Yo, she's like reminiscing, she done bit her lip, like the white man's overbite, the shit they do when they think they getting it.
Erica: No, yeah, so, I definitely do some computer love. I have not been summoned at 4:00 in the morning to do computer love, I don't think. But, yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah, no, I mean my sleep is precious, but I would do that if ... I mean, that's hot, I would do it.
Erica: Especially if your boo is out of town.
Kenrya: Yeah. See, my boo lives literally three minutes away.
Erica: So jelly.
Kenrya: I know. It's the best.
Erica: That's better than in-house supply because-
Erica: That nigga can go home and you can be in your own clean house.
Kenrya: This is true.
Erica: When you want to snuggle-
Kenrya: Although, I like him there, but, yes, it is-
Erica: It's nice, but, if you like him there-
Kenrya: We still-
Erica: Because you have the ability to have your own space.
Kenrya: Yes, at this point.
Kenrya: Yeah, we're still early enough that it's nice, though it is very convenient, we can meet for lunch.
Erica: I know, every time, I'm like, "I'm going to lunch," I'm like mm-hmm (affirmative). I sent her text, "Are you still at "lunch"?"
Kenrya: And I don't respond because I still be at lunch.
Erica: At lunch. Lunch.
Kenrya: It's fun times, yeah.
Erica: Getting your lunch on. Okay, so, later in the story ... did you read the ...?
Kenrya: Yeah, I read the whole thing.
Erica: Okay, I'm sorry, yes, we read the whole story. So, later in the story, I found it interesting, we didn't really go over this in our story, but I found it interesting the openness that they had with their submission. Remember the scene where he's at his mom's house, and they were talking about ... well, first, that scene in the bathroom?
Erica: Although short, hot.
Kenrya: It was great. We considered doing that one, but it was too short.
Erica: Yeah. But, just the whole-
Kenrya: And it was in his mama house.
Erica: Fucking in the bathroom. The trepidation she had about going to see his mom because she was like, "Oh, she thinks I'm a weak woman," and I was just like, "Oh."
Kenrya: That was interesting, to think about what that dynamic looks like on the outside.
Kenrya: Because I never really ... you know, I'm very much like, "Fuck what y'all doing, this is what I'm doing," but that that was a factor in their relationship, for her to be thinking about that, I did think that was interesting.
Erica: Yeah, because, to me ... Yeah, I'm definitely, to an extent, a "Fuck what y'all are doing" kind of gal. But, you still want the nigga mama to like you, you know?
Erica: And so, I found that very interesting, and would like to maybe hear from some people, if you're in a Dom/sub relationship, how do you navigate vanilla scenes?
Kenrya: That's interesting. Yeah, do you tone that shit down when you're around ... because he really didn't, he was just like, "Stop asking her about that. We not doing this," it was very-
Erica: Because I feel like to an extent, it's just relation ... like, again, all relationships are the relationships, so, you know, there is a level of service to one another, and I don't think anything would look too crazy out-of-line. But, you get to a point where you're like, "Go sit down," and you go scurry in the corner.
Kenrya: Right. And his mama like, "The fuck? Where'd this ...?"
Erica: Lord, when I tell you my Granny's eyes would be like, "Girl,"-
Erica: "If you don't chill ..." so, yeah.
Kenrya: That is interesting. Another thing that happened, and I was thinking about it when you were talking earlier about how you have attempted to have this type of relationship with some men and found that they weren't the ones, was that in the story, she talks about, and there's some flashbacks with her previous dom, and it's great because ... I think Feminista does a great job of showing that there are lots of different ways that this can play out, and showing what it can look like when you're with somebody who is-
Kenrya: Abusive and is not respectful of you and doesn't accept that gift that you're giving them, in a healthy way.
Erica: They abuse it.
Erica: And that's the scary part that you want to ... that's, like, the dark side of it all, you know, it's like there are probably a lot of predators looking around for some little wide-eyed girl talking about, "I want a Dom," it's like, "Yeah, okay, and then I'll just use this as a ploy to abuse you," you know? So, that's scary.
Kenrya: Yeah, that is scary.
Erica: And from what I've seen and read from some women, their entrance into these kinds of relationships have been with really shitty guys, you know, I think it's finding what works ... you know, like kissing a bunch of frogs before you find your Dom prince. And, that is why, me being who I am, I'm reading lots of books, and doing my research, and how this is playing with my codependency, that kind of thing, because I don't want to go into it and end up in a really abusive, fucked-up situation.
Kenrya: But, I mean, I think the great thing is that you have tools, and you have people. As our therapist, we have the same therapist, and she always says, she's like, "You're not the person that you were before, you've got all of these things, this knowledge, these tools, and you are also in a place where you're not doing that strong Black woman stereotype where you are able to be vulnerable with people who have earned that, and that you can go to those people when you need help if you find yourself in a situation with someone who has not earned it.
Kenrya: I think that helps to take the fear out of the new shit, you know?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay, so, question for you, kink question for you, what's your favorite ... what's your instant ... I'm sorry, I'm trying to snap my fingers, my nails are too long. What's your instant pain, like that's like a boop, it's on and popping?
Kenrya: I like a ton of nipple pressure. So, I use nipple clamps. Like, with a heavy chain, a chain that's cold and it's heavy up against your body.
Erica: Yeah, I just got into that, very recently, and was like, "Whoa."
Kenrya: It's like, for me ... and what's crazy ... So, my right nipple is a little more sensitive than the left, like I can feel it more, not even that it's more sensitive, but like that will get me there, and it's literally, it's like a direct line from my right nipple to my pussy, it's insane. Like, you could push me over if you do it right, it's fucking crazy. Yeah, like a lot of ... In the past, niggas be like, "Are you sure? I feel like I've got to be hurting," I'm like, "No, I'm good, I'm strong, keep it moving."
Erica: "No, no, do what I told ... Do what I fucking said."
Kenrya: Exactly, "Don't ask me fucking questions. Just do it like you're trying to hurt me, and it'll be great."
Erica: All righty.
Kenrya: Yeah, what about you?
Erica: I like spankings. Like, throw me over your lap and go to town.
Kenrya: With a hand, with a paddle, with a crop?
Erica: I feel like guys like paddles more because they feel like, "I'm not hurting you," but I appreciate a good hand.
Kenrya: I like a good hand. I have a paddle and a crop.
Erica: Leave me bruised, and I am excited.
Kenrya: See, I don't think I'm ever bruised. I can't see my ass, but I-
Erica: See, I like a bruise, also, because it's a later reminder of like, "Wooh, child, that was wild."
Kenrya: Yeah. Remember I told you I didn't quite have time to have sex this morning even though that was the plan, but we did have a whole spanking session that was very nice, and it was just hands.
Erica: See, yeah.
Kenrya: But I never do the lay across your ... that makes me think of, I don't know-
Erica: Daddy-child type of-
Kenrya: Yeah, and that's too much for me. I can't. But it was literally just he was on the couch, I was standing in front of him, I was talking about going to make breakfast, and then it was just lots of play.
Erica: And that's the thing-
Kenrya: It pops up whenever.
Erica: Sex is more than just sticking it in and out, it's-
Kenrya: Exactly. Like, we'll do that later, but this was just nice and fun.
Erica: Some sensual, fun play. Or not so sensual, just some smacking that ass.
Erica: But, yeah-
Kenrya: And my ass is like new, so I'm enjoying it.
Erica: You're like, "Wait, it's still wiggling? Even after the hand is gone?"
Kenrya: Right. Listeners, "new" in that it has just gotten bigger, not in that I have paid for it, which I ain't got no problems with that either.
Erica: I know, I'm definitely trying to get the stomach taken out.
Kenrya: Are you really?
Erica: I would love to. And we went out of town this past weekend, and so I was in the city of fake bodies, and you see really bad jobs, and then you see really good ones, and it's just like, "Wow." In my mind, the only reason that I felt like these were jobs and not like, "I worked really hard for this," was because nothing about you says that-
Erica: "I'm in the gym all the time."
Erica: Like, if you have really ... and if I'm wrong, I'm so sorry, but, A, no way you in the gym every day with that fly ass pressed blowout and big, fluffy, healthy, natural curls, and then that flat-ass stomach; like, no, bitch, in order to get a stomach like that, you were sweating like a motherfucker in the gym.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's a work stomach, not a "I'm just a super little skinny thing" stomach.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: So, yeah, I saw some bodies that I was like, "Hmm, that would be nice. That would be very interesting."
Kenrya: Yeah, especially if somebody else would pay for it.
Erica: I am also firmly in the "I appreciate the body that I have now, I'm not going to spend these days pissed about it or worrying about it or not appreciating because 10 years from now, I'm going to look on this body-
Kenrya: You're going to look back and be like, "Bitch."
Erica: And be like, "Damn."
Kenrya: Bitch, I have never appreciated my body while I was in it. Like, I am just now finally being like, "Ooh, bitch."
Erica: Exactly. Yes. Like, you don't know what you got 'til it's gone, and that's how-
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:48:29].
Erica: I was about my body, and so now I'm like, "You know what, this little tummy? Fuck it. Y'all going to get all this gut and all this motherfucking butt."
Kenrya: Yeah. I like it.
Erica: And, my swimsuits, I was looking like a Luke dancer, my shits are like super tiny-
Kenrya: I haven't seen ... are they the ones you got from that one site that we were looking at?
Erica: Oh, I got another one, I'll show you, it's out there, but it's like tiny and it is so cute and I absolutely love it, and, yeah, you see a little FUPA, but you know what, fuck it, that's that gush that niggas like.
Erica: Beyoncé got it, we got it, too.
Kenrya: Right? And, also, I like a big guy, and so ... I spend my time worrying about my body, and I'm just like, "You know what, for fucking what? They ain't worried about that shit."
Erica: Exactly. And I appreciate a little muffin. So, I know you got to appreciate my little muffins.
Kenrya: Yes, absolutely.
Erica: But, if we have any sponsors for this coolsculpt or lipo, we'd still be willing to take them-
Kenrya: You'll be accepting.
Erica: I'll take sponsorships, and then I'll be on this episode talking about "This was so great, I tried it, and it was fantastic."
Kenrya: She will. You will, bitch. That'd be a Instagram takeover.
Erica: Yeah, definitely.
Kenrya: It's okay.
Erica: I definitely feel like one of those weird companies ... So, we roll with a big crew of amazingly smart and gorgeous bad bitches, I'd want a wig company to ...
Kenrya: Oh, bitch, I got three wigs in my closet. I'm looking at yours up here.
Erica: That's my Prince wig. I want a wig company to sponsor us so that we can take these fly photo shoots in like lime-green wigs, listening to Megan Thee Stallion talking about "Simon says put your hands on your hips, hey," with wigs and stuff.
Kenrya: Wait, how tall do you have to be to be a stallion? I'm guessing I'm firmly a hottie.
Erica: You're firmly a hottie, I think you have to be like 5'7" and above.
Kenrya: Oh, God, I'm nowhere near that. Are you? How tall are you?
Erica: I think I'm 5' ... I say I'm 5'6", but to obtain stallion status, I would be willing to measure myself because I am a fucking stallion.
Kenrya: You are a stallion, that's not a fucking game.
Erica: Yeah, I fucking love ... I love that girl.
Erica: All righty. So, are we it? Is that it?
Kenrya: This is it, yeah.
Kenrya: Thank you so much for joining us.
Erica: Thanks for joining us as talk we about dicks and shit again.
Kenrya: It's what we do, this is what we do. So, y'all will hear from us next week, hopefully you'll be back, right? You will be back-
Erica: You'll be back.
Kenrya: Because you love us. Already.
Erica: You'll be back because you love us.
Kenrya: Already. We'll be back with another really dope story, and an interview-
Erica: An interview.
Kenrya: We're actually going to talk with Feminista Jones, who wrote Push the Button, she'll be here with us next week, that'll be dope. Until then, we are Kenrya and Erica, two hoes making it clap.
Erica: Two hoes making it clap.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. Every five star review that you post on Apple Podcast between now and July 31st, 2019, will be entered into a raffle to win a copy of one of the books that we read on the show. We need your help, and we're giving away five books. You just need to post your review, and then email a screenshot of it to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. And please take a minute to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram at TheTurnOnPodcast, and find links to books, transcripts, guest info, and other dope shit at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Peace.
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.