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On Episode 7.5 of The Turn On, we interview Talia Hibbert, author of "Bad for the Boss," and talk about the importance of representation and banning shame from our sex lives.
Fit Series by Rebekah Weatherspoon:
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Today our guest is Talia Hibbert. A Black British author who lives in a bedroom full of books. I love that. Talia writes steamy, diverse romance because of a deeply held belief that people of marginalized identities need honest and positive representation. Talia's interests include makeup, junk food and unnecessary sarcasm. Talia, thank you so much for joining us.
Talia: Well thank you for having me. I'm really excited.
Kenrya: Yes, me too. And I love the unnecessary sarcasm.
Talia: Got to get it in there, wherever you can.
Kenrya: It makes me happy. Yes. I love it. And it comes through in your characters, but we'll talk about that later. But before we really dive in, what are your pronouns? Erica and I are both she and her.
Talia: I'm she/her too.
Kenrya: Awesome. Okay.
Erica: Great. Kenrya just read your bio but we really like for our listeners to hear from you what you would describe as what you do. So tell us what you do.
Talia: Oh gosh, this is testing how well I know my own, I suppose they call it a brand. So basically, I try to write honest, funny, heartfelt romance that represents people from all kinds of different walks of life, positions in society, cultures, as I can. Purely because I really enjoy, appreciate and have been affected by diverse romance. So that's kind of why I prioritize when I write as well. And I really focus on kind of fiery chemistry, deep emotions, and lots of lighthearted humor to balance things out.
Kenrya: That's dope. So did you always want to be a writer?
Talia: Yeah, it's strange actually. That was kind of my main, when I grow up, my dream job. But at the same time as I got older, I started to doubt that it would actually be possible. People always say that you can't support yourself being a writer or a creator and you have to be super, super special to make any money writing and things like that. So for a while I did kind of lose hope, but it was always my dream to do this.
Kenrya: Wow. So did you do other jobs before you got here? Was it just kind of always a path that led you here? And then I think, specifically, how did you come to write romance erotica books?
Talia: I'm quite lucky I think because I managed quite a straightforward path despite my doubts. So when I was younger, kind of when I was studying, I had a few different jobs. Some of them would be things like freelance writing, writing for newspapers that reflected my interest in writing. But then mainly, I worked at McDonald's and I worked at lots of coffee shops and I was a hotel room cleaner. I did quite a few things. I worked in makeup artistry for quite awhile. And then while I was at university I started out studying law because that seemed like a more reliable path. But then I realized that it wasn't working for me and I needed to do what I really wanted to do. So I went on to an English degree and that gave me more confidence. And it was in the third and final year of my degree that I actually started writing and self publishing my romance novels.
Kenrya: Wow. While you were still in school?
Talia: Yeah. Because I kind of wanted to see if I could make enough money doing that to support myself before my student loan ran out.
Kenrya: That's real. And real smart.
Erica: What was the first romance book you read?
Talia: Oh gosh, it was, I think it's called Splendid by Julia Quinn. I remember it quite well. I come from, well for most of my teenage years I lived in a very white, small town. So I go to the library and all the books were white. And there was this one book that was like a cartoon cover, I don't think, well maybe they do, but I don't know if they have those cartoon covers for Julia Quinn's books in the U.S., so you might not know what I mean. But it was like a girl sitting at a mirror and the background was just plain green and she was a cartoon. And for some reason, I felt like I could relate more to the cartoon than I could to photographed covers of people who didn't look like me. I don't know why. But I was like, "Yeah, I want that one."
Talia: And I didn't realize it was a romance, but I started reading it and I was like, "Oh my God, they're kissing." And I was like, "Oh, they're doing other things." It all went uphill from there.
Kenrya: Yes, up hill. So it's funny because the next question I was going to ask was what was the moment when you realized you weren't well represented within the genre?
Talia: The very first moment.
Kenrya: Yeah. It sounds like it. Like what did that feel like to you?
Talia: Well, like I said, I was at that point a teenager in a very white town. So it was kind of more of the same. I'd stopped expecting to be represented most of the time. Like it was more like when I was represented, I was like, "Oh, this is a nice..." I've lost my word. "This is a nice anomaly." You know?
Talia: So it was more that it took me a while to realize that I could represented in the genre. You know, I had to go online to see that there were all these other romance writers who were writing characters like me. So that was a nice moment.
Erica: When was the first time you saw yourself in erotica? And tell me a little bit about how you felt when you realized, "Hey, this is me."
Talia: I think the first time was Rebekah Weatherspoon's series, I think it's called the Fit series. And one of the books, I believe, this is completely from memory, so I could be wrong, but I believe that one of those books has an East African heroine. She might be Egyptian or something like that. And that was the first time that I read someone who kind of came close to me. There were sex scenes and she had brown skin and I was like, "Oh, I have brown skin." That was nice.
Kenrya: Dope. So I mean kind of in the same way that seeing your... We wanted to know about the first time you saw yourself and how that impacted you. I'm really interested in how writing these books impacts the rest of your life. Like how does writing romance erotica impact your own intimate relationships?
Talia: Oh gosh. Well, I don't know if it does. Which is a super boring answer. But no, I really don't know that it does. I'm just very... I compartmentalize a lot just as a person. And so when I'm at my desk writing these stories, it's all like a fantasy world that doesn't touch me. I definitely put parts of my own experiences, life and obviously it's coming from my mind, into the books. But then when I'm going about my own life, I don't think it impacts me. But then you never know with these things.
Kenrya: Right. You never find yourself re-enacting some scene that you wrote or like, "Oh wait, this is familiar."
Talia: Maybe because this seems weird to say but obviously everything I write is to my personal taste so I'm sure there's some overlap.
Erica: Well, in the book that we read for this episode, Bad for the Boss, Jennifer and Theo are an interracial couple, like in most of your books. And one of the reasons that... We were looking for a story that featured an interracial couple. However, we didn't want the interracialness of the couple to be a thing. And I think you did a really great job of making it an interracial couple, but not making this like fetishized couple. His alabaster skin and her kinky hair. Because we read a lot of that before we got to you. But in most of your books you have interracial couples. So can you explain why you like to explore these type of relationships and what role race plays in your writing?
Talia: Yeah. I think when I started out, it came from a very simple place, which is that I'm in an interracial relationship and I have been since I was 18. So when I was kind of discovering more and more books that I liked, I was going for a lot of interracial romances because that's what I was living at the time. And then when I got to writing, I feel like definitely for myself, I don't know how other writers feel about this, but when I started writing and I was learning how to craft a story, I definitely wanted to echo things that I'd been reading and studying beforehand.
Talia: So I feel like that, maybe subconsciously, influenced my decision to start writing interracial romances. And then obviously after, when I published some and there was a reaction, I realized that there's a group of readers who read interracial romances for the same reasons. That they are in interracial romances as themselves, but they dislike fetishization and common problems. So it felt like I was doing something nice for a lot of people by writing these stories. Not filling a gap, but adding to a maybe underrepresented section of romance. Although I don't know that I'd say it's underrepresented anymore. I felt like it was at the time, but definitely not now.
Kenrya: Yeah, it was surprising. I think how many books in the genre or the sub genre, I guess I should say, that we came across. But as we were saying, they're not...
Erica: They're not well written.
Kenrya: Most of them are not well... They are not as well written as yours. We love this book. And I think it takes... Maybe in part because you have been there, where you have a touch that makes these stories feel really authentic and not like it's just interracial for the sake of being interracial.
Talia: I mean, I definitely don't do that.
Talia: And I do think that when you are writing interracial romances, you have to be, or I have to be more careful than if I write a Black hero and a Black heroine or if I wrote a Black hero and heroine. Because I'm not suggesting that people of the same race can't have different perspectives and opinions when it comes to things like race and white supremacy and interracial issues like colorism. Definitely can. But at the same time, the way you move through the world is a lot more similar than the way my Black heroines and white, or in the case of this book, Asian heroes move through the world. So they don't have to have conversations about that and navigate that.
Kenrya: Okay. As a start of the book, you included a trigger warning essentially, which I really appreciated. And essentially, for folks who have not yet picked up the book, which they will, a warning that, like most of us, Jennifer has some past un-dealt with trauma that, to actually use the language you just used, it informs how she moves through the world. And that brings me to two questions. I think the first is why did you choose to lead with the warning? And then the second is why was this past trauma important to her character development?
Talia: As far as the warnings, I always try to put content notes in my books for any potentially difficult topics that I handle. And I do that because I've been really lucky to read a lot of books by authors who've done similar things, which kind of introduced me to the concept. And I always thought that it was really important and valuable because a content warning might not stop you from reading a particular book, but if you know that something has the capacity to affect you and you know that you're not in the right mindset right now, or you're not in the right place to deal with that, it kind of gives you the power to say, "Well, I'll just put that down and come back to it when I can." So it enables more people to enjoy the book, which is what I really care about.
Talia: And then as far as Jennifer's trauma informing her life, I think that the things that have happened, the things that happened to all of us in the past are obviously super important when it comes to our future choices. And when I'm planning a romance, I always kind of look at any major events in each character's past and I spend a lot of time thinking about even the smallest ways that that can impact their personality. And more importantly, or the most important aspect of that for a romance, whether it stops them entering a healthy relationship. Whether they have issues that they need to deal with before they can let themselves kind of love and trust. So for Jennifer, she had kind of, she was prickly and she had a hard time trusting people and trusting good situations because something so terrible had happened to her in the past.
Erica: It's really interesting that you brought up the prickliness of Jennifer because one of the things that stood out to us is that you wrote that Jennifer's prickly and often prickly things aren't kissed. And that made us think about the things that we tell ourselves that we do and don't deserve. Is there anything that you've preemptively counted yourself out of when it came to relationships?
Talia: Oh gosh. I think for a while I did. Yes. You kind of have these preconceptions, especially because I haven't always been treated the best. You do come to this mindset where you're like, "Well, you know, maybe I'll just have to be happy with this bare minimum thing or this because clearly I can't get this impossible ideal that I'm fantasizing about." But actually I would say that romance novels themselves helped me with that because the more you read these really wonderful relationships and the more you read about people putting their loved ones first, the more you think, well surely everyone's not making this up. Like surely this can actually happen.
Kenrya: Right. It came from somewhere.
Talia: Yeah, we didn't just like... This didn't poof. It's a thing that people have experienced. Otherwise how would we write about it? So for awhile I was kind of living in two minds where I was like, "This thing exists, but what's the likelihood of someone like me ever getting it?" So I would say that yes, I have counted myself out of things, but then at the same time. I am kind of lucky that I had, for example, a mother who is always like, "Don't you dare. You are a special rainbow. And you deserve this, this and this." So, things worked out well for me with minimal strength on my part. It all came from elsewhere I think.
Kenrya: That's the beauty of having solid relationships. It's great that she was able to give you that. Another thing that we really loved early in the book is when Jennifer is talking to her bestie Aria and Aria reminds her that there's nothing that she can do during sex that's bad as long as all parties are down to participate. That really rang true. Why was it key for you to remind this character, and by extension, your readers, of this super true thing?
Talia: I think that a lot of people, especially when you're from communities that don't always talk about sex, which I am, for multiple reasons, it's easy to kind of know what you like, but carry this secret certainty that you're a weirdo and no one else could possibly be into that. You can't say anything or ask for it because if you ever speak it a loud, everyone's going to be like "You like what?"
Talia: But the truth is that it's fine. You know, everyone might not be on board with what you like, but that doesn't mean that what you like is bad. And I don't want people to feel any kind of shame for anything that they enjoy reading or doing.
Kenrya: Word. I think that leads us to a larger question about the book in general, what do you want readers to take away? When they've read the final page of Bad for the Boss, what do you want them to walk away with?
Talia: I want them to know that good things can happen to anyone and that they should happen to everyone.
Erica: That's really dope. So, here at The Turn On, we like to ask the hard hitting questions. You know this is a setup for a bullshit question?
Kenrya: I can't even hold in my giggle. My bad. My bad.
Erica: So we'd like to ask a would you rather question to all of our interviewees. So would you rather... And one of this question is because the two characters, the two main characters in the story, have an age gap. So would you rather be in a relationship with someone 14 years younger than you or someone 14 years older than you?
Talia: Well, this is a tricky question because I'm 23 so someone
Erica: Oh hell no! Nope, not at all. Hell no. We ain't even allowing...
Kenrya: Okay. So we'll revise it. Would you rather be with someone who is younger or someone who is older? Yikes!
Talia: I think that I would rather be with someone... I mean honestly, I would rather be with someone my age. And I only say that because I'm with someone my age and it simplifies things. But if I had to choose, I would say older purely because I've been told that I'm very boring.
Erica: Oh no.
Talia: So maybe someone older would also be boring and we could be boring together.
Kenrya: Oh my gosh, no. I don't like that framing. But I do think that, well... So Erica really likes older men. So that fits.
Erica: Yeah, I like them older. So 14 years older to me is great. 14 years younger, I'm like, "Oh, you got too much energy boy. Go sit down."
Kenrya: See both sound horrid to me. I don't think I could do either one. I'm the same as you, Talia. I like somebody who is solidly within a couple of years in my age. It just, we have the same cultural references. He knows what I'm talking about all the time. It just works. I dig it.
Erica: I guess.
Kenrya: Whatever. You're a hater. Anyway, thank you so much for joining us today. It was really great talking to you and I'm really impressed. I had no idea that you're 23. Not to sound like your auntie but...
Erica: Yeah, I did not want to sound ageist. Be like, "Wow!" But I really enjoyed your book. I look forward to reading more from you.
Kenrya: And you've written so many. How many books do you have?
Talia: Oh gosh. Oh, maybe 12?
Kenrya: Like dude.
Kenrya: That's crazy. So like I write books and I go around and folks always tell me like, how can I get started? And even just like how can they be writers in general? And I have not met anyone who is at your age who is doing such a wonderful job and like cranking this stuff out. And it's so good.
Erica: You know, this leads me to ask a... Sorry, we're supposed to be wrapping up the interview, but this leads me to ask another question. Because one of the things that stood out to me in your book are you drop bits of sage advice. One of the things we note in our previous episode where we actually read the story is how Jennifer's bestie, Aria, says you're not supposed to work for the first five orgasms. Or your comment about prickly things aren't often kissed. You have such great perspective and you're able to kind of sum it up. I mean I guess this is what makes you a great writer. I'm not a writer so I'm like, "Huh, maybe this is why she's making it." But you do a really great job of summing up just great advice, great ways of thinking of things. Is this all from you or do you channel advice you've received from other people? Can you go into that a little bit?
Talia: Well first, I just want to say thank you because I am overwhelmed with all the lovely things you both just said. A lot of lovely things.
Kenrya: We mean them.
Talia: Thank you very much. I don't know. I think that a lot of my perspective is informed by the women in my family, especially by my great grandmother who was kind of the head of the family and she was a big inspiration to me when it came to starting my career. And she was, I'm not at all like her, but she just has the kind of spirit that, or had the kind of spirit, that I think I will always aspire to. And so I think a lot of that probably comes from her because she was always giving me advice.
Kenrya: Oh, I love that. You're bringing your people with you everywhere. Right?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: So I'm going to close again because we got off...
Erica: I'm like, okay, I'm finished. I promise.
Kenrya: You sure? You got it?
Erica: I think so.
Kenrya: Okay, cool. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I really want to take a minute to tell folks where they can find you. Your website is taliahibbert.com. T-A-L-I-A-H-I-B-B-E-R-T.com. And your IG and Twitter are both @TaliaHibbert, correct?
Talia: Yep, that's right.
Kenrya: Awesome. Well, that wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On. Thanks to everyone for listening and have a wonderful day.
Talia: Thank you.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. First, please leave a review in your favorite podcast listening app. For real, we want to hear from y'all. Send your book recommendations and all the burning sex and related questions you want us to answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. And please subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter @theturnonpod and Instagram @theturnonpodcast. And find links to books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff theturnonpodcast.com. Bye.
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On Episode 7 of The Turn On, we read from Talia Hibbert's "Bad for the Boss" and extol the joys of dry humping.
The Turn On participates in affiliate programs, which provide a small commission when you purchase products via links on this site. This costs you nothing, but helps support the show. Click here for more information.
Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Erica: Welcome to this week's episode of the Turn On. Today, we're going to read from “Bad For The Boss,” by Talia Hibbert, which was published in 2017. Sit back, relax, get your wine, get your weed, get you whatever you need and enjoy.
Kenrya: “Bad For The Boss,” by Talia Hibbert.
"We need rules," she took a deep breath and his lips were so close to her that she could almost taste him, "Like no sex at work, no allowing the personal to interfere with the professional."
"I get it," he murmured. "You need guarantees, a safety net. I can give you that."
"Can you?" She didn't mean to say the next words out her mouth, didn't mean to, but was ultimately glad that she did. "I believe that you'd throw me under the bus to say the company's reputation." He drew back as though she'd slapped him.
"What? No, Jenny."
"It's okay, I understand it. You spent years building Brown Cow, and you've known me for days, that's just how things work."
"Jennifer," he bent over his voice low and insistent. "I wouldn't do that, not ever. I started this, I would never let you suffer because I want you. I leave women better off, not worse."
Kenrya: It took her a moment to realize, but she believed him, she did. She also thought he'd missed the point entirely, but that didn't matter, she was the one getting attached. Theo hid nothing about who he was, he'd offer her the world probably, just not himself, but she could have a taste, couldn't she? She deserved that, didn't she? Yes. Thanks to her heel, she didn't have to rise up on her toes to kiss him. She simply tipped her head back and raised her lips to his until the breath between them became a whisper. His hands tightened around her waist as he brushed his lips over hers and traced the tender inside of her lip with his tongue. She whimpered and he groaned in response, pulling her closer, clutching at her hips and dragging her against his body. She was so drunk with desire, she barely noticed as he gathered her skirt in his fist, dragging up the fabrics to expose her bare legs to the cool air.
Kenrya: But when his fingers skimmed along the edge of her thong, she gasped against his lips. "Let me touch you, Jenny," he whispered. "I need it, I need ... He broke off his voice ragged, his hands desperate as they sent stars shooting up her nerve endings.
"Yes," she gasped. "Please." With a moan, he kissed her again hard and punishing. His fingers slid beneath the fabric of her underwear to stroke the melting heat of her pussy, parting her swollen folds. She shuddered around him as he eased his finger inside her, rubbing rhythmically against the spots so sensitive she felt almost delirious with pleasure.
"That's it," he murmured as she whimpered in his arms. "You want more, Princess?"
"Please," she said again. He slid another finger into her dripping entrance, then curved his palm over her mound, so that the heel of his hand nudged against her clit with each thrust. Jen clutched at his shoulders, her knees weakening while he worked her mercilessly.
"There we go. Anyone could see you down there, you know, grinding all over my hand. You're such a good girl, Jenny, but you're bad from me, aren't you?"
"Yes," she gasped mindlessly, her heart pounding as she writhed against him. "Yes. More. Please." He pumped harder, faster, his forceful movements pushing her closer and closer so that perfect precipice.
And then she was gone, falling, soaring. He pressed hot kisses against her neck as his pace slowed, stroking her gently and easing her down from the height of her ecstasy. "Oh Christ," she says softly as reality filtered in. "Wait, aren't there cameras in here?"
"Shh, I took care of that. Don't worry." Her panic faded.
"Oh, thank God"
"... or me." With a devilish smile, he replaced her thong and let her skirt fall. Then, holding her gaze, he slipped his fingers into his mouth and sucked them clean.
Biting her lip, Jen looked down at the erection, clearly straining against his suit trousers. "Do you want me to?"
"It's okay." He smiled, but his eyes were still hot, grazing her skin like a caress. "We'll do that another time."
"Do what?" She stammered, and he laughed. "Oh, Jenny, you're so sweet." He pulled her into his arms, kissed her forehead, then her nose. "Come on. You want some truffles?"
Jen paused, thinking about the collection of condoms currently sitting in her purse. Then she thought about one of Aria's many rules; “Don't put in any effort for at least the first five orgasms.”
“You know what?” she asked, moving back toward the center of the capsule. "I think I do."
Erica: Welcome back. We just heard an excerpt from “Bad For The Boss, “which was written by Talia Hibbert in 2017. This story is an excerpt from a larger book. The book, “Bad For The Boss” is an Asian male, Black woman romance. Jen is the main character, Theo is her lover. The story starts with Jen in the beginning, experiencing some trauma as a kid, and then it fast forwards to her as a young adult working in a advertising firm in London, and she gets involved with her boss Theo. So, it's about their story and as Kenrya would say, hijinx and lots of sex ensues. So, what are your thoughts about this story, Kenrya? Overall, you like it?
Kenrya: I do. We wanted to do an interracial romance because it's a thing that if anyone who reads within the romance genre, it's a big thing, but we did not want to do one with a white man.
Erica: Yeah. And one of the great things about this story that I like is that she's a Black woman, her lover is an Asian man, but it's not "a thing." Like you know he's an Asian guy, I think the first time you learn that he's an Asian guy is he's pushing through a crowd, and knocks someone and they're like, "Hey, that Asian guy kicked it over." Something like ... but it's not like a--
Kenrya: It's not a fetish, It's not--
Erica: Yeah, it's not like she walked into his home and smelled green tea, saw ... you know like none--
Kenrya: Shoes lined up by the door.
Erica: Exactly. It's not that, it's just there are two people and there might be some descriptors, and there is a little ... what's the word for a little story?
Kenrya: A vignette?
Erica: Not a vignette, oh my gosh. Anecdote about him, why he uses this name versus that name, but it's not like a thing.
Kenrya: Okay. I'm going to start calling anecdotes little stories.
Erica: Little stories, little baby stories, little stories. So, we open this scene with her saying that they need a contract or they got to set rules because she's--
Kenrya: ... fucking her boss.
Erica: Yeah, she's in a vulnerable position. Have you ever been in a situation where you've--
Kenrya: Like a power dynamic?
Erica: Well, not even a power dynamic, but where you said to this person, "Look, we can do this, but we have to have rules and we ... Because, I mean, I think we all have rules in our head, but it has to be--
Kenrya: ... articulated.
Erica: ... articulated like that with a partner?
Kenrya: Kind of. I mean, but it was definitely on some, we're going to be friends with benefits, so it was like outlining, what are the parameters of that? Where does the friendship end and the sex begin? How do we jump back into the friendship when we're done with it?
Erica: Yeah, I think I've had a situation that was like that, and we had a TCOH policy, a take care of home policy.
Kenrya: What's that? Explain.
Erica: That's a policy where it was just home, meaning our lives and we weren't ... That makes it seem like we were married fucking around. No, it was just, things could get messy if this becomes more than just the two of us fucking, so let's make sure that we are--
Kenrya: Protecting our other--
Erica: ... making this sexual relationship, where it's just sex and we ain't talking to each other's home boys, home girls--
Kenrya: Don't be messy.
Erica: Yeah, like let's just take care of everything outside of this.
Kenrya: Okay, how did that work out?
Erica: It worked out. I mean, I think we just kind of ... you know what, I think he ended up getting serious about someone, and so in our take care of home policy, all right, well, you go do your thing and--
Kenrya: Have fun.
Erica: Yeah. I mean, it was actually a good situation.
Kenrya: Yeah, all right.
Erica: It was a good situation. Also, one of the things that I liked ... well, actually I hated this. How he kept calling her Jenny, and she was like "No. Nigga, it's Jennifer."
Erica: And he was just insistent on being like, "No, but you're my Jenny."
Kenrya: And on one hand, it's like oh, pet name, on the other, she's like, "That's not my name." That's not my name, that's not my name. That is how my daughter used to sing that song.
Erica: Oh my gosh. I had to laugh because I'm that type of person, like I will give you a name that no one else calls you because I need you to remember, if you ever in a big ass room and you hear somebody say, so—and—so, it is me.
Kenrya: Well, it's one of the ways that we build intimacy. Yeah, without even consciously realizing that that's what we're doing when we give each other nicknames. And I think that that's what he's trying to do with her, to take it out of the realm of, you are my employee, and in that space, you are Jennifer, and in this space where we are fucking or not fucking, and you are Jenny.
Erica: Yeah, because it's one of those like ... My current partner, he hates it when I call him baby, because he's like--
Kenrya: I'm a grown ass man.
Erica: I'm not your baby, your son is your baby, so—and—so can be your baby. I'm not your baby. And I'm like, "Oh."
Kenrya: It make you feel a way?
Erica: In my pants.
Kenrya: Why does ... oh, okay.
Erica: Well, the first time he said, he was like, "Nah, Nah, Nah, save that baby shit for somebody else." And it kind of turned me on because I was like, "Oh, okay. I like it. I like it." Do you have a nickname for your partner? You don't have to share it, but--
Kenrya: No, I'm not. Kind of, yes, but it's like a joke. And he a little bit hates it, but thinks it's funny.
Erica: I have a coworker who ... I'm going to tell my story, but I have a coworker who has a husband and she calls him ... say his name is James, she calls him Derrick. It's a whole different name. And she calls him that, so much so, she was like "at our bridal shower, you know they ask, do you know the grooms full name?" And they were like, "Yeah, James Derrick Jones." And they were like, "No, nothing to do with Derrick." Because like, "Why the fuck she call him Derrick?" It's like, I don't know. I find that so funny, but yeah ... I have a special name for my partner and it usually ... I mean, I use it often, but it gets syrupy and sappy when I'm asking for some shit or about to get some dick. And I actually like it, I mean, I'm queen of nicknames. I give everybody a nickname. I give everyone a nickname, but I also respect that people don't quite, I'm like, "Is it okay if I call you lil duderbop?"
Kenrya: Well, good. How do you feel when people give you nicknames? Does your partner have something that he calls you?
Erica: Yes, and I love it. It makes me sweet.
Kenrya: Right, because you feel a little bit rubbed the wrong way when he called her Jenny in the books, so I'm like--
Erica: Well, I thought it rubbed the wrong way when she was like, no, and he was just like, but I'm going to do it anyway, and it's just like--
Kenrya: Nigga, respect.
Erica: Yeah, boundaries.
Erica: And she keeps it going, and if y'all like it, I love it.
Kenrya: Her decision to make.
Erica: So, to the nasty part.
Kenrya: It's always the nasty part.
Erica: To the nasty part. I love that they don't ... there's no penetration. Well, there was no dick in puss sex, D in P.
Kenrya: Right, because he does penetrate with his fingers.
Erica: Yeah. When I read this, this reminded me of ... I was listening to Dan Savages' Savage Love podcast, and he was answering a question from a listener or something, and someone asked, "How do you feel about ... It was something about foreplay or sex or something like that. And he was telling this woman that men and women should ... well, heterosexual couples should embrace sex more like gay couples. And this is what he said, I don't have any experience or any other knowledge other than his anecdote. But he was saying that gay couples, sex is not just sex, it's mutual masturbation or just a bunch of oral sex. And he said, I think men will be less hesitant to have sex all the time if every time they had sex resulted in them getting fucked.
Kenrya: Somebody having to put something in them every time.
Erica: And so, I really like that this is a good sexual experience for the both of them, but it doesn't involve D in P. Dick in Puss.
Kenrya: Yeah. And also, I mean, yes, one thinking about the fact that in some situations there is no dick to be found and not everyone is interested in introducing an artificial one in order to get off. And also, for folks who have disabilities that don't allow them to be able to have penetrative sex, well Shit, they have ways that they get off too. And we can't always be focused on that. In my experience, I have found that men tend to be more focused on the penetrative aspect of it. Like to me, it is all sex. I actually don't tend to use the phrasing of foreplay because to me, it's oral sex, its titty says, this ... all of it is sex to me, even if it's a 15 minute session of you just laying here, lazily rubbing my clit. To me, we are still engaged in an intimate sexual act, and it doesn't even have to result in somebody coming necessarily. It is just us enjoying each other in that way, and to me that is sex. It does not have to culminate in somebody getting penetrated.
Erica: I mean I feel like we ... can we just have just a 15 second praise break for dry humping? It was like--
Kenrya: In high school it was everything.
Erica: Yeah. It was like we completely, as soon as we started doing D in P--
Kenrya: We just forget this thing that first got us off.
Erica: Totally forgot about our good friend dry humping, that got us through many situations. This used to be your home boy, now you just--
Kenrya: Toss that nigga to the side.
Erica: Damn homie, at high school you was the man, homie.
Kenrya: We shady.
Erica: Y'all just totally left your homeboy dry humping alone in the dust.
Kenrya: But it can be really great, especially in public places.
Erica: Oh, girl. Yeah, yeah, okay. I'm trying to figure it out. What do I do now? Like you do all that and he'd be like, "You nasty."
Kenrya: And then you got something to think about for later.
Erica: Who raised you?
Kenrya: A little grind, inconspicuously.
Erica: And again, just going back to it all, I think that there's so much to be said for everything else other than just ... because let's be real, we've been running stats on our Twitter and on our social media accounts about how not every woman cums vaginally--
Kenrya: Especially when they're having sex with men.
Erica: Especially when they're having sex with men.
Kenrya: Yeah, women who have sex with women, and non—binary folks and folks who don't have penises tend to cum much more often.
Erica: Because ...
Kenrya: They are not relying on a penis.
Erica: Exactly. And so, we forget that there is so much more fun in just--
Kenrya: Enjoying your body in ways that don't always involve the inside.
Erica: We don't have to take our clothes off.
Erica: ... to have a good time. Didn't one of our friends enjoy this song? I hear this song and I think about our friend that we were group texting this morning.... Does she have a story about this song? Okay, yeah. I hear that song and I can't remember this story, but I feel like there's always a random story associated with her.
Kenrya: Yes, she does.
Erica: Nonetheless, I think we just need to care. I just think we just need to remember that it's so much more than just ... and now that I think about the stories that we're reading, there's so much more about it, about just leading up to dick and puss, than it is actual. Because there's only so much, I mean, a good dick in puss is one thing, but I think that there's--
Kenrya: There's more to it than that.
Erica: Because also, your entire body responds to sensual touch.
Erica: ... more than just your vaginal canal. And let's be honest, a whole lot of men can't find your G—spot and that's really what you're going for when we're doing dick in puss penetration.
Kenrya: A lot of them are not even thinking about the fact that that's a thing--
Kenrya: ...let alone how they need to position themselves to hit it.
Erica: So I, for one, when I run for president, the first thing ... when I become president, the first thing that I am going to do is mandate more dry humping and fingering.
Kenrya: Yes, sure. Fingering has become something that I have enjoyed more as an older person, I think, because I know what they should be reaching for instead of do they. I hated it.
Erica: As a kid? Well, not ... let me not say that.
Kenrya: I hated it as a--
Erica: Newbie in the sex game.
Kenrya: Yes. It just felt like you don't know what you're doing, this friction doesn't feel good, that's not where I wanted. Ah, that angle was bad, you up against my pubic bone. Hey, how bout you take your hands out of there?
Erica: Yeah. So, I started watching “Euphoria” last night--
Kenrya: It's so good.
Erica: I couldn't even get through the whole fucking episode.
Kenrya: It took me two tries to get through the first episode.
Erica: It's really tough especially as a parent watching it. And one of the things that I realized watching this, they don't know what the fuck they doing. Don't nobody know what the fuck they're doing when it comes to their bodies or how sex works. Remember the scene with the kid and he was having sex with the girl, and he grabbed her by the throat?
Erica: And it was just like, "Well, that's what they do in the porn."
Kenrya: And she was like, "Why would you think I would like that?"
Erica: Exactly. And it's like we're just out here just--
Kenrya: Just doing what we think--
Erica: Just learning shit bad.
Kenrya: But how do you learn it? Porn is ... well, I guess maybe you look for porn that's not shot by men, and--
Erica: What 17—year—old is looking ethical porn?
Kenrya: Exactly. I mean, that's a tough one. I mean, I thought for--
Erica: It was definitely trial and error for me.
Kenrya: That's what I was about to say, that is how I came to know many things.
Erica: Trial and error, and then getting to a point where I was open enough to ask and seek answers.
Kenrya: Well, and also not accept bullshit. I think that's the other side of that coin. To be like, I don't like that shit, stop doing that shit.
Erica: Yeah. But I mean, shit, I'm damn there 40 and just now I got to that point, just now got to that point. It was hard to watch as a parent, but also just thinking back of when I was younger. I mean, I don't think I was that young doing this stuff ... maybe I was. Yeah, I was. But anyway, just thinking back, you're just so unsure and unknowing and just ... I always say, you don't even know what you don't know. You don't even know what you don't even know. And that's what it is with sex, these kid's like, oh my God, y'all are trash, this is horrible.
Kenrya: But unfortunately, I think that's not just the thing with kids. I definitely made trash ass decisions and in my 20s and--
Erica: Shit, even the 30s.
Kenrya: Yeah. I mean, yes, absolutely matter of fact, in my 30s where it was situations that I should not have been in with people who I should have walked away from right away. Luckily, it only took me one time to know that the fire was hot and walk away. But absolutely, it's a journey. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah. And I think that this goes back to the conversation we had in another episode, we were talking about just trying to be parents. I mean, I don't need my kid coming to me asking me about the intricate details of sex, but at the same time, I rather you do ask me than ask some kid, or God forbid, Porn Hub. I mean, yes, Porn Hub is a friend, you might find it in my favorites. However, that's not where I need you to go learning things.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's difficult. I want to go back a little bit to something where we were talking about earlier, about the idea of sex not just being penetrative, and how you were saying that even with these books, the excerpt that we've been reading, there's a lot that comes before that and I think that's important for us to note. I think that when folks hear erotica, there is one thing that they think of, right? I want us to like make sure that we're bringing the full--
Kenrya: Yeah. The tease that comes before it.
Erica: The tease is the best part.
Kenrya: Yeah. The conversations that you have, the shit that you talk on text, the things that you don't say, but that you're thinking, that you're planning for next time, like the touch that is not sexual but is intimate and puts you in concert with each other before you get to that point. All of that is erotica, and as we're going through the course of the show, we'll be highlighting those parts too. It won't always be that somebody is necessarily having some type of "sex" because the erotic is larger than that.
Erica: So much larger. Sex and, sex and--
Kenrya: Sex and, sex and, exactly. Always.
Erica: Speaking of intimacy, at the end, after she cums, he puts her panties back on her and licks his finger. He licks her dead in the eye. Licks his fingers clean.
Kenrya: My God.
Erica: I was like, oh, he's setting this shit up for later.
Kenrya: Yeah. When I was reading it, I had to take a little breath.
Erica: I was like, oh, okay, he talking shit.
Kenrya: Yes, without saying a word. The erotic.
Erica: That erotic, that erotic. Oh, it was so great. Also, I learned a new rule in here that was just fantastic.
Erica: Don't put any effort for the first five orgasms.
Kenrya: Don't subscribe to that. Why do you think it's fantastic though? I'm sorry--
Erica: I think it's fantastic because I think that women tend to want to ... first, let's remember, she's like 26--
Kenrya: And he's in his 40s?
Erica: Yeah, he's 40. It takes me back to that article that we shared earlier this week where it's like why high performing women--
Kenrya: ... end up with toxic men.
Erica: ... end up with toxic men, because we're so used to working for everything that if we have to work for what should be easy--
Kenrya: It feels like we're--
Erica: We're like, it's going to pay off. Like if I'm working for this man's love, then I'm earning something great. So, I shouldn't have to lay there and fucking play with myself in order to cum with you, and this is our first time--
Kenrya: I dig that.
Erica: ... you still should be pulling all the stops. I don't take it as like a, I need to be a lazy lover at all.
Kenrya: Okay, yeah, because because I'm not enjoying that. I want to be an active participant because that's what helps get me off.
Erica: Yeah, I think it's a, we should be ... Again, it should be a dance--
Kenrya: Yeah, but no extraordinary measures.
Erica: Yeah, it shouldn't be, you finish and then I'm laying there like, what's going on? It should not have to be work.
Kenrya: They were not doing this again.
Erica: It should be, we're enjoying ourselves, and then next thing you know, orgasm man taps me on ... the ghost of a good orgasm taps me on the shoulder, inhabits my body, and I started shaking like a goat.
Kenrya: Do goats shake?
Erica: No, their legs lock and they fall out, and that is what happens at times. And so, I think I really liked that idea ... No, I don't think you should be just a stale lover, because if you ain't working, we ain't getting to five. But I also don't think that this needs to be a chore or something that you have to work at. We should be enjoying ourselves and an orgasm comes.
Kenrya: Because paying attention to each other's rhythms and asking questions and following up and doing what they've just asked you, whether it's just that they guided your hand to a certain place or whatever, that's not work. That's part of the dance.
Kenrya: Got you.
Erica: Exactly. I'm like, who grandma told her that?
Kenrya: I like this.
Erica: I definitely do, I definitely do.
Kenrya: I have a question for you. Have you ever experienced where somebody just early on where they just came and were like, time to go?
Erica: Yeah, we didn't make it past ... I mean, I think I might've stuck around for one or two thinking that I needed to work. "He had so much fun, I got to be having fun next time," but no. Yeah, I have, and it just feels you leave ... I mean, I don't like the concept of like, as a woman having sex, you're giving a piece of yourself to a man. No, I'm having sex and enjoying it.
Kenrya: Look at my fucking face.
Erica: But I do feel like having sex with someone that just worries about them and not you, definitely left me feeling empty. Like, what was that?
Kenrya: Like you were just a hole.
Erica: Yeah, like you are using me as an orifice to masturbate in. And that's the empty feeling that comes from sex. It's like you could have did this with anything--
Kenrya: You could just do this with your fucking hand.
Erica: ... a good fleshlight. Yeah, I have and was not ... And again, it's good for young girls to know this, because I was more willing to go for that shit than I am now.
Kenrya: If he starts out that way and the time when he should be pulling out all the stops, that ain't getting better.
Erica: If this ain't gravy good in the beginning, what the fuck is it going to be like when y'all both come home after working a 10 hour day tired as hell, barely want to talk?
Kenrya: And that's not to say you it has to be like mind blowing the first time, because you're still trying to learn each other's bodies, but I need to see some effort.
Erica: I need to see it feel like we at least--
Kenrya: Trying to--
Erica: Working to learn each other's rhythm. What about you?
Kenrya: I don't know, I don't think I have, but I have at once put myself in that position a little bit where I was having literally the most awkward sex I have ever had was someone, and ... It wasn't that he wasn't trying to ... he didn't care about how I felt in the situation, but he just did not know what to do, and he was an awkward person to begin with. We had these awkward conversations, but he was fine as fuck.
Erica: I was about to say, how the fuck did y'all get to there and he was just awkward?
Kenrya: He was gorgeous, his thighs ... He was gorgeous.
Erica: Something about a good man thigh.
Kenrya: Oh Lord.
Erica: That's why we love ... What's the man's name?
Kenrya: I don't know.
Erica: M'Baku. What's the man's name?
Kenrya: Now I'm just seeing thighs and hearing, "We will not have it, O."
Erica: Anyway, we love a good meaty, girthy thigh.
Kenrya: It was the thighs that got me, and the conversation was okay, but he was awkward, but he's super smart and I was like, let's just try it out, see how it would goes. And it was just as awkward as the--
Erica: Because it could go ... things could--
Kenrya: Sometimes he know how to talk with his body, because he don't know how to talk with his mouth, and that's fine. And he wasn't stupid, he was actually quite smart, he just--
Kenrya: Yes, and so the sex was awkward. And it literally got to the point, so the Kenrya of today would have been like, this isn't going to work, you should get up. The Kenrya of then, after a while, I would literally said "You should just finish." And so, he was like, "Really?" And I was like, "Yeah, I'm not going to cum, you should just finish." And so, he finished and then that was that.
Erica: Wow, wow. I'm so mad at that.
Kenrya: And he didn't want to leave my house because he thought it was good.
Erica: Oh now I remember this situation.
Kenrya: I really should have told him to stop and leave in hindsight.
Erica: Oh my God, I totally remember this. That is so funny.
Kenrya: Yeah, it was bad. Nice guy though.
Erica: So, in the story, the protagonist is 26, Jen is .... Jennifer is 26 and Theo is 40. You know I love old men.
Kenrya: I know. This is your steez.
Erica: What about you? Have you ever been in a— Did you say, I did crusties?
Kenrya: I did not, I said, this is your steez.
Erica: I thought you said you date crusties.
Kenrya: Oh my God, that's not nice, no.
Erica: I mean, shit.
Kenrya: I wouldn't say that ... you don't date crusty men, that wouldn't even be accurate.
Erica: It's not.
Kenrya: You like an old dick. I like, in my age, a younger dick. I have been with men who were older than me, no more than ... So, my thing is always, if you're closer to my daddy age than my age, then, gross. Get away from me, it's gross to me. Sorry y'all, it just, I'm not turned on by that. I think the most of an interval that I've ever done is maybe six years ... is that right? Pass, no, five, six ... I'm thinking back to my Bumble days when I had my--
Erica: Oh my gosh.
Kenrya: My range set, I think that the oldest I did was 45 and I think I was maybe 35, 36 when I got on bumble, something like that. And then I didn't go any younger than 34.
Erica: So, for Bumble, I set my range lower than my normal range, only because--
Kenrya: Because you were just looking for--
Erica: I like an older man, period. But I also feel a certain way about the men of the age that I like being on Bumble. Get your old ass off of Bumble. I would date a man, six years for me is like, he's my age. "Oh, he's my age."
Kenrya: I prefer my own age--
Erica: It's like 10 to 15 years older. I have no problem with a man 15 years older than me. However, if you're 15 years older than me, you're what? 55—ish?
Kenrya: Yeah, you're younger than that.
Erica: You're knocking on 55. If you're 55, I don't need you... There are probably some really nice 55 year olds on Tumblr. I haven't run into them--
Erica: On Tumbleweeds. No, there's probably some great 55 year olds on Bumble, but, go to Our Time, maybe I need an account on Our Time.
Kenrya: What's that?
Erica: A senior Bumble.
Erica: Yeah. And Christian mingle. That’s how TS Madison says it. I enjoy an older man.
Erica: I like gray hair, I like to feel like a young tenderoni. However, when I was doing Bumble thing, it definitely, it was my first time dating guys that were ... seriously dating guys that were my age. And I actually realized, this is pretty cool.
Kenrya: I know.
Erica: I'm like, this is pretty cool. We talk about like, you catch my reference when I'm talking about whatever. Now, I find this absolutely hilarious now because the guy that I'm dating now, he is my age, but we grew up so differently that even--
Kenrya: He still don't get you.
Erica: He be like, huh? I mean, that completely ... but we were still on two different planets.
Kenrya: I think that's why I like the same age too. I like the, if you hear cash money taken over for the '99 and 2000, you too, they're like, you need to get to the dance floor.
Erica: Yeah, and for me, it's like, my guy is typically know "this is Erica shit, let me get out the way, let me move my walker out the way." I mean, I have realized that there is some fun to be had in someone that catches on, because I am queen of random obscure references in a conversation.
Kenrya: That's true. That's not a bad thing, its true.
Erica: I'm like, huh, maybe this is a good situation. Also, I like a man to take care of me. Like I want you to be generally established and take care of me, and so I think that older men tend to get that. But I will say that the older we get, the older men, they get it. So now--
Kenrya: They've gotten to the age where they get it.
Erica: ... where they get it, and it's not like some ... damn, you want cheese too?
Kenrya: Exactly. I like same age, and I hadn't been with a lot of men who were younger, but I like young dick, and not young, young, just a few years younger, because what is starting to happen in this 38 range, is that we know some men is having some issues.
Erica: Here's the thing, I like to fuck, I like having sex. I don't have to have lots of sex, when I do, it is, oh, we're going to have to clean these walls.
Kenrya: Right, but so you like that it's not ...
Erica: You're in the, let's have it three times a day stage.
Kenrya: Yeah, and a 20 minute refractory period.
Erica: Yeah, and I'm in a, "Well, we did it yesterday morning. It's like that, what do you want out of me? Was it Boosie? What do you want out of me?" That's me.
Kenrya: So, a little bit older works well for that.
Erica: Yeah, because I mean, we have good, good fun, hot sex. It's more quality than quantity. I mean, not to say you don't get quality but--
Kenrya: I like penetrative one point in a day and a non-penetrative situation at another point in a day. So, I get two and I get the full complement of the situation.
Erica: Yeah. I like a nigga be complaining about it.
Kenrya: You feel like did something. That nigga say his heart hurt.
Erica: And you know, my knee is going bad and shit, so I need to do a half a drop and make the nigga feel like I am making beats, like, "Did you see that bitch? She bent down, and picked up that panty."
Kenrya: We definitely have lots of con ... "Your knees okay? Do we need to" ... this bitch is falling apart. But it's all me, he like, "Let's get it." And I'm like, "Hold on, I need to move my knees."
Erica: Oh my God, no, that's definitely my kind of sex. Like I said, when we do it, it's trifling, but it takes a minute for us to .... it takes a minute for us to recover.
Kenrya: And that's good, it means that y'all are in the same space in terms of how much you want, which is key. I mean, it's also a good conversation. Like we had a conversation early on and we actually continue to have it to make sure we still on the same page. Like, how often is optimal for you to have sex? I think is actually a really important conversation because a lot of folks and a lot of marriages fail from people who come in and don't realize that they got completely different clocks in terms of how often they think is often enough. And if you don't have that conversation and are not honest about what it is that you need, somebody is always going to be feeling like they not getting what they need. And you know what they say, sex and money are the two major things that people get divorced over. You're setting yourself up if you don't have a honest conversation about what you want and how often you want it.
Erica: One thing just generally going into ... I was talking to a friend going into marriage, we'd go into this, I love you, you love me, we're just going to--
Kenrya: We'll make it work, love is enough, it's all we need.
Erica: Naw, Dog. You can't love yourself through red flags. All righty. Well, with that said, that wraps up this episode of The Turn On. These are your lovely hosts, Erica and Killa Kenrya, two hosts making it clap.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song's from Brazy. We want to hear from y'all, send your book recommendations and all your burning sex and related questions that you want us to answer at email@example.com, and please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter @theturnonpod, and Instagram at @theturnonpodcast, and find links to books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at theturnonpodcast.com. Bye.
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.