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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read D.L. White's "A Thin Line," talk about what we owe ourselves, setting healthy boundaries in friendships, teaching our kids about gaslighting, holding grudges, abolishing the idea of "losing your virginity" and how making unilateral decisions can bite you in the ass.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: Hey, y'all. So welcome to this week's episode of The Turn On. First, this is Erica, your lovely copilot. And we also have with us Killa Kenrya.
Kenrya: That's me.
Erica: And today we are reading, “A Thin Line,” by the author D.L. White who is a good friend of the show. She found us and has been-
Kenrya: Reached out. Yeah.
Erica: It's dope when we actually have people saying, "Hey, consider me," as opposed to us begging people. Even though she's worthy of begging. Yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah, and a testament to the fact that when people reach out and say, "Hey, read my stuff," we do. We read it.
Erica: Yes, we do.
Kenrya: And sometimes, yeah, folks make it on the show. So, excited to talk about this one. It's great.
Erica: Yes. So this is “A Thin Line.” It was written by her in 2016, initially. But then she was kind of feeling some things about the characters and the stories so she just went back to it, ripped it apart, and rewrote it, kind of maintaining the same characters. So the rewrite was in 2020.
Kenrya: So this is the second edition.
Erica: Yes, second edition.
Kenrya: I think what it's denoted as, yeah.
Erica: Sit back, relax, get your wine, your weed, whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: You look very fancy in those glasses.
Erica: Girl, it hides the dark circles.
Kenrya: “A Thin Line” by D.L. White. "Preston gathers the used towel and caps the oil, delivering them back to the bathroom. I crawl into bed, absolutely sated and fully relaxed. When Preston returns to the bedroom, he picks up the remote and skips the song forward until the husky, silky voice of Leon Bridges croons his hit, Beyond, over the surround speakers. 'Preston, you're adorable when you're trying.' 'I'm into setting the mood.' 'I appreciate it, but I'm a sure thing, baby. Get in the bed.' He crawls into his side, scoots to the middle, grabs me up and pulls me close to him. 'I love you.' He dips his head to mine and kisses me long and slow. Hypnotic. Just how I like it. I sigh when the kiss ends and he raises his head. 'That's all you got? Air?' 'I said I love you.' 'I heard you.' 'And?' He huffs and mocks frustration and grabs my face, manipulating my chin. 'I love you, too, Preston.' I laugh until he lets me go.
Kenrya: 'Let's try it again.' 'I love you, Angie.' 'I know,' I said and burst out laughing and rolled away from him. 'Nah-uh, I've been waiting too long for this.' He reaches for me and trying to land his hand on any piece of my body. He settles of a thigh and drags me back across the bed. I scream, laughing as he rolls over and settles himself on top of me, clasp our hands together, pinning them above my head. 'We don't move until you say it.' 'Then we don't move, Preston.' 'You're so stubborn, Evangeline.' I grunt. He knows what it does to me to hear him say my full name. Especially when he's naked on top of me, so hard and hot. I want to wrap myself around him.
Kenrya: 'Payback is a total bitch.' He opens his mouth to respond, then closed it. 'Ah, asshole Preston wants to come out and play, doesn't he?' His eyes narrow as he glares at me. I'm still pinned, but he frees one hand to play with me. Flicking at one nipple and then the other. Then bending to suck, lick, nuzzle one, before moving on to another. 'Baby,' he mumbles, while licking the valley between my breasts, 'Asshole Preston is already in play.' 'Oh, I'm so scared.' 'You should be.' He dips to kiss me. His tongue moving in ways its never moved before. He runs his hand down my body and parts my legs, fluttering the tips of his fingers over my clit. My hips roll up toward him, but he moves his hand away. When I relax, his fingers return to a slow, light stroke.
Kenrya: Down and then up again, gaining rhythm at a leisurely pace. My hands are freed. I want to hug him close to me, feel his weight on me, but he moves away. Scooting down in the bed. His mouth closes over a nipple and very gently nips at it. I squirm, I squeal, I rock my hips. He inserts a thick finger into me, working it in and out, while his thumb strokes me and his mouth is sucking and biting. It's a trifecta of nerve-endings and if I weren't being held down, I'd have worked my way up to the headboard by now. It's the feeling when it's so good you love it, but so intense you have to get away from it, except I don't want to. I want him to keep going until I explode.
Kenrya: He releases my breast from suction and scoots further down the bed. I like to watch, so I sit up, resting on one elbow. I reach for him with my free hand and dig my fingers into his hair. I know what he's doing and I don't care, because giving in at the right moment is going to make mountains move. He nibbles at the insides of each thigh. Teasing me. Bringing his lips closer and closer. He inserts another finger and pumps it in and out. And then, so lightly, he gently drags the tip of his tongue down the length of my clit. His pace speeds, but not the pressure. It's still so light that it's almost not there. Except it is, and the sensation its building is driving me wild.
Kenrya: I clutch his head, his curls tangled in my fist, and push his face into me. He resists, flicking his eyes up to me. 'Please,' I'm panting and gyrating, vibrating with intensity. 'I'm so close.' 'Say it.' 'Let me cum and I'll say it.' 'Say it and I'll make you cum so hard you see stars.' I angle my hips up, trying to make contact with him, but he dodges out of the way. 'Fuck. Finish damn it.' 'Say it and I'll finish.' 'You wouldn't let me say it and now you're holding me hostage until I do?' 'You're stubborn.' He snakes his tongue out and swirls it around my clit before he stops again. I groan and fall back, collapsing into my pillow. I want to cum so bad I could scream. And I can fix that, but I want to drag it out a few seconds longer.
Kenrya: 'You say it first.' 'I been saying it,' he responds, his voice calm. I know this is driving him crazy. 'Today I told you that you could say it and you haven't said it enough to my liking. So I want to hear you tell me that you love me. Now.' 'And if I don't?' 'It'll be your loss, again. Because you never win against me.' 'Unless I quit,' I laugh. Twitching almost uncontrollably. 'Asshole.' 'I'm your asshole and you love me.' It's time. It's passed time. I want this. I want him. Now. 'I do love you, so much right now.' Preston groans, bucking his hips like he wishes he was sinking into me. He goes to work, tightening his grip on my thighs and attacking me with fury. It doesn't take more than a few strokes of his tongue before I'm screaming, before my ass is up in the air, and my toes have curled to tightly that my entire calf cramps. My body is on high alert, writhing and convulsing. It's better than I thought it would be. This man, oh, this man is the best I've ever had.
Kenrya: Before I can come down, he moves up and slides into me, stroking long and hard. I lock my heels behind his thighs and my hands around his biceps, hanging on for dear life. He grunts in rhythm to his strokes. The volume rising the longer and harder he pumps. Watching him reach his orgasm sends me over the edge a second time. The return trip is just as nice. Preston is moaning, shaking as he comes down. He lowers himself to me and I accept the weight of his body, of his sweat mixing with mine. His head rests beside mine as he pants hot air onto my neck. With the last of his strength he cups my head and turns my head toward him so our lips meet. 'I love you,' he whispers against my lips."
Erica: Okay, y'all. So welcome back. Thank you, Kenrya, for reading that sexy scene. This story had a lot of good sex in it. There was just lots of fucking in it. But some of the scenes weren't super descriptive, but you can tell. Like, at one point, one of her girlfriend's in the story's like, "Bitch, you got a freshly fucked face." This book was like, "Oh, this girl's having some good sex." So a little bit of background on this story. It features these two people, Preston and Evangeline. And she goes by Angie.
Erica: Well, she goes by Evangeline, but she only-
Kenrya: No, she goes by Angie. But she only let's him-
Erica: Him call her Evangeline, okay.
Kenrya: Evangeline. Yeah.
Erica: Okay, so I should have this better because everyone gets a nickname around me, but anyway.
Kenrya: That's true.
Erica: So they were high school sweethearts, they dated in high school. They were part of a large friend group that has been friends forever. Their families lived down the street from one another and they broke up.
Kenrya: And still do, which I thought was really cute.
Erica: I know. Broke up in high school and it's just been shit ever since.
Erica: It has been shit ever since. But so then their two best friends decide to get married. They're like, "Hey, I don't want to plan my wedding. Y'all plan it together." This is their way of trying to get them back together, but also a really dope way of being like, "Look, you know me."
Kenrya: I'll do this shit.
Erica: "Make this shit happen." And it also helped that their parents were pretty wealthy. So it was just kind of like, "We'll pick a spot and everybody fly there. They'll take care of all that."
Kenrya: Yeah, well I thought they paid for it, but they're very well-paid.
Erica: I thought the parents... oh, shit. I probably should have figured that.
Kenrya: Uh-uh (negative).
Erica: I thought the parents were going to pay for the-
Kenrya: No, they paid for it. They're like, "Wherever you want to go, our gift to you is that we're paying for it."
Erica: All right, well anyway.
Kenrya: Yeah, either way, they had money.
Erica: The end up-
Kenrya: And their families had money too, because Jeeps and all these vehicles.
Erica: Dad owned a dealership.
Kenrya: ... they had in high school. And I was like, "Y'all niggas, okay."
Erica: "Y'all niggas doing-"
Kenrya: That's a whole other tax bracket.
Erica: "Y'all doing it."
Kenrya: And everybody's attorneys and doctors.
Erica: Everyone's attorneys, doctors.
Kenrya: It's very much that.
Erica: Chefs. All of that. It was just great. Also because the friend group felt very good. I don't have a mixed friend group of girls and guys, just because. Like, I have a few guy friends, but they're not a part of my friend group. But it felt good having normal relationships with these people. And you can tell it was just one of those, we were little, grew up together, and just kind of stuck together, which is great. So yeah, we used to do couple, hanging out. And I don't mind it. I genuinely like the people that my people are with. And the guys have kind of formed their own little brotherhood.
Kenrya: They did.
Erica: So much so that when we divorced they're like, "Can we talk to them?" "Nah, nigga, no."
Kenrya: No. We shut that shit down. But remember a bunch of them were angry at my ex, like, "Really nigga?"
Erica: Yeah, so it was more my ex that they were like, "Can we talk to him?"
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, you're right.
Erica: Your ex, it was like, "Fuck that."
Kenrya: "Fuck that nigga. He got us in trouble."
Erica: "We'll invite him to jump him." Yeah. So, yeah. I don't mind couples' stuff. I mean, I do think that it's important for couples to have lives outside of one another. Think it's so important for that. But I definitely like mixed company groups. But again, most of my friends that I'm kicking it with, when it's in a mixed gender space is just partners, so.
Kenrya: Partners, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. But I mean, I don't mind it. What about you?
Kenrya: No, I don't mind it. We used to have little dinner parties and game nights and shit.
Erica: See, this was in our late 20s, early 30s.
Kenrya: Early 30s. Before everybody had kids.
Erica: When kids came,
Erica: ... and we were just on some like, Oh, we're going to live the life."
Kenrya: We used to get together and drink and eat.
Erica: And then kids came and it was just over.
Kenrya: And then we started having kids.
Erica: Yeah. And I mean, the thing is I think now, going through COVID, we're so much more intent on... Do you know what I was doing today in the kitchen?
Erica: I was standing in the kitchen... I don't know when this going to air, so this might be obsolete. I was standing in the kitchen, and we eat off paper plates and out of plastic cups, because ain't nobody got time for that. I took two plates and held them in my hand. I had a cup. And then I went and got a beer from the fridge and I put a cup in my mouth, and I was walking around the kitchen, training for the summer. Training for cookouts. I was like, "Oh, oh." Pouring water.
Kenrya: You're ridiculous.
Erica: I miss the streets.
Erica: I was practicing for the streets. Because I don't want to get out there and be rusty, spilling Henny on my shirt. So yeah, I definitely was in that bitch, practicing for being out in the streets. Okay, so speaking of friends, I'm kind of jumping around, chronologically. I mean, yeah, chronologically in the story. But since we're on the friends thing, one of the people in the friend group just got married. Well, I don't know if she just got married. She's married and is pregnant. But it was kind of a surprise seeing her around, because she's the friend of the friend group that drops out when she gets a man.
Erica: Ugh. I was that person for a minute.
Kenrya: You have been that person before. I think we all have at certain points.
Erica: I was definitely that person. And then I think coming out of that, I wanted to be super intentional about not being that person. Because when I came out of that bullshit, who was there for me? The bitches that I had dropped to be with that nigga, right? So even now, as I pursue relationships first, niggas with no friends, y'all niggas scary. If you ain't got not friends, something wrong with you. But two, you need to be doing something outside of me, because I will be out there doing hoodrat shit with my girlfriends. And your hoodrat shit could be sitting at home building Lego set, but I'm going to be doing some shit with my girls.
Kenrya: Have some other interest.
Erica: Because I do not want to be that person. And what's interesting is... what were you going to say?
Kenrya: No, go ahead. I'll say after.
Erica: So my dad died when I was young. My mom was, like, 33, 34 when my dad died. She had four kids under the age of 10. But one of the things she told me when I got married, that always stuck with me, was like, don't let your life keep living without you, or something along those lines. Because when my dad died, my mom looked up and her close friends were still there, still rallied around her. But I think, looking back, I could tell that she felt like they... There was a 10 year gap where they just weren't the way... I know things change when you're in a marriage or serious with someone. But there was like, 10 years that they kept growing as a unit and she kept growing. And it wasn't as easy to... not that it's ever easy to fall back, but it wasn't as easy to fall back into that relationship.
Erica: And so I think about, maybe I swing a little too hard on it, because I recognize that one of the ways that I was being manipulated was being kept from my friends, right?
Kenrya: Isolated. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, so what were you going to say?
Kenrya: Same, actually. Well, I was going to say, I think that there's kind of levels to it, right? There's the cocooning that happens when you first get into a situation. And when I was reading it, to me it felt kind of like they were in their cocoon. I think they were maybe six months in or something like that. So they were still really new to married life. And then they got pregnant. So it felt to me like they had kind of pulled back, because they were kind of trying to figure out how to navigate this new normal of what it meant for them to be together. And then, I do think that there's a balance you have to strike. Sometimes I do good at that balance, sometimes I don't. Yeah.
Erica: Bitch, I'll say something. I will say something.
Kenrya: If I'm not... yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: But so, y'all will be downstairs and then you'll show... Bitch, remember you showed up at my door and was like, "Such and such is on the floor, she can't get up. We need you." Nevermind I was on my way down.
Erica: But still.
Kenrya: I had just finished eating and was about to come down.
Erica: It was taking too long.
Kenrya: Because I knew I couldn't eat what y'all had to eat. So I had to eat upstairs.
Erica: It was taking too long. It was taking too long.
Kenrya: Because I don't eat meat, but yeah. You will put me-
Erica: But even, I think about our relationship, especially when I first... So, I think y'all know, Kenrya and I live in a same unit home.
Kenrya: A two-family house.
Erica: Two-family house. In St. Louis we call them two-family flats. But anyway, so we live in a two-family house.
Erica: Kenrya lives upstairs, I live downstairs. That makes it sound like I'm a basement dweller. Not a basement dweller. I live on the first level.
Kenrya: You're on a first floor and you have the basement. And I live on the second floor.
Erica: Yeah, so and it was interesting, because when I moved in, first, Kenrya started getting serious with her man-friend, right before we started moving in. And this was right when “Tuca & Bertie” came out. And I was like, "This is going to be ‘Tuca & Bertie’," because I was definitely like the friend like, "Come on, let's go get lice today." And Tuca's husband was like, "Can you stay at home a little bit?" Now, I am waiting for the episode where I go out with your partner and we go to my rich aunt's house and play with architecture, but anyway.
Kenrya: That shit's crazy.
Erica: So it was weird, because soon as I moved in it was kind of getting everything set up, getting used to transitioning and the transition of being in a new neighborhood and all that. And then I immediately got cancer. And so then you transitioned into caretaker, making sure everything was okay. And I missed having my friend, but at the same time, I felt like I couldn't take too much of you, because I was already... It was already like Kenrya scheduled all her work stuff around my appointments and taking me here and taking me there. And so it was business, business, business. And then the podcast. So then I'm just like, "I just want to see my friend and talk bullshit." But I felt bad, because I'm like, "I've already monopolized all your time."
Erica: I remember talking to my therapist about this and she was like, "Just say something." And so I did and I remember one day you came down and was just like, "We're about to go out, but I want to come sit with you and talk shit for a little bit before we go out." And I was just like, "She loves me."
Kenrya: Of course I love you. And I listened when you said something.
Erica: Yeah, so.
Kenrya: But it's tough. I mean, this is a whole other topic, but this kind of goes back to a running theme on our show, which is vulnerability and being able to ask for what we want and not feeling like we're asking for too much from the people who we love and who love us and who care for us. It's definitely something that I struggle with all the time and I know that it's something that you struggled with, when you were in the midst of it.
Erica: I used to. So, I still do from some people. From you I don't.
Erica: I ask and I am 1000% sure that if you can do it, you can. If you can't, you'll say no. And it's just that simple. And I love that about you. I do have friends that I know, like they've said to me, "It's hard for me to say no to people." And so I feel bad even asking them to do something, because I know, even if they want to, I don't need you inconveniencing yourself for me, because I have a whole binge of people. Girl, I stay getting cut on. About to be immobilized for a while, so I have this whole list of appointments and I'm spreading the love to each different friend like, "Hey, can you take me here? Can you take me there?" And I don't need you... if you can't do it, don't feel like you got to move some stuff. It's just I thought you'd be cool. It'd be cool to sit around with you while I get my cast cut off.
Erica: So I love that you do that, because it makes it so much easier to just be like, "Girl, can you?" You be like, "No, I can't." "Okay, cool." And we know that's not-
Kenrya: That's the beauty of boundaries. And it's not a reflection of our relationship.
Erica: ... the end of our relationship.
Kenrya: Or how much I care for you.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: It's just that I be busy sometimes.
Erica: It's just like, bitch can't make it, you know?
Erica: And so I definitely love that about what we have.
Erica: How did I even... how'd we even get here?
Kenrya: We were talking about isolating ourselves when we get in relationships.
Erica: Oh, isolating ourselves.
Kenrya: But then the other part of that is being isolated by other motherfuckers. And I, too, have experienced that. And it's one of the key ways that-
Kenrya: ... manipulators, manipulative people, try to... it's a form of emotional abuse, quite honestly, try to separate you from your people so you feel as if you don't have a support system. It makes you more likely to put up with the things they do and they say to you, because you feel as if no one is there for you, other than them. And they'll often tell you that. "I'm the only one who really cares. You'll never find nobody that'll do as much for you as I do."
Erica: Yeah. I remember dating a guy who told me that. He's like, "They don't care about you like that." And at the time, I believed it. And not that I didn't believe that my people didn't care about me. It was just that I believed that everyone was just too busy to be worried about me. And again, I realize nah, dawg that ain't how it goes. At least with my friend group.
Erica: And when I'm starting dating guys in the beginning I'm like, "Look, my bitches deep, we strong, and we crazy." But yeah.
Kenrya: There's a reason that my name is Killa, is what I always come back to.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. But yeah, I think-
Kenrya: It's interesting. I was going to say, kind of along the lines of this whole manipulation and isolation. So the other day, the little person who lives up here came into the living room, really upset and she was like, "My best friend keeps calling when I tell her that she can't call because I'm doing work. And I told her don't call until such and such a time and she does it anyway. And then when I say something to her she says, 'Oh yeah, I forgot. You did say that. But actually, you didn't really say it.' And she was like, 'She keeps doing that and denying and saying that I didn't say it and that she didn't agree.'" And I was like, "Okay," so I told her about the movie “Gaslight” and explained to her what gaslighting is.
Erica: Okay, so I need you to do that with my son, because he asked me, "What's gaslighting?" And I was like, "Something you won't do as a man!" But yeah, okay, I need you to help with that one. Okay.
Kenrya: So I explained it basically by... well, I didn't pull it up, but I did later. I was telling her about the movie, which I think the version everyone knows, I think, came out in 1944. And I just know this because I just looked that part up. But essentially, it features this man who is a criminal and he is with this woman because he's trying to get at her auntie's jewelry. And the way that he wants to do it is basically get her committed. And so he tries to make her feel as if she is "crazy", so that she could be committed so that he could get control of her estate and get this priceless jewelry that she inherited from her aunt. And he originally tried to get it from her aunt and was unsuccessful. And a generation later is trying to do the same shit. He is a committed criminal.
Kenrya: And so, one of the ways he does that is that he is in the attic, fucking with the light. This is back when they had gas lights. And it changes the light level in the rooms where she is. And when she remarks that it's dark he's like, "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."
Kenrya: "It's bright in here. I can see. You can't see? Maybe you should go lay down. I think you're wrong. I don't see what you're seeing. You're making it up." And that is essentially what gas lighting is. It's creating doubt it your mind on purpose, that what you are experiencing as reality is not a reality. And it is frustrating. And I have been gaslit by a whole bunch of people, from the time that I was a child. And so it was really important for me to use that as a moment to explain to her what that is, because it doesn't only happen in romantic relationships. And I told her, "Look, if one of my friend's was gas lighting me, I wouldn't be friends with them anymore." I was like, "But this is a great opportunity for you to draw boundaries around what you'll accept from your people and what you won't. And if you have I conversation with her using 'I' language and tell her how this makes you feel and she is not receptive and doesn't change her behavior, then you may want to consider stepping back from that friendship."
Kenrya: Like, the things that I wish someone had said to me, but my family was too busy gaslighting me to have those conversations.
Erica: Yeah, so you know what. So thank you for that simpler explanation. Because we talked about it, but it just took a lot for me to get him to explain. I'm like, "It's like when you know something's right, they tell you it's wrong, but you know it's right and then they make you seem like you don't know what you're talking about." So I think he got it, but you know what I'm saying.
Erica: You describing gaslighting, reminds me of when I first divorced. Well, when my ex-husband and I first began the process of divorcing, separating. There was a lot of discussion on how much to share with our son. And a therapist told me kids know and they see what's happening. And so, you acting like everything's okay when it's not, teaches them not to trust their instincts, not to trust their gut, all of that. And so I tried to hold onto that when everything's going on in the house. Like, if I'm having a really bad day and he's like, "You okay?" "No, I'm not. I'm just having a rough day, it's something to do with work." I want him to trust his gut, so.
Kenrya: For sure, because we learn really young, from things like gaslighting or from people trying to protect us from things we don't actually need protection from. Not to trust our guts, the things that our body is screaming at us. And so then we grow up to be adults who, when we know that something is wrong, when we know that our partner is cheating on us, when we know that this bitch in the next cubicle is plotting and scheming on us, we don't listen.
Erica: Because we want to be nice.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Because we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. You don't owe these niggas nothing.
Kenrya: You owe yourself so much more.
Erica: Ain't nobody going to look out for you but you, so.
Kenrya: That's right. And that's not an endorsement for being selfish, it's an endorsement for self-care.
Erica: At all. Exactly. Okay, so they started dating as kids, right? And there was this scene in the book where Preston talked about how his dad found out that they were having... was it his dad or his mom?
Kenrya: Oh, it was his dad.
Erica: Found out that they were having sex, because he found a bunch of condoms in the back of the car.
Kenrya: Yeah, like a whole bag.
Erica: His dad was like, "Damn, how much fucking y'all doing?"
Kenrya: "How much fucking you doing?" Yes.
Erica: Because this is like a trough of condoms in the car.
Erica: Which I thought was hilarious, because I have a friend who said she got caught by her sister, having sex at home. To which I was like, "I think the fuck not. I've never had sex in my parents' home." In my parents' home? In my Granny's home?
Kenrya: No, never?
Kenrya: Oh, I have.
Erica: First, there's always somebody. There was always somebody at my granny's house.
Erica: I was 37 years old the first time I was in my granny's house absolutely alone, and it freaked me the fuck out. So let's just put that out there.
Erica: But second, there was always someone home. And then, even if there wasn't someone home, like, "No." My Granny put the fear of God in me. The fear of God. There's no fucking way that I would have sex in the house, so. I'm not getting caught in the house. But did you get caught having sex?
Kenrya: No, I've never been caught. No, I never been caught. But that whole moment with... So the condoms belong to Angie, because she was like, "I got a future. I got things to do. This is not... I'm not. I'm not going there." And that was me. And I think I told this story.
Kenrya: I had been collecting condoms. I went to Finest, which was the grocery store in my town back then, next door to the CVS where I worked, because the condoms were cheaper. Everything was cheaper at Finest.
Erica: It was probably like 30 cents cheaper.
Kenrya: But you know CVS be expensive.
Kenrya: So I went over there.
Erica: You didn't get an employee discount?
Kenrya: I don't remember. I don't think so.
Erica: All right, sorry.
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't think we had... maybe 10... listen, I don't know. Don't get me to lyin’. But I remember, or maybe I was just embarrassed. I don't know. But I know that I went over there and I bought some nonoxynol-9, or whatever the hell it's called. The spermicidal KY Jelly, because I was like, "Just in case this, I need to make sure that anything that gets through will die." And I was ready, ready. I was not playing around. So we used all of that the first time, and that's how I discovered I was allergic to spermicide and so that was the end of that. And I had to throw all of that shit away.
Erica: You're like, "Well-
Kenrya: And I had condoms that had spermicidal lubricant. Like, literally-
Erica: Oh my gosh.
Kenrya: ... every layer was protected.
Erica: Is Durex the one that has spermicidal lubricant?
Kenrya: I don't remember. I just remember that I was allergic.
Erica: I remember I had a summer where I was allergic to a condom that I was using with this dude. My vagina was on fire.
Kenrya: Fire. Yeah, it's really bad.
Erica: And I went to my doctor like, "We been using rubbers and he gave me something." And she was like, "You're having an allergic reaction." I was like, "Oh, okay."
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't remember how I figured out it was an allergic reaction, but I figured it out pretty quickly. I mean, we were obviously very careful, so I knew he hadn't given me anything, although he did end up giving me something.
Kenrya: In a hot tub, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). On some, "Come here, come sit on my lap." Oh God.
Erica: Were you in the... I mean, it was a hot tub.
Kenrya: We were in the hot tub alone, and-
Erica: It was a hot tub, though. Can’t blame it on him, can't just say it was the crust in the hot tub.
Kenrya: I was 18. No, it was not the crust in the hot tub.
Erica: Okay. All right.
Kenrya: I was 18 and he pulled me on his lap and did a little rub-rub. And then I ended up with trichomoniasis? Was that what I ended up with? Oh, it was bad. It was disgusting. But I survived.
Erica: Pussies are like little pockets. They are warm and damp creatures. They need care and attending.
Kenrya: That trich just climbed on up in there-
Erica: But nobody don't be putting them pussy pearls into their pussy. Sorry.
Kenrya: ... and I was like, "But I didn't even have no..."
Erica: Sorry, sorry. Instagram. Niggas will be selling everything to put up your hooha.
Kenrya: Oh, you don't have to put anything in there.
Kenrya: Unless you want to, but all right. But so, yeah. It wasn't even actual intercourse. And that's how I ended up with my very first STD. Oh, we should do STD stories. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, we should.
Kenrya: We got to normalize it. Everybody gets them.
Erica: We got to de-stigmatize it, yeah.
Kenrya: I mean, I don't have any shame over it. I didn't do anything. It was what it was. But yeah, but somehow I did still discover that it was that I was allergic and that was the end of that. I had to throw all that shit away. All my hard-earned CVS money.
Erica: So you mentioning the spermicidal lubricant made me think about, there's this new birth control, have you seen the ads for it?
Kenrya: Yes, but it took me a minute to realize what they were advertising.
Erica: I literally had to Google it, because I was like, "What is this shit?" So it's like some gel you shoot up your pussy, it changes the PH.
Kenrya: I figured, it kills, it makes it an inhospitable environment?
Erica: Yeah, but the biggest-
Kenrya: Side effect?
Erica: Side effect, they're like, "Yeah, you might get BV." I'm sorry?
Kenrya: Yeah, so literally my partner and I are watching TV and that commercial came on and he was like, "What the fuck is that?"
Erica: Yeah, it was to the point where I'm like-
Kenrya: I think it kills, yeah.
Erica: And they kept saying it was a non-hormonal birth control. And I can't do the IUD. I have to use rubbers. And so, I was like, "Oh, this is something interesting."
Kenrya: Until you saw.
Erica: Yeah, I just feel like we do so much jangling our pussies in order to accommodate men. In the ecosystem of sex and reproduction, people with vaginas and uteruses and all that shit, we do so much jangling to avoid the person with the sperm having to do any fucking thing about his own reproductive health. And that shit bothers the fuck out of me.
Kenrya: That's true.
Erica: I was reading in a magazine, or maybe it was another Instagram post. And they sell this little thing, it looks like a little plunger. You go-
Kenrya: The thing that sucks the... oh yeah.
Erica: And it's like, "You don't want to have a spill after having sex."
Kenrya: Make the nigga pull out.
Erica: That's what the fuck it is.
Kenrya: Or a condom.
Erica: It just bothers the hell out of me. And I'm mad that... I mean, this option probably works for some people.
Kenrya: It wouldn't be one that good for you.
Erica: I was excited about it for a little bit.
Kenrya: But it is not great.
Erica: And then I'm thinking logistically, does it taste bad? Because you going to eat before you treat.
Kenrya: Right. So then, do you have to use it beforehand or can you use it after? I was wondering about that.
Erica: You have to use it before.
Kenrya: Oh, so then it's premeditated. You got to like-
Erica: Yeah. Anyway, it's just, I [crosstalk 00:40:55]-
Kenrya: Oh, they don't make... I was just thinking about the sponge episode of “Seinfeld”-
Erica: They don't do the sponge anymore/
Kenrya: ... about the sponge. No, remember they were discontinuing it and Elaine... have you ever seen that episode? Elaine was all upset because they were discontinuing it and that was her preferred birth control method. Diaphragms, I guess, do the same thing, but none of those protect against STDs.
Kenrya: So, yeah.
Erica: Okay, so yeah, parents caught kids having sex. I don't think I was ever caught having sex. Now, I definitely was kissing, making out, him fondling my titty.
Kenrya: And got caught?
Erica: And no dry humping, because that's too much like sex. And I got caught by my uncle.
Erica: But it was my cool uncle. So he was like, "What y'all doing?" I was like, "Nothing! We going to go walk to the park. We going to go walk to the park." So yeah, that's what we did.
Kenrya: That's funny. I ain't never get caught by nobody, but I was real on the low with mine always, so.
Erica: Kenrya, you would have been possessed with the spirit of your best friend in 10 years if you were to get caught. That's funny.
Erica: Okay. Looking at my notes. We're going to get to the anger in a minute, because that's a huge part of this story. But you know how we went through that period where everybody was getting married? You were already married then, right? You were the first in the crew to get married. But do you think... Well, I will be... I felt like, not that there was pressure from my friends or family, but I just felt like, "It's time to get married." And so I did.
Kenrya: That's one of the worse reasons to get married.
Erica: Right? I mean, I thought at the time-
Kenrya: At the time, yes.
Erica: ... I thought we was forever.
Kenrya: Yeah. Listen, I helped plan your engagement.
Erica: Oh, you did. Thanks. Yeah, so but-
Kenrya: Got your ass dressed and everything.
Erica: Girl. Honey, oh, child. Okay, so. So, I do think that, and I say this to young people now. You're going through a period where everybody getting married and having babies. Don't do that shit if it ain't for you. And everybody say, "Nah, I'm going to wait until I'm..." No, nigga. Because you going to be on somebody's beach in Jamaica, watching your homegirl walk down the aisle to, (singing). And then you going to look over at your boo and be like, "Let's do this."
Erica: Don't get swept up in that emotion, because it's strong. And you know what's funner?
Kenrya: That's just one expensive day.
Erica: Yeah, you know what's funner? Breaking up with a nigga and it being easy and not having to figure out how y'all going to untie bank accounts and insurance and mortgages and things.
Kenrya: Changing the name and yeah.
Erica: So, you know? Okay, so there was an incident-
Kenrya: That's so funny. Our message is not “Wait to have sex.” Our message is “Wait to get married, if you ever.”
Erica: Fuck yeah. Marriage is eternal. Sex is for a second. Okay, so the big theme in the book, there was an incident that happened between Angie and Preston. I'm not going to talk about what it was, but it was, I think... and because of that incident they were just not fucking with each other. And on top of not fucking with each other, because I generally like all the characters we come across in our books, because I don't think we read any Tyler Perry, dark-skin nigga with braids to the back, hurting women books. But yeah, this was the first character that I was like-
Kenrya: Yeah, the evil characterization. Yeah, we don't do that.
Erica: "This nigga a jerk." Like, I couldn't not fucking stand Preston. He's a fucking jerk. But I think there were two things at play. One, his natural, just his baseline is always jerk, right? And then, two, his anger at Angie, stemmed from a misunderstanding. Or maybe not a misunderstanding, but he sees it as a misunderstanding, right? He believes that-
Kenrya: There was an all-around lack of grace.
Erica: And so I think that's why he was so angry. And so bitter and bitey and snipey towards her.
Kenrya: I think it was deeper than that. I think he was genuinely hurt.
Erica: I do, too. I do, too.
Kenrya: Yeah. Well, I think that they both were genuinely hurt and neither of them knew what to do with it.
Kenrya: Because they were super young, but then they grew and continued to be hurt and angry, rather than have a conversation like an adult.
Erica: And girl, I was like, "This bitch is an Aries, because this hoe know how to hold on to a fucking grudge." I was like, "Girl, ain't you tired of this shit?"
Kenrya: Even I felt that and you know I hold a grudge.
Erica: I was like, girl.
Kenrya: I hold a grudge so long I forget what I held the grudge for in the first fucking place.
Erica: I was like, "You? I don't know, but I don't like your ass." Yeah, I was like, "For real girlfriend, you are a fucking Aries."
Kenrya: Relax. Yeah.
Erica: She held onto the grudge forever. But yeah, I do think-
Kenrya: She lived in that grudge. She made that grudge her whole fucking personality, like.
Erica: She was like, "Hey guys, I got a new address. 123 Grudge Lane."
Kenrya: Yes. It was bad.
Erica: "Fucking Florida, 22222." Yeah. But I think he grudge came out of some for real betrayal, how could you do this to me? But I also think, I'm debating if-
Kenrya: She's mad at the wrong person.
Erica: Okay, so look. Spoiler alert, spoiler alert, spoiler alert.
Kenrya: We don't want to spoil too much.
Erica: But I have to in order to get-
Kenrya: Okay. Until y'all read it, don't listen to this part.
Erica: Right. So, I think the reason that she felt so betrayed is part of society's pressure on how important virginity is.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: If virginity was just the first time you had sex, like the first time I had a tuna sandwich. Fucking love a tuna sandwich. I don't remember the first time, but I know I like that motherfucker. And I can remember special tuna sandwiches. And I think that our society's pressure on, "This is special, Smeagol. This is your special jewel. Don't share any."
Kenrya: Your flower.
Erica: What'd you say?
Kenrya: Your flower.
Erica: Yeah, "Your special flower."
Erica: I just feel like that also just perpetuated her anger. Like, "This was my virginity and I gave it to you." And it was just like...
Erica: So yeah, we tie all this back to what? Patriarchy.
Kenrya: Patriarchy and this weird fucking fascination with children and their genitals and what they do with them and, ugh, God. It's really disgusting to me.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: It is. So yeah, now that I'm thinking about it, I definitely think that that was what it is. Just her feeling so betrayed because your first time having sex is supposed to be so special. Whereas, it could have just been really special because that was your first love, you know? Y'all had a really good relationship. Because I'm telling you, my first time, only reason it still registers because it was so fucking awkward and funny. Other than that.
Kenrya: Yeah, mine wasn't... I mean, it was just a thing that happened.
Kenrya: That I prepared very, very much for.
Erica: I can tell you about the first time I had an orgasm.
Kenrya: I can't remember the first time I had an orgasm.
Erica: Bitch, I saw stars. We'll get to that when we do our whatchamacallit. Yeah, so Preston was an asshole by nature, and then on top of him feeling hurt and feeling like he didn't get... you know what? Yes. At first, I was like, "Maybe not so much hurt." But yeah, he feels like, "Dawg, we loved each other and you won't even give me a chance. You won't hear me out," right?
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. He's thought there was a lack of justice, I think, in that situation.
Kenrya: And he could admit what he had done wrong.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative), Mm-hmm (affirmative). So I think all of it just, I think that's why I hated Preston so fucking much in this book. I mean, after a while-
Kenrya: Did you? I didn't hate him.
Erica: First, Preston fine.
Kenrya: But he had issues. He needed to go to therapy.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah.
Erica: They definitely need some therapy between-
Kenrya: So did she, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, they need couples therapy, too.
Kenrya: Couples, yes.
Erica: But it was such a good story. And girl, the sex that them people was having.
Kenrya: It took a while, because I remember you started it before I did and you were like, "Okay? Where's the sex?"
Erica: Yes, "Where he at?"
Kenrya: And then it came and it was like, "Hey."
Erica: Yeah, but once they started fucking, they didn't stop. They was fucking here, there, everywhere.
Erica: Fuck a little here, fuck a little there.
Kenrya: I was like, "This is-"
Erica: Here, there, there, there, fuck a little everywhere. Preston, Angie were fucking (singing).
Erica: Okay. Speaking of you, grudge-holder for life. Have you had a misunderstanding with a boo or a past somebody that after having a conversation you're like, "Oh, shit. This is what happened."
Kenrya: I mean, yeah. My current partner and I almost weren't together.
Erica: Oh yeah. You was like, "This nigga just said fuck me."
Kenrya: Yeah, so on our second date, we were having dessert. Pre-pandemic, he used to do these elaborate, three-part dates. Like, we'd go do live music, then we'd go somewhere else and have dinner, and then we'd go somewhere else for dessert, or whatever. And we were on a third part of our second date, which was having dessert. And he basically wanted to have a conversation about what we wanted. And his whole thing, this is why I love this man.
Erica: Because, wait. I was there the whole time, counseling Kenrya on the wrong shit. I will take an L on that one. I was like, "Fuck this, don't do it, be out." Continue your story, please.
Kenrya: So he basically wanted to have a conversation about kids, because I'm a few years older than him, like three, four, I don't know. And so, in his mind, his understanding, from being on the apps, was he thought I wanted... because I said I wanted to have a kid and I was filtering, at that point, filtering out folks who didn't want children. And he was like, "I know that you want to have another kid. And I got to tell you I'm not really ready for that." And I was like, "Okay." And to me... and there was a lot of other conversation, but ultimately, what I thought that he meant was that he didn't want children. And I was like, "Well, I already got a kid. So it ain't nothing that we can really do here." And what he meant, I found out later, was that he just needed a few years. He felt like he needed to get some things established before he could feel... because he's a Capricorn and everything is about logic and finances. And he wanted to get to a certain place-
Erica: I do the logic part, not the finance part for me. Continue.
Kenrya: ... before he was ready to bring another kid into the situation. But all I heard was that wasn't what he wanted. And so that was also the night that I told him I still wanted to fuck him. And then that was going to be that. And we had decided to go out for New Year's that night. He asked me and I was like, "I was going to ask you." And so we went out with you and some of our other friends and had a great time.
Erica: As "just friends."
Kenrya: Yes, as just friends, because we had decided... and this was all within the span of days. So we went out to dinner before we met y'all. And he kept making little comments about how great it could be, but I had decided that I didn't want it to go-
Erica: This could be us, but you tripping.
Kenrya: It was very much those. And I remember meeting y'all and being like, "Yeah, I think I'm going to have to cut this off because he catching feelings." And we had already had sex. And so I felt like, I thought it was because we had sex that he was catching feelings. And he wasn't going to be able to do the arrangement of us just being friends who had sex sometimes. And then his birthday was a few days later and when I met him to take him out for lunch, I gave him a book about codependency, which he will never let me live down.
Erica: You stay giving people that book. She stay giving niggas that book. I mean, it was a life changing book.
Kenrya: Because niggas need it.
Erica: She stay giving men that book.
Kenrya: But he did not need it. He's not codependent at all, but I thought he was. And he thinks books are horrible gifts and to this day he threatens to only give me books. I'm like, "Nigga, I like books. That ain't a punishment for me. Don't threaten me with a good time," but whatever. But so, it took like a month. And I remember being on a date with somebody else, because I was still dating, and the whole time being like, "Damn, I really wish I was with him right now." Like the entire time. Ended the date early. Came home. Called him. Told him we needed to talk. And called you and was like, "I think I fucked up."
Erica: But also, he came to you and was like, "Look, bitch. Don't be thinking for me." He didn't call you a bitch.
Kenrya: Yes, he would never.
Erica: But he said, "Look, you're doing a whole lot of thinking and assuming from me, for me. And you ain't ask me none of this."
Erica: And so I thought that was really dope that he was like, "Look, before we even get down that path, Ms. Aries, with your Gemini ass friend in your ear like 'Freak summer, freak summer, freak summer, freak summer," yeah.
Erica: So I'm glad that it did work out.
Kenrya: Thank God. And I am glad that I was able to humble myself eventually and be vulnerable and tell him that I fucked up and that I was wrong and that he wasn't codependent and that we needed to have a real conversation about what it is. Because he had cleared it up, but I felt like I had already made a decision and blah, blah, blah. And just being an Aries. And so we had a real conversation about it. And I don't know, three years later, here we are. So I almost fucked it up. That nigga's the love of my life and I almost let it go because I made a split decision. As he calls it, he says, "You know, the day that you made that unilateral decision."
Erica: That's exactly what it was. Like, how you going to decide for me?
Kenrya: Yes, it was.
Kenrya: It really was. It was terrible.
Erica: Okay, so something else in this book that I had to laugh at was how Angie was keeping secrets from her bestie. She was like, "We got to keep this," she was like, "We hoe-in' on the low-in'." And I had to laugh because it's like, your friends now you more than you know yourself.
Kenrya: Better than anybody, yup.
Erica: They know you. And her friend was like, "Girl, I knew it. We saw it. That's why I did XYZ." Even when they started.
Kenrya: Right, like she was fooling no one.
Erica: Yeah, fooling absolutely no one. And I just thought it was really cute that she thought she could like, hide something from her bestie. I'm trying to think if there was-
Kenrya: Oh, have you ever tried to hide anything from me?
Erica: I'm trying to think. I don't think so, only because it's like, if I'm trying to hide something from you, it's probably like-
Kenrya: You know you're doing something [inaudible 00:58:32].
Erica: ... in my mind I said, "I ain't going to say shit." And then I see you and I'm like, "I got something to tell you." So it might be hidden for a good 48 hours because I haven't seen you in 48 hours, but yeah. And also, you're not judgy. You're not judgy.
Kenrya: I try not to be.
Kenrya: I try not to be.
Erica: Yeah, you're not judgy. So it's like, it could literally be anything and you're like, "Okay, how we being safe?" Like, she's my fucking Fire Marshall Bill. But other than that, so I don't really feel the need to hide stuff from you, because again, if anything you going to be like-
Kenrya: For what?
Erica: ... "Bitch, really? We doing this? Okay, let's figure out a plan." You're my co-conspirator.
Kenrya: It's true. And I don't think…even when I was hiding things from everyone else, you were the one person who knew everything.
Erica: Yeah, again, my ass was dumb, like, "Okay girl, this fine." Oh, I feel so horrible about that. But you live and you learn.
Kenrya: No, no. And first of all, it's not your responsibility to keep me from lying to myself.
Erica: Yeah, but.
Kenrya: There were moments when, not in that situation, but in situations after that, even before I had got my shit together, where you were like, "I just want you to think about what you're doing."
Kenrya: "I want you to make sure that you're doing this for the right reason." I distinctly remember sitting at Panera and you having that conversation with me.
Erica: Whoa, I remember that one decision that-
Kenrya: Yeah, what?
Erica: ... that didn't play out. Okay.
Kenrya: Wait, I want to know which one you're talking about.
Erica: Woo! We'll discuss it later.
Kenrya: Which one? Okay.
Erica: The one, the one.
Kenrya: Oh! Yeah. The move?
Erica: Okay, I'm sorry. I just got so triggered.
Kenrya: I just got to thank God that didn't happen. Yeah, I thank God that didn't happen.
Erica: Okay, so with that, we're going to take a break. And then we're going to go to our next segment called, Kenrya, you're the-
Kenrya: What's turning us on.
Erica: Damn, God. Okay.
Kenrya: I said it.
Erica: We're going to take a break and then we're going to go to our next segment called,
Kenrya: What's turning us on.
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Erica: And we're back.
Kenrya: Yeah, we are.
Erica: To talk about what's turning us on.
Kenrya: Oh Lordy.
Erica: What's turning you on, Kenrya?
Kenrya: Okay, so for those of you who follow us on Instagram, which should be all of y'all, we're on Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast, we did a 12 days of Christmas thing at the end of 2020 and this is one of the products that I talked about and we wanted to resurface it, because legit, it's good. I love it. Yeah. So this thing came into my life, because I'll be honest, it's not something that I would have thought to just bought, because I was writing for Prevention magazine at the time, and this company reached out and wanted somebody to try their products and possibly do something if we liked them. And the story ended up not happening because the pandemic happened, but the products are awesome.
Erica: The products help you through the pandemic.
Kenrya: Exactly. So the company is called Rosebud Woman. I do not love the name of the company to be quite honest, because women are not the only people who can use these products and I just think it's not expansive enough of a name for the product. But basically, the whole thing behind this company, and this is the kit. Can y'all see that?
Erica: Yeah, yup.
Kenrya: Is that we have these things that we do to take care of ourselves in all these other ways, right? We have wash day where we spend hours taking care of our hair. We have skincare regimens that we do in the morning and the evening. We put lotion on our bodies and oil on our bodies to keep them soft and supple, but we don't really do anything for our genitals that is just kind of about care. Usually it's related to there's something going on down there or you're having sex or whatever. But their whole thing is we should be making time to care for our bodies. So some of the products are preventative and some of them are reactive.
Kenrya: So, in the kit, the Ritual Kit, which is the thing that I just held up, there's four different things. I'll talk about the three that I use. So the first is Honor. Which is basically like a balm that you are supposed to use to keep things soft and supple.
Kenrya: It's like chapstick for your vagina, yes. And so, it does exactly that.
Erica: Vagina, vulva, or everything?
Kenrya: Everything. The vaginal opening and the vulva and actually, you can use it on your anus, as well. Any tissues that may be getting stretched and may not be as moisturized as you would like them to be, you can use this. So even folks who don't have vaginas, I would think... because I use this anally, as well, because that is a tissue that... what?
Erica: No, I'm thinking, yeah, I got to get the kit.
Kenrya: So it really is... You can buy the products individually, as well. I just happen to have the kit. And so, you can see I be using it.
Erica: Using your two fingers like, "Ah!" Sorry.
Kenrya: It's all natural. There's no artificial fragrance. It does smell very faintly of rose, which makes me think of old women, old people. But this does not actually smell that way-
Erica: It ain't a deal breaker-
Kenrya: ... when it's on your body.
Erica: ... to nobody down there, yeah.
Kenrya: And nah, I'm worried about me. I just don't really like the smell of rose, but it dissipates. You don't smell anything. And it's natural. There's no artificial fragrances. And you know I'm super sensitive to literally everything. So I couldn't use it if it were not. But of course you want to test on your own body. And then there's the Soothe calming cream, which is the first thing that I used. And this is really good for those times when you was like, "I'm wet enough, I don't need no lube. It's good, let's go."
Erica: And your pussy was like, "No, no, no. Not in my house."
Kenrya: I fucking love that commercial.
Erica: That's my Dikembe Mutombo.
Kenrya: Yes, I love that. I giggle every time that shit comes on, like a child. It is really good for that after. After you done washed and want to just... it's just like a little, "Ah," for your tissues. Yes.
Erica: That makes it sound like it's Dr. Bronners.
Kenrya: It's really good.
Erica: It's not peppermint cream, which is horrible.
Kenrya: No, there's no peppermint, there's no menthol, it's not going to burn. But it does soothe everything and I find that it's really good after a session when I should have got up and got the lube and decided that I didn't want to. The other thing that I used in here is the Arouse serum. Now, this does have kind of a little tingly situation. You use two to three drops on all your external folds and creases, for about 5 to 10 minutes before. They say on the thing, and I didn't do this, but it's probably good practice, try it out on your lips before you put it on your other lips, to see, yeah.
Kenrya: So you can know what to expect, in terms of how it's going to feel, because if you feel irritated, then don't use it down there. But so, it comes in that little box. It's got this really great book called “The Invitation: Daily Love for Your Intimate Self,” and what I thought about, what's great about this is that, so it kind of plays on that idea of a flower, which we were talking about. It's called Rosebud, blah, blah, blah. But so it has these fantastic drawings that kind of imagine the body as a flower.
Kenrya: But I used it to give my daughter, who is an artist, a really beautiful look at internal anatomy. Yeah.
Erica: Oh, that is beautiful.
Kenrya: Right? It's gorgeous. This is in my little arsenal of things for conversations. And so that is great, too. And it's got little rituals and things to do to encourage you to be in touch with your body in ways that I find that we often are not. So it's got practical uses, as well as larger uses. And if it is something that you are interested in using, especially if you are in menopause or otherwise dealing with dryness in that are, or if hormonal treatments are leaving you dry down there in any way, it's really good for that. And we will put a link to that in our show notes for folks who are interested in getting either the entire kit or the individual pieces that are in it. Kind of love it, been using it for a year. And a little bit goes a long way.
Kenrya: I have literally been using those for a year and you can see that there's still so much in each one of the containers, because it goes a long way.
Erica: And she's got a man, she's fucking fucking.
Kenrya: I am fucking fucking. Although I try to be good about getting up and getting the lube. But the Honor is really good to use every day. And it actually makes it so that you don't need the lube as much, not that there's every anything wrong with using the lube, because I use it 90% of the time. But it really does just make your tissues more supple.
Kenrya: I love your analogy about it being like chapstick, so you don't have ashy ass vulva lips and vaginal opening.
Erica: We don't want an ashy pussy. Not at all.
Erica: All righty. Well, that wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On.
Kenrya: It does.
Erica: This is Erica and Kenrya. Two hoes, making it clap.
Kenrya: Making it clap.
Erica: Bye, girl. Bye, y'all.
Kenrya: I don't even try anymore. I'm not doing that with you. Bye y'all.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Hit subscribe right now on your favorite podcast app and at YouTube.com/TheTurnOnPodcast so you'll never miss an episode.
Erica: Then follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast and you can find links to books, transcripts, guest info, what's turning us on, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com.
Kenrya: And don't forget to email us at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com with your book recommendations and your pressing sex and related questions.
Erica: And you can support the show by leaving us a five-star rating, buying some merch, or becoming a patron of the show. Just head to TheTurnOnPodcast.com to make that happen.
Kenrya: Thanks for listening and we'll see you soon. Holla.
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On Episode 8.5 of The Turn On, we interview therapist Chloé Cook about the ins and outs of relationships that form as the result of shared trauma.
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.
Kenrya: Today, we're talking to Chloé Cook. Chloé provides couples and family therapy from an emotionally focused perspective that helps her clients improve their communication skills, work through trust and fidelity issues, and build a healthy foundation that foster supportive partnerships. Chloé also helps folks in their relationships, and address sex and intimacy issues, including orgasm difficulties, unmatched and low desire, performance anxiety, and sexual empathy.
Kenrya: Chloé, thank you so much for joining us today.
Chloé: Thank you guys for having me. I'm so excited.
Kenrya: Me too. Before we get into the interview, as we always do, we always ask what your pronouns are.
Chloé: My pronouns are she and her.
Kenrya: Awesome. Ours are also.
Chloé: Thank you.
Erica: We'd like to start by asking all of our interviewees, tell us what you're doing, regular ass words.
Chloé: Well, I am a marriage and family therapist, so I help couples. I also help individuals though, and families, with life transitions, personality disorders, anxiety, things of that nature, in order to help live a better life.
Kenrya: Word. How did you start out as a therapist? Like, how did you come to this work?
Chloé: Okay, so actually this is a second career for me. I actually was an accountant, and I worked for a really large corporation.
Chloé: And I was unhappy. I was unfulfilled. I always felt like I was supposed to be somewhere else doing something helping people. And I just would think back to when I was in middle school and high school, I would always tell my friends that I was going to be a therapist. That's specifically when I-
Chloé: It's so weird. I remember telling my friends that, "I'm going to be a therapist." And specifically when I got to high school, I don't know why, I just ... Oh, sorry guys. I don't know why I specifically started telling people I was going to be a sex therapist. I think it was because I saw a show with Dr. Ruth on it, and I was like, "I want to do that."
Kenrya: You're like, "I can do what this white woman is doing."
Erica: I love it.
Chloé: But yeah, so I started thinking every day sitting at my desk like, "I can do this." I had gotten a divorce, and I was going through that life transition, and I said, "You know what? This is the time to do it. I've changed one part of my life, let me change another part of my life that's unfulfilling for me." So, I went back to school, and here we are, finally licensed, and very happy that I made that decision to change careers.
Kenrya: That's what's up.
Erica: That is so dope.
Kenrya: It makes me-
Erica: So, what's your favorite thing- Oh.
Kenrya: Oh, I was going to ask something unrelated. Well, kind of related. I'm sorry Erica. But I thought it was interesting that you said that you got a divorce and that you were like, "You know what? It's time for me to make other changes." Is that something that you seen a lot with your clients?
Chloé: Yeah, I tend to see people that are, especially when I have couples that come into my office, one or both of the individuals in the partnership are going through some sort of life transition, whether it's physically, or career wise, or with a family member, things of that nature, and they tend to start evaluating other parts of their lives. Because if you think about it, when one thing goes wrong, it messes everything else up too.
Chloé: So you start thinking about the other parts of your life that you want to correct when you get one part right. Like, "Hey, you know what?"
Erica: I did so well in this part. How can I-
Chloé: Yeah, exactly. And so a lot of things will come up in the session, not specifically relating to the one thing that they decided to come to therapy about.
Erica: Yeah, I found that it was very helpful as I went through my divorce and couples therapy to also invest as much time in just me.
Erica: Because you're looking at the whole, but you also need to look at that part of the whole.
Chloé: Yeah. I had to do the same thing. I decided, hey, what's going on with me? Why do I attract certain people into my life and what type of person do I want to attract in my life in the future? And it took some time, but I got there.
Erica: Cool. So as I was going to say, what's your favorite thing about your work?
Chloé: I would say when one of my clients verbalizes to me that they've had some change in a positive way. And so when I recognize... Sometimes I recognize that in them before they do or vice versa. I might think that I'm not helping them or they're just coming in everyday and we're not getting anywhere and all of a sudden they'll say, "You know what? After we had this session, I noticed this change." And that, when I hear that, it makes me feel I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. This is my life's purpose and this is what I worked so hard to do to help other people live the life that they want to live.
Kenrya: Right. So we talk about therapy a lot on this show, not just on the episodes where we talk to therapists.
Chloé: Well that's good to hear.
Kenrya: Yeah. It's every episode. One of our missions is to help black women, femmes, and our gender nonconforming family connect with mental health help. Because I think we all need it for various things, but we know that there's still a lot of folks who are just resistant to it. Why do you think that some folks refuse to engage with therapy? Especially, I guess in particular black folks.
Chloé: Yeah. And particularly in our community. That's, another reason, I have to add that, to why I wanted to become a therapist. In our communities, we still have that stigma of you're crazy if you go to a therapist. Or why are you telling a stranger your business? There's another side of it. Let me repeat what I just said, that you're telling a stranger your business. We tend to keep family problems and personal problems to ourselves.
Kenrya: And we don't air dirty laundry.
Chloé: Right? Don't air your dirty laundry. So we aren't in the habit of going to a stranger, so to say, to talk about the problems and issues that we're having in our relationships, in the workplace, with our families. And we keep that to ourselves. And that further makes the dysfunction even worse than what it already is.
Kenrya: Yeah. Because you're isolating yourself. Right? And trying to do with things on your own.
Kenrya: I feel like isolation can only make things worse.
Chloé: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And so another reason why I became a therapist is because we don't have as many black therapists as other races and particularly white therapists. And I think it's very important that black people are able to go to black therapists. When you can't identify with the struggle or with the things that we face on a daily basis, it's hard to have empathy, which all therapists must have in a session to understand what that person is faced with and the way it actually relates to the issue they're having.
Erica: Yeah. So on The Turn On, we like to bust myths, be it about sex or gender roles, whatever. So what's a myth about therapy that you want to bust?
Chloé: A myth about therapy? Let's see. Well, I guess the main one is we're not advice givers. We're not supposed to be giving you advice about what to do with your life. If a therapist is giving you advice and telling you what to do, you need to run. You need to find a new therapist. That is not the position that we're in. Yes, we can be in a position of being an expert on a topic because that's what maybe we got training in a specific topic, but we are not the expert of your life. You are the expert of your life. Only you can help fix the issues that are going on in your life. We're here as a catalyst for that change for you or to help you and educate you on certain things that you may not be aware of as far as emotional ties and bonds, what we might be talking about today and the way we grow up in the way we are raised in our families may affect our lives as adults today.
Kenrya: Right? Even when when we want them to tell us, I've definitely said to my therapist, "Just tell me. Just tell me what I should do in this situation."
Chloé: Yeah. And what does she say?
Kenrya: She say, "Bitch, you know I'm not going to tell you that."
Chloé: No, no. I'm not going to tell you what to do. I'm not going to tell you what to do. You have to figure that out. And now we can talk about, okay, what if you do this and what if you do that? And we can weigh the pros and cons about what what you think might happen if you make a certain decision on what to do regarding a workout in a situation that you may be in.
Kenrya: Word. That makes sense.
Erica: I think also that is why... I mean I've... So my therapist always says, "My goal is to have you not come to me anymore." Yeah, make me absolutely. And so I think there's so much a part of that journey and figuring out the what to do or how to respond, which is really the work and what you're coming there for to kind of train your brain and your psyche on how to come to these answers.
Chloé: Yeah. That was a perfect way to say that. Train your brain. A lot of times that's what you're doing when you recognize there's something that you want to change because our brains were meant to help us survive. It's helped us live and make it this far in the world from hundreds and thousands of years ago. And so we have to retrain our brain to not respond to things that have caused trauma to us in the past.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: That's the whole word. And it's actually a really good transition because we asked you on because we read a book last week called Fire Baptized. And it features a couple and a pair of childhood friends who get close in the wake of traumatic events. And we figured that this was a really good opportunity for us to talk about trauma bonds and the different types of trauma bonds and how they can form. But first, can you tell our listeners what trauma bonds are?
Chloé: Okay. Trauma bonding is the misuse of emotions to entangle another person. So if you think about all the emotions that are involved when you meet somebody and there's an attraction and you begin a relationship. We talk about fear, excitement, and sexual feelings, and even the physiology of sexuality in a relationship. When a person misuses those feelings, they become entangled in a relationship and it creates a trauma bond. And this usually happens in abusive relationships.
Erica: So what are some signs that a relationship is held together by trauma?
Chloé: I would say when you notice yourself that something isn't right, but you can't seem to remove yourself from the situation. There's this feeling, "Okay, I know this isn't right." Or maybe you had a friend tell you and you agree with it. When... Let's see. When you want to leave, but you can't. That's a good sign. You want to leave because you know there's something wrong. You're being abused, whether it's physically or emotionally, and you try to leaving and you can't. There's this feeling of addiction there.
Chloé: When we think about addiction, we think about drugs, but you can actually become addicted to a person. I don't know if you've ever heard the term love addict, right? So you become addicted to that person because you're feeling all of those feelings that you want to feel in your brain. That fear and excitement I talked about in a relationship and all those feel good feelings that get our blood moving. We get addicted to that feeling. And so there's an inconsistency... This is another way to tell in the relationship. There's inconsistent with the amount of feel good feelings in the relationship and you hold onto that. That's part of the reason why you can't let go.
Kenrya: Oh cause you're chasing the good times, the highs?
Chloé: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And that's that addict type behavior. You're chasing the good times and those feel good feelings. And they're there, but very inconsistently. Just enough to keep you there and wanting to hold on to what you used to feel or what you feel every now and then.
Kenrya: Yeah, I've been there.
Erica: Girl. Would you quit talking... Shut up. Why you so loud?
Chloé: Quite a few people... I mean I would probably say the majority of people have been in some type of relationship where they feel that way.
Kenrya: It's interesting too because I'm thinking about... And tell me if this is not trauma bonding. But when you have been through... Well two different things I'm going to describe. One, when you form a relationship with someone because you both have a history of trauma and that brings you together. And then also when you've gone through a lot of things with someone and it feels like you need to stay together because y'all helped each other through this tough time.
Kenrya: Are those also types of trauma bonds?
Chloé: Those are trauma bonds too. And specifically because that rough time... You always see in the movies that there's some tragedy or they end up falling in love trying to get away from the killer or all that, whatever, right? We think about the movies we see. Those are trauma bonds too and those are created from that fear and excitement just like I was explaining in the beginning. So you get that rush of emotion and it mimics the feeling of being in love.
Kenrya: How? And you talked about some of the signs of it, how can this impact your relationship longterm? If you're bound together, whether it's trauma bonds in the form of an abusive relationship or trauma bonds because you are chasing that high that comes with having made it through this tough time together. How can that impact your relationship in the long term?
Chloé: Well, it can impact in the long term because that's not something that can be sustained. So if the relationship was brought on because of a tragedy and you guys were feeling this fear and excitement and you were clinging to each other to survive, remember you got to keep bringing the brain back into this. Our brains help us to survive. So we cling to each other to survive this tragedy. So that tragic moment isn't always going to be there. So some people that end up creating a bond during moments like that find that once things have finally died down, that that feeling isn't there any longer. So now feelings of confusion start to set in because now we're in reality.
Erica: So I think we're talking a lot about unhealthy trauma bonds and I'm wondering two things. One, are there such things as healthy trauma bonds? And two, do we have... And this kind of comes hand in hand, do we have to cut off those relationships that are built around trauma bonds?
Chloé: Initially the term trauma bond was not developed based on something healthy. The term was brought about because it is the creation of a relationship built on the misuse of emotions. So there's...
Erica: So like abusive relationships?
Chloé: Bingo. So even though a a bond can be established, a relationship can be established, through trauma, meaning two people can be experiencing a similar trauma, it's still unhealthy use of the emotions that are being experienced in the moment. So I'm clinging to you, I need you to survive this moment. Instead of managing the emotion yourself, you're clinging to the other person or you guys are clinging to each other. Not saying that that's wrong because we do have situations where... But keep in mind, if you create a partnership before the tragedy, it's okay because you already have a healthy foundation for the partnership in the beginning.
Kenrya: I wonder if, kind of expanding or complicating that question... So I grew up in a situation with family members who were drug addicted and that impacted the way that I grew up and the way that I'm looking at the world now. I have friends who grew up in similar situations and it's kind of how we came together because we understood those things about each other. Is that an inherently negative thing? Is it negative if it only stays at that level and you don't deepen your relationship around other parameters? What does that I guess clinging look like?
Chloé: What you're describing, I guess it can mimic trauma bonding, but what you're describing is creating a relationship based on commonalities in your past. And it only becomes unhealthy if you use each other in an unhealthy way in the relationship. So remember, the term trauma bonding was developed to be negative based on its definition. But if you create a relationship due to a mutual experience, that doesn't become unhealthy unless you guys are mistreating each other based on those emotions. Right? So I'm taking and pulling from you because I need this excitement and fear and understanding because you've been there before and then you do the same. So basically using each other. Sucking each other dry.
Kenrya: So question. We know that black folks in the United States experienced PTSD at higher rates than any other demographic group in the country, which means that there's a lot of us who are either dealing with or not dealing with trauma. To that end, it probably, I would imagine, especially since you just said that a lot of people who you come across have experienced this, make it difficult for us to create intimate relationships with people who also don't have trauma. So how can we make sure that we're keeping our relationships healthy when everybody's walking around with past trauma?
Chloé: That is a great question. And another reason why I'm so happy that you guys talk about therapy and are advocates for people of color, black people especially, to seek out therapy. Because that is the only way that we can overcome and start to establish healthier relationships with each other as we go along our lives meeting people. Because one thing to think about in trauma bonding, specifically when it comes to what you've experienced in your past and especially through your childhood, is that there's usually something that has gone wrong with one or both parents or somebody in your family that has created this emotional void, so to say, that you either are aware of and you're not. And so when we attract most often those people that we create these trauma bonds with them and get in abusive relationships with it's because we're really trying to fill that void and get a do over, if that makes sense.
So this is somebody that mimics a past experience and I did not get what I needed in that moment. Let me try again in this moment. And it's really a subconscious type of behavior that happens. And you can realize it through therapy, through discussion and talking about the way you grew up, your relationship with your parents or other guardians or family members that were close to you growing up and even past relationships that you had early on in adolescence and early adulthood that may be a contributor to why you continue to find yourself in abusive type relationships. Thank you guys for having me. I enjoyed it.
Kenrya: Thank you so much for joining us today, Chloé. It was great.
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 email@example.com. 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 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.