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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to guest Tracy about finding love within your friend group, staying grounded on the hard days and the importance of sowing your royal oats.
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.
Erica: So Kenrya, guess what?
Erica: We have our first patron on Patreon!
Kenrya: Aw shit!
Erica: Look at that. Look at that. Look at that. And not only is this just the first patron, this is the first patron at the highest level.
Kenrya: What's that level? That's the... oh, We Go Together.
Erica: We Go Together.
Erica: I ain't getting rid of you, you ain't getting rid of me level.
Kenrya: I love it.
Erica: So shout out to our good friend of the show, always supportive, Stephanie.
Kenrya: Hey, thank you so much.
Erica: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is kind of the equivalent of yo mama always supporting you. You know how they be like, "She sold four copies of her album."
Erica: Her mama, her brother, her sister, and herself.
Erica: But Stephanie, thank you for being amazing and supporting the show, as always.
Kenrya: Hopefully the first of many.
Erica: The first of many.
Kenrya: Y'all follow Stephanie's lead and head over to Patreon and support The Turn On.
Erica: Yes. If you want to hear your name on this show, please support us at the $15 a month level.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: And with that, let's get started with the show.
Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Today, we're talking to Tracy, pronouns, she and her. Tracy is a 39-year-old cisgender heterosexual woman from the Midwest. Yes, ma'am.
Kenrya: She's a mother and program manager and she's here to talk about what happens when friends with benefits turns into forever ever.
Kenrya: Tracy is a pseudonym, so don't be trying to find her.
Tracy: Don't be looking for me.
Kenrya: Tracy, thanks so much for coming.
Tracy: Thank you for having me.
Erica: So last week we read an excerpt from the novella “Benefriends,” which features a couple that started out as friends, and then they morphed into lovers. What's your current relationship status?
Tracy: Married like a mug. Extra, extra permanent.
Kenrya: How long y'all been together?
Tracy: Since 2009.
Kenrya: That's a long ass time.
Tracy: It's a long, long time.
Kenrya: I ain't never been with nobody that long.
Tracy: Listen, I don't recommend it.
Erica: My barber maybe? Like, the fuck.
Kenrya: Shit, I don't even think I had any service providers for that long because I switched cities.
Tracy: I've been on-
Erica: Cell phone-
Tracy: A serial monogamous person.
Kenrya: Cell phone. Yeah, I was serial monogamous too. But the problem with my serial monogamy was that I just didn't want to be by myself, so there's that. That was only in hindsight, and I recognize that.
Tracy: And that's funny how that works, because now I'm like, "I just want to be by myself, want some time to myself."
Kenrya: There is that because you have how many children?
Tracy: Two children.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, that's a real ass thing right there.
Tracy: Yeah, the struggle is real.
Kenrya: So as our listeners have probably ascertained, you're married to somebody who you were friends with before y'all got together. So tell us the story of how that happened.
Tracy: So what had happened was-
Erica: All good stories start like that.
Tracy: So lots of mutual friends ... so my friends all went to school with my husband from about third grade through 12th grade. So, I met those friends in college, so they were already friends beforehand. So I joined the friend group and immediately, once we all came together as friends, everybody immediately wanted to hook us up. But I was-
Kenrya: Why is that?
Tracy: They thought we some similarities with ethnicities and such, without sharing too much. But they thought that we would make a good match, just our personalities, very laid back. They just thought, immediately, y'all need to be together. However, I was busy sowing my royal oats at the time and was not interested-
Erica: As all women should-
Kenrya: Yes, royal oats. Listen, I fell asleep to “Coming to America” last night.
Tracy: Yes, I was on a serious mission. So this was like, I was about to move to New York, one of my dream cities that I always wanted to live in, and I already knew that I was about to be just hot in the streets. And so I was like, "No. We will be friends. We will keep it that way." And I was just also worried about the whole friendship circle, I was like, "I don't want to mess it up." I'm trying to sow my royal oats. I know I'm not right, right now. So we just remained friends, and we were those friends that were just always showing up for our friends when they got married or if they were having baby showers and parties. We were the two cool friends that show up and come with libations and hang out, so we kept it friends for many years.
Erica: So you kind of touched on this, where you said you were hesitant to mess up the friendship circle. In the book we read, the two characters, Shad and Aisha, they are similar to you, a part of a big group of friends and they were hesitant to start anything because they were like, "If shit goes down south then we fucking up the whole groove of the group." Obviously that was a concern. When did you overcome that and was just like, "Fuck it"?
Tracy: So after I sowed my royal oats and got burned out, I was literally in therapy-
Kenrya: These niggas-
Tracy: Listen, I was out done, okay? I was like, "Wow, everybody is just trash-"
Tracy: I am taking a break from dating from ... I'm just like, "I think I might just be single. I need to find myself." I had just started therapy, I was like, "Yes, this is such a good space to be in." I was weaning myself off all the penis, I was like, "I'm done."
Tracy: And then had been doing therapy for a couple of months and then went to one of those good friend's wedding in Mexico. And the things that I was interested in a year or two before, they just seemed so frivolous.
Tracy: And now, all of a sudden I was like, "Ooh, stability and non-triflingness-
Kenrya: These got jobs?
Tracy: ... and a strong circle of friends who I also like. Jobs, employee, traveling freely." All of these things looked extra sexy under the Mexican sun where we were for this wedding.
Tracy: So I was in a very different place and I was just like ... I placed a high value in that moment, I think, on ... and it's debatable with myself if it was too much of a value, but I really placed the high value on trust and having a relationship with somebody or just embarking on what could be with somebody who was already connected to a circle of people who I trust and who I know would look out for me and just not recommended-
Erica: They already did the vetting.
Tracy: They already did the vetting and I had already known this person. So I was like, "This is safe territory."
Erica: Okay, cool.
Kenrya: So besides the fact that I have never actually wanted to fuck any of my friends. I haven't. Look at Erica face though. She like, "I think I have."
Erica: I'm like ...
Tracy: But I find that-
Kenrya: Bitch, I know you fucked your friends.
Erica: You got a lot of friends.
Kenrya: I do and I ... Okay. I can think of two friends who I fucked and neither one of those situations was a good situation.
Kenrya: Yeah. In general, it's not a thing that I want to do. And also, in one of those, it was absolutely just a one-night stand, it was never going anywhere.
Kenrya: Another one of the reasons that I have rarely gotten involved with people who I counted as my friends is because I know way too much about them. Was that ever a consideration or a possible barrier when you were thinking about getting with your now husband?
Tracy: No, because he tricked me because ... he was always the quiet, kind of reserved homie in the group, so it's hard to describe, but I was like, "Oh, he's kind of like a little mystery, kind of hard to figure out-
Erica: Because that group is a lot of large personalities.
Tracy: A lot of large personality personalities. And this person, my husband's personality, was like completely like zero, just chill, all the time. So it kind of made me be like, "Oh, I kind of ... and I can be a lot sometimes. I'm much more chill now, but I'm on all the time. So for me, I was like, "Oh." I was trying to get to know him. I was like, "Who are you? Who are you?" It was interesting because I was learning a lot of stuff out that he hadn't shared with a lot of the friends in that circle, surprisingly, over a long time.
Erica: Okay. So how do you think having a foundation as friends positively impacts your marriage?
Tracy: I think ... I mean, I recognize not all friends with benefits have a circle that they ... I don't know. Everybody's like, "Oh, a friend is like a part of a larger friend group." Sometimes it's just your one friend. But for us, because we had that circle, I feel like we had a group of people kind of always rooting for us, which is helpful when you embark on marriage because you have so many moments where you're like, "Um, is this shit worth it? Like, I'm about to call it quits." Right?
Tracy: And so it's helpful to have some objective friends that'll just listen and that'll be like, "You know what, do what you need to do. I'm hearing you out and remember why y'all first got together" or-
Kenrya: Friends of your marriage. Right?
Kenrya: People who want you to succeed together.
Tracy: Want to see you ... exactly. So I think that's been amazing to have, and it's also been helpful for me to also remember when shit gets hard, where I'm like, "Remember? Remember how all this started when we was like all one big group of friends, just hanging out, we didn't have all these responsibilities?" So I think that's really the big piece for me, but to keep it real, a lot of it too is more so on just the disappointments of like, "Okay, we're in this large circle and we're friends and so forth," but then when things, aren't where you want them to be in the marriage, I think you kind of look at that friendship a lot harder, whereas like, "Okay, is this friendly?" Like, "Friends, remember? We go way, way, way back, like what's happening here?" So ...
Erica: So on the other side of the coin, do you think that there are ways that having this friendship as a foundation negatively impacts the marriage?
Tracy: I think sometimes I think so. And it could just be how everybody handles things differently. Right? So I can only speak from my experience, but for me, I think when shit gets hard, I pull on that friendship piece and try to think about, "Remember why this all started?" And sometimes I feel like that that's not necessarily focusing on the now, like on the right here, right now versus this history, right?
Tracy: Yeah. This nostalgic, kind of like what we used to be and who we were versus now who we are, two tired ass parents working in the middle of a pandemic in this tiny ass space looking at each other and it's hard. And so sometimes I think that piece, and then I do think about our friendship circle, right? And when I get frustrated around, "Am I going to be the one that's going to defect? Like ..."
Erica: [inaudible 00:11:32]
Tracy: My shit going to blow up first. But I think about those pieces where ... it skews the reality sometimes, or it's just extra shit. Where it's like, "You know what, Tracy, what is it that you feel right now? Like, what's happening right now?" And just shut all of that out.
Kenrya: Right. That actually leads to my next question, which is what have you found really works in your relationship to keep in touch with each other through the highs and the lows, both right now in the middle of a fucking pandemic and just in general? Because 10 years is a long ass time.
Tracy: Drugs, alcohol, no-
Kenrya: Yes ma'am.
Erica: Bitch. Let's keep it all the way for real, for real.
Tracy: Let's keep it real. Honestly, that every blue moon it's like, hey, quarterly, semiannually, let's put something on the books like vacations, just having time to connect and get away from this ... I mean the daily grind is so exhausting.
Tracy: Oddly enough, too, when I think about things that have happened over the years, I would say, also tragedies have kind of brought us together and kind of made us remember the reasons why we got together.
Erica: So what do you do to be in touch with yourself and your body in the midst of being a present partner and a present parent?
Tracy: All the things. Yoga at home now, meditation apps, reading positive affirmations. I follow all the Black therapists on Instagram. Anything that I can get that really just reminds me of my relationship with myself. I think being in a long-term marriage, one of the things that has really made very clear to me is yes, being friends helps and so forth, but the first relationship is with myself. And so I think for me, it's just keeping myself grounded and really just trusting my instincts more and just recognizing, some days I feel crappy, some days I feel great, and just kind of leaning into that without apologizing for it.
Erica: That's really dope.
Kenrya: Yeah. So, you mentioned earlier about how y'all work in the little space together. I'm wondering how the pandemic has impacted your dynamic when it comes to intimacy, both with your partner and with your children because there's a lot of different types of intimacy and I feel like being trapped got something to do with that.
Tracy: Yes, honey. It is completely throwing the vibes off because all day long it feels literally like I'm pulled in 25 different directions. So it takes me twice as long just to do one task that I would normally do at work in a shorter amount of time because I'm also getting somebody some food, getting somebody a snack, helping somebody wipe their butt and then coming back to do a video meeting, all the while ... and as being a mother, both of us, my husband and I can be sitting at the table, but both kids will constantly only come to me, and so it feels like I'm sitting on the other side of the table, like "This motherfucker get a full day of work?"
Erica: This nigga right here.
Tracy: No interruptions. I be sitting there like, "Come on girl." And that's when all my calm stuff got to come in because I be like, "thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking a lot of thoughts." So it just builds up a lot of resentment throughout the day, sometimes, because I feel like I'm taking on the brunt of the work. And so that's when the friendship stuff comes in, where I be like, "Again, this is not friendly. Like, what the fuck?" So having to have those conversations every so often as ... and then it just throws intimacy off. Like for me, my love language is like, help me clean up. Help me take care of the kids, just help ...
Kenrya: Be an equal partner.
Tracy: Be an equal partner. Help me not feel like a maid that's exhausted at the end of the day, and then I'm supposed to get sexy? And want to be intimate?
Kenrya: This don't make my pussy wet.
Erica: [inaudible 00:15:53] titties.
Tracy: This make me dry. Okay? I'm like, "You about to get this headscarf and turn to the side and good night."
Kenrya: And you earned it.
Tracy: You earned it. You worked so hard to earn that shit. Terrible. And then enter drugs and alcohol. Sike, no. No, but enter just me, honestly, just being like, "Okay, this cycle has to stop. What actions can I do to change this shit?" And then usually I will work on my mood, go exercise or some shit, and then I'll be horny and then life will be better for a short amount of time.
Kenrya: Exercise is underrated for that. When I finished working out, I feel strong. I feel great about myself and I want to fuck. Immediately.
Erica: No, for real. You have blood flowing to all your parts, not just your head and your limbs, but to all your parts.
Erica: So I think people fail to realize that getting that blood moving will get-
Kenrya: [inaudible 00:16:55].
Erica: [inaudible 00:16:56] moving.
Tracy: It sure is. I was like, "Whoa, okay, let me just get my workout on." But otherwise, I get into this depleted space where I'm just like, "I just don't have the energy for it." And it's just ... so I think, again, but normally once we get out of our world and this small last apartment, we also just on top of each other, right? And focusing on everything, how you chew, how you move, why you sit that there. "What are you doing?!" It becomes ridiculous, where I'm like, "We need to go visit some people. We need to get out." So just mixing it up, I find ... and just having something to work towards. Just having a goal together. We need that shit to lighten the mood and just kind of keep us moving forward. I know some couples do all kinds of shit and I'm like, "That's not us, but we need to start doing that."
Kenrya: You got to do what you can when you can.
Kenrya: It's not like there's not a whole bunch of shit going on in the world right now.
Erica: A whole bunch of shit.
Tracy: A lot. It's heavy.
Kenrya: Yeah. A lot of it, I think just comes into granting yourself grace.
Kenrya: When you're coming up against this stuff. So kudos to y'all.
Kenrya: My next question is what does a successful marriage look like to you?
Tracy: Successful marriage looks like therapy, like therapy together as a couple. It looks like travel, just doing things together, leisure stuff in addition to just taking care of all of the responsibilities equally. It looks like just mundane, same routine. A lot of relationship and marriage is literally just somebody being able to be in that space with you day in and day out without it feeling like it's a production and work and so forth, like just being ourselves. So consistency and connection.
Erica: So you got a lot of shit going on. So I know this question, if you're like, "Look, bitch, I wish."
Kenrya: Right, [inaudible 00:19:17].
Erica: Exactly. But is there anything that you're looking forward to reading? Do you have like a, to be read pile? I have one, it's really dusty, but ...
Tracy: I have ... I just finished a book for the first time in like a year, thanks to the pandemic. It's called “Pachinko” and it's a really great book about Koreans living in Japan. It's a historical family saga. And I learned a lot about Korean, Japanese relationship, history that I didn't know about. So that was a really great book. And then my next book, I have a pile sitting right over here. If you were here, you would see. I'm just getting into “Patsy” by Nicole Dennis-Benn. So that's on my list. I'm going to get through that one next. And I have “The Water Dancer” that I want to get into, and I need to finish “Thick.” So that's my ...
Erica: All right.
Kenrya: All right. Yeah, I haven't finished “Thick” either, actually. I'm somewhere in the middle.
Erica: Okay. So I have a few rapid-fire questions. I'm just going to give you an either or, and you're going to tell me your pick. Okay? Hot or cold?
Erica: Give or receive?
Tracy: Receive, selfish. Aries.
Kenrya: Yes, Aries.
Erica: Beach or mountain?
Tracy: Beach. Mountain is dangerous.
Erica: Now, I know you, so you cannot pick "Neither" for the next one. Dog or cat?
Tracy: Oh my gosh.
Kenrya: Ugh. Yeah, neither. Lord have mercy.
Tracy: You pissing me off with this because you know I don't like no animal hair.
Kenrya: Same. Hard same. Fuck, it's gross.
Tracy: But I'll pick dog.
Erica: Last one. Country or city?
Tracy: Woo. City.
Erica: Alrighty. Alrighty. Okay. So why would you do hot over cold?
Tracy: Because I'm getting old.
Erica: And them bones don't move like they used to.
Kenrya: Mm-mm (negative). They don't like that.
Tracy: I need hot liquids to keep everything ...
Erica: Keep everything moving.
Tracy: Keep everything moving and grooving.
Kenrya: Now, I leaned back on a heating pad all day yesterday because I got old lady back.
Tracy: Listen, it ...
Erica: How'd you throw out your old lady back?
Kenrya: Why you ask so many questions?
Erica: Because I know ... it's so simple. That I want to make ...
Kenrya: I was reaching over- No. I was reaching over to the side of my bed to get my motherfucking water bottle and went, "Ooh!"
Erica: She was like, "I think I threw my back out reaching for a bottle of water." I was like ...
Tracy: Getting wild over there. Water in the bed.
Erica: I know, because you got to sleep with some water next to the bed.
Kenrya: Listen, you know I can't-
Tracy: At all times.
Kenrya: Yeah, no, ever since I was pregnant, I cannot go to sleep without water next to my bed. It's impossible.
Tracy: Yeah. I'm sitting here sweating right now, drinking a hot ass cup of coffee, but-
Kenrya: It's hot.
Tracy: ... I felt like ... because hot. I felt like I needed to start my day with a warm beverage and then it helps everything be regular.
Erica: It's wild how the older you get, the more routines you have to have.
Tracy: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Like if I don't do X, Y, and Z in this particular way-
Erica: My morning's off. I have to have a glass of orange juice with my green wheat grass powder, Miralax and all my vitamins.
Tracy: You know you ain't invincible. When we was younger, we used to be like, "I don't need nothing, I'm a hold it." Remember? It's like, "I'm a hold it and not go to the bathroom in this public place." Now?
Erica: There's no shame whatsoever.
Tracy: Well, look ...
Kenrya: You know I will shit anywhere. So.
Tracy: Listen. I have joined that bandwagon very quickly. I'm routine, like, "Oh, it's time."
Kenrya: So I have to say this. This wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On. Thank you for joining us and we will see you back next week.
Tracy: [inaudible 00:23:47]. I feel like y'all need special effects.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Now you can support the turn on and get off. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, then drop us a five star review and you'll be entered to win something that's turning us on. Just post your review and email us a screenshot at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today and you'll gain access to lots of goodies, including The Turn On Book Club and two for one raffle entries. And don't forget to send us your book recommendations and your sex and related questions, and follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Thanks so much for listening and we will see you soon. Bye.
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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya chop it up with Not Your Average Fairy Tale co-host Candace about the intricacies of parenting and being a sexual being.
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 Candace, pronouns she and her. Candace is the fun, straightforward, and loving friend you never knew you needed. She graduated from Howard University, the real HU, in 2006 and made D.C. her home. That's where she started her career in government and nonprofits, and where she met her husband, Sledge. Married almost eight years, and parents to three witty, dancing and singing machines, they now live in the Dallas area and co-host of Not Your Average Fairy Tale, a new relationship podcast. Candace loves God, her family and her friends. And she enjoys reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, Orange Theory, listening and dancing to music, and of course the ever-elusive sleep. Candace, thank you so much for joining us.
Candace: Thank you for having me.
Kenrya: How are you doing with the social distancing?
Candace: Doing good, because all my friends are available when I want them and when I need them. They're not at work during the day, so I can call them, FaceTime them, anytime.
Kenrya: You're one of those.
Candace: And they answer my calls, yes. "Text me back."
Erica: "No excuses. I know you ain't doing nothing."
Candace: I called Jen earlier like, "Uh, where you been all day?"
Erica: Shit, nah, Gchat me.
Kenrya: E is also one of those people. I am not one of those people. I don't answer my phone very often. Don't like it.
Candace: Yeah. But the kids can go back to school anytime. I mean you know, that's the hard part.
Erica: They are more than welcome to go back. Goodbye.
Candace: Yes, please.
Erica: I get it. So we learned in your bio that your work primarily centers with government and nonprofits, but how the hell did you come to host a podcast?
Candace: Ooh, how do we come to host? So I initially wanted to do a YouTube channel, and Sledge is more into the podcast. And so we were like, "Let's start with the podcast first, and kind of transition and see how the YouTube stuff goes."
Candace: Because YouTube is just, I think a lot more work. Because you have to do real live footage, and then edit that. And... It's a lot. And, it was a couple of different avenues. Because we wanted something with just us, and then we wanted something with the family. So we said if we do more of the kids and the family, that'd be the YouTube channel, because they're all into that YouTube stuff, and channels and recording. And the podcast will be more for the grown folks. For the experienced folks. So that's kind of how we decided on the podcast. And the other thing was that we were noticing ... And not often, but often enough, that people would ask us questions about our relationship thinking that everything was like perfect. And we're like, "Oh you all don't really know us. You all ain't really been around us like that, because this is far from perfect."
Candace: And so we just saw it as an opportunity to share and tell our story. Just with everybody. Just see where it goes, really. Yeah.
Kenrya: So, I think that was interesting. It was actually a question I already had, which was, you know you say on the show that people have like this social media driven image of who you and your family are, that doesn't really match up with your reality. So why is it important to you to dispel those myths of what people think you all are?
Candace: So the funny thing, and I was talking to a girlfriend about this with social distancing. She was like, "It really shouldn't be that fucking hard, because we already been doing it with social media." People don't talk to each other when they go out to dinner. People don't really leave their phones and spend time with individuals.
Candace: And so I think social media as a whole has just created this false reality of what things look like. And I think we're one of those raw families. Like we'll show when ... Like I'll get on my Instagram Stories or Live and my hair ain't done, makeup not done, nails not done. You know? And so, we never have had any issue with just showing the real, true, honest, who we are as a family, who we are as husband and wife. I will tell people, "Sledge get on my nerves. He made me mad today, whatever." So yeah, just that false reality that social media brings with it, and people just always wanting to post images, captions that makes everything seem positive. And not to say that you have to share your dirty laundry all the time, or with complete strangers. But I also think that there is a certain element of reality that should come with it.
Candace: Because I done looked through my feed, and I'm like, "When did they take these?" I mean pictures just look so staged, and so fake. And it's like, why do you have to have this super Photoshopped picture, or staged picture? Then the caption will be like, "My child, this pregnancy, my husband." I'm like, "What does that have to do with the picture?" So I just think it's just the new reality we live in, and so we kind of want to change that narrative as far as-
Kenrya: Things being fake.
Candace: Yeah. Pretty much. Things are fun and fine, and yeah, we will joke and laugh, but then shit gets real too. And we're going to share that with you.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah.
Kenrya: So we asked you to come on the show today because last week we read a story called “Homecumming.” And it starts with a married couple that finally gets some time to themselves to have sex. And we quickly learned that that's a struggle. Their kids are always underfoot. There's always something going on. Is that something that you can relate to?
Candace: Oh yeah. Big time. I feel like we are just now getting to a place where we can have, alone time. And for real alone time, because the kids are getting older. But I remember ... Because, you know, our story is very different. We had our first son before we were married. And so, we didn't have that honeymoon stage, that just me and him type of thing. So, and we also had our first son ... What, six months? Well we got pregnant six months after moving in together. So it changed a lot for us as far as like dating, getting to know each other, and spend just time together. Just Ralph and Candace. So yeah, those first... How old is Cheyenne, two? Maybe those first seven years was like a hit and miss. We had waves where it was like, "Oh yeah, we're able to go out, we're able to have uninterrupted sex." Or, you know, whatever.
Candace: And then it would go back down to it felt like when it was all about the kids. But I feel like now, since Cheyenne is two, she is starting to be a little more independent. We're finally getting to a place where it's like, "Okay, we can put them to bed, and stay up and do stuff that we want to do." And also not have to worry about who's getting up in the middle of the night, or who's getting up in the morning with them. We still have to do those things, but it's not to the extreme of like having an infant, or just having really needy children.
Erica: You still have a little visitors.
Erica: Popping through.
Candace: Yeah, but we could be more intentional about it now, you know? Before it was like, "I ain't staying up to have sex with you, because you don't get up in the middle of the night." Or, "You ain't getting up in the morning with these kids when they wake up." So yeah.
Kenrya: That's some real shit.
Kenrya: Which really leads me to the next question. There's another thing that you all say on the show that really stood out to me. And you said that you want to help all families feel normal. What does normal look like from your vantage point when it comes to parenting and being a sexual being, simultaneously?
Candace: Hmm. Well, I think first and foremost, normal is doing what makes you happy. So our normal is not everyone else's normal, but we want people to own what normal is for them. So if that's, you having sex seven days a week, two or three, four times a day, or once a week. I mean you just do what works for you and your relationship, and be okay with that.
Candace: I think we get into this comparison thing too much. And I was kind of getting into it now, like with the whole social distancing, it's like, "Oh, now everyone wants to show what they're doing with their kids on Instagram, homeschooling." You wasn't showing that before, why do I care now?
Candace: But yeah, just creating what's normal for you. And being okay with that. Not feeling like you have to compare it to your friend's marriage or relationship, or to your friend's parenting style and where their kids are academically, or you know in sports, or whatever the case may be. So just being comfortable with your normal, and sharing that story, and not feeling like you have to change it, edit it, for anybody.
Erica: So, we noticed that faith is a really big part of the conversation on your show. How does faith influence the way you parent?
Candace: The way we parent? So faith for us has evolved a lot in the past couple of years, because we haven't always been on the same page about it, and we definitely haven't always been in the same place. So, wow. So to say where it is when we parent, I remember when we had Taylor and we were just dating. We weren't married yet. And I would still get up and take Taylor to church with me on Sundays, and Sledge wouldn't go. And it wasn't like a fight or a battle, it was just, that was how we were. I got up, I went to church. He got up, he got ready to watch football. And that slowly started to change and evolve. And we kind of talk about that in the second episode, about how that changed for him.
Erica: Because you're in Dallas, and I saw that you all drive to Oklahoma for church.
Candace: Yeah, we have. We drove up there three times since the new year.
Erica: That's so great.
Candace: Yeah. Because we really just really love the church, and that pastor in particular. And we started following him, maybe about a year ago, and Ralph said he wants to spend the first Sunday of the new year there. So we made the drive, we made the trip. And it was interesting, because the first time we went, we went by ourselves. The second time we went, we took the younger two. And the third time we went, we took all of them. And it's very interesting to see, they remember it. It was crazy because the third time we went, Cheyenne was like not afraid to go to the children's church. She just was super calm, like she had been there a thousand times. We've been to churches numerous times in Dallas, and she'll still be like, "Don't leave me."
Candace: And not anything was wrong. Like they weren't-
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Candace: But I think her energy just felt we were comfortable in certain places than others. I mean, I don't know, it's kind of like we try and teach them lessons. We definitely pray with them a lot, but we're not one of those, "You all better be reciting y'all Bible versus today for this week." We just kind of let them ease into it. Because at the end of the day when they become adults, or even teenagers, they're going to have to decide what they choose to follow. We can't decide that for them. We just want to guide them what we believe to be true. But they're going to have to make the decision for themselves.
Erica: Yep. Yep.
Erica: So how does this influence the way you approach sex, your faith?
Candace: So ... It's very interesting. So the church we were a part of previously, their marriage ministry, and even their lead pastor. And it was really they first lady, and she's a soror too, they used to be like super candid about it. Which was very interesting. I will never forget, we were at this weekend retreat thing, and she was like ... How did she tell us? She told the story about football being on, and during commercials and halftime shows she would get on her knees.
Candace: And I'm like, "Oh, okay!"
Erica: "Oh we doing this?!"
Candace: "Yeah, okay! Okay First Lady!" But I liked that, because she was like, "I'm married, and I could do whatever I want with my partner, my spouse, who I'm married to. God created sex. He created for us to enjoy it. Enjoy it." She pretty much was like, "You all need to stop being such prudes. Just because you all are saved, or just because you all Christians, just cause you all in the church. You better please your man." You know? And you better please your woman too. So I really appreciated that.
Candace: I really appreciated her candidness, and her humor and fun about it. But she was real, she was like, "That's my husband. I could do whatever I want to do to my husband. He's mine, and there's nothing you can say about it." And so I think, not that we were the opposite, but I think that also made us a little comfortable to talk about sex as believers, and not feeling like, "Oh, this is something we could only talk about amongst each other-
Erica: Or with our heathen friends.
Candace: Exactly. It's not like the conversations weren't taking place, but it was like, you don't have to be ashamed of having that conversation, or showing your spouse affection, love, whatever, in any setting. Like, "No, we can do this. It's nothing you can say or do about it." You know? So, that helped a lot. Yeah.
Kenrya: I'm wondering how do you make time, in the chaos of parenting, and being a partner, and all of that, to be in touch with yourself and your body?
Candace: That is hard. And I'm still struggling with that. Because although I like working out, I will definitely skip a workout if I feel like I need to be there for my family. Or, I won't eat, because I'm doing stuff around the house for my family. And so I'm having to learn that, while they are a priority, they're not my end all be all. Like Ralph and I are like one of those definite couples where it's like in our marriage we come first. And we had this debate with a lot of friends. Our kids don't come first. We come first. Because, one, we need and want for them to leave this house one day, and be able to stand on their own and kind of be an independent person, not depending on us. And then we also want to show them how we view marriage, and how they should. So we kiss in front of them, hug in front of them, grind up on ... You know, I'll twerk in front of them.
Candace: They get embarrassed. But I'm like, "But this my man. I can do this. This my husband." Yeah, we have to definitely be intentional about how we spend time, and carving out that time. I remember hearing couples saying, "We scheduled time." And I'd be like, "That's just so corny to me." I'm not one of those people where it's like if we scheduled time in Tuesday at eight o'clock, we're going to have sex. No, because I'm not going to be in the mood.
Candace: I still need it to be organic. You know what I'm saying? Like I still need to know you want me, not because it's scheduled, but because my booty look big to you today. Or you want to rub up on me. Not because it's on the agenda to do. And so I think, like I said, with the kids getting older, it's easier to do that. Or we'll definitely make time where we're like, "Mimi, Papa, we're going to need you to keep them overnight, or keep them for the weekend." So we are blessed to have that as an option.
Kenrya: So you all have family right there?
Candace: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yeah, my parents moved here when we moved here.
Erica: Oh, so lucky. I was going to ask about that. I know that your mother and father are super involved, and I was wondering, did you see that growing up, and is that why your so ... Did you see that sort of relationship between your parents growing up, and is that why you are so intentional about making sure that your children see parents that genuinely love each other and want to ... want to rub up on each other?
Candace: I actually didn't. My parents used to flirt, but it was still very candid, very like old school.
Candace: I'm sorry if you all can hear them in the background, dinner is over.
Candace: So yes and no. Like little flirting here and there, but not to the extent that how Sledge and I flirt. And so, I actually think in the beginning of our relationship it was a little hard for me to do that, to give that. Because Sledge's love language is touch, or I think it's like personal touch.
Candace: So he like, you know, all the physical, right? And so I used to be like, "Yeah, but PDA." So I had to really break down and be like, "No, if this is what your man wants, and if this speaks to his love language, if this feels his love tank, then do it. Because if he's filling your love tank then you should be feeling his," type of thing. So I had to get more comfortable about not being embarrassed to kiss him, or to just be up on him, or hug him, or whatever the case may be. At home, in public, wherever. I mean, of course still being respectful and not going overboard, but just being comfortable with doing that and not feeling like, "Oh people are going to think or say one thing, or be annoyed, or roll their eyes." Like, so what? You know? [crosstalk 00:17:35].
Kenrya: How has he adapted to meet your love languages?
Candace: He's done really well. Probably much better than I have, but we've definitely had those moments where we have to remind each other what our love languages are. Because my biggest one is acts of kindness, I think it is. And so to me it's like, "Help me around the house. Put these kids in the bed. Give them they bath. Cook they dinner. Get them ready for school. Like help me around the house."
Candace: And so that took a lot of back and forth. Because there was a time where he wasn't working, I was working, and he used to feel as though I would boss him around about doing stuff around the house. And I saw it as though, like, "No, I'm going to work all day every day, and you're home, so you need to be doing it." And so we had to really adjust how we communicated that to each other. And that it's like, "No, I'm not coming from a place of being bossy, but I would like for you to help me with X, Y, and Z a little bit more." And then also on the receiving end, him understanding like, "These are ways I can step up and help her. Because if I help her clean the kitchen, or get the kids ready for bed, they maybe I'm against some ass tonight." So, yeah.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: And you won't be too tired to fuck.
Candace: Exactly. I'm like, "Bruh, help me help you. Okay?"
Kenrya: Have you found that during this whole stay at home thing that it's been even more important to make time for yourself, and make time for your relationship, since you all in the house together?
Candace: Yeah, I definitely haven't made time for myself. I mean, it's funny, because one day he was like ... I was debating ... It was something about working from home, because he's home with the kids during the weeks now. And he was like, "No, you need to go to work. You need a mental break."
Candace: And I was like ... Part of me was like, "Thank you." But the other part of me was like, "What you mean I need a mental break? I'm good. What are you trying to say, I can't handle it?" But he was right. I do need the time away, just alone time. Especially because the gym is closed, so it's not like I'm getting up to go work out. I'm not good at pushing myself to workout.
Candace: So yeah, I think just the break away from home, and the kids, and the day to day just being ... Not routine, but just, nothing's changing. He's definitely supportive of that, and making sure that, emotionally and spiritually, I'm fed and I'm good. Yeah. But, and you asked this earlier, I'm sorry I didn't answer it completely, but as far as like self-care, I'm getting better. I wasn't always great at it, but I have to be, I've gotten better as far as exercising, and reading. And yeah, just spending alone time. If it means I have to wake up an hour earlier, or go to bed an hour later, I definitely make sure I try and do that. Because I can definitely notice a difference when I don't, in just how I'm responsive to him, and how I'm responsive to the kids, and just my energy. So, yeah.
Kenrya: Oh, okay. Wait, I have a question that's not on our sheet but just occurred to me.
Kenrya: So, I think that sometimes when people have been in relationships for a while, there are things that we like to do to spice things up. And sometimes that means that we use toys, either with our partners, or with ourselves. Is that something that you have had to encounter in your relationship? And if so, how did it go?
Candace: Yep. And I sure remember when. It was early in our relationship. And I was like, "What is up? What you trying to do?!"
Kenrya: He introduced the toys?
Candace: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I love it. Spicy!
Candace: And I was just like, "I don't ... Where does that go?" So yeah, it's been a while. It's been a long time since we tried to get that. My thing is, I like to go to hotels.
Kenrya: Oh you fancy.
Candace: I know, I don't know what it is about hotels. But I'm like, "I want to go to every hotel. Take me to the Hilton Anatole, take me to the W. Let's spend a night in a hotel." I don't know what that is-
Erica: "You going to get all this nasty."
Candace: Because I ain't got to wake up early. I ain't got to clean.
Erica: You ain't got to clean.
Candace: I ain't got to clean nothing. So that's my thing. I'm trying to think-
Erica: You're like, "I don't need toys. Just give me a nice suite."
Candace: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly.
Erica: Whatever it takes.
Candace: Exactly, yeah.
Erica: Oh, okay. So one of the things that we like to ask our guests are "Would you rather" questions.
Erica: So, my "Would you rather" question: Would you rather have one night of romance only once a year, or would you have to live with quickies for the rest of your life?
Candace: Oh my God. Once a year?!
Kenrya: But you get to have your hotel, and your romance.
Erica: We'll let you do your hotel. Once a year.
Candace: Nah. I have to go with the quickies. And I actually like quickies. I had to get him to get on to that. We used to come home for lunch sometimes, and get a quickie in. Or we would do what we call skip days, and so the kids will be at school all day and we would both take off of work and stay home. Or go-
Erica: That's why you all got three of them now.
Candace: I told him, I said, "Listen, if these tubes weren't tied, we'd be so pregnant right now. This damn quarantine, we'd be so pregnant." But yeah, I'm going to go with the quickies.
Erica: Yeah, I think I'd have to go with the quickies. Ain't nobody got time for no long nights of passion.
Kenrya: I wouldn't survive.
Candace: Yeah, I wouldn't make it.
Kenrya: It'd just be a whole lot of masturbation. Well, you can masturbate, but it ain't the same.
Candace: It ain't the same.
Erica: Girl, as someone that's single, living single during quarantine. and I am literally living in a bubble. If I grab my vibrator one more ... I went to grab my vibrator, and it was like ...
Candace: Batteries dead. It's tired of your ass.
Erica: My vibrator was audibly like, "Ugh, hoe." So, yeah.
Candace: Yeah, nah. I had to put him on to the quickie thing. He's still not a fan, but I be like, "Listen, sometime it's not about all the passion. We just need to get... like I'm just horny. Let's go." You know?
Erica: Let's get it done.
Candace: He's a Pisces too. So he's super emotional.
Erica: He emotional, yeah. Oh, oh, oh poor baby. His birthday is coming up.
Candace: No, it just passed, at the end of February.
Kenrya: It already passed.
Kenrya: My birthday is coming up.
Erica: You're a Gemini now.
Kenrya: It sucks. We had to cancel our trip for my birthday. I've been looking forward to it for months, and now we can't go nowhere.
Erica: And he was going to Florida, you know that's a hot bed. Yeah. Yeah. We can't, that's even out of the option. But I did take off work, off all my clients. And we will quarantine and celebrate.
Kenrya: I guess. It makes me a little sad, but whatever. The thing that makes me happy is that you joined us today.
Erica: Yah! Thank you .
Candace: You're welcome. I had fun.
Kenrya: It was really good to talk to you and talk about parenting and sex, which is something that I feel like comes up in conversation for us a lot, because it informs how we, you know, you got kids. So it was really great to add another voice to that, that's an in a different situation. So thanks for coming on.
Candace: Thank you.
Kenrya: Let's tell the people where they can find you.
Candace: Well you can find us. So we have a podcast, Not Your Average Fairy Tale. It's available on Spotify, Apple, and Google Play. And so our Instagram is @n.y.a.fairytale. So please follow us. And we're on Twitter and Facebook. Our Twitter is just @nyafairytale, and Facebook just type in "Not Your Average Fairy Tale." And yeah, join us. Listen. We'd love to have you, get your feedback. Appreciate it.
Kenrya: All right.
Erica: Hey, hey, hey.
Kenrya: Well, that wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On. Thanks to everyone who took a minute to listen to us. Be well and be safe. And inside.
Erica: Keep your ass inside, please.
Kenrya: Stay home. Wash your hands.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. We want to hear from you all. Send your book recommendations, and all the burning sex and related questions you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. And please subscribe to show in your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod, and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. And find links to our books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. And remember, The Turn On is now part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more shows you'll love at Frolic.media/podcast. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.