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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read Delaney Diamond's "Queen of Barrakesch" and talk about wedding night sex and what's turning them on right now.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: Welcome back to season three. Here we are. We made it to season three. Can you believe it?
Kenrya: We did. It's amazing.
Erica: Yeah, we're dope-
Kenrya: I can because we're dope.
Erica: ... and we knew this was going to happen. But really, dog, season three, we growing up. We're toddlers.
Kenrya: We here.
Erica: We're yanking shit down and-
Kenrya: Toddlers are terrible.
Erica: ... having fits on carpets and eating toilet paper, all the things that toddlers... Losing their bones.
Kenrya: All in non-public places.
Erica: That's what they do. They go... Yeah. That's us. That's us.
Kenrya: That's us.
Erica: Boneless toddlers.
Kenrya: Own this.
Erica: Okay. So, we are back for season three, and we are going to open the season by reading from “Queen of Barrakesch,” which was written in 2020 by the fabulous Delaney Diamond. So, sit back, relax, get your wine. I know y'all been waiting to hear this. Get your wine.
Kenrya: I know I was.
Erica: Get your weed. Get your whatever you need and enjoy.
Kenrya: “Queen of Barrakesch,” by Delaney Diamond. Imani faced her husband. “Came to claim your marital rights?” “If you think by talking to me like that you'll turn me away, you're mistaken.” “Can't blame me for trying.” “I'm not a monster, Imani.” “So, I imagined everything that took place over the past couple of months.” With deliberate slowness Wasim came toward her and stopped inches away. The earthy fragrance of his cologne and the underlying scent of oud drifted into her nostrils. As he dipped his head his lips grazed her air and his breath brushed her earlobe. “Do you remember that night in Estoria? You have no idea how difficult it was to stop kissing you. I've craved you for so long and tonight I won't stop. Tonight...” He kissed behind her ear and the textured softness of his beard added another dimension of sensation. “Tonight I will know every inch of you.” She turned away and tried to find a response to his closeness, his scent, his virility as he towered over her, but Wasim placed a hand at the back of her neck and pulled her into a crushing kiss. Her sense went into an uproar as threads of heat raced through her body. That night, that kiss, and all contacts since then have placed a constant strain on her willpower. Now she was free to give in and she needed more.
Kenrya: Imani wanted to press her aching nipples against his chest to ease the sexual irritation caused by his kisses, but Wasim refused. He held her at bay. In the midst of plundering her mouth he somehow managed to maintain control while she was on the verge of performing a lewd grind against his hips. When he tore his lips from hers Imani gasped in frustration. "Show me," he rasped taking one of her wrists and scouring the hidden designs. She knew immediately what he wanted to see. "Here," Imani said quietly pointing to her inner forearm where his name was hidden in the pattern, "And here." The other artist had hidden his name in the same spot on her left forearm. He whispered something she didn't understand and then kissed her again hard and long, and when he finally stopped he stripped out of his clothes and Imani's mouth went dry. For years she'd only had her imagination for an idea what Wasim must look like underneath his clothes, but her mind had fallen far short of the reality.
Kenrya: His classic male physique consisted of sculpted muscles that ran the length of his body from shoulders to calves. His athletic build made her want to reach out and stroke his firm chest, run her hands down his flat belly, or squeeze the muscles that bulged from his thighs. Wisps of dark hair trailed from his chest to his pelvis and made a path down his legs. He moved closer oozing sexual energy and masculine grace, "Your turn." Within seconds he removed her clothes and was on top of her on the bed. To think she'd plan to lie there on the mattress as an unwilling participant, but that thought had been quickly dismissed the moment he kissed her. Hunger battered her loins and she kissed Wasim with all the pent up desire that had banked over time. When his fingers slipped between her lower lips she twisted in shock. "Mm, you're already so wet. You burn for this as much as I do," he groaned against her collar bone. She succumbed to the battering ram of his seduction gripping his powerful shoulders and twisting her head to claim his mouth. She sucked on his bottom lip thrust her tongue between his lips.
Kenrya: He became almost brutal as he devoured her and matched her ardor. He stretched her hands above her hand and clamped her wrists together with one hand, then his tongue wisps over the tip of one breast while the other bore the brunt of his hands fondling. He squeezed and kneaded and dragged his thumb across the turgid nipple until she was arching her back and writhing in the sheets. Wasim went lower alternating between kisses and whispering erotic words against her skin. "Do you know how many times I've dreamed about this night? How many times I've imagined you naked?" He slid his hands beneath her and his fingers pressed into her bottom as he lifted her to his face. His mouth covered her wet feminine flesh and her head fell back. She grabbed the pillows as she lost her bearing, dizzy with pleasure as his lips and tongue devoured with relish like a man in the harsh lash of starvation.
Kenrya: With one heel propped against his shoulder and fingers gripping a handful of his hair, Imani gasped and whimpered leaving her legs open so he could take what he wanted from between her quivering thighs. She came only moments later and trembled through an earth shattering orgasm. Wasim cradled her body in his arms and waiting until her breathing was back to normal before he resumed his exploration. He truly did learn every inch of her, back, front, thighs, arms, breasts. Not one square inch remained untouched as they made love. He sank his fingers into her hair and brushed his hands over her curves, gathering her breasts in his hands and sucking her swollen nipples he made her desire heat up once again to boiling. She wanted him so bad the aching spot between her legs grew wetter every time his hair roughened thigh brushed against her tender flesh. She bit her lips to resist the urge to beg but didn't know how long that would last if he didn't take her soon. As if he heard her silent plea, Wasim shifted. Gripping his erection, he looked at her with darkened eyes, his face intent.
Kenrya: He settled over her on one arm and brought the broad head of his erection to kiss the entrance of her body. As he sank into her she shifted her hips up and absorbed the slide of his hard length. She almost wept shuttering her eyes as he took full possession of her body. Groaning, her mouth open, Imani shuddered. "You're so tight, so wet," Wasim let out a helpless groan. Then his hips were in motion, slowly at first as they got accustomed to each other, but then he increased his speed. The mattress groaned under the weight of his forceful thrust and her body arched higher. He whispered sensual words to her in Arabic telling her soft her skin was and how good it felt to be inside her. "You're mine now," he whispered. Her eyes flew open. He seized her mouth and she became filled in two places. Her arms went around his neck gripping him close while he sucked her ear and her neck, never once losing the in and out rhythm. Imani got the fingers of one hand into his thick hair and then she was airborne shuttering through another climax that rocked her with the force of an earthquake.
Kenrya: As Wasim's heated grunts beat against her throat her pulsing cries bounced off the walls. She never experienced this with any other man. It was surreal. She moved her hips in a frenzy of motion so she wouldn't miss a single note of his pleasure giving thrusts. In the middle of her orgasm, Imani achieves some clarity. She hate clarity and wished she could go back to not knowing. Not knowing that she loved him and all this time she'd been in deep denial. The truth was a terrible burden to carry in a marriage of convenience based solely on a promise and a political pact. She curled her fingers into tight fists at the back of his head and silently responded to what he said, "Yes, I'm yours."
Erica: And we are back, so that was a really great snippet from “Queen of Barrakesch” written by Delaney Diamond. So, I'm going to start by just giving us a general overview of the story without spoiling again.
Kenrya: Yes, no spoilers.
Erica: Kenrya, you know I'm horrible at selling a story, so-
Kenrya: No, you're not.
Erica: ... just interrupt when I am. But it's a fun romp, but you going to be like, "Bitch, what?" Okay, so two main characters Imani and Prince Wasim?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Okay. Midwestern tongue. So, Imani is the ambassador from Zambia to the Kingdom of Barrakesch, and in her job as ambassador she's worked closely with Prince Wasim who is the prince to the Kingdom of Barrakesch. So, Imani's family is like pressing her out like, "Girl, you need to get married," and they are trying to set up an arranged marriage. Prince Wasim's family looks at him as like next in line, like everyone looks at him like, oh, he'd be next in line for the throne but he's not married. He's a bachelor, this will be a problem. But it's not really a problem because the king is fine, he ain't going nowhere so they're like, "We'll jump that bridge, cross that monkey when we get to it." Jump that bridge, cross that monkey. So, in the story the king calls Wasim to his house and is like, "Hey bro, I'm sick. I'ma die very soon. I would make you king but you ain't married." So, the prince is like, "Oh, but dad, you don't know, I got a woman and I plan to propose to her so you can name me king." So-
Kenrya: Yeah, okay. Yes, that does happen eventually.
Erica: Okay. I mean, again I'm fucked up on this story telling especially when I can't tell the spoilers. So, Prince Wasim knows that Imani's family is pressing her out to get married so he's like, "Look, how about we just act like we're going to get engaged. We'll stay engaged until my dad dies, once he dies then, bam, we can break off the engagement. You can go back home, that gives you a little more time to get your family off your back and then that gets me the kingdom," so they agree to it. Then of course the king dies and they're like, "Let's make this a marriage," and so then they choose to marry, hijinks ensue, and this scene that we just read picks up on their wedding night. I got it?
Erica: Fill it in.
Kenrya: I only got two things.
Erica: Color it in, girl.
Kenrya: No. So, the country that she's from is called Zamibia.
Kenrya: Well, because it looks like Zambia but they made up... just like they made up Barrakesch or whatever.
Erica: Oh, I totally... I fucked that pooch.
Kenrya: It's fine. It does look like Zambia, and it was Imani's idea not his.
Erica: Oh, my bad. See, fucking it up. But anyway-
Kenrya: You got it.
Erica: Y'all got the gristle of the story.
Kenrya: Yes. The part that gives it structure.
Erica: Yes, y'all got the gristle. So, the scene that we read was their wedding night, and like good little doobies they decided... I mean, there has been sexual tension in their relationship. They had a fleeting kiss years ago but they've never done the do. They haven't... He ain't even finger popped her once or twice. They have been just good little doobies.
Erica: Chaste. So, this is wedding night sex. So, yeah, you know-
Kenrya: You miss sex, look at your face.
Erica: I do, I miss sex. I miss sex. I actually was going to be like, wedding night sex is not like... Everyone talks like wedding night sex is great and here's the thing, wedding night sex falls in two categories, either, one, you've never fucked a day in your life and then it's like losing your virginity on the main stage which sounds fucking horrible. I can't tell you about that.
Kenrya: Yeah, that's true. A lot of those people... I guess they probably are.
Erica: I mean, yeah. Or-
Kenrya: Especially if you're following the tenants of your religion, which lots of them-
Kenrya: ... including Wasim's-
Erica: Yes, say no fucking before marriage.
Kenrya: ... say that you should not have sex before marriage. So, he's Muslim and Imani is Christian, which we didn't say.
Erica: Or y'all been fucking all the time and it's just another night to fuck, right?
Erica: So, I think wedding night sex is overrated. I remember the night of my wedding I was just so fucking tired I don't even think we did it that night just because it was so much going on, and I didn't have a big wild wedding. We had a little afternoon joint and then we all went to a bar that evening. But it was just-
Kenrya: It was cute.
Erica: ... you know, you had been like-
Kenrya: You went to a bar?
Erica: Yeah, and some man-
Kenrya: I wonder why I didn't go.
Erica: Some man offered to... He like said something lewd to my mama. It was crazy.
Kenrya: Oh, shit.
Erica: We were like in St. Louis, it was like one of this big drunk, you know?
Kenrya: I had my kid, I don't think I made it out because I don't remember that.
Erica: You probably didn't. Yeah, it was like a... Anyway, so it was that but even... but I couldn't imagine having a whole day of stuff and then a big old wedding reception and all the.
Kenrya: And they had a massive wedding. They had more than 1,000 people at their wedding in this book.
Erica: Yeah, this was like a state wedding.
Erica: I could not imagine doing all that shit and then coming in busting out of this dress, titties probably been smashed in on the left side or right, or both, and then expecting to do the do. So, this is for Erica to go down in history of saying wedding night sex is overrated.
Kenrya: I don't even-
Erica: Bust it open the night before, a few days after.
Kenrya: But a lot of people don't like to see each other right before. I don't remember if I had sex on my wedding day.
Erica: You got a do a cute little glory hole situation the night before.
Kenrya: Oh my God. Dude, I legit don't remember. I remember going to city hall, I remember that we went to Red Lobster.
Erica: We went to Red Lobster. We took the train to Red Lobster because that's how we-
Kenrya: And that's probably where my day-
Erica: That's how we celebrate significant events because we're two hoes from the Midwest that are classy than a motherfucker.
Kenrya: But I don't remember anything else that day. Whatever.
Erica: Whatever, fuck it. That's your mind blocking out good-
Erica: That's your mind protecting yourself.
Kenrya: Thank you, mind.
Erica: But yeah, so wedding night sex is just so overrated, but I mean.
Kenrya: Not in this case.
Erica: In this case it actually was, and you know what? So, I can't remember in the book, but were they both virgins? I don't think they were virgins.
Kenrya: No, neither of them was a virgin.
Erica: Which, okay-
Kenrya: They just hadn't been together.
Erica: Which I guess that would be a cute little wedding night situation if it's like I know how this pussy works, I just haven't put this pussy on you, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: As opposed to...
Kenrya: I knew you-
Erica: Yeah, that's a whole different situation.
Kenrya: I'm fumbling in the dark, literally. Yeah, that sounds terrible.
Erica: It does.
Kenrya: Shit, it was terrible the first time it happened.
Erica: Yeah, yeah. So, okay, I guess that is a good... I guess that is good to-
Kenrya: Yeah, because they had built up... like I was ready for it to be hot because they had literally-
Erica: Girl, I was-
Kenrya: ... years of built up tension.
Erica: If you don't throw it on him, I am.
Erica: Because, oh, also, this man... There's something about a hairy man is just... Fix your face. He was written beautifully.
Erica: He sounds like he was a beautiful man and I'm thinking about-
Kenrya: She always talked about his skin being golden and-
Erica: Yeah, just some um and muscles and hair and just... masculineness. Yeah, I would've... So, it actually did seem like a good... Their wedding night sex was a good wedding night because it was more we've been holding out waiting for this and now I'm about to put this pussy on him, which some of... We have a few friends that were fucking in their relationship and then when they got engaged-
Kenrya: And then stopped.
Erica: ... they stopped.
Erica: Remember that convo- Were you with us?
Kenrya: I was like, "What the fuck are you doing?"
Erica: When our friend was like, "You don't let him pet it? Just let him pet it a little bit."
Kenrya: I do indeed remember that conversation. You know, one of our friends and her soon to be husband they legit just stopped doing it.
Erica: Fucking for like, I think it was three, four months?
Kenrya: In preparation for when they got married.
Erica: When they got married.
Kenrya: I'm like, he been fucking... Y'all been...
Erica: Y'all been doing the nasty all up and you just trying not to pregnant?
Kenrya: It's been years, but all right.
Erica: And so we were discussing this and another one of our girlfriend's was like, "But you don't let him pet it? Just pet it a little bit?" And this is actually one of our more tame, calm girlfriend's in the bed.
Kenrya: The one whose... Yeah.
Erica: But I mean, hell, she recognized that if you got in house supply at least let him pet it.
Kenrya: Yeah, but you know, that worked for them. I'm not strong enough.
Erica: Yeah, I was about to say, have you ever been in a relationship where you wanted to intentionally wait for sex, like, okay, we're not going to do it?
Kenrya: Not since high school.
Erica: Not since the store opened has it-
Kenrya: Since fucking been fucking.
Erica: Not since fucking been fucking.
Kenrya: Yeah, in college I definitely was still of the, oh, I got to wait a certain amount of time but I remember even then thinking that that certain amount of time kept getting shorter with every man.
Erica: Right. I had to wait three months, okay 60 days. All right, we going to give him a date over $75.
Kenrya: Exactly. It definitely got shorter and shorter, because I didn't have even my first one night stand until I was good and grown and living in New York.
Erica: My first one, ooh. Yeah, my first one night... like where I knew we just fucking and this is it, I ain't got to see you again, I was a lot older but it was fun.
Kenrya: Which one was my first one? Listen, I had... I've only had three but I feel like they were all within a little period of time when I-
Erica: It was a phase.
Kenrya: It definitely was. Ooh, I don't even remember which one of those was first but the one that I'm thinking of that might've been first was not great.
Erica: Was that the nigga that followed you back?
Kenrya: No, that was good.
Kenrya: It was with one of our college friends on a lost weekend.
Erica: Oh, shit. Boop, put a pin in that one, we'll get back to that later offline. But yeah, I definitely... It took a minute for me to get comfortable with the idea of a one night stand.
Erica: Like going into it being like, "Nigga, I ain't going to see you again."
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and being really clear about that and not just thinking it, but saying it and knowing it.
Erica: Yes, girl. Girl, now I'll be like, "Don't take off your shoes, just pull your pants down for a little bit."
Kenrya: Yeah, this will be quick, don't get comfortable.
Erica: Don't get comfortable. Don't get comfortable. That's always fun on vacation too,
Erica: Because you don't have to worry about that.
Kenrya: ... I want to say that was my... My first one actually was the one the one on vacation and, yeah, that nigga did follow me back.
Erica: He was in New York, he was like, "Hey, I'm coming to Harlem."
Kenrya: Yeah, literally. That shit was crazy.
Erica: That is no fucking fun.
Kenrya: It was good though.
Erica: But yeah, I think I did go through a period where I thought I like him so I'm going to wait to have sex with him and then I'll fuck somebody else. And yeah, I don't know what...
Kenrya: I haven't done that.
Erica: I think my... I mean, now that I think it through, my thinking was flawed because it's like...
Kenrya: Either you're going to click or you not.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. And sex-
Kenrya: It's going to work or it's not when you fuck.
Erica: Yeah, and I think that I felt like sex became a problem in relationships because I wasn't clear about what I wanted or clear about what I wanted from that person. So, it just made it muddy because I was afraid to be honest, but now that I'm like, "This is what I want," then it don't make shit difficult, you know?
Kenrya: Yeah, no. I mean, you know, I told me current partner on our second date that I wanted to fuck him.
Erica: To which he was like, "Well, waiter, check please."
Kenrya: No, we didn't do it that night because you were at my house watching my kid.
Erica: Oh, but you came back with your titty pulled out of your shirt.
Kenrya: Oh my God, I totally remember that. My titty... I didn't know it was out.
Erica: Kenrya came upstairs like, "Oh, my bad." I'm like, "Bitch..."
Kenrya: I didn't know it was out.
Erica: "Put your titty away." Damn, I think I fucked up the levels in recreating that. I was like, "Bitch, y'all did have a good date."
Kenrya: We did have a really nice date.
Erica: Yeah, and then y'all got freaky in the car.
Kenrya: We did.
Erica: Thankfully we have a wooded area over there.
Kenrya: Yeah, I mean, I don't care also.
Erica: So, damn, okay. Well, in this story, in the excerpt that you read, one thing that I thought was really beautiful was how she had henna all over her body. I guess that's one of the traditions and he was like, "Show me where my name is."
Kenrya: Yeah, before he would even touch her he was like, "Show me." And I was like, "What? Show you what?"
Erica: I think that is so sexy. I-
Kenrya: Yeah, his name was like hidden in the designs, like wow.
Erica: I was on Twitter the other day and this chick posted a picture of some hand with henna or something and she was like, "Oh, this henna is so beautiful," and this other-
Kenrya: I saw that shit.
Erica: This Indian chick was like, "It's nice but it's nothing-"
Kenrya: She's like, "There's nothing amazing about that."
Erica: "There's nothing amazing about it." She was like, "My sister's had to be done with needle point."
Erica: And I was like, "Yeah bitch, ya dead ass."
Kenrya: And then they started this whole thing of people posting their wedding-
Erica: Wedding henna?
Kenrya: Yeah. It was gorgeous.
Erica: Oh, it was so beautiful.
Kenrya: Because the original one, let's be clear, was done by a white woman. It was very, you know...
Erica: It was like...
Kenrya: [inaudible 00:27:34].
Erica: It was the equivalent of that... when they mentioned one of the clips from Honey and Save the Last Dance when white girl is doing-
Kenrya: Oh my God.
Erica: Doing a hip hop dance.
Kenrya: No, it was crazy.
Erica: It's very a sanitized version of that.
Kenrya: I mean, when I was a kid I don't remember watching it and thinking it was great but I also didn't watch and realize how terrible it was.
Erica: No, I... even to this day I get very... I get secondhand embarrassment when I see white people dancing to hip hop on movies, like step show scenes, like Greek scenes and stuff. Because it be like, dog, ain't nobody-
Kenrya: It's just not... No.
Erica: ... consoled nobody. I was watching an episode of The Parkers where... You're not a Parkers connoisseur?
Kenrya: I haven't watched it since it was on the air in the first place.
Erica: Nigga, I watch it at least-
Kenrya: I know.
Erica: I don't even want to say daily, at least five times a week.
Erica: We watch “The Parkers” in this household, but anyway, but Professor Oglevee and the dude, I forgot his... Torio I don't know. But anyway, they were like in a fraternity and it like Chi Chi Chi or something like that and it was just hor... and I was just watching like, "Oh my God, wasn't nobody Greek on the scene."
Kenrya: Nobody, yeah.
Erica: So, yeah, as a kid I've always seen those and be like, "Ooh, honey, y'all."
Kenrya: You know who did it well? Oh, you haven't gotten that far.
Kenrya: There's an episode in “This Is Us” that you haven't seen yet. Yeah. Bitch, you need to catch up.
Erica: I need to catch up. I got left. I got tired of crying. It was like-
Kenrya: I mean, it was bad. so much has happened.
Erica: At first it was a good cry but then it was just like, girl.
Erica: Like, honey I'm... Ooh, put me on watch.
Kenrya: But it's still so good, but something happens. I can't even tell you what it is because I don't want you to be spoiled, but there was one key detail that I was like, "That ain't right. That's not the right color." You'll know what it is when you see it.
Erica: Okay. But yeah, so the henna was just so romantic and I thought was a great... it was a sexy and intimate and sensual way to get in and get to know one another like, "Mm, let me see where I'm written all over you." Also, I can someone nasty auntie like, "Yeah, we going to put this right here inside that thigh."
Kenrya: I honestly thought that that's what she was about to say.
Erica: I mean, yeah it probably was they probably just didn't get there. And yeah, I would love to do something to my head while it's free but I also don't want to be one of those white girl-
Erica: ... in Central Park appropriating. Yeah, exactly, so I'm not going to. But maybe I'll do some fancy cuts or something, not cuts but you know when I get hair... shaved lines or something not like... Okay.
Kenrya: I like it. I like it a lot.
Erica: Yeah, so you know, I got this little head. So, in the story, Prince Wasim we said is a Muslim, Imani is a Christian and they made it work. It didn't seem like their... They actually talked out the differences in their religions very early on. Have you ever dated a cross religion?
Kenrya: Does Hotep count?
Erica: The 5 percenter.
Kenrya: Sure. I've dated guys that identified as the 5 percenters and Hebrew Israelites. I know about the mathematics. I know what the-
Erica: What's that?
Kenrya: Oh, God. So, all the numbers stand for different things, so like two is wisdom which is woman. A woman is a man's... Have you ever... “I be your Noah, you be my Wiz.” He's saying, "You're my wisdom-
Kenrya: "You're my number two, my two."
Kenrya: Seven is a divine number, all the numbers mean different things. That's a conversation.
Erica: We can tell you done laid in bed listening to niggas talk about this shit.
Kenrya: Girl, I feel like it is a very specific New York experience when you date niggas that like from New York, from the Boroughs.
Erica: New York listeners, raise your hand if you've dated a 5 percenter. And you know what? Most of the time I will... Tell me if I'm right or wrong, most of the time you don't realize until you're in deep and y'all laying in bed after sex and he's like, "You my Wiz, girl."
Kenrya: Yeah. And I had never even heard of all of that before that nigga, so it was something new.
Erica: Because in Midwest.
Kenrya: Yeah, it was not a thing that I knew anything about, but then I started making associations and realized what the fuck was going on. Yeah, it got kind of deep. I mean, I was... A couple months ago my partner was watching this show on cults, that People show where they cover different cults.
Kenrya: And he was like, "Weren't you talking about this?" And it was Nuwaubian Nation.
Erica: They went down to like South Carolina and scared all them white people, right?
Kenrya: Georgia, yeah. They moved from Queens to Georgia and had a whole fucking compound with fake ass pyramids and all of this stuff. Yeah, I was in the process of being recruited, did not know that until I watched that documentary that it was a full on cult and all the things that went along with that. I had no fucking idea.
Erica: That's fucking crazy. I can laugh about it now, but scary at the same time because thank God you were of, you know, right sound mind to like push back.
Kenrya: Without even knowing the full scope of it being like, "No, that's not for me."
Erica: Yeah, I could totally see how some young girl or young person not really understanding, because again, some of this is alluring and it draws you to it.
Kenrya: It's different.
Erica: Because some of it makes sense. It makes sense to a certain level.
Kenrya: Especially because it's cloaked in this pro-Blackness that you don't realize until you get in is anti-woman.
Erica: Yes. Yeah, yeah. And they're like, "We will step on woman to attain the same privileges that white men have."
Kenrya: Yeah, because it's specifically anti-Black woman.
Kenrya: Which is fucking crazy, but all that to say that's nothing like being a Christian.
Erica: Now that we've... Yeah. I don't-
Kenrya: Yeah, have you?
Erica: You know, I don't think so. Most of the men that I have dated have been very, "I'm spiritual, I'm not into church." And then their spirituality may be like an amalgamation of things, of various things. Which I'm cool with because at the end of the day I feel like all religion is just a bunch of different stairs, like a bunch of different stairways to the same heaven. Like we going to get up there and be like, "Oh, shit."
Kenrya: Hey boo.
Erica: You made it here too? You know, so I'm whatever, however you choose to practice as long as you're generally a good person, ain't out here fucking killing or...
Kenrya: Yeah, you have some kind of a moral compass.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. So, I don't think that... I can't recall dating anyone seriously that I've had a religious difference, like we've come from different religions. Also, I wasn't raised in a point where it's like, where that type of thing would be forefront in my mind like, "Oh, he's from a different religion." But I do know that now I tend to... I'm not really into guys that are like, "Oh, I'm Atheist," just because I feel like you need to have some sort of a... like this shit is just too big and too vast and too expanse, and there is so much magic in this world that it's hard for me to take seriously someone that can look in the face of that stuff and be like, "But there's no divine power in this world." And that's one of those just fundamental... because I'm perfectly fine with not knowing some shit or not knowing how some shit works. Actually it's easier for... Oh, I ain't got to know this? Cool. At work they get mad at me because I am the woman that's like, "Don't include that. We going to give you just the information you need to know. If you want to know more, ask."
Erica: I'm not going to withhold it, but I'm not going to overload you with information. That's how I feel with religion, like we going to get to a point where you drill down to a certain... when I drill down to an atom, I don't know how the fuck that atom got here, what makes it quirk and do the atom things but I just know that there's a divine spark, and whatever you believe that divine spark to... you know?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: And so it's hard for me to reason with people because also to me that's what makes the world beautiful and magical and special and makes me feel special, you know, knowing that there's a divine power out here that's looking out for me. And sometimes I do get a shit end of the stick but it's going to all come around and things work in my favor, so it's really hard for me to be interested in men that flat out say, "I don't believe in God. I don't believe that there's any divine power."
Kenrya: Yeah, that's real. I'm thinking back to when I was dating and stuff, yeah I mean I guess I'm with you in that it would be ideal that they believe in something because I live so much of my life guided by faith that the idea that someone may perhaps poo poo that or try to make it... because I mean there are some, and definitely not all because I have friends who are Atheist, but some Atheists who I've come across who... There are some Atheists who I've come across who have not, you know, we talk about not yucking anybody's yum?
Kenrya: Where they yuck my yum as a Christian and I think that that's where the disconnect comes from because I don't want to feel like I have to hold back on my praise or not express the faith that I have that gets me through because this person thinks I'm stupid because I believe in something bigger than myself. That said, I don't feel like I couldn't be with somebody just because they believe something different than I do but there has to be a mutual respect there where we both attempt to understand what each other believes in and respects that that is what it is. Even with... Oh, Agnostic, and I respect someone who doesn't know, right? Because Agnostics say, "I don't know."
Erica: Yeah, exactly.
Kenrya: And I think a lot of that too.
Erica: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so part of this story, part of the plot of this story, is that Imani rejects the idea of an arranged marriage because she wants to marry for love. She doesn't whole heartedly... She's not one of those like, "Over my dead body." She's just like, "I'm open to seeing who you might..." because her parents had some guy and she looked at him like, "Okay, maybe." So, she was kind of open to the idea of it but very grounded in the fact that we're not going to get married unless we absolutely love each other and want to be together. This isn't going to be a, you know, you show up, I show up, oh, hey, we getting married, kind of thing. Oh, and also this story shows a nuance, well it's not even a nuance, but it shows there's a very... an arranged marriage is very different from a forced marriage. So, this is an arrange... her parents want to put her in an arranged marriage which is, "Hey, hey, we hooking y'all up. Y'all going to get married," and all parties are like, "Yes, we're going to get married," which is very different from a forced married which is just that. You're currently partnered, and hopefully will be forever, but would you trust somebody to pick a partner for you, and if so, who?
Kenrya: Oh, shit. I don't-
Erica: Put your eyes back in your head please.
Kenrya: Would I trust somebody to pick a partner for me? I mean, I think that that's what we're doing when our friends set us up, right?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: I think I would trust someone who knows me really well. I would not trust my family to do that. I have not lived in Cleveland for going on 21 years. Holy fuck.
Erica: I know, we've been living here-
Erica: ... well, away from home longer than we lived at home.
Kenrya: Yeah. And while, sure, my family knows me to a degree, they don't know me the way you know me.
Erica: Yeah, like y'all knew me as a child, y'all knew me living under someone else's roof.
Kenrya: And they know this image that they have of me as the one who got out, you know what I mean?
Kenrya: I'm not... I think that they absolutely have this vision of who I am that is not really who I am, and that anybody that they picked would be based on the wrong fucking person.
Erica: You know, that's interesting you say that because I think I have been... I've been spending more time around my family. When my grandmother passed away I was stuck in St. Louis for two weeks and then going through surgery and treatment I've had family spending significant time, and I think this past... I want to say like past couple years they are really reconciling who they thought I was with who I am, and it's been very interesting watching them kind of put the two together. My younger sister is like, you know, my family is like, "Oh my God, Erica. Can you believe?" My sister's like, "That bitch been like that. Y'all bitches just don't want to pay attention." Because, yeah, I am very much the one that got out and I was always the quiet goody two shoes. Shut up, bitch. I'm the quiet one in my family which is fucking scary, but I am. Not as much anymore but I was the quiet one. It was one of those ways that I just kind of stayed below the radar. I was either quiet or over performing, out performing, so I'd be the good one. Co-dependency like a mother fucker.
Erica: But it's been really interesting to see my family put the two together. I remember I was talking to my aunt, the one that stayed with me, and she was like, "You smoke weed?" I was like, "Yeah." "Oh my God, people that don't do anything smoke weed." I was like, "Yeah, I smoke and then I go to work the next day, like that's life." So, I don't think I could have my family do an arranged marriage for me because, yeah, it be a hot mess. It would be a hot mess, and not even on some like... what the person does or how they look, just on like what I would want out of somebody.
Kenrya: No, just the personality.
Erica: You know of anybody in an arranged marriage, that had an arranged marriage?
Kenrya: I don't think I know anyone personally who does. I think some parents of some of my friends have arranged marriages, like some of my immigrant friends, but no one personally. That said, I've heard lots and lots of stories about how they work well, you know?
Erica: Yeah. See, I think age has a lot to do with it also. I think had I been put in an arranged marriage at 18-
Kenrya: Oh, God.
Erica: ... versus... you know, it's just you're... [crosstalk 00:45:43].
Kenrya: You don't know who you are.
Erica: Yeah. I'm able to kind of grow with that person and we kind of grow together as opposed to-
Kenrya: Or not.
Erica: ... throwing this Black as... But, yeah, you're right.
Kenrya: I mean, I think about who I was at 18, I'm like a whole other ass person.
Erica: But you had experiences that shaped you to be... lead up to... you know, certain experiences caused you to become, you know, shape you into the person that you are now and I think that if you were put in an arranged marriage at... If you chose to be in an arranged marriage at 18 you'd have... you'd likely have situations that... If you're put in an arranged marriage at 18 or if you chose to be in an arranged marriage at 18 you'd likely be in more situations that would cause you to grow more with that person if that's what you genuinely choose to do, you know? So, yeah, that's very different than this 38, 39 year old Erica getting thrown into... Shit, I couldn't be in a... It was hard me being in a chosen marriage with a motherfucker in my 30s let alone somebody else picked him. I picked this motherfucker.
Kenrya: Right. Which I think is what brings me back to the whole picking thing because I think that one of the things that has changed, at least for me and I think for you too, is that my picker is better.
Erica: Yes, much better.
Kenrya: Yeah. So, whoever were to do the picking would have to have that same sensibility.
Erica: Yeah. Do you think it's possible to learn to love somebody? Like if you walked into an arranged marriage situation and said, "Hey, this seems like a fit. I'm going to choose to love this person, learn to love this person in order to buy into the situation?"
Kenrya: I mean, I think that's what we do in every situation, right?
Kenrya: We learn to love the people who we are around. I think that we choose to love and learn to love our family members. We learn to love the folks who are our chosen family. If you look at how your relationships with your friends change over time and how you can see certain things in them and be like, "This bitch is wilding," but also still love her at the same time. And even with your romantic partners, you're learning to love them. You're learning how to love them, right? What are their love languages? What are the things that make them feel loved? What are the ways that you feel loved? What are the ways that you want to express yourself in terms of bringing those two things together? All of that to me is learning to love someone.
Kenrya: I guess it's just the timeline is different.
Erica: I feel like this is a theme among a lot of the books that we have planned for this season, but love is love. There are different types of love or the different relationships. Have you seen the thing... I'm taking a polyamory course.
Kenrya: Agape love.
Erica: Yeah, I'm taking a polyamory course and the first slide was like, "What is love?" And they talked about the agape love and the eros, just the different types of love. But at the end of the day-
Kenrya: Yeah, I've written about it a bit actually.
Erica: ... they're all love and they all have the same characteristics of this being a choice to, you know, choosing to stick with this person through the shit. So, nonetheless I think you really highlight that and I think we're going to see that in some of the other books that we have for this season. Okay y'all, so one of the things that we would like to do for season three is introduce a new segment that we like to call What's Turning Us On.
Kenrya: What's Turning Us On.
Erica: Did that... Did we say that correctly?
Erica: What's turning us on? Okay, anyway so in this segment we just going to put y'all onto some new shit that we love, enjoy, think you might be interested in. We'll make sure we provide links and all of that stuff so that you can get turned on too in addition to listening to us.
Kenrya: And then you can use these things while you listen to us.
Erica: Yeah. Okay, so-
Erica: ... the first thing that we are going to tell you about is this thing it's called The G-spot Clitoral Vibrator For Women, Couples Vibrator, Waterproof and Rechargeable Clitoris G-Spot-
Kenrya: It's got the most descriptive name.
Erica: ... Simulator Adult Sex Toy.
Erica: Parenthesis purple, parenthesis couple.
Kenrya: Lower D.
Erica: So, I found this thing because-
Kenrya: Wait, first describe it to the people.
Erica: Well, I was going to tell them how I found it and then describe it. So, I found this thing... I follow somebody on Twitter and she's a sex worker and was like, "Nigga, I almost died. Y'all need to try this." So, I clicked the link on Amazon, it was like 30 bucks so I was like, "Fuck it, let me try it. Let me send it to Killa so she can try it." And like-
Kenrya: No, that's not what happened. I was in your room-
Erica: Did I use it?
Kenrya: No, you had it but you hadn't used it yet and I was in your room because you had just got your little chest to keep all your toys in.
Erica: I have this ottoman at the foot of my bed that I keep all my toys in, but yeah okay, sorry.
Kenrya: And I saw it and you were like, "This chick said this shit the truth," and I was like, "Well, I'm going to get one too."
Erica: Yes. So, as I look at our Amazon account, because we niggas and share, it already put you on blast like, "You purchased this two times." So, thank you Amazon, we're hoes.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's fine.
Erica: So, I'm going to describe it, Kenrya you can chime in. The best way to describe it is it looks like a U but one side of the U is thing and shorter than the other side of the U which is fat and longer. Does that work?
Kenrya: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's purple.
Erica: And it's purple and it's rechargeable, and what else did they say?
Kenrya: It vibrates.
Erica: So, I fucking love this joint. First, it's rechargeable so it has like a little magnetic thing, and one of the things that I find important about my sex toys because I keep everything in my ottoman, I like being able to quickly charge it and not have to think about it and it has the magnetic charger so you just kind of click it on. So, that's what I like about it among many things. It has a little button on the top that gets the vibration going and then it also has-
Kenrya: A remote.
Erica: I'm learning... A remote?
Erica: I didn't know it had a remote.
Kenrya: We used the remote at first but I haven't used it in a while.
Erica: Yeah. So, the way that it works, both ends vibrate. So, the way I use it, the big fat end you put it in you. It's kind of like you put it in your vagina, and the little end goes in your vagina and kind of vibrates and then the big end, the fat end, sits on top and it vibrates your clitoral hood and clit and all that stuff. Right? Well, that's how I use it.
Kenrya: That's how you use it. Do you ever use it with a partner, or do you-
Erica: I use it with a partner, that's the only time to use it.
Kenrya: So you have it inside and you have a penis in there?
Erica: So, here's the thing, not saying he had a weenis but he didn't have a big dick.
Kenrya: Oh, okay. [crosstalk 00:56:01].
Erica: And so I was able to work it.
Kenrya: That don't work for me. So, the way that I use it-
Erica: I feel like it could if [crosstalk 00:56:07].
Kenrya: No, we tried.
Kenrya: The way... It hurt. The way that I use it-
Erica: We use like ignorant amounts of lube and his weenis.
Kenrya: Yeah, I'm not doing the weenis situation. So, I use it, I have the small... well, I use it a couple of ways but when we used it... when we tried to use it when we first got it, we tried it inside, it didn't work. So, then I put the little part on my clit and then the big part on my vulva so that it was like kind of vibrating the g-spot from the outside. So, that's what worked for me and then-
Erica: So, you kind of laid it flat?
Kenrya: Kind of, yeah. You're body has a natural curve so it don't really have to lay flat, it just kind of opens up.
Erica: Yeah, it's not like it's flat, but yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah, and so that's usually how I've used it and sometimes he'll use it if he's just trying to get me off independently. But the way that we use it most often is not the way it was intended, so if I'm on top I use it almost like a cock ring but it's got more size to it.
Kenrya: So, then the little part is in the front and it's on my clit and then the back part is actually in my butt so you get yah. You get double vibration and penetration that you get to control. It is like my...
Kenrya: Oh, I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming. It's done.
Erica: Oh my God.
Erica: I like that. So-
Kenrya: I love this little thing.
Erica: I love it because, like I said, I was using it with a weenis, but it's great because not only do you... I feel like with me and sex it's like a three ring circus, like I want to have everything go-
Kenrya: Spinning plates, and yeah.
Erica: Yeah, I'm like, "Where's the lions? Where's the tigers? I need the guy jumping through hoops." So, I like this because I get the vibration inside and then I get the vibration on my clit, but also my partner gets the vibration as he's in and out of me. Now, when you use it like that you can't be doing too much, you got to like... you can't be-
Kenrya: Just a real simple in and out.
Erica: Yeah, you got to just keep that shit simple.
Kenrya: Yeah, we... that just didn't work.
Erica: But it was great, and like I said, this dude had... he had a good size penis, like I said it wasn't a... because also you can't always do everything with a big dick.
Kenrya: No, that's true.
Erica: And his dick was... he had an acrobatic dick. You know, just some dicks-
Kenrya: It did tricks.
Erica: Some dicks are made for tricks, some dicks are made for tricks. That's the thing we're coming out with this.
Kenrya: The moral of the story.
Erica: But yeah, so he had a trick dick and it worked really well, and bitch I tell you, my eyes literally rolled back in my head like a slot machine. It was like...
Erica: But yeah, so this is my good little toy. I love it, I suggest everyone use it. Okay y'all, so that's the first time we're doing this segment in what's turning us on.
Kenrya: In what's turning us on.
Erica: So, yeah, hope this turns you on.
Kenrya: Until next time, we are Kenrya and Erica.
Erica: Two hoes making it clap!
Kenrya: Making it clap!
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 a screenshot to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live—become a supporter today and access lots of goodies, including The Turn On Book Club and two-for-one raffle entries! Don’t forget to send us your book recommendations and “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 for listening and we’ll see you soon. Bye!
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On Episode 10 of The Turn On, we read Song of Solomon from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible and discuss sex and religion, feminism and race.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: So, welcome to this week's very special episode of The Turn On. With your hosts, Erica and Kenrya. Okay y'all. Welcome back.
Kenrya: I like that.
Erica: So, at our kids’ school's parent back to school night, the video rolls in the first song that they had was, "Welcome back."
Kenrya: It was and I was thinking about your ass.
Erica: I was like yes, they listen to The Turn On, all those parents in this hippy-dippy school. Okay, welcome back. This week we're going to do something a little different. We are going to read from the Song of Solomon in the Bible.
Kenrya: Yeah. Oh, snap.
Erica: Oh, snap. I will preface by saying this is the most you're going to hear me say dick and pussy for the remainder of the episode.
Kenrya: When talking about Jesus.
Erica: Just because I still feel like a little church girl in my white socks, and stocking, and my hair slicked back with smelling Blue Magic Grease when I read directly from the Bible.
Erica: We'll get into that also. Yeah, we're reading excerpts from the Song of Solomon, which is in the Bible. We are reading from the Contemporary English Version. I will touch on why... We'll go into a little bit more details later. Nonetheless, here you go. Sit back, relax, get your wine, get your weed, get your weed and herb. It's a flower.
Erica: So, get your wine, get your weed, get your water-based... I'm trying to find something that starts with a W that's a little churchy.
Kenrya: I don't know what that may be.
Erica: Get your wine, get your weed, get your wafers. Communion, that kind. Communion wafers. Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Kenrya: The Song of Solomon, the Bible, Contemporary English Version. She speaks, 'Kiss me tenderly. Your love is better than wine and you smell so sweet. All the young women adore you. The very mention of your name is like spreading perfume. Hurry my king, let's hurry. Take me to your home.' The young women speak, 'We are happy for you and we praise your love even more than wine.' She speaks, 'Young women of Jerusalem, it is only right that you should adore him. My skin is dark and beautiful like a tent in a desert, or like Solomon's curtains. Don't stare at me just because the sun has darkened my skin. My brothers were angry with me and they made me work in the vineyard, and so I neglected my complexion. Don't let the other shepherds think badly of me.'
She speaks, 'I am merely a rose from the land of Sharon, a lily from the valley.' He speaks, 'My darling, when compared with other young women, you are a lily among thorns.' She speaks, 'If you are my brother, I could kiss you whenever we happen to meet and no one would say I did wrong. I could take you to the home of my mother who taught me all I know. I would give you delicious wine, and fruit juice as well. Put your left hand under my head and embrace me with your right arm. Young women of Jerusalem, promise me by the power of deer and gazelles, never to awaken love before it is ready.'
Their friends speak, 'Who is this young woman coming in here from the desert and leaning on the shoulder of the one she loves?' She speaks, 'I stirred up your passions under the apple tree where you were born. Always keep me in your heart and wear this bracelet to remember me by. The passion of love bursting into flame is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave. Love cannot be drowned by oceans, or floods. It cannot be bought no matter what its offer.' Their friends speak, 'We have a little sister whose breasts are not yet formed. If someone asked to marry here, what should we do? She has no wall that we can defend behind a silver shield. Neither has she a room that we can protect behind a wooden door.'
She speaks, 'I am a wall around a city. My breasts are towers and just looking at me brings him great pleasure. Solomon has a vineyard at Baal-Hamon, which he rents to others for 1,000 pieces of silver each, but my vineyard is mine alone. Solomon can keep his silver and the others can keep their share of the profits.' He speaks, 'You're in the garden with friends all around. Let me hear your voice.' She speaks, 'Hurry to me my darling. Run faster than a deer to mountains of spices.' She speaks, 'Let the north wind blow and the south wind too. Let them spread the aroma of my garden so the one I love may enter and taste its delicious fruits.'
She speaks, 'I was asleep but dreaming. The one I love was at the door knocking and saying, 'My darling, my very own, my flawless dove, open the door for me. My head is drenched with evening dew.' But I had already undressed and bathed my feet. Should I dress again and get my feet dirty? Then my darling's hand reached to open a latch and my heart stood still. When I rose to open a door, my hands and my fingers dripped with perfume. My heart stood still while he spoke to me, but when I opened the door, my darling had disappeared. I searched and shouted, but I could not find him. There was no answer. Then I was found by the guards patrolling the town and guarding a wall. They beat me up and stripped off my robe. Young women of Jerusalem, if you find the one I love, please say to him, 'She is weak with desire.'
She speaks, 'He is handsome and healthy. The most outstanding among 10,000. His head is pure as gold. His hair is wavy, Black as a raven. His eyes are a pair of doves bathing in a stream flowing with milk. His face is a garden of sweet-smelling spices. His lips are lilies dripping with perfume. His arms are branches of gold covered with jewels. His body is ivory, decorated with sapphires. His legs are columns of marble on feet of gold. He stands there majestic like Mount Lebanon and his choice cedar trees. His kisses are sweet. I desire him so much. Young women of Jerusalem, he is my lover and friend.' She speaks, 'My darling as gone down to his garden of spices where he will feed his sheep and gather lilies. I am his and he is mine. He feeds his sheep among the lilies.'
He speaks, 'You are a princess and your feet are graceful in their sandals. Your thighs are work of art. Each one a jewel. Your navel is a wine glass filled to overflowing. Your body is full and slender like a bundle of wheat bound together by lilies. Your breast are like twins of a deer. Your neck is like ivory and your eyes sparkle like the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath-Rabbim. Your nose is beautiful like Mount Lebanon above the city of Damascus. Your head is held high like Mount Carmel. Your hair is so lovely, it holds a king prisoner. You are beautiful. So very desirable. You are tall and slender like a palm tree and your breasts are full. I will climb that tree and cling to its branches. I will discover that your breasts are clusters of grapes and that your breath is the aroma of apples. Kissing you is more delicious than drinking the finest wine. How wonderful and tasty.'
She speaks, 'My darling I am yours and you desire me. Let's stroll through the fields and sleep in the villages. At dawn, let's slip out and see if grapevines and fruit trees are covered with blossoms. When we are there, I will give you my love. Perfume from the magic flower fills the air, my darling. Right at our doorstep, I have stored up for you all kinds of tasty fruits.'
Erica: Okay, so welcome back. I hope that we can get some good conversation around this. First, let's start off with why I picked this particular version of the Song of Solomon. I picked the Contemporary English Version because as well know the Bible was written by a bunch of men.
Kenrya: A long period of time.
Erica: A long period of time. I think that the more contemporary versions, try to do a better, try to be better at washing out some of the anti-womanist, anti-Blackness that was written in it. When I first picked Song of Solomon and I was reading various versions of it, the line that says, "My skin is dark and beautiful." In a lot of the other versions, it would say, "My skin is dark, yet lovely." Or, "My skin is dark but I'm pretty." That kind of thing.
Kenrya: Always a 'but' there.
Kenrya: Pretty for a dark skinned girl.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. I don't know if that really was it.
Erica: I found this Contemporary English Version and listened to a few scholars. Let me give the disclaimer, by no means are we-
Kenrya: We are not Biblical scholars.
Erica: We are not Biblical scholars. We are not trying to be Biblical scholars. We are just two Black girls.
Kenrya: Who believe in God.
Erica: Who believe in the Lord.
Kenrya: But, also believe in pleasure.
Erica: Pleasure, exactly.
Kenrya: Those things don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Erica: Exactly. The purpose of this episode is to walks through our decisions and thoughts about that. I'm not trying to be a Biblical scholar. I'm not trying to be a Biblical scholar. I'm not trying to act like I'm one. If you have your well, this happened, this happened. All right, girl.
Kenrya: That's cool.
Erica: Yeah, that's fine. We're going with what we're reading and how we're feeling. Back to what I was saying.
Erica: I feel like the dark yet beautiful, or dark yet lovely was just a set up from the beginning of teaching people that dark skin isn't beautiful. And so, I was really adamant on finding a version of this reading that didn't contain the thou, those, thee’s.
Kenrya: Yet's and but's. Oh, yeah.
Erica: I also wanted something that reflected what I feel was the intent of this, which is saying that my skin is dark and beautiful, and it's not a but or a disclaimer, but just the fact that-
Kenrya: This is who I am.
Erica: This is who I am and I still feel like I'm beautiful for that. So, that's why we went with this particular version.
Kenrya: That's dope.
Erica: I said they were setting up standards of white beauty. I think it's also interesting and I'll call out some points in these passages, but I also think it was interesting how they used the old-timey just metaphors for beauty. They were like, "Your cheeks are like pomegranates." I can't remember if we read that part, or your bosom is like two deers. Let a nigga tell me I got bosom like two deers, I'd be like, the fuck?
Kenrya: But, thank you.
Erica: But, I mean it worked out.
Erica: It worked out for all old-timey Biblical days. Right?
Kenrya: It did. Can we or will we later talk about the whole dark skin thing? I think that's an important thing for us to pull up.
Erica: I was going to, yeah.
Kenrya: Are we going to do that later?
Erica: No, we can do it now.
Kenrya: Well because I mean, what this made me think of something that happened to me my first week of school in undergrad. It's happened in various forms, but this is the most blatant version of it. I was in the cafeteria, just minding my business, getting my lunch, and some dude walked up to me and tried to talk to me. I mean, I'm a freshman, he's I don't know, maybe a junior. I was like, "No thank you." He was like, "What do you mean?" I was like, "No thank you." He was like, "I mean you should be glad I'm trying to talk to you."
Erica: Oh, oh, oh.
Kenrya: Oh, no. I didn't finish. "Because most dudes don't even like dark-skinned girls." I was like, "I've never had that problem." And I walked away and I went on about my business. I can't remember his face. I don't know his name, but the fact that he had the fucking audacity because that's what niggas always got, if they got nothing else, it's audacity.
Erica: Oh, wow. To say that out loud.
Kenrya: To say that to me.
Erica: They ain't got shit, but the nerve.
Kenrya: That has stuck with me. It comes back to that pretty for a dark-skinned girl, which is something that a lot of our friends have that we've talked about many times, about the way that you get treated as if it's a surprise that you're beautiful because you are dark. In reading that, that was what that brought up for me.
Erica: Oh. It all goes back to white supremacy. Just being indoctrinated with the idea that the further you are from the-
Kenrya: From whiteness.
Erica: From white.
Kenrya: From the idea of that shit.
Erica: White, straight, maleness, the farther you are from what's right.
Kenrya: And from grace, and God, in those translations, right?
Erica: And people will be so quick to classify themselves on a ladder just to make themselves feel superior.
Kenrya: Well, I mean as I do all these talks about white supremacy, I mean that's ultimately what we're always talking about. Folks will step on everybody else to get to the top of the ladder. The hoteps that we talked about.
Erica: I was just about to say, the hoteps.
Kenrya: They aspire to whiteness. They want to be able to occupy the white cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, wealthy, able-bodied man's spot at the top of the hierarchy.
Erica: I was scrolling through Twitter today and this is a half-assed, half-informed, I will say it now, but the bit I know, I'm this is already some fuck shit. There was a picture of T.I. and Alex Jones.
Kenrya: Oh, God.
Erica: Like dapping it up. They're like, "Yeah, we're going to get it in and have some conversation." It's just like and so my first thought was this is pure fuck shit, but also it was a thought that... See, this is a picture of hotepness because although hotepness is cloaked in the I love Black people.
Erica: I love all Black things.
Kenrya: It's cloaked in pro-Blackness.
Erica: The root of it is-
Kenrya: An aspiration to whiteness.
Erica: To white supremacy.
Erica: It's like although T.I. is Black and Alex Jones is white, they still share the same views on women.
Erica: And so I looked at that like oh, here's go T.I. stepping on the necks of everybody else for the sake of being white aligned, or closer to the top of that hierarchy.
Kenrya: Yeah. I call that white aspiring.
Erica: I mean, yeah. Ain't nothing worse than, I mean I think I respect an Uncle Ruckus more than I would a hotep.
Kenrya: I mean, at least that nigga honest.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: They say what it is.
Kenrya: Instead of cloaking it in, "I love my people.” Word?
Erica: I love Black women. Yeah, bitch.
Kenrya: Do you though? Which ones?
Erica: Go get a job. I'm like nah or get a job and support us so I can be my Black man in this. Yeah. One of the things that stood out to me also in this, was how when the woman was speaking. She said, "My brothers were angry with me. They made me work in the vineyard so I neglected my complexion."
Erica: Bigger than neglecting your complexion, I feel like this is something that happens. Women tend to, well not women, but people tend to throw themselves into service for other people and neglect themselves. You know, neglect themselves in the end. And then usually it takes something else happening for them to realize oh shit, I've been slaving away for this.
Erica: Ding, ding, ding. But yeah. I've been slaving away and doing all of this for other people and I've completely neglected myself. I think that's something that we all do, experience. Unfortunately, I think what's difficult about it is because as mothers and caretakers, it's a fine line because yeah, you got to take care of your kid.
Kenrya: Yeah, they like to eat all the time.
Kenrya: Three times a day at least.
Erica: They're the worst.
Kenrya: They be counting meals.
Erica: Didn't you just eat?
Kenrya: [inaudible 00:19:05].
Erica: Why are you growing so much? Your job, not your job. I don't want to say job, but what you do is take care of your kid, especially with us as single parents. I have a partner that supports and you do too. We're the primary caretakers. There's a fine line of taking care of everyone else and taking care of yourself. I used to say oh, I'm going to be selfish and do X, Y, and Z but it's not even selfish.
Kenrya: It's not selfish.
Erica: This is what I got to do to take care of myself.
Kenrya: You want to take a bath. You want to do more than take a two-minute shower and sit in your tub for 30, 40 minutes, that's not being selfish. That's cleaning your ass.
Erica: Exactly. Actually, just a couple of minutes ago, I was telling Kenrya that I've been going through lots of transition in my personal life. Today, I was like, I'm going to have to leave this kid at home. I just got to get away. I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll walk and go get some coffee. Maybe I'll do whatever.
Kenrya: Oh, there's a gelato place up there.
Erica: Oh, okay.
Kenrya: It's good too.
Erica: Maybe I'll do that.
Kenrya: Yeah, anyway.
Erica: But yeah, so it's one of those things where it's like do you know what? In order for this situation to continue to go as smoothly as it is, I need a break.
Kenrya: That's right.
Erica: I need to get away. I need to take care of myself. I also think about relationships, be it romantic, or whatever, where giving me stuff to do was a form of manipulation.
Kenrya: It looks like what?
Erica: Does that make sense?
Kenrya: Tell me.
Erica: I am a caretaker. This is the codependency in me, but I take of people.
Kenrya: Ah, okay.
Erica: I mean, don't want to say codependent.
Erica: I know why you responded like that. One of my codependent traits is that I have OCD. I take care of people. I organize. I yada, yada, yada and I feel like there have been points in relationships where I got a little too independent, or a little too on my own, and so then my partner finds things that they need for me to do.
Kenrya: For getting done.
Erica: In order to keep me under their thumb.
Kenrya: Been there, girl. I was making doctor's appointments like I'm a goddamn secretary.
Erica: Yeah and nothing's wrong with being a secretary.
Kenrya: For him, though.
Erica: It's just like I'm your partner.
Erica: You know.
Kenrya: That's my thing.
Erica: Yeah and then you look up and you're like, damn I poured all myself into this person and nothing into me.
Kenrya: He over here full as hell.
Erica: Full as hell or not even partaking in what I did because I've had guys that was like, "I need X, Y, Z." And so little codependent Erica, rush out and do it and they're like, "Oh, well, not yet." It's just like damn, I did put all this energy into this and just for you to be like "Eh, nah. I don't need it." It's wild to see that that shit go back to the Bible days.
Erica: Since the beginning of time. Also, she and you read this so beautifully.
Kenrya: Oh, thanks.
Erica: When she said that I am merely a rose from the land of Sharon, a lily in the valley. He was like, hold on boo.
Kenrya: Nah boo.
Erica: Nah, you're a rose among thorns. I think this goes to what we talked about with the I'm not like other girls or like, "Oh, this old thing. I'm just so plain."
Kenrya: The false modesty of it all.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. False modesty. That's what I'm going for.
Erica: He was like, "Nah, nah boo. Don't be dimming your light. You're a fly little sister. Fly little sweet thing." I thought that was really cool. To me, this whole passage that we read was so amazing to see how the stuff that we do today and the ways that we think, has been going on since the beginning of time.
Kenrya: The whole thing, every time it's he she, he speaks and she speaks where they're talking about each other, it's like the old Black man. I'm trying to get like you. The whole thing was them one-upping each other. Talking about how great they were and that really hit me. I'm like aww, y’all love each other.
Erica: This is the Biblical version of that song, "You will never be nothing... My boo."
Kenrya: What are you singing?
Erica: All right. My boo.
Kenrya: My boo.
Erica: In my mind, this is two people on the other side of the door singing.
Kenrya: Yes, singing.
Erica: Doing Biblical prose. Yeah, it's just really dope to see how this has carried over.
Kenrya: Over time, all the way to Usher songs.
Erica: All the way to Usher songs. When picking this, I definitely tried to stick to more... So, the way that the entire chapter is written out, there's a few players. There's the woman, which is she speaks. The guy, he speaks and there's choruses.
Kenrya: Right, the women.
Erica: The group of women and then there's a group of dudes.
Kenrya: Yeah, their friends.
Erica: Her brothers I think.
Kenrya: Oh, I don't think we read anything from the brothers.
Erica: I don't think we read anything but I really tried to skip to.
Kenrya: Yeah and then there's their friends which pulls from both sides I think.
Erica: I really tried to stick to really just the woman speaking. There's a little bit of the guy speaking.
Kenrya: We had to get a little bit of what he thinks.
Kenrya: And let him big her up a little bit.
Erica: I definitely tried to really focus on the woman's perspective of this just because that's what we're here for, women writers. I just wanted to throw that in. One thing I also thought was really interesting. I keep saying one thing because there's a lot of one things. There's a lot of I'm yours, you're mine, the possessiveness of it all. I found that really interesting because when you think Bible and you think men-women relationships in the Bible, you think man owning a woman. Well, not owning a woman, but you know
Kenrya: Well, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, the woman being the property of the man and that's it.
Kenrya: Yeah, literally traded for goods.
Erica: Cows. Here's a wife and a cow in exchange for that.
Erica: I thought about the possession, the whole idea of possession. You're mine. I'm yours. It seems like it was a little more mutual.
Kenrya: Yeah, it was never just I'm yours. She always followed it up, "And you're mine." I guess it doesn't bother me because it's mutual.
Kenrya: It's not giving him all the ownership and the agency. I think really that's what this really speaks to is the agency of this Black woman is what speaks to me most in this whole thing. She's not just sitting here pining away for this man. She go out in the streets and is like looking for this joker.
Kenrya: It's like telling her homegirls, "If you see him, tell him I'm weak."
Erica: If you see him...
Kenrya: Oh, girl.
Erica: It was so beautiful. Well that, until she got beat up by the guards.
Kenrya: Well, yeah there. Yeah.
Erica: I mean you know, again, niggas going to nig and that was niggas nigging. Actually, that was the next part that I was...
Kenrya: About the agency.
Erica: I'm a little confused about this because so I ready in certain places, and these were very churchy websites, not really scholars. I mean they were churchy scholarly websites. I'm probably using the wrong terms, as opposed to just a pure scholarly website. It had a religious bent to it. That this book was written by a woman, and Solomon and they were going to marry, and that kind of thing.
Kenrya: Oh, I had never seen any of that.
Erica: However, reading this, I don't get that.
Kenrya: It doesn't feel that way.
Erica: It feels like it's just two people in love because if you're about to marry a man, why are you running around at night in the streets sneaking around.
Kenrya: Right and well she never mentions at any point anything about them being married in the book. Is there?
Erica: There's a part that I cut.
Erica: In my Erica contemporary version.
Erica: The Erica abridged version. Erica Bible study version. There's Solomon like, "Hey, you're beautiful. I'm going to pick you. You're coming to my... You're going to marry me."
Kenrya: But, Solomon is not the man in the story.
Erica: I don't think he's the man in this story.
Kenrya: No. Remember, she refers, she says, "My skin is dark like something or Solomon's tents." From what I read, it's a tribute, the writing is perhaps attributed to Solomon as the writer, but that he's necessarily a player in the story.
Erica: Okay, see. This is us trying to work it out.
Kenrya: Figure it out. We don't know.
Erica: Because the part where she's like, "I'm in bed and I'm looking for man, so I get up and throw on clothes and run through the city looking for him." Honey.
Kenrya: You going and looking for a man now?
Erica: No, but I have. I mean, I thought about that lying in bed, scrolling a nigga’s Twitter feed, like what he doing tonight, you know? Which, yes, I have in the past.
Kenrya: Have you?
Erica: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: I don't know.
Erica: I mean I'm not stalkerish. Well, I guess that is a little stalkerish. I definitely have had some not necessarily searching the streets for him, but just like oh, what is this man doing? Oh, I need to... I want to be a little part of everything. What's happening here?
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. I mean I have the are you on your way? I need you to be here now.
Kenrya: You should come.
Erica: That's very different.
Kenrya: Oh, okay.
Erica: I'm thinking about like you know?
Kenrya: I'm just looking at the time.
Erica: You ain't mine, I'm lustful.
Kenrya: Oh, okay.
Erica: I'm lusting over this man. So what's good? What are you doing tonight? You know? You can't come over, what you doing then? That kind of thing.
Kenrya: More DM's sliding.
Erica: Yeah. I think I'm a little past that right now in my life just because I am, I don't know if it's that I'm lazy.
Kenrya: You got a lot going on.
Erica: Yeah, or it's just I haven't found anyone that tickles my pickle.
Kenrya: It's worth the interest. Yeah.
Erica: At that point. I definitely have people that I'm interested in and want to know what's going on with them. But the oof, walking the streets looking for them, I'm ain't there yet.
Kenrya: Well, but you also, as a grownup, just call him and say, "Hey, what you doing?"
Erica: Yeah. I am definitely at the point where I say what I mean, I mean what I say. I am okay with the vulnerability of it all. If I want to see you, I want to see you, and I'm going to tell you I want to see you. I understand we're adults and we have reasons that we're not. Like I got shit to do tonight. You ain't got to tell me. I'm like, I can't. I got shit to do. Okay, I dig it. I get it. I'm also more like I pay attention to things more because I've always been a say what you mean, mean what you say kind of gal but I think ignored some of the, "I got to go and wash my hair." I'm like, "Oh, he got to wash his hair." When I'm like no bitch. You should've just been reading the fact that he's not interested in that kind of thing.
Erica: I'm still consistently, say what you mean, mean what you say but I am much better now at reading between the lines. I also don't... I read between the lines but I also check-in and be like, "Hey, this is what I'm feeling. Is it true or am I misunderstanding you?" I always give people the opportunity to clear up what's unclear. It's difficult for some people because they're so used to operating in ambiguity.
Kenrya: Conflict. Okay.
Erica: Because that gives you a level of like, "Well, I never said we was together." That kind of thing. It's difficult for some people but again, that's one of those things where I'm like okay, you thrive off of ambiguity and so I'm not going to be a part of this. I'm not sure how we got here but, yeah.
Kenrya: No, we were talking about whether or not you're running through the streets looking for a nigga.
Kenrya: In part, I think it's because I'm in a relationship and so we set up all these expectations really early. And so, he asked me at one point when we were figuring it out, "How often do you want to see me?" I was like, "Well, how often do you want to see me?" Because it was still early and I wasn't ready to put myself out there. He was like, "I want to see you every day." I was like, "Oh, bet. Yeah, I want to see you every day, too." Then it just became anytime and it does happen where I worry that I'm being needy because I've been taught that to need someone or to want someone is equivalent to being needy and those are not the same thing.
Kenrya: I check myself by remembering that conversation when we point-blank laid out what our expectations were and what we wanted around spending time together. No, we don't see each other every day, but if I want him to spend the night four nights in a row, well then bitch, I say so.
Erica: I was and we had this conversation earlier this week, those conversations are difficult. Well, they're not difficult. Actually, they're not difficult, but they're uncomfortable when you're not used to having them.
Kenrya: Right. It's like a muscle.
Erica: Yeah, yeah and you just got to work it more and more. Now that I am dating healthily, it's so much easier when you have those conversations upfront because then you know. Because I'm one of those people like, let me know the rules. Let me know the rules and I decide if this is what I...
Kenrya: And stick to them.
Erica: Give me all the information I need to know right now and based on that information, I'll decide if I want to play. If I want to play, I'm good because we got rules.
Erica: I get pissed when you break the rules. I was one of them kids like, "But, I'm following the rules and you're not. You're cheating."
Kenrya: Like my child.
Erica: Oh, my God. My gosh. [inaudible 00:34:19] on my nerves. Yeah, that was me. I definitely am like yo, when I know the rules, these are the rules we decide we're going to play by, then we going to play by those rules and that's great. If we need to come back together and readjust, I'm all for that too, but these are the rules that we've agreed to. I actually feel like an adult when I'm having these conversations and figuring out what one's boundaries are. It's not sexy.
Kenrya: No, not usually.
Erica: But it's necessary to help and make it healthy for all parties involved. It keeps everything from because I'm thinking about the relationships that I've set it up, that I've set up. You know, that we've had those conversations about parameters and that kind of thing. I think should these relationships end, it won't be horrible because it's this is what we agreed to.
Erica: If we don't want this anymore, let's check-in and say it.
Erica: Unless, you all fuck up and break some rules, then die nigga, die.
Kenrya: But I mean, to me that's setting of parameters and boundaries, I think that oftentimes when people hear that, especially men, they think of it as preventing them from doing something, like it's restrictive. But, what I found is that it actually is freeing.
Erica: I think that a guy that finds it restrictive, is not what I'm looking for.
Kenrya: He's all some bullshit anyway. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, if you find us figuring out what is healthy for the two of us, a punishment or something like that, then-
Kenrya: You should go do this with somebody else.
Erica: Bro, I don't need, this is ain't where you need need to be because I need to know what's happening. That's how folks get hurt when you start assuming shit.
Erica: And being all loosey-goosey. So, yeah. This is steamy.
Kenrya: It is.
Erica: It gets real steamy.
Kenrya: Yeah, if you pay close enough attention.
Erica: Let them spread the aroma of my garden.
Kenrya: Yep. My fingers are dripping with perfume.
Erica: "The one I love may enter and taste the delicious fruits." I find it... It's just like yo, you all talking about juices, and fruits, and things.
Kenrya: Yeah or all the juices, and the berries, and the oils.
Kenrya: Are going on.
Erica: They had peaches and eggplants in the Garden of Eden, huh?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Her breasts are grapes.
Erica: Yeah, well mine ain't grapes. Raisins at some point. Not grapes.
Kenrya: Oh, stop it.
Erica: Ripe raisins.
Kenrya: That's not true at all.
Erica: We're going to come back to the steaminess. I found it really funny how they pretty much have an argument about he came home and was like knock, knock. Let's get it on. She was like, "But, I took a shower."
Kenrya: I already washed my feet, man.
Erica: I already washed my feet. I got to get my feet dirty again? I was just like, yo. This is what happened? And then, she said, "All right, cool." Opened the latch, heart stood still, rose to the door, sorry, and he wasn't there.
Kenrya: Yeah. Hands dripping.
Erica: And then well yeah, go on. Hands dripping. It was just like yo, I found that such again, some nigga shit from all the way in the back.
Kenrya: Well, but remember, I think that she said that was part of her dream, right? She was dreaming that that was happening.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: So, maybe it's the fear of losing him that she was dreaming out or of not making, like missing that connection that she was dreaming about in that moment. I don't know.
Erica: Yeah, but the feeling was so strong, that it caused her to get up and go looking for this Negro through the streets.
Kenrya: And he wasn't there. Yeah.
Erica: Then she ran into a bunch niggas that beat her up, which again, I was just like yo, this is horrible. And then she ends it by saying, "I'm weak with desire." Which can be sweet, but I'm like you just got your ass beat by a group of niggas.
Kenrya: So, you're probably weak from that.
Erica: Yeah, you're probably weak from that too. Oh, I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Okay, so again, we go into the Biblical standards of beauty, and metaphors of beauty, which I found just so some of them are oh, this is so great. Some of them were just like this is weird. "His head is the purest gold. His hair is wavy, Black as a raven." You can't tell me that ain't no Black man.
Kenrya: He got waves.
Erica: What are you talking about? He got waves. he got a bitch seasick. "His eyes are a pair of doves bathing in a stream flowing with milk." So, off-topic, but kind of on topic. I remember in college, I was taking the metro, no, taking a bus back to school. You know that main bus that goes through main street?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I'm standing in Chinatown, waiting to take that bus. This man comes over and he is like, "Girl, you are beautiful. Your eyes are so clear."
Kenrya: I was like am I horse? What the fuck?
Erica: I was like oh, he's had a long life of doing drugs where to him, what makes me sexy is that I have clear eyes.
Kenrya: You got clear eyes. He's like, "Bitch, you ain't got glaucoma."
Erica: You ain't got no glaucoma. You ain't got no red-eye. I mean, he'd probably see me now and be like damn hoe, you've been through some shit. But, yeah. "His arms are branches of gold covered with jewels. His body is ivory, decorated with sapphires. His legs are columns of marble on feet of gold."
Kenrya: A nice leg, thigh, butt situation.
Erica: Again, we here at The Turn On, we appreciate a solid undercarriage.
Kenrya: We do.
Erica: A solid-
Kenrya: Okay, let's talk about this very briefly. Y'all, the guys are walking around with the super developed upper bodies, but the little chicken legs, don't do it.
Erica: Please don't. No.
Kenrya: Just squat.
Erica: Just as much as you do upper body, let's work on them legs. Really.
Kenrya: You can't help me if your legs is like toothpicks.
Erica: Yeah and I shouldn't be able to fit your jeans.
Kenrya: You know that happened to me once.
Erica: And you're not a big chick.
Kenrya: I am not. No, he put on my jeans and I was even littler then.
Erica: I'm rolling my eyes, not on some maybe you're a man that likes a feminine look.
Kenrya: Oh, no. I didn't give a shit about that.
Kenrya: It didn't bother me that he tried them on. It was the fact that-
Erica: That you can actually fit them.
Erica: No offense against a smaller guy because do you know what? I might find a smaller guy to rock my world.
Kenrya: I mean I was with this guy. It was just his legs were so skinny. Upper body, fantastic. Legs, lordy.
Kenrya: You right on in my jeans.
Erica: No. Not at all. Yeah, I need a... See, again, I like a man with a little fluff.
Kenrya: You like, yes.
Erica: I like a thicker gentleman but I do appreciate a good body.
Erica: I do appreciate a good body.
Kenrya: We know I do. That's my constant.
Erica: Some shoulders to throw them legs over.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Okay. Yeah, see look. "He stands there majestic like Mount Lebanon and its choice cedar trees." The calls back to the-
Kenrya: Call back to the Old Testament when they was building and bringing cedar from Lebanon.
Kenrya: I was like I remember my Bible reading.
Erica: Oh, you all want some strength strength, okay. This just reminds me she is describing a solid ass man. That's what I want. I want you to be mentally solid, but I need you to be physically solid because I'm not a little bitch. You going to have to be able to hold up all of this girth. I mean I'm not huge.
Kenrya: You're not, no. Those two things go together, right? They should ideally. It'd be nice if you could be mentally solid, and emotionally solid, and physically solid. I guess that's the goal, right?
Erica: We have this passage, "My darling has gone down to his garden of spices where he will feed his sheep and gather his lilies. What do you think he going. You think he's really going down to the garden of spices or was that a metaphor?
Kenrya: Oh, yeah, I think it's a metaphor for oral sex.
Erica: Okay. Yeah, I did too. I was like, "Oh, put it in your mouth."
Erica: Said your motherfucking mouth. Okay, wait. That song was if you have a playlist of just...
Kenrya: Oh, yeah.
Erica: When we got to college, put this song on, complete banger. That song was it.
Kenrya: That's on that list.
Erica: “Back That Ass Up.”
Kenrya: Cash money taking over for the 99' and 2000s on that list, yes.
Erica: That kind of thing. I'm talking to my sister. She had never heard this song in her entire life.
Kenrya: No way. She's only a couple years younger than we are.
Erica: I think it's an east coast thing.
Kenrya: We not from the east coast. Had you never heard that song in Cleveland?
Erica: I can't remember.
Kenrya: I mean not Cleveland. In your town.
Erica: I can't remember but she thought it was a parody. You know how niggas be making up shit on Instagram?
Erica: She was like, "That can't be a real song." I'm like, "Yo." I sent her the Apple music link.
Kenrya: We were in high school when it came out?
Erica: I think the song is old.
Kenrya: I'm saying, high school.
Erica: [crosstalk 00:44:41] rock, yeah.
Kenrya: No, no, no. I think it came out when we were in high school, maybe eighth grade. Listen, we listened to that song all the time and then Mike Jones took it and turned it... You don't know Mike Jones.
Erica: I know Mike Jones.
Kenrya: Okay. He took that song and turned it into another song. It's a male version. Oh, I'm going to have to play it for you later.
Erica: Okay, add it to the playlist.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: We'll add that to the playlist.
Kenrya: I mean we were very into that song. It has been a staple in various forms for me for probably two decades.
Erica: And then, the follow-up which will get me turnt in a club is the good classic by my homey in Pink Cameron, “Suckin’ Or Not.”
Kenrya: Oh, yeah.
Erica: It is so misogynistic.
Kenrya: He puts that shit out there, though he's direct.
Erica: He's like, do you know what?
Kenrya: He is telling you what the rules are.
Erica: And I think that's why I appreciate the song because he's like, "This is what's on the table. My dick. You going to suck it or not?"
Erica: it's so horrible. it's so misogynistic. I was actually catching up on Blackish and it was this whole episode where they kept the running joke was that “Ain't No Fun,” is a problematic song.
Kenrya: Yes. I just watched that last week because I'm also way behind.
Erica: Yeah and I love-
Kenrya: And Bow was in the car. She's like, "I can't help it." We have a history with that song.
Erica: I mean, yeah, I love problematic music. I mean it's yeah, it's a guilty pleasure.
Kenrya: We went on stage at trap karaoke and sang that song.
Erica: Like no problem. I am going to say it's problematic. It's just I love love.
Kenrya: Listen, it is what it is.
Erica: So yeah, put it in your mouth.
Kenrya: It's the best that Warren G has ever sounded in his entire career.
Kenrya: He does not have a better verse. I'm sure he didn't write it, but he delivered it well.
Erica: No, I heard that Warren G was a writer because I was catching up on the mobile soundtrack.
Kenrya: But, have you listened to a lot of his stuff?
Erica: Well, here's the thing. We're not looking for the greatest rapper, the greatest lyricists.
Kenrya: The delivery is so hot.
Erica: It's a mood. It's a mood, I'm sorry. A mood.
Erica: That. What's the song, “Indo Smoke” from the what's the soundtrack? It was one of the South Central ass movies. Are you high yet?
Kenrya: I don't know that song.
Erica: You've never heard “Indo Smoke”?
Kenrya: I don't think so.
Erica: Bitch, we are going to ride out to “Indo Smoke” later today because it is definitely one of those summertime groovy ass. Oh, this is perfect for this. You know, we're going to smoke some weed in your car and ride out to “Indo Smoke.” The kids will be upstairs doing crafts.
Kenrya: And [inaudible 00:47:26].
Erica: Okay. Damn. My bad. Yeah, that was definitely a put in your mouth. I sound like my pastor when I go back to say, "We really encourage you to read the entire book." It's not long.
Kenrya: It's not. We couldn't do the whole thing, so we did have to do excerpts.
Erica: Yeah, but it's just beautiful. We close out our reading with him and her going on and on about how I'm yours, you're mine. You desire me. Just getting good and nasty and I love it. It just reminds me of those songs in the 80s where they end with a good, "If this world was mine." Type joint, where they just-
Kenrya: Going back and forth.
Erica: Going back and list.
Erica: And so it was just a delightful ending to it all.
Kenrya: Didn't she say, "If the flowers are out, let's go have sex there."
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Probably.
Kenrya: There's also a big up to outdoor situations.
Erica: Oh, I love some of the outdoor sex. Beach sex I think we've talked about that is not.
Kenrya: No, I've never done that because it seems like it won't be great.
Erica: In dawn let's slip out and see if grapevines and fruit trees are covered with blossoms and when we are there, I'll give you my love.
Erica: Damn. I have stored up for you all kinds of tasty fruits.
Kenrya: Tasty fruits.
Erica: I love it.
Kenrya: I'm going to start calling it tasty fruits.
Erica: Yeah. Do you know what? We are now calling giving some good love, giving you some tasty fruits.
Kenrya: Tasty fruits.
Erica: If your thing was a fruit, what would it be?
Kenrya: It's delicious and nutritious. Some of them are nasty. Something that's sweet and juicy.
Erica: Yeah. I was so like.
Kenrya: Oh, like a perfectly ripe nectarine right at the beginning of June when they're oh, yeah.
Erica: I was told, "Your pussy is like an orange. It's just squeezy and juicy." I was just like-
Erica: All right I'll take that. I will take that. Yeah, an orange. A good ’round the way filet orange.
Kenrya: Like it.
Erica: Not the ones with the thick skin.
Kenrya: No, the one's that's really easy to...
Erica: Again, this orange, if you got the right hand, you can open it quickly.
Erica: This takes me to my bigger question about here we have this book of the Bible that is clearly about sex and a romantic sex. Not that bullshit, this is the love the Lord has for the church. Girl, the Lord ain't churching nobody with some juicy fruits.
Kenrya: Well, yeah. I was reading that is how folks have traditionally tried to dissect this book is to say that it is symbolic of the Lord's love for his followers, and the Spirit. But, in more modern times, folks are like, "That's some bullshit."
Erica: Even if it’s symbolic, you used sex.
Kenrya: Sexual language.
Erica: To show symbolism.
Erica: It's kind of like with the whole shepherd and stuff. Yeah, you all use shepherd and sheep because niggas was doing shepherds and sheep shit. I mean, I think again, I feel like the whole idea that this is a story symbolic of the Lord's love for the church. I feel like that's bullshit. Even if we were to continue with that argument, niggers doing sex shit.
Kenrya: It's still that they chose to use sexual metaphors in order to do that.
Kenrya: Because people have sex.
Kenrya: If they are not asexual, then they are probably having sex in some way and hell, asexuals still have self-sex. It's all sex.
Erica: It's just sex is happening.
Erica: Even back in the Bible times. Somebody's probably cringing every time I say, the Bible times.
Kenrya: The Bible times. Some would say that we are always in the Bible times.
Erica: Do you know what? You right. Look at God. Okay, when you were growing up, what were your thoughts about because I feel you have thought... I feel like growing up you have very ideas and thoughts and about one thing. The thing that makes you more of an adult is when you figure out to merge those.
Kenrya: How those things can intersect.
Erica: Yeah, how those things intersect. What were your thoughts about sex and religion growing up?
Kenrya: I don't think I had any. I mean I didn't grow up in a super churchy household. I've written about this a bit. In my home, my father was very, "You need to know about all religions." When Jehovah Witnesses knocked on the door, my daddy invited them in and we had Bible study. I've been to Kingdom Hall. I've been to a Temple. I've been to a lot of different places because my dad was very, "God is everywhere. Let's go get some." Do you know what I mean, kind of a situation? I think because he was loosey-goosey on that and I didn't start going to church regularly until I was in high school and that was of my own volition like I didn't even go with my family.
There was no grandmother telling me that touching myself was not of God and it was dirty. There was no don't have sex until you... That that's something that you save for husband. I literally didn't get any of that from the people around me. I think that the most that I would've known about it is just media in terms of what that looks like. I can't say that it ever, not in any direct way inform me. I never ever had the idea that I was going to wait until I was married to have sex.
Erica: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that.
Erica: What were your thoughts around your virginity? Was it something sacred?
Kenrya: It was but it wasn't sacred in terms of religion. I was 18 when I lost my virginity. For me, it was more of this, I am this nerdy ass idealist and this is the way that it has to go. It was prom weekend. It was with my boyfriend who was trash. I rented a hotel room and lied to told my daddy that all my friends were staying at this hotel. It had to be the whole what I thought a movie would look in terms of losing my virginity. Of course, it was terrible but I had this whole plan in my head and so it was more about me feeling like I was emotionally ready, and having hit this specific number. I felt like 18 was grown enough. That I wasn't doing something that it wasn't emotionally ready for, in my mind.
Kenrya: I was very logical about it. I think that no matter who I had been with at that point because I had decided that that was the way that I should lose my virginity that that was what it was going to be. It was never this whole thing about oh God is going to feel a way about me doing this at this age, or in this stage. That never really played into it for me. What about you?
Erica: I grew up with a very religious, I mean not like crazy religious but definitely went to church every Sunday kind of grandmother. It's hard to say I grew up in the church because now I have a partner who grew up in a church. I'm like oh, I didn't grow up in the church.
Kenrya: That's a different life. Yeah, yeah, that's that you at church every Wednesday. You at church every Tuesday.
Kenrya: You had church all day Sunday for every service life.
Erica: Yeah am like oh, I didn't grow up in a church like that. I grew up in the church lite, L-I-T-E. Lite, a Crystal Lite. I mean when I lost my virginity, maybe this was the church lite speaking to me, but I didn't think much about oh, the Lord is going to kill me or something like that. I mean, I'm going to go to hell because of that because I also grew up in a home where we were surrounded by LGBTQ people. So, the religion that I got as a child, was very much love all people.
Kenrya: Inclusive, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. That kind of religion and not the fire and brimstone.
Erica: So yes, on one hand, I was like oh, I don't think God would be happy with me on this. I also was on the like, God loves everybody. I ain't kill nobody. We good. You know?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I think I was a little less freaked out about losing my virginity because again, you all heard the story, marching band.
Erica: Waterbed. As I get older, I think about how I want to teach my son about sex and how this jives with religion because I feel like now I'm a lot more spiritual and religious. I mean, I hate saying religious because that connotes Jerry Fallwell. I'm a lot more religious now than I was growing up or even as a kid. As a young or even as a kid.
Kenrya: In your early... Yeah.
Erica: I think I want my child to look at sex the way you did. Like, am I ready for it? Is this something that I want to do? I mean, I don't think he needs to... I think you may... critiquing your shit. You grew up a lot faster than you should have.
Erica: And so you made this decision from a 30-year-old, 18-year-old frame of mind.
Kenrya: I did. We had condoms with spermicide. We had separate monoxidyl. Whatever that stuff. I was so serious. I was like, "I got college to go to. You ain't going to knock me up." I had the whole situation together.
Erica: Yeah so I don't need you to because your situation was you all know what you don't even know kind of thing. Do you understand I'm saying?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: You swore you knew it all and she was like, "Oh, poor baby. You don't know shit." I don't want my kid to necessarily be there but I also want him to understand that-
Kenrya: The implications of joining with someone in the [crosstalk 00:58:13].
Erica: It's not like you're about to make some soul ties with the mother fucker or something like that. It's just you need to feel like you're ready for sex and the consequences that come from it. There's a lot more than just am I going to get her pregnant, or am I going to get a cheesy dick?
Erica: Yeah, and then also as I become a lot more liberal in my sex because I do it all you all. I do a whole lot. I mean, I think you all get that from listening to me but I have fun.
Kenrya: You do. I was just thinking about it. I think we haven't really talked about the full extent of what partners look like. I think so far, it probably sounds like you only have sex with men and that's not true.
Erica: That's not true. Yeah, I like to swim in all ponds. We'll say that. Yeah and so I think even as I get more, as I deepen my spirituality, I also get more into my sexual freeness. I don't think that there's necessarily a need to jive. You want to be like does this fit in with these other held beliefs? I think right now I'm at a point where I don't think it necessarily needs to fit in. Reading the Song of Solomon, it is like look, this is a piece of this couple's life. Meaning, sex is a part of it.
Erica: And we only got a slice of it because there might have been juicy fruits. There might have been pears, pineapples, blueberries.
Erica: All types of juicy fruits. Yeah and I'm debating if I want to share this because it might be sharing too much about someone else, so I'm going to hold off.
Erica: I mean, I don't mind sharing my shit but I don't want to share other people's shit.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. No, you don't want to tell peoples stories.
Erica: Yeah, as I grow, and do more in my sexual exploration, I don't have a feel of oh, God's going to get me.
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't think I've ever felt that before but that's not the God I know.
Erica: Yeah. The God I know is a God that loves all and knows that we all fuck up. It was interesting because at church a few weeks back, the pastor did a sermon on the environment, climate change.
Kenrya: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: It was such a good sermon. One of the things he said, he was like, "What makes a sin a sin is what is the intent, is what's behind it." Being an adulteress is a sin because you're treating this person as if they're for you and you only. You're treating this person as if they exist to be your sexual object and you're not thinking about the fact that this person has a wife and kids. That there's more, that you're treating this person as you are here for the sake of giving my pleasure. I get that. I mean, he didn't go as far as to say, "You all can go out and fuck all willy nilly."
Erica: I get that because I feel like sex is more than just I mean, it's intimate. It's an intimate act but it's also I don't want to cheapen it. I'm thinking this through as I talk to you all. You all might feel like I'm going all over the place because I am but we'll there, so just stay on this train with me. I feel like sex is pleasure between two that's shared.
Kenrya: Or more.
Erica: Yeah, especially for me. Sex is between people that share, that's a shared pleasure. I'm giving you pleasure. You're giving me pleasure. We're sharing this pleasure. I don't want to go as far, I mean I do think sex is intimate, but it's not the ultimate intimate act.
Kenrya: Which we talked about a bit a couple of episodes ago.
Erica: Yeah. I feel like intimacy is built over time also.
Erica: I don't want to yeah, I look at my sexual experiences as spiritual also. Sometimes it's nasty but sometimes it's-
Kenrya: Yeah. And that it takes you out of yourself but also puts you in yourself, at the same time. Do you know what I mean?
Erica: Yeah. You're such a writer.
Kenrya: Where you're so grounded in what you're doing in that moment but also connected to everything else that's going on. It's a beautiful, yeah.
Kenrya: I want to go back a little bit because when you were talking about what pastor said about the intent is what makes a sin. I find that an interesting reading because as somebody who does social justice and racial justice work, we talk about how intent is not what's important, it's the impact. To take this to, I mean I'll take it to a nonsexual place and then to a sexual place. It's when a white person says, "Well, I didn't mean to make you feel like I was a racist. I didn't mean to call you a nigger. I didn't mean that you're nigger." Well, nigga, your intent might not have been racist, but your impact was. Do you know what I mean?
You claim that you didn't intend to hurt me, but you did. To take to a sexual place where these men, typically, say that they didn't intend to sexually abuse, or harass, or otherwise, impune somebody else. They say that that wasn't their intent but the impact was that it was traumatic for that person. What we speak to is the way that people are affected by the things that we do in the world. Even with my daughter, she'll say, "Ah, momma. That hurt. When you said that, that hurt me." I don't say, "Oh, I didn't mean to hurt you." I say, "I'm so sorry that I hurt you." It's not about what I meant to do, it's about how she felt. I just wanted to speak to that language. That really made my ears perk up a little bit.
Erica: Yeah, no. That's a really good way to think about it. Yeah, I'll take that.
Erica: Yeah. That's something I got to think about.
Kenrya: It works really well to think about that framework when you're apologizing.
Erica: Yeah. I think that's also a great framework for men to think about. Well, for people to think about when they go into sexual experiences with people because yes, the intent might not be to harm but if you think this through... This reminds me of a situation I had with a partner. We were conversing, had plans, that kind of thing. It ended up where he suggested something that I was like, "Yo, wow. What the fuck?" It wasn't anything sexual or crazy. It was just a situation.
Kenrya: Girl, he was trying you.
Erica: Yeah, I feel like, "You trying to play me." I don't think he necessarily was and so I don't think the intent of trying to play Erica or to pull some crazy. I don't even think he was trying to pull some crazy shit, it was just like, "Dude, had you thought this through about how I might have felt?" I mean, this is still kind of new so I don't think he quite gets everything about me. This might have been a situation that someone was okay with. Knowing me, and knowing how I roll, I was like no, this ain't a situation I'm trying to be in. It's interesting because I don't think the intent for harm, or anything crazy to happen was there, but it's just had you thought about this a little bit more, you wouldn't have suggested it.
Erica: Yeah, I find that's a really good way of thinking about when you're going into a situation, you might be okay with it but just do a little deeper thinking about the person you're with, their headspace, and what they might want. We didn't talk. You didn't tell me or maybe I missed it. What are your thoughts about what are you going to teach your child about sex?
Kenrya: Yeah. I think I'm going to teach her with regards to religion and sex, it's the same thing as religion and everything. We are children of God. There is nothing that God has created you to do that is sinful. Do you know what I mean? There's nothing that I think I've heard people frame all types of things as being a sin. Using shit, there's people I'm sure that think this show is sinful. I think it's more about just making sure that she's pleasing to God, and that she is kind to other people, and that she—do you know what I mean? To me, that is more of what that is. I'm not a hardliner Leviticus said, "Don't pierce your ears and don't eat shellfish."
Erica: Also this makes me think just a bigger picture about so I did the read the Bible in a year app thing. Well, I didn't read it-
Kenrya: I have three times gone through and not finished.
Erica: It's like September, November.
Erica: And then it starts back in October again.
Kenrya: It's go. Yes, the end of the year and then things get hectic and then I fall off and so I start over. I know the Old Testament real well.
Erica: It is very difficult for me to get through the Old Testament.
Erica: It is very difficult.
Kenrya: It's tough.
Erica: Actually, our church was supposed to have a Bible study. It didn't really go as deep as I wanted it to. It's very difficult for me to digest the Old Testament. Primarily because people still use that as a foundation for certain things.
Kenrya: Right, even though the New Testament is a whole new animal.
Erica: Yeah and so it's a very tough piece of work to swallow and then you combine that-
Kenrya: Not to mention Numbers.
Erica: And then you combine that with sex is a sin, yada, yada, yada. I'm like yo, we was wilin’, we was wilin’ in the Old Testament.
Kenrya: Yeah. I mean giving up our daughters to be raped because it was preferable to that then someone having sex, gay sex. All of these things. It's so hard. Remember we were struggling trying to find really good womanist interpretations of the Bible.
Kenrya: And there just aren't a lot of... There's really no devotionals that really do that.
Erica: I need a good womanist devotional.
Kenrya: Because not just feminist because that white lens but a feminist reading of this would likely gloss over the I am dark and beautiful.
Kenrya: Do you know what I mean?
Erica: Or no, they would use the, "I am dark yet beautiful." Translation.
Kenrya: And use that to justify their fairness that white is beautiful. That and then a lot of it for me is about shoring up the way that she feels about herself and her body.
Kenrya: I think that will inform because I guess it has informed a lot of the way that I've related to people. Having that firm foundation in who she is, and like we talk about masturbation, about how self-pleasure is not just okay, but it is good, and have her enter into any type of relationships that she would have in sexual nature with other people with that grounding of who she is, and what's pleasurable to her will be really important. The third part is consent, which I have been working with her on since forever.
Erica: Consent with children is just so, it's so simple yet difficult because the way that kids play is I constantly, I'm like a broken record with keep your hands to yourself. Keep your hands to yourself. Keep your hands to yourself. And bigger than the fighting thing, it's just this is your body. People aren't allowed to touch it unless you give them permission.
Kenrya: Right. I think to me, the simple part of it is when you boil it down to the autonomy of it. What I tell her when we were going to see a dermatologist, and she was in a gown, and they wanted to look at the eczema that was on your bottom. I said, "Hey, you get to say whether or not she can look at you so is it okay if she looks and touches you." And she said, "Yes." And taking every opportunity to remind her that she gets to decide who touches her body. When they're fighting, that's your body, that's their body. You get to decide but let's not touch each other in ways that aren't gentle.
Kenrya: When it's with her and her friends all over each other, reminding them of that. When it comes down to, I'm forgetting another example of when I always bring in the autonomy part of it. It'll come back to me. I think that there are lots of moments because as you said, kids are always in each other's faces, to remind them that they get to make those choices from a super early age so that hopefully they don't get boxed into those places a lot of us as older women have, where we found ourselves not really feeling like we had the agency to tell somebody to get off of us.
Kenrya: Because we weren't taught. Oh, hugs. That was the thing. I don't make her hug people. If someone wants to hug her, I ask her if she wants to. I give her the choice and sometimes she says no. She ain't got to. I'm never forcing my kids to hug anybody and it's not just not hugging men, it's not hugging anybody if she doesn't want to. That's her body. She don't have to have somebody all up in her area like that.
Erica: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Kenrya: Giving her from the very beginning, letting her know that she can use her voice to say no from the consent standpoint, has been super important. I think those are the three things that rock for me in terms of preparing her for that later.
Erica: Yeah, yeah. I totally agree. Actually, we went to a new doctor yesterday. I thought it was really dope. An older Black woman and my son is hitting puberty age so she had to check his parts.
Kenrya: Oh, yikes.
Erica: She was like, "I'm just looking to see is he approaching puberty." Because they look different. I did not know that. She looks at me and she's like, "Mom, can I check him?"
Erica: And I said, "Yes." And then she looks at him and she's like, "No one is allowed to touch you unless you say you can and your mom says you can." She said, "It's fine. Can I look?" He was like, "Yeah." I just thought I mean, it wasn't like a huge thing.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's just worked into what you do.
Erica: I think that's really dope because I don't think that every parent says that to their kids. I mean and I don't think it's something that-
Kenrya: Because I don't think people think about it always.
Kenrya: Folks often are not super intentional about the way that we raise our kids.
Erica: Yeah, you just do what and so I thought it was great that she said that in front of both of us, and then it was also a check to parents that don't do that. If you don't ever hear it, you heard it here.
Kenrya: Here. Right here.
Erica: I thought that was really dope.
Erica: Okay. Do you have any more to add to this conversation?
Kenrya: No, just that I'm really glad that we did this. I thought it was a great idea. Hats off to you.
Erica: Thank you.
Kenrya: We talked about a few episodes ago about how this show will not always be what you think it's going to be and that our whole thing of sex and... really holds. It's not just sex and talking about a body part, or sex and talking about anal. It's sex and religion. It's sex and patriarchies. It's sex and race. And that this is a great episode of highlighting that.
Erica: Well, thank you very much. Thank you for joining us for this episode of The Turn On.
Erica: And this is Erica and Kenrya, two hoes making it Biblically clap.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B’Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. 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 TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. And please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter at The Turn On Pod and Instagram at The Turn On Podcast and find links to books, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at The Turn On Podcast dot com. And remember, we're part of the Frolic Podcast Network; you can find more shows you’ll love at Frolic.media/podcasts. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Peace.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.