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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya talk to queer Black polyamorous feminist and Parenting Is Political podcast co-host Jasmine Banks about the role of kink in healing sexual trauma, the beauty of going through a second adolescence with partners you trust, teaching our kids about sex and gender and pleasure and joy, and how masturbating first thing in the morning can save lives.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Kenrya: Today, we're talking to Jasmine Banks, pronouns she and her. Jasmine is a queer Black feminist living her best polyamorous life in Arkansas. She's a nonprofit executive director and one-half of the parenting podcast Parenting is Political. Yes, it is. Hey, Jasmine.
Jasmine Banks: Hi. What up? How is everyone doing?
Erica: We are great.
Kenrya: Thank you for coming on.
Jasmine Banks: You're most welcome. It's my pleasure.
Kenrya: Now, it's time for us to get in your business.
Erica: I know. So, like Kenrya said, we're just going to jump straight into your junk. When do you first remember masturbating?
Jasmine Banks: Oh, when I was somewhere around six or eight. There was a Teddy Ruxpin with a very hard plastic nose, and I would just grind the shit out of his face.
Erica: Our parents thought they were doing something sweet, buying us these big-ass stuffed animals, and you're like, "No, you just bought me a boo."
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, yeah. It was definitely interchangeable between Teddy Ruxpin, or I had these Care Bears that also had the hard plastic nose. They don't do stuffed animals like they did. Right now, my kids, they have embroidered stuff, and it's different material, but it's a hard-ass plastic nose-
Erica: Yes, I remember.
Jasmine Banks: ... and really firm stuffing.
Erica: Because if you get hit in the face with it, like if your cousin likes swinging the legs and knocking on your face, you can lose something.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, yeah, and I remember getting into a fight and throwing those stuffed animals and hitting my grandma's glass coffee table, trying to hit my cousin Shaniqua, and it landed face forward. So, the nose clinked on the glass, and she got her flyswatter, but yeah, it was firm, a substantial stuffed animal, and I took full advantage of it.
Erica: So, was that your preferred technique or did you have a different preferred technique as a baby Jasmine?
Jasmine Banks: It was pillows, stuffed animals. That was it.
Kenrya: That's a common thing what we’re doing.
Jasmine Banks: It was like Pretty Ricky “Grind On Me.”
Jasmine Banks: And Teddy Ruxpin was marketed as an educational toy, but they didn't know what kind of lengths this Virgo child would take that education to.
Erica: You're like, "Oh, we're going to learn a whole lot."
Jasmine Banks: Yes, I am nothing if not resourceful, like I put a little ABC tape in his belly, and he would talk to me, and then I would reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle. You know?
Jasmine Banks: We'd learn together and then...
Erica: We learned together.
Kenrya: Learned together.
Jasmine Banks: Teddy Ruxpin after dark on my futon bed.
Kenrya: I love it.
Erica: I love it.
Jasmine Banks: My mom was like, "You're so attached to him. You'd never wanted to get rid of him when you were younger."
Erica: Like, yeah, boo. It's under this link like, "Boo."
Kenrya: Here's why. So, how old were you when you had your first kiss?
Jasmine Banks: I was nine, and it was with my godbrother. I was raised with two really incredible godmothers, Lee and Orlanda, and they were Black lesbians that lived up the street, and they had... Lee had a son from a prior marriage and that was Brandon, and we spent time together all the time, and we just wanted to see what it was like to kiss, and I remember kissing in the front room, and the parents had gone to something because back then, they were like, "We're just going to leave the babies. Just don't answer the door or the phone."
Erica: Yeah, all the time.
Jasmine Banks: All the time, and there was some uncle that was somewhere in the room not even paying attention to us.
Erica: Oh my God.
Kenrya: That's our house.
Erica: You've completely described my home, like our situation.
Jasmine Banks: He was watching BET or Matlock or something random. I just remember. In the room, it was one of those touch lamps that have three different levels, and then Lee and Orlanda's room was to the left, and there was beads on the door, and we were right by the front door, and one of those black midnight... I can't remember exactly the name, but it was one of those cone incense was just burning and the kiss-
Kenrya: You can't see.
Jasmine Banks: I really thought I was in love with Brandon.
Erica: And now, you look at him like, "Ooh," family.
Kenrya: Proximity will do that to you.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, I'm like, "That was my family," but even though I have Black community in my school, the social setting was predominantly white. So, I was already starting to get those message of like, "That's not your real family because it's not biological."
Erica: It was like-
Jasmine Banks: Which I don't even know why white people even be talking like that because they know that it'll be biological, and they still be kissing their cousins and enjoying it. So...
Erica: Oh, well. We have whole dynasties. They have whole dynasties built upon that, but-
Kenrya: Keeping it in the family.
Erica: ... they ain't ready for that conversation. Isn't that what the young people say?
Kenrya: Let me know when we going to talk? So, y'all don't want to hear that.
Erica: Yeah, we ain't ready to talk about it.
Kenrya: But bitch, you just started the conversation. Okay. You just made me feel old.
Erica: How old were you when you had a sense of your gender identity?
Jasmine Banks: I have a very interesting story, and I don't even know if K knows this because I'm not super public about it, but in the spirit of giving y'all the juicy content, I was assigned female at birth, and then about eight or nine, I started having developmental issues, and I lived female at birth. My gender was girl. So, sex, obviously different than gender, but it does definitely inform so much about how you perform gender, about how you come into gender conversations. So, around 12, I had this period. My period started, and it didn't stop, and it didn't stop for six months, and I got really, really sick and anemic, and my mom had to take me to the emergency room.
Jasmine Banks: So, they did an X-ray on my abdomen, and they were like, "Something is not right here." So, they gave me some meds to stop the bleeding, and then I went into emergency surgery, and then whenever I came back from emergency surgery, they said, "On your right ovary, part of it was filled with cysts, and we're going to diagnose you with polycystic ovarian syndrome, and then the other section of your right ovary was actually an internal gonad, and you have hyperandrogenism," and they told me at that time that chromosomally and hormonally, I was more male than female, but my sex designation on my birth certificate didn't change, and I continue to feel like very affirmed as a woman and knowing that hormonally and chromosomally, I am more toward the male end of the spectrum of the sex assignments than the female.
Jasmine Banks: Then for part of my life, I went on hormones to increase my female presentation, like growing breasts and fighting hair and finding different things, and then they told me I would never have children because I was making too much testosterone internally to be able to ever fertilize an egg or be compatible with semen, but I surprised them and have four of them little niggas.
Kenrya: Yeah, you do.
Jasmine Banks: With one ovary.
Erica: I know.
Kenrya: That ovary be working hard.
Erica: God is my witness. We going to have a baby.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, yeah, and it came as quite a surprise to me because I was not trying to get pregnant, and after I had that initial period of menstruation, I never menstruated again, which was a part of being intersex is what it's called, and so yeah, and the only way that I could really menstruate at that point was if I gave myself the hormones because my testosterone level, and all of my androgens are just through the roof, which makes me stronger, and I have more of a sex drive than a lot of hormonally typical assigned female folks, and there's just lots of dynamics that play into it. It's quite interesting.
Erica: Answer this if you'd like, or if not, shut up, bitch. We'll be fine. Are you still on meds? How does that affect now?
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so I tried to go on birth control to level out some of my body dysmorphia that I experienced around the follicle, like PMS menstruation cycle, and because I have so much testosterone, whenever I went on synthetic estrogen, my body... The hormonal response was just to make even more testosterone and then even more estrogen and then even more progesterone, which caused me all types of issues. So, my endocrinologist was like, "Please don't ever try that again."
Erica: Just you.
Jasmine Banks: Like, "You're intersex. Just be intersex," and the only thing I have to do if I want to get pregnant is I have to supplement progesterone, so it lowers my testosterone levels a little bit so that my body doesn't become a war zone for a fetus.
Erica: Yeah, no. Right after surgery, but before I started chemo, I had to do the egg preservation steps, and baby, like-
Jasmine Banks: Them shots.
Erica: I had to chemo any day. Those hormones, bitch. I remember I was in a nail salon crying and cussing a nigga out over nail polish like, "You don't fucking understand." Those hormones would do something to you, so I'm glad you're able to just live without it.
Kenrya: She already a Gemini, so...
Jasmine Banks: And what?
Kenrya: And she's already a Gemini. Look at her looking at me.
Erica: Shut up, bitch. You're bringing up old shit just to—fix your face. I thought we was homies. I thought she was a homie.
Jasmine Banks: My wife's a Gemini.
Erica: God bless you.
Erica: You know how to love a complex creature.
Jasmine Banks: My oldest daughter is also Gemini.
Erica: That was training.
Kenrya: Is she?
Jasmine Banks: Yeah.
Kenrya: Oh. I'm surrounded. Between Erica and my daughter, they just here. My daddy's a Gemini.
Jasmine Banks: You got to love them.
Kenrya: I do.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Ding, ding, ding. Ding, ding, ding.
Kenrya: They are lovable. They just got a lot going on.
Erica: We have a lot of angst in our spirits.
Jasmine Banks: They just need us in their life.
Kenrya: That's true. So, how old were you when you first started experimenting sexually with other people?
Jasmine Banks: Nine. No. Was it nine? No, 13.
Erica: I need the story behind it because your face was just... I need to know what made that happen to your face.
Jasmine Banks: Well, her name was Sarah, and she lived in Tulsa, another neighbor, and we were really good friends, spent all summer together. I think we went to different schools, but we definitely had a lot of summertime interaction, and we were the only kids. Well, there were only three families that had children on our street. So, I would spend the night at her house. Her father had these magazines stacked up in their playroom where we would play with the Barbies. It was like right whenever Skipper's little sister came on the scene in Barbie, and you could squeeze her belly, and she'd pee in the potty.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so we got this set up. I'm very specific. I be like archiving my life. So, I have journals detailing this-
Jasmine Banks: .... pretty well. Yeah.
Erica: This is a Virgo.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah. So, Sarah and I are in his hunting room, which has this little play section, and all of these magazines just has sports magazines and on the tops of all of them, it's just about deer and bird hunting and fishing, and he was an outdoorsman, and at one point, we were trying to move the magazines to create a mansion or neighborhood for our Barbies, and the magazine stack slid, and underneath it was Drew Barrymore's Playboy Edition, and I was like, "What is this?"
Erica: Now, we bout to play.
Jasmine Banks: So, I unzip my Care Bear onesie and shove the magazine in there, and we run to her room, and we looked at Drew Barrymore's butterfly tattoos and her playboy centerfold, and that led to lots of experimentation and touching and dry humping and grinding, and Sarah was the first person that I had sexual contact with. Consensual sexual contact with, I think is important to delineate.
Kenrya: Absolutely. Well, actually, the next question is, can you tell us about your first time having partnered sex? So, I don't know if y'all actually ended up having what you would term sex or if that would be another situation.
Jasmine Banks: I mean, there was digital stimulation. There was oral stimulation. There was climax. I would call it-
Kenrya: Yeah, sounds like sex to me.
Jasmine Banks: ... partner sex. Yeah. We were like 12, 13, somewhere in that range, and then we became girlfriends. I don't think we called each other girlfriends, but that's what we were, and I lived there for two and a half years, and we had a regular sexual relationship, and my mom would be like, "Yeah, you could have a sleepover. Just no boys allowed," and I was all, “Bet.”
Jasmine Banks: “Bet. No boys allowed.”
Erica: Like, "No problem." That ain't no problem. That ain't no problem.
Jasmine Banks: When she would come over to my house for a sleepover, I had one of those attic rooms that had been turned into a room, so it had the stairs going up, and it had an attic fan, but it was a whole door situation, and I was like, "Let's turn up Usher really loud, and you just lay on your back," and just dry hump for hours.
Erica: Look, I call him our good friend. I call them our good friend dry humping because once we started having sex, we left dry humping in the past, but-
Kenrya: ... dry humping can be a very useful thing.
Jasmine Banks: Well, in the queer community, it's not separate than penetrative sexual expression and practice. It's actually called tribbing. So, it's useful in the toolbox of sexuality because not everybody's genitals are the same, and most people think of intercourse as P and V penetration, and there's just—sex is so expansive, and sex doesn't require penetration or climax for it to be sex. So, I think if we framed it that way socially, a lot of us would be more honest about how young we were actually having sex.
Erica: So, what about an orgasm? When did you first have an orgasm with a partner?
Jasmine Banks: With Sarah, yeah. Our parents were either just negligent or super chill. I guess it depends on like-
Erica: Depending on the director of the movie.
Jasmine Banks: Right. It depends on if my PTSD is triggered, if I frame it as how I frame the story, but they were cool with me and Sarah taking showers together, and they're like, "Oh, they're just friends." I mean, my mom wasn't naïve because my mom, I came out to her when I was eight. I was like, "I think I'm gay," and she's like, "Okay, girl. Eat your food."
Erica: “What's for dinner?”
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so we were allowed to do all sorts of things even though my mom had drag queens as friends and folks in that period of time that identified as transsexuals and folks that were just gay men. My mom had a lot of really good friends who were impacted by HIV/AIDS. So, she was having conversations with me about sex and sexual identity very, very early on, and I knew about masturbation as one of the first... She framed it as like, "If you don't know how to please yourself, can't nobody else please you, so you better start practicing, Jasmine, and know what feels good to you," which is really interesting in juxtaposition with some of her other parenting practices, but suffice to say, I think she probably knew what was going on and was laissez-faire about it, whereas Sarah's parents were like country-ass white people who were like, "They're just friends taking showers together."
Jasmine Banks: Anyway, so my first orgasm was in the shower with a removable shower head with Sarah. We figured out how to turn it on the high-pressure vibration mode, and I just held it at her, and it worked.
Erica: I still haven't done the shower thing. We-
Kenrya: Yeah, we were talking to somebody else doing a, "This is your sex life," and she was saying that that's one of her tools, and we were both like, "We never do that."
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it became an issue for my mom whenever I used it as a young person because she'd be like, "Other people have to use that to shower, little nasty girl," but Sarah was the first person that I realized that I could use that medium to achieve climax, but what I didn't realize is when you have that really intense experience for the first time and you're not prepared for it, your legs start shaking and you get weak and in a slippery bathtub is probably not where you want that to happen.
Kenrya: Poor baby.
Jasmine Banks: So, I'm standing in the back and pushing myself back onto the tiles so that she can do what she needs to do with the shower head, and I climax, and my legs fall out from under me, and I just... like strike me and Sarah in the shower, but I don't think any of us have unclumsy sexual experiences no matter what age.
Erica: None of us.
Kenrya: Makes it fun.
Erica: Yeah, when you're older, it makes it a little more dangerous because those body parts aren't as rubbery as they were when you were younger.
Jasmine Banks: That's so funny. Yes, that's true. That's very true.
Kenrya: So, what three words would you use to describe sex in your teens?
Jasmine Banks: It was confusing. It was painful. Gosh. I feel like I'm such a buzz kill now in this part of the interview.
Jasmine Banks: And it was about safety.
Kenrya: Do you want to expound on any of that or do you want to move on to your 20s?
Jasmine Banks: Sure. So, around the time that I moved away from that neighborhood, with Sarah, I moved into a community called The Colony, which is for single mothers who are widowed or divorced who have been homeless because my mom had gone through multiple domestic violence situations, and we lived in domestic violence shelters. So, anyway, we landed in this place that was my most stable home, and it was in very much influenced and proselytized by the churches that were in that area. So, as a part of going to school with a white majority, junior high and high school, and being a part of this community that was preyed upon of like, "Oh, you're a widow and you're a single mom, and you should come to this event," I started going to youth group.
Jasmine Banks: So, I went from having this really fringe radical Black, queer, Native experience as a young person into this very white cisgender heterosexual Christian patriarchal frame, and there was a lot of social motivation for me to not identify as Black, but to identify as mixed, for me to ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and get rid of all of the sinful things that, obviously, because she was a single mother, she had... my mom had thrust upon me. So, I went through a period of really rejecting all the things that my mom taught me around sex and positivity in the best way that she could because she felt like she wasn't empowered and adopted a lot of the True Love Waits movement, which was Joshua Harris and a part of the white evangelical church.
Jasmine Banks: So, there's purity balls and there's like throwing away your secular music and don't be a sexual temptress, and then that really required me pressing down my identity as a queer person, and at that point, I identified as a bi person. So, I confessed those evil sins to my youth pastor and all of my other student leaders, and I made a commitment to be celibate, and I threw away any kind of idea around non-monogamy, and I was on the straight and narrow, and during a religious trip to the Cherokee Nations, family camp revival, that was happening in my senior year, I met a white man who was part of a worship group who had come to the Cherokee nation to do a mission trip over spring break, and he ended up being... I was 18, and he ended up being the first person I married.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so I spent the last part of my teenage years with him, and the safety layer of that is that when you're told at, like my mom is an unenrolled Cherokee, which means that she's not actually allowed to claim Cherokee citizenship even though her father's mother is on the Dawes Rolls. We're currently in the process of applying for citizenship so people can stop telling me that I'm not Cherokee because I can't handle it. So, when you're not Black enough, you're not Cherokee enough, you're not straight enough, you're not queer enough, you're the single mom, you're homeless, really, you look for safety, and anti-Blackness in the form of cishet patriarchal society, particularly of the white Christian persuasion, offers a lot of faux safety.
Jasmine Banks: But what you trade for your safety is compliance and shedding your identity. So, I did that in my teen years, my junior high and teen years, in order to feel some stability and normalcy. The short version of the end of that story is it didn't fucking work.
Kenrya: Okay, good. So, what three words would you use to describe sex in your 20s?
Jasmine Banks: Sex in my early 20s was unfulfilling, was about power, and was just about reproduction and getting my babies.
Kenrya: You want to dive into any of that?
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so, by the time I was 20, I had married this white man from an upper-class family and a very Southern Baptist background, and I was trying my best despite all of my feminists and Black feminists and radical ideology and proclivities to be the good Christian wife, and we were in ministry together in church ministry around worship, and then I did children's ministry. So, I didn't really have a very fulfilling sexual life because he was not able to come to a space with partnered sex that was liberatory and open because of how his Southern Baptist upbringing had really caused so much damage around sexual identity, and then on top of that, I didn't know that he was an abuser, and that it was an underground situation.
Jasmine Banks: So, sex then just became about like, "How do I negotiate power with him? How do I have children because I know I want to have children, if I'm going to have children?" Because I'd already had one by accident, which was Zara, and then I knew I wanted her to have siblings, but the writing was clearly on the wall that we were not going to be together, and I didn't, and I hadn't yet discovered that he was a pathological sexual predator. So, yeah, it was just more about, like let's just figure out how to survive in this marriage and get my needs met. By the time Zara was born, I was still in undergrad, and he had tried to pressure me to not keep the baby, or if I kept the baby to drop out of school, and I just knew sort of intuitively that I needed to push through school, and I was like, "No, you drop out, and I will stay," and then I had a lot of non-sexual deeply intimate same-sex relationships through my 20s where there was cuddling and erotic connection, but there was never intercourse.
Jasmine Banks: So, I didn't feel sexually deprived, but I was coming to terms with the fact that I either need to have an open marriage, or I need to admit that I'm more queer than what I can stand, and also I'm just not a good Christian wife, but by the time I was 20... Yeah, 25 was the first time I discovered that he was a sexual predator and had been assaulting women and hiding it from me, and he went to sex rehab. So, then sex just became like, "What the fuck?" It was good that my mom taught me to masturbate because I did a lot of that and a lot of non-partnered sex. Am I so bumming y'all out?
Erica: No. Not at all.
Kenrya: Not at all.
Erica: I was just thinking like, "Damn, this is interesting as hell," and the fact that... I mean, I hate that super positivity where it's like, "Man, you've been through so much," and you're still so positive. I hate that, but at the same time, you understand where that's a simple way of summing up how I'm feeling right now like, "Goddamn." These experiences have made you into just an interesting little layered person that I am like, "How much time we got here? Because I want to go back to... " It's amazing how all these experiences have just built up to make you who you are, and I think it's dope as fuck.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so the end of my 20s was... As far as like relationally, I was working on confronting that my children who I found out were sexual assault survivors by the hands of their biological father and fighting for their right and navigating my own. When you're in intimate violent situations, sex is also a component of how the abuser brings you back and controls you or creates shame narratives. So, I was working through all of that, but by the time the end of my mid-20s rolled around, I was able to have a community to really help me emancipate myself from that chaos, and then I was able to start doing sexuality on my terms that was absence of the constraints of a predatory abusive connection.
Jasmine Banks: So, the end of my 20s was a really, really fun time of catching up on all the things my True Love Waits period of life had kept me from experiencing.
Kenrya: I just think about the ways that sex was used as a weapon within my marriage all the time and how overwhelming that is and how it contributes to my PTSD and how it stands in the way of... It doesn't have to, but it threatens to jump in the way of having healthy relationships after the fact and all that it takes to do that and loving the fact that you've been able to do that and create a life with Mo and y'all's kids, and it's just-
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, Mo and my other partners who have done a tremendous amount of dharma and labor around helping me transform, and there was a pretty good year where when Mo and I would have intercourse, particularly penetrative intercourse, where if I climaxed, I would spend the next hour in a ball having a panic attack. So, it really required having a gentle partner who could hold me and not personalize whenever I had that dissociative experience around sex and body, and we don't often talk about the ways in which those of us who have survived childhood sexual assault become enmeshed or entangled with folks who are predatory with their sexual choices and behaviors because they target us, not because we find them, but because they target us, and then that dynamic plays out, which is a part of that intergenerational work we have to do around our sex and our sexual identities and expression, but yeah.
Jasmine Banks: I think that oftentimes when we're talking about the salacious juicy parts of sex that we like to cut away how trauma has played a part of that or how struggle has played a part of that because we've been socialized to want these very linear narratives and themes like, "Oh, yeah, like all of my sex is really bomb," and people are like, "You have BDSM. You're BDSM. You're a kink practitioner. That must be so... " People get excited about it, and it's arousing, and then I say things like, "Yes, and actually, I am a kink practitioner because it has been a vehicle for healing the sexual assault and trauma," and they're like, "Awww man. You ruined it. It's not so sexy anymore."
Kenrya: But it’s fucking life.
Jasmine Banks: But it is, like what is more sexy than consent practices and negotiation of desire and openness that helps to heal wounded places in us and helps us access who we have been all along that violence and trauma kept us from being able to live in that truth? That's sexy as fuck.
Jasmine Banks: Y'all both said, "Mm."
Erica: I've always been a sexual person. Someone told me like, "You're the type of person that just gives that off," and for that reason, I've always been a sexual person. I give it off. I receive it, all of that, but doing this show has taken it to another level that has combined my love for fucking and a good orgasm and pleasure, with also just recognizing how it is freedom and a path to liberation. So, the more I hear from people like you and the more I learn, I am just taking it all in because it's amazing that... Everyone says like, "Do what you love. You never have to work a day."
Kenrya: Yeah, that's bullshit, but okay.
Erica: Yeah, but I feel like I am finally at a point where it's like all of these things that I enjoy are coming together, and not only do I enjoy it, but I see its purpose in the world, and that gets me so fucking horny.
Jasmine Banks: I mean, it's all right. If sex is about a joy and pleasure practice in some of its layers, then it makes so much sense that this is working for you and that this is hitting at a core part of who you are that is deeply linked with feelings of liberation because those of us whose histories emerged from enslavement and settler domination have not had the freedoms too. So, hoe culture, you being ratchet with your sexuality in the face of stereotypes like the Jezebel and Sapphire and the Mammy is... It's like that's powerful work, and it's political work. So, I definitely appreciate where this sits for you in the constellation of your life.
Jasmine Banks: As a polyamorous person I feel in the same way that a person who's just really guided me in my critical polyamory, which is Kim TallBear, she talks about in a podcast she recently did around how sex really needs to be taken off of the shelf, like it needs to stop being commodified. It's not like some special ornate thing. What makes it special is the meaning we make of it in the moment, but as far as a global frame, like it's not unique. It's no different than me choosing to cuddle with someone as intimacy because I can fuck someone and not feel an intimate connection with them and not feel anything. It can be exchange or extraction, or yeah, an extractive relationship, and the church has done a really good job in particular of attaching so much meaning around morality and ethics to sex and what we do to our body and that was just another way, another vehicle for controlling and criminalizing the Black body that when we choose to be like, "Yeah, I have a platonic friend that sometimes I let eat me out," and we're still platonic friends, and we high-five and just kick it.
Jasmine Banks: That is a powerful thing in the face of a nation that says, "In order to be a good citizen, you have to not have sexual intercourse so that you keep everyone healthy, and you only have one partner, and you track your children, and they're registered with the state," and you have a picket fence, right? We know that Black and Indigenous folks have never fit in that lens, and it's intentional because that is a social construct that will always keep us as other because our ancestors and our practices call us to a deeper, more abundant, more generous version of family and sex and expression.
Kenrya: Yes, bitch.
Erica: Yes. Bitch, I'm coming over for conversation and cornbread when the world open back up.
Jasmine Banks: My poor kids are going to be like, "My mom was a Black feminist, and she would show her friends her vulva, and it was normal."
Erica: I always wonder what our kids will remember about... There are certain things about growing up that I remember, and I'm convinced that my son is going to remember this summer as a summer of me sitting on the porch drinking, eating chicken and talking about my body parts.
Kenrya: That is what you did.
Erica: I literally sat on my porch and ordered chicken every three days and talked about sex. So, it's the thing. Now, I'm raising great people.
Jasmine Banks: I think they're going to be great. I think as long as it's normalized, it's like, "I'm sorry that your little white friends have parents that never have sex, but we fuck," and not only do we fuck, but it'll be the middle of their Saturday and be like, "Watch the baby and lock the door. We're going to go have sex, and yes, you're probably going to hear us." I actually just started this other practice when they're like, "We don't want to hear about that all the time," because they're embarrassed of us and the social norms of their peer groups. So, we've been like, "We're going to go have a Bible study."
Erica: Your kids are going to be invited to an actual Bible study, and they're going to freak the fuck out.
Jasmine Banks: They're going to be like, "This is not what it sounds like. Who are we calling ‘Daddy’ during this Bible study? When do we say, 'Yes, Daddy'?" Then the Christians are going to be like, "Do you mean Father God?" And Addison's going to be like, "I don't think so."
Erica: I mean, I heard God say it, but I don't know if that's what they're talking about.
Jasmine Banks: They're going to be so fucked up around religion. I'm going to be like, "I was just being slamming the spirit, okay?" And then Zara's going to be like, "What did that have to do with your butt?"
Erica: And there'll be no answers.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, I actually just got one of our kiddos. They asked that we talked about masturbation very openly, and one of the kiddos was like, "I would some lube and a vibrator," and I was like, "Okay, yeah. Dope. I can get you one that's appropriate for your anatomy and for your age," and then they came back two weeks later like, "I need new batteries." I was like, "What the fuck?"
Erica: That's like keeping it under the pillow. Wait. I do. Let me shut up.
Kenrya: You do that.
Jasmine Banks: Like the Tooth Fairy will give you new batteries for your vibrator and mine.
Erica: But I think it's so important. I buy vibrators as graduation gifts for young girls now because... Well, I've only had an opportunity to buy it for young girls, but let's learn how to pleasure yourself, and this is just a thing that we do, and it doesn't have to be weird or gross or nasty or unless you want it to be. Unless you want it to be.
Jasmine Banks: The other day, the same kid had a really fantastic school trip and said, "Hey," and we talked about consent and all kinds of different, like how we negotiate space because we're a close-knit family, and we also know that privacy is important in how you practice masturbation. They announced, "I'm going to be in the bedroom for an hour, and it's going to be locked because I'm going to masturbate," comes back out, and I inquired, and I said, "Hey, it seemed like that was urgent, like you just made this declaration. What was going on?" The kiddo was like, "I had a really good day, and I just wanted to feel even better," and I was like, "I am done. Write papers on me. I am in the critical canon of teaching your child sexuality."
Erica: I love it.
Kenrya: Ooh, but it's interesting.
Erica: So, did a ribbon and a star dropp from the sky and get pinned to your shirt?
Jasmine Banks: Beyoncé came down and said, "I am so proud of you."
Kenrya: That was good.
Erica: I love it. That was good. You go, sister.
Jasmine Banks: She said, "I love you like you from Houston."
Kenrya: It was actually really good. Yeah, but the reality is, and I wonder if how much you do influence other parents, like I know for me, the first time that I had a conversation with my daughter about gender identity was off of something that you wrote online about how we need to talk to our kids about it. I think I've been having conversations with her about consent since she was very young in all of the ways, right? Not just framing it around sex, but when we go to the doctor's office, she has to give consent for them to be able to look at her body. For white people touching her hair, she has to give consent on whether or not she wants... because that was a whole thing.
Jasmine Banks: But she doesn't have to ask if she stabs them, like if she pulls out her shank-
Erica: No, she does not. She can do whatever the fuck she wants.
Jasmine Banks: They touch her hair.
Kenrya: [crosstalk 00:42:36] shank. Yeah, but we hadn't had any conversations about that. So, we did, and I asked her, "Who do you feel like?" She was like, "Well, what do you mean?" We had conversation. She's like, "Oh, okay. Yeah, no." She's like, "I'm a girl." I was like, "Okay, cool. I just want to check to make sure that I am living right and making sure that I'm taking care of you and providing the safety and the support that you need." So, I hope that you know that as you share your life with your kids and the way that you are open about sexuality and gender and sex with them that other folks and in your podcast, that other folks are absorbing that and learning from that.
Jasmine Banks: Yes, yes. So, we get messages all the time from Parenting is Political podcast listeners about like, "You're telling me to teach my child this? I didn't even know it about myself." So, we're doing this multi-generational transformation work, and I don't mean to say that we're intentionally, like it's planned and it's targeted, but I think that for me, when it came to... A lot of folks make meaning of what I share online and how I live my life so openly, and they frame it as though I'm attention-seeking, or I'm always looking for drama, or I'm trying to be some online celebrity, but I had to come to this place of reckoning around the accesses that I, like access points in my life, intersections in my life, and I'm light-skinned by I don't know what grace.
Jasmine Banks: I was the first-generation person to graduate from junior high or high school and neither of my parents have secondary or post-secondary education. I just have all these opportunities, and I'm sure a level of that is definitely colorism, and the level of that is also definitely having proximity to white family members, but when I thought about who I wanted to be in my life work around Black liberation, I knew that I had to make the choice to not be underground because those privileges that I had and the way that colorism is so fucked up, I could speak to audiences and hold and honor Blackness and still tell my story where some of my dark-skinned siblings can't do that, right? Does that make sense?
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jasmine Banks: So, I chose to be really intentional and measured. I'm not as much as I appear to be. I don't just go on the internet and vomit everywhere and just be haphazard about things. I am often very strategic about what I do and what I don't share and how I share it, but sharing and telling your story has been the only way that I have healed and transformed and found deeper joy and deeper liberations because someone else told their story, and every time I look around, I don't see people telling my story, and I believe that Audre Lorde taught us that, right? If you don't see yourself in books that have been written, you have to write one. So, I look at my social media engagement and the stories that I tell in person and through digital mediums in that way, and I have written a book, but it's not published, but it's written.
Jasmine Banks: But yeah, like I hope that someone... I was interviewing George Johnson from “All Boys Aren't Blue,” and they were saying the same thing. They were saying, "I never saw a story this about myself, so I wrote it," and George also has the same kind of social media that I have where they're really reflective, and they really share these things that most people would hold with shame, and I don't like Eminem for various reasons, but I love his rap tactics that he starts playing the dozens on himself before whoever's in the rap battle can, right? He's like, "Yeah, I'm white. Yeah, I'm from the trailer. Yeah, I can't fuck. Yeah, I'm skinny," right? I think there's some power in that, like what does it call when you take someone's gun away from them, right?
Jasmine Banks: When you take their ammo away from them, ammunition, and then you take back power by naming those things about you. So, yeah, I mean, it's been a defense strategy, it's been an offensive strategy, and it's been a strategy that I hope invites deeper community and conversation. I'm not trying to say I'm right because I've grown so much. I'm not the most expert on whatever critical analysis of X, Y, and Z, but I do practice every single day to be less wrong about the things that I think.
Kenrya: That's all you can fucking ask for, right?
Jasmine Banks: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and I'm a good lay.
Erica: Hey. Another gold star.
Kenrya: Which leads me to ask you what three words describe sex in your 30s.
Jasmine Banks: Sex in my 30s. What I just do with sex in my 30s is a hard question. It has been juicy and restorative. Man, you said three words?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, and playful.
Kenrya: Yes, okay.
Erica: Fantastic because that sounds amazing, and I was about to say lit, L-I-T. Lit. That's what it says.
Jasmine Banks: Yes. It has been lit. So, I’m married to Mo. It is a love marriage, but it also was a tactical marriage because we live in Arkansas and Mo is nonbinary and queer, and I'm queer, and we need some state protections in order to function in this community, especially because our daughter is trans and so it makes it even more complicated. So, Mo has been such a fun partner to experience a second adolescence with. So, queer people often don't have the room in our younger years, develop psychosocial development years to really unpack and experiment and play. There's so much social pressure about staying closeted or having shame or all kinds of variables, and I would say the same for Black folks, even Black folks who aren't queer. It's not safe for us often to experiment and go through those developmental milestones that white young people do at their little keg parties and whatever.
Jasmine Banks: So, I've been experiencing second adolescence with Mo, and that's been really, really fun, and then we transitioned into this more secure sex practice. That's less about experimentation and more about us developing our own deep identity. We'd be like, "Okay, so what was something that we tried that wasn't... " Oh, so in kink, there are folks who like to induce vomiting by deep-throating, like extreme deep-throating to the point where it introduces vomiting. So, that was one of the first things that we experimented with around kink because gagging was sexy for me, and we learned very quickly that gagging is nice. When things come up after the gagging, that's a no-go. That's like a-
Jasmine Banks: I'm not kink shaming, but that's something that we experimented with throwing away, and now, we're just practicing holding each other in a really incredible way in our sex play, and then with my other partners, it's just been so good. I have two other women partners that I... Mo’s nonbinary, but I have two other Black women partners that I have sexual experiences with, and I just broke up with my girlfriend because she was garbage, but we did have a really good sex life, but she just needs to get her life together. She's probably listening to this. Get your life together, Megan.
Erica: Oh, shit. Pow-pow.
Jasmine Banks: So, it's great because with each of my partners, I'm not expected to take on any kind of heteronormative role, right? People usually assume because I'm more femme-presenting that I'm the bottom or the person who gets penetrated in my relationship with Mo, but no, I'm Daddy in that relationship, and then I have another sexual relationship where we're both femmes. We're both high femmes, and it's just a completely different level. I have another sexual relationship where it's just all erotica, and it's all text, and I love writing and words and reading, and I just really, really love that medium. So, to have someone that I could have sexting with and then masturbate or not has also been really incredible.
Jasmine Banks: So, it's just very fun. COVID threw a wrench in lots of plans, but I'm learning that during a part of my life, I did some sex work, and I did some cam work as a part of that sex work, and I was like, "Oh, I have these skills. They're coming back. Okay."
Erica: It's like riding a bike.
Jasmine Banks: You ain't going to keep me down, COVID. So, that has been really fun, and then also with COVID, like distance play toys that have Bluetooth or function over, those have also been very helpful.
Erica: Tell us about a sexual experience that you remember fondly.
Jasmine Banks: Because of how I am a dom top in my BDSM life, I really, really, really appreciate bottoms and subs that that need extra care, aftercare. So, I had an experience with a person who was bottoming for me who had never really felt safe to have a climax because she was a squirter. So, part of the care that I was able to provide for her was around clean up and clean up for her and aftercare, and I bought a special mat and tool that helps to protect the bed, but doesn't make it feel like, "Oh, you're a medical case, and this is weird," right? It was seamless as far as the environment and the scene went, and she got to climax, and she ejaculated, and then we got to do this care work afterwards. That was really fulfilling for me.
Jasmine Banks: So, when I show up in BDSM space and get to do aftercare, it gives me this really lovely sexual high around nurturing and aftercare. If you're not familiar with BDSM, that might seem a little weird and confusing, but-
Erica: You know what? Actually, that's one of the things about BDSM that I find beautiful is the intentionality of the aftercare part. So, yeah, if you're not familiar with it, then you probably should be getting a little more familiar with this, so you're not just leaving your partner on the bed underneath the sheet alone. You know?
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, yeah, because subspace can be definitely hard, that rebound. It was with a different person, but another really fun one that I got to do was someone who really, really liked to be shocked, and I didn't realize how much I like to shock people, but I do.
Erica: Learn new shit every day.
Jasmine Banks: My rising is Scorpio, so that's what I thought I must have been channeling.
Kenrya: That makes sense.
Erica: That makes sense.
Jasmine Banks: Like the sting and the pain.
Kenrya: So, we have a pretty good idea of what your sex life looks like now, but on average, how many times do you have some sort of sexual contact in a week?
Jasmine Banks: Gosh. I talked to you about this for another piece that you did. It's had an uptick recently. Before whenever I was traveling and I could see my people in New York with my play partners, then I... That was multiple times a day. Now though, because of COVID, it's probably four or five times a week unless I have someone that comes to visit, or we do a video chat. Then it's a weirdly large number out of the typical norm because it's multiple partners.
Kenrya: Are there, I guess along those lines, certain times of day that you prefer to have sex? Like, "I like to have sex in the morning."
Jasmine Banks: I remember you telling me about that, and I was confused.
Kenrya: Why are you confused?
Jasmine Banks: Because I'm not a morning person, but I did have a sexual partner recently that made me motivated enough to wake up a couple of days out of the week to have morning sex with her. Today, Mo text me in between a meeting and was like, "Hey, do you have time to have sex?" That was really nice and fun. I like midday sex. At this point with homeschooling with COVID and working from home and the white supremacist in chief and everything else, like the race war that we all need to grab our machetes for very soon. I get tired at night. So, now, my sex life has shifted to the daytime, and if we don't get it in on the weekday, it's like our kids don't see us for a couple of hours on the weekends.
Kenrya: Got to make up time. That's why I like morning sex because I'm always really fucking tired by the end of the day, but also morning is not really for me.
Jasmine Banks: Okay. Well, you make the morning-
Erica: It's just first-thing-in-your-day sex.
Jasmine Banks: What does that mean?
Kenrya: Because on the weekends, it's like 10 or 11 o'clock, especially if my daughter is at her dad's.
Jasmine Banks: You get to sleep in until 11 o'clock?
Kenrya: If she's not home, which is only twice a month for 48 hours, but I take advantage of it.
Jasmine Banks: I'll trade that for a couple of my sex sessions. Let me sleep until 10:00, somebody.
Kenrya: Yeah. I mean, it doesn't happen often, but when it does, I take it, and then if I can roll over and have sex, it don't get too much better than that.
Erica: See? Just logistically, what about your breath?
Kenrya: We just don't breathe in each other's faces. I mean, shit. It's a lot of weight when you have sex that don't involve... on your nose. We're considerate, but I don't care. I want to-
Jasmine Banks: Also, bodies have smells, and it's whatever. You don't need to be so fresh and so clean, clean. Bodies just-
Kenrya: Listen, I wake up juicy. I like-
Erica: I've [crosstalk 00:58:11] now a marinated puss is-
Kenrya: Is a good puss.
Erica: A good puss. It's like baked over. It's been baking overnight like a warm baked potato.
Jasmine Banks: I still sleep with my hands between my thighs. I do. I've done it since I was a child. So, if I lubricate at all and I wake up, I just rub it on Mo's face.
Kenrya: Like, "Hey, good morning."
Jasmine Banks: And then because we're that crunchy queer couple, Mo be like, "It smells like you're about to ovulate." I'm like, "Shut the fuck up. That's not what you say."
Erica: I love it. I love it.
Kenrya: As do I. All right. Let's see. Oh, how long do your sex sessions typically last?
Jasmine Banks: Oh, man, if it's a scene, it can be a couple of hours. If it's just typical vanilla sex, that's usually shorter. That's an hour or less.
Erica: Okay. Where do you usually do it?
Jasmine Banks: Our scenes are usually in our room. If the kids are gone, it's like fair play game. I broke the car window because there was sex happening, and I broke the windshield with my foot because I was pressing on it hard.
Kenrya: I'm sorry. You didn't get hurt, did you?
Erica: So, when you break... Do you just commit at this point, just keep going or did you-
Jasmine: I mean, there ain't shit you can do about it right then, right?
Erica: Okay. Yeah, that's what I was thinking.
Jasmine Banks: What's been done has been done.
Kenrya: Yeah, you didn't get hurt.
Jasmine Banks: Mm-mm (negative). It didn't shatter. It just spidered it.
Kenrya: Oh, yeah.
Jasmine Banks: Now, I got to fix my wife's window.
Kenrya: I mean, that you can have sex.
Erica: Somebody was making it rain. A good hail storm. What's the best part of your sex life right now?
Jasmine Banks: The best part of my sex life harkens back to my history that doesn't feel coercive. It feels very held and free, and just I really love that Mo, the partner that I have most immediate access to, really likes eating my ass. That's so nice. I really love that, and then also because sex is about reciprocity and this third space you create between you. I really like that because Mo is a nonbinary person who's doing a lot of work for themselves around body and sexuality, coming also from Christianity, that I get to be a safe space for practice around experimenting how gender expression and identity intersect with sexual expression and identity. That has been really, really fun, and I love having a nonbinary partner because it never feels like I'm with a set gender or a gender at all.
Jasmine Banks: It's just like this is Mo's version of nonbinary, and we get to make of it what we want. So, if Mo's like, "Hey, can I get a dildo that squirts and can I cum on your face?" I'm like, "Yes."
Jasmine Banks: Let's do that.
Erica: Let's explore.
Jasmine Banks: So, it's great. I hope it's like what the future of sex is for so many of us that even those who are not queer or those who are not trans can figure out blueprints for play and erogenous experience. It's not just about all that boring stuff you see on Pornhub.
Erica: Yes. What's the most frustrating part?
Jasmine Banks: That I can't travel because I have people I need to fuck.
Erica: Fuck you, COVID.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, it gets to the point where I want to protect the herd and then also I need to go to Alabama to see somebody. I'm really, really trying to be a good relative and not travel and go places.
Erica: But it's just those junk has needs.
Jasmine Banks: Well, eight months is a long time to be away from a partner.
Erica: Yeah, for sure. How often do you masturbate?
Jasmine Banks: Every day.
Erica: Every day, yeah, and what's your favorite technique? Do you have one?
Jasmine Banks: I'm a friction kind of person, and it's always my hand. I have all kinds of toys and tools whenever I was active as a Just Jasmine blogger, which is still my blog, still exists. I would get all kinds of different free products, and then I just love sex shops, and I collect things, but I just have never found anything that I enjoy as much as my hands. Also, it might be just about logistics because I always masturbate first thing when I wake up no matter what, and I don't want to get up and walk to my closet and open a bin and figure out what I want. So, maybe it's also that I'm lazy. It's the Taurus in me. It's my Taurus moon.
Kenrya: Oh, yeah, I was married to a Taurus. That's the whole thing. Why every day? What does that do for you to start your day in that way?
Jasmine Banks: Honestly, it might be for everyone else because I'm nicer, less murderous. I feel energized. I'm ready to get up and do things afterwards. It's activating.
Erica: It's a power-up button.
Kenrya: Do you ever have any trouble turning off the day and focusing on bodily pleasure?
Jasmine Banks: Totally, totally. As a person who's survived childhood and adult sexual assault, dissociation is a huge part of how I balance things, and especially dissociating from anything that's about being in my body. So, I've had to create practices and norms where I invite myself to be inside my body, and masturbation has been one of those ways, and then lingerie and anything that's experiential and tactile that I can put on my body also is a meditative practice that calls me into space with myself. So, it's complicated. So, even if I don't have a busy day, that is definitely a learning edge that I have.
Erica: If you could snap your fingers and change one thing, what would you change about your sex life?
Jasmine Banks: I would be able to get people pregnant.
Erica: Babies for everyone.
Jasmine Banks: Wow, that's an interesting question. I don't know if I would really change anything. No. I would. Okay, so I would change how complicated it is to be a relationship anarchist, a person who's poly in my sexual expression in life because it often feels like that heterosexual vanilla couples just get such an easy script to follow, and they don't have these 4,000 fucking conversations with people in order to get some head.
Erica: But here's the thing. Part of the problem is that's what be fucking us up.
Jasmine Banks: That's true.
Erica: That's [crosstalk 01:06:14] us. That's what fucks it up. I think what makes it outside looking in, but I know it's like a, "Fuck. I got to... " But-
Jasmine Banks: Sometimes, I get a little tired. I'm like, "Is there a hand signal where I can just be like please?" I mean, I know we have sign language for it, but just a single-hand gesture like, "Let's do anal, but I don't want to be partners, and I'm not trying to steal your... I'm not trying to do anything nefarious. I just think you might be fun to do anal with.”
Erica: That would be... Okay. You got to come up with a-
Kenrya: Are you making up a...
Erica: I'm doing my Walter Machado.
Jasmine Banks: No. This is the... Anyway.
Erica: We have to have video for now [crosstalk 01:07:14].
Kenrya: We got to start using video.
Jasmine Banks: We're ridiculous. So, are y'all going to come to Parenting is Political to talk about sex and parenting?
Kenrya: Yes, if you'll have us.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Jasmine Banks: Cool, cool.
Kenrya: Before we do that, can you tell us what is a sex best practice that you want to share with our listeners?
Jasmine Banks: I have so many.
Kenrya: Give us what you want.
Jasmine Banks: Oh my gosh. This was my Miss America question. All right. So, I would say a best practice that I commit to is understanding that sex is about an experience, not a performance, and in so many ways, it doesn't have to be, "Did I do this good? Did I do this bad? Did you climax? Did you not?" And embracing these binaries, but checking in with people like, "Did you feel listened to? Did you experience pleasure that you could recognize? Did you feel as though you could communicate to me? Did you have fun?" Those things, like normalizing those questions doesn't make it any less sexy, and it actually opens up opportunities of deeper sex play and engagement because then folks feel safe and seen to give more details about what they want. It becomes even more juicy at that point.
Jasmine Banks: I have had partners in the past who when we tried those practices, we're like, "I just feel like we're doing an exit survey, and I don't like that, and it just feels like you're grading me or I'm grading you, and we shouldn't do that." So, normalizing an open communication is just really, really critical because it's that safety and communication that allows us to negotiate boundaries and consent and desire, and those are all foundational to having an enjoyable sexual experience.
Erica: Do you have any must-use tools?
Jasmine Banks: Uberlube is one of my favorites, and I think that folks who... How is it? Well, this is what I'm going to say. Cis women who are not queer definitely need to try an internal dildo. It's a dildo that has a hook or a bulb that you insert into your vaginal canal, and it can vibrate or can't vibrate, but I want cis women masturbating by putting the internal dildo and putting a shit ton of lube and rubbing the dong while literally stimulating and get into it. I think that is a must-have experience. We first introduced that tool to be supportive of some of the habits of Mo's dysphoria or some of the ways that Mo's dysphoria was showing up, but at one point, I was like, "Why is this just for a nonbinary person who needs to see themselves like gender expansive? I'm going to try this," and I masturbated with, and I was like, "Next level. Next level."
Kenrya: Next level?
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, so if you have the anatomy... Language is just so problematic, but say I'm talking to Erica, and I'm assuming you have a vulva, and I'm assuming you like to stroke dick, why not stroke your own while playing with your clitoris?
Erica: Girl, I'm online right now. I'm about to buy my own. Like bitch, I'm literally looking online right now to purchase-
Jasmine Banks: And then the bulb, which is used to secure the person who's wearing the internal dildo acts as a mechanism for you to feel full, and then it vibrates. It also hit your G-spot, and I'm like...
Kenrya: Yeah, we may need you to send us the link when we finish.
Erica: No, I'm looking, and you will approve before I press in. Thanks. Okay. Would you rather give up partner sex or masturbation?
Jasmine Banks: Partner sex, hands down.
Erica: Oh, yes.
Kenrya: [inaudible 01:11:57].
Erica: I'm lazy, but yeah. I like it.
Kenrya: Yeah, you're like, "You mean, they get to do the work? Yeah, I'll stick with partnered sex."
Kenrya: What do you hope that people learn from this walk through your sex life?
Jasmine Banks: I just hope that folks can take away that even those of us who have our bodies and our sexualities and our sexual experiences as sites of extreme trauma and suffering and even shame that we don't have to throw away sexuality and sexual experience and that in community and through embodied healing, we can transform and have different memories and different ways of being in relationship with our bodies and others and the intersections of sexuality and sexual practice. I really hope that comes through, and I also hope that it comes through that you can be a dope-ass parent and caretaker and really like to fuck and really like kink and really do all sorts of expansive things around sex.
Kenrya: Yeah, I think they're going to get that.
Jasmine Banks: I hope so.
Kenrya: Yeah, well done. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Jasmine Banks: Thank you for having me. I hope you're not jealous that Erica's my new best friend.
Kenrya: So, here's the thing.
Erica: Here's the problem. You say that, but then there's a lot of responsibility that comes with this. So, yeah, you're going to be like, "Damn." I mean, yeah. So, is this the one I need to be buying?
Kenrya: Those hormone shots she was getting, I was the one giving her them shits.
Jasmine Banks: Yes, that's a great starter, and you see the ridges? It also can rub your... gets clitoral contact.
Erica: Yeah, they have another one. They have the little bunny, but I feel like I'd freak out with all that stimulation.
Jasmine Banks: Yeah, that, when that has the ridges is nice because it's got an angle that you can bend the shaft part a little bit away and get your hand down enough to give yourself the physical contact around clitoral stimulation. So...
Erica: Dink, dink.
Kenrya: Okay, send it to me.
Erica: Thanks, bestie. Sorry, Kenrya.
Kenrya: It's fine. Where can other people who want to be your bestie find you online?
Jasmine Banks: Well, applications for best friends are closed. I peaked at Erica. So, @ParentingIsPolitical on Instagram is the best place to connect.
Kenrya: And then the website is ParentingIsPolitical.org?
Jasmine Banks: That is correct, and we have all of our podcasts there and email and newsletter and people can subscribe and all that jazz, but people think that just because I be really personal that I want them to follow me on my personal social media, like my Jasmine, Instagram, and every once while, I get the streak of Virgo, I feel bad because I'm not being nice to people. So, I'll let them in, and then three weeks later, my list is cut down again.
Erica: Who the fuck is this? Who's this person? Yeah.
Kenrya: Yeah, so y'all head over to the Parenting is Political accounts and follow her there, and that's it for this week's episode of The Turn On. Thank y'all so much for listening. We'll talk to you next week.
Erica: Peace out.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, 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. Post your review and email us a screenshot at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today and access lots of goodies, including two-for-one raffle entries. Don't forget to send us your book recommendations and sex and related questions and follow us on Twitter at @TheTurnOnPod and Instagram at @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. Thanks so much for listening and we'll see you soon. Holla.
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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya read N.D. Jones' "Of Fear and Faith" and talked Black spirituality, the two lists everyone should make before they start dating, having panic attacks after seemingly "fine" dates, the importance of having a strong block game and lingering gender roles.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: Welcome, welcome, to this week's episode of The Turn On. This week, we are reading “Of Fear and Faith” by N.D. Jones. So sit by, relax, get your wine, get your weed, get your whatever you need, and enjoy.
Kenrya: “Of Fear and Faith” by N.D. Jones.
Kenrya: Assefa pulled her to the bed, but it was she who pushed him down, straddling him as she had done earlier. He was hers now, so Sanura eagerly kissed and licked every scrumptious inch of Assefa's neck, shoulders, and chest, pleased when she heard him purr in pleasure. She slid down his mighty body to free his arousal from the boxers, tossing them to the floor. Impressed and feeling like she should give a shout-out to Sekhmet for creating such a fine specimen, Sanura stared at Assefa's magnificent, bronzed body. The touch, sound, and taste of him hypnotically unnerving. Animal or male magnetism didn't begin to capture the explosions he set off deep inside her. Unable to speak both binding and fathomless words of commitment, she poured all her emotions into exploring his body, enjoying locating all the spots that most made him purr.
Kenrya: Just when Sanura was about to take him into her mouth and suck him until he squirmed under her mind-blowing administrations, losing all control, Assefa rolled her over and then effortless divested her of her panties. Damn him.
Kenrya: "You tortured me enough, temptress. I see you like to play with fire."
Kenrya: She wiggled teasingly under him, his penis heavy, hard, and not where she wanted it.
Kenrya: "I'm a fire witch. That's what I do."
Kenrya: "It is? Well, I got something for you, my little witch."
Kenrya: Sanura just bet he did, and she couldn't wait. But Assefa jumped from the bed, and less than 20 seconds later, he was back with a triumphant smile and a closed fist. He opened his hand, and gold, sparkling paper unfurled.
Kenrya: "Boy scout," she said with a smile and then paused, looking closer. "Magnum?" Her grin widened. "Braggart."
Kenrya: "Fire and ice condoms, temptress." He showed her the profile of a warrior of ancient Troy and winked at her, slow and outrageously cute. "We wasted one earlier."
Kenrya: He tore one open and put the condom on, rolling it until it covered his magnificent girth. "If you aren't tired, we'll see how much fire and ice we can stand."
Kenrya: The glow of his eyes was his only warning before he took Sanura in a hard thrust, ripping a scream of pleasurably shock from her. "And you're so soft and wet," Assefa moaned.
Kenrya: Every part of their bodies joined in an electrical dance that shot through her like lightening through a tree, powerful and unforgiving. Pulsing, throbbing white heat invaded the room, captured and then released as the rhythm pounded loudly and methodically to the beat of their own making. Passion-filled groans charged the atmosphere, sacred names broke the sound barrier, and a soul-rendering symphony made up of an orchestra of two intertwined bodies of sweat and desire.
Kenrya: "Oh gods, yes, yes," Sanura yelled, not caring how loud she was. Right now, she felt more than capable of outscreaming even the Banshee Queen. And for the love of Isis, was Assefa growing inside of her? Longer? Thicker? Gods, to savor. He was, he had, and she was full to overflowing, receiving more than she'd ever dreamed possible.
Kenrya: Eyes a dark shade of gold now, Assefa's fangs slipped a little from his gums, the tips of them below his top lip. At this moment, Sanura knew his cat instinct was to claim her, to bite into her flesh and take her as his mate. His mate. Sanura tensed. Assefa stopped. Her fire spirit raged, hissing at the wanting to complete the joining, to not fear the unknown, the uncontrollable. He stared down at her, his body trembling. For mating need or halted pleasure, she couldn't determine. With clear effort, if not reluctance, fangs lifted then disappeared. The mood threatened to follow. She watched him, wondering what he would do now. If he would decide he made a mistake taking her to bed.
Kenrya: Then, like replacing a dead battery, Assefa sparked to life, nipping her shoulder. No worries. He began to move, setting the pace, a slow speed that was no less intense, no less toe-curling for its lack of raw force. There were no more words, no more attempts at claiming, no more fear. Just the heat, just the passion, just the burning pleasure of two bodies in search of unforgettable rapture.
Erica: Okay, y'all, welcome back. That was “Of Fear and Faith” by N.D. Jones, read by the lovely Killa' Ken.
Erica: So Kenrya, this story, this book, is full of lots of twists and turns and spoilers that I don't want to give away, so take it away.
Kenrya: Yeah, that's right. Okay, let's see. How can I do this? In this book, our two main characters... Oh, it is hard to do without telling too much information.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Sanura and Assefa have generational power that is vested in them.
Erica: So first, it's a witchy book, right?
Kenrya: Yes, it is.
Erica: It deals with spirituality and witchcraft and that kind of thing, right?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: Yes. And it's rooted in stories of the Orishas and things, which is pretty cool, because it is very distinctly a Black witches’ tale. But it's obviously fiction, so there's just this wonderful world and all this lore that the writer created. Basically, they have a connection, but they don't know it until they meet. But they sense it instantly. And the two main characters come together because there is a creature that is killing witches in Baltimore.
Kenrya: In Baltimo'. And they both represent two of the factions that have a stake in trying to figure out what this creature is, where it is, and to make it stop killing witches. They come together and sense that they are tied together in some way, and hijinks ensue.
Erica: Dot dot dot.
Kenrya: Including this, this lovely sex scene.
Erica: This lovely romp. Okay, so I feel like this is... First, this is our final full-length episode of Season Three. Round of applause. Baby, make that ass clap. But I also feel like this is just such a... so timely for where I am in my life right now.
Kenrya: You do?
Erica: I feel like we haven't caught up in a while. I mean, you have so much going on, and so I'm trying to give you some space.
Kenrya: Thank you. But I'll be needing breaks sometimes. Y'all, I got some medical stuff going on. We don't really know what it is. I'm tired.
Erica: I literally usually call Kenrya like, "So, there's this ingrown nail, and I need you to look at it." But I'm trying to chill. So a few things. One, I am reshaping, reevaluating, looking at my spirituality. It's always been a journey, and I've always kind of considered it loosey-goosey. But I recently made an ancestor altar.
Kenrya: You told me last night, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, so I recently made an ancestor altar. I started reading this book about Orishas and Voodoo queens and all of that, and it has really been speaking to me. Kenrya's face is like, "Oh, shit."
Kenrya: I mean, I'm surprised. And also, we have some folks who are really deep in that world who could be great resources if you...
Erica: Who I have been talking to actually.
Erica: It's been a journey. I'm reading the book, and one of the things that it's first telling me is, "Yeah, this Orisha stuff is great, but you need to start with ancestor work." I was listening to this podcast... this woman on... I'm not sure if it was a podcast or a YouTube. Oh my gosh, I need to figure it out so that I can properly attribute it to her. But she was like, essentially, ancestor work is like when you were a kid and you're walking around with your parents, I can't walk up to you and give you candy. I got to talk to your parent and say, "Hey, parent, is it okay to give this kid candy?" So although I might feel like I have some special connection to Yemaya or Oshun, I can't be running up to them like, "Hey girls, what the deal? Give me all your ju-ju." No, I got to work through my ancestors, because they will give me what I need at the appropriate time in order to make what I receive from the Orishas digestible.
Kenrya: For you, yeah.
Erica: So I mean, I don't know where I am in this. I just know that I am.
Kenrya: I love it.
Erica: And it has been very interesting. Also, you all are literally in me and Kenrya's updating each other on our lives.
Kenrya: Catch up.
Erica: I have been really going hard with my entrepreneurship, and the person that I'm working with that's helping me develop my brand and website and all that, she practices. We talk a lot, and she has been giving me a lot of guidance in addition to the people you're probably thinking of that I've had to call and be like, "Look, girl, so I have a question." I feel like this is all tangled and tied up together, and somehow I have to... I feel like my path through figuring out spirituality, like what spirituality looks like for me in this stage of my life, is tied to my role as The Erotic Revolutionist, my role as bringing about a change in the way that a women friends and nonbinary folk experience and feel and think about and talk about sex. And so when we first got on the call, I was telling Kenrya that I'm praying for patience every morning, because I feel like I have all of this stuff in me that I have to get out, but it has to get sorted to get out.
Erica: That's where I am.
Kenrya: That's all pretty fucking cool and entangled.
Erica: Yeah, it's very entangled and not that kind. But it's been interesting. It has been interesting. And then today, I sat and did some talking. Right now I still feel like I'm talking to myself. But at some point, it will kick in.
Kenrya: I'm sure it will. I think even in doing it with my daughter, when she first started to pray without me, she was like, "I mean, can he even hear me? Because it feels like I'm just talking to myself." And then I'd be like, "Yes, and even if it's in your head, he hears you." And she's like, "What?"
Erica: Like, "I got to check these thoughts."
Kenrya: Exactly. But I think she's coming to that place where God feels like her homeboy in a way that he does mine, and it's been pretty cool to see. But it's just time.
Erica: Yeah. And we've been wanting to do a witchy-
Kenrya: Witch book. For a long time.
Erica: For a long time. And it took a while to find one that kind of just matched with all... hit all the buttons for us.
Kenrya: I mean, it's definitely got some binary stuff that was interesting and not necessarily our lane. But other than that, we had so much trouble finding a witch book that felt Black.
Erica: That felt Black, that didn't feature some Nordic goddesses. So it was good that we got to do this, because I think also, I feel like... and we'll talk about this next week with Haylin, but I feel like we think about witchy stuff and witches as this "bitches in the park in all Black.” We thinking of Azealia Banks, right, boiling cats.
Kenrya: Oh no.
Kenrya: Didn't she have chickens in the closet or something?
Erica: Yeah, she was doing some like... Yeah.
Kenrya: Sacrifice or something, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, and then recently she was on Instagram, and I think they said she boiled her cat.
Erica: I mean, it was like a dead cat. She dug up her cat and then boiled it. And they were like, "She gon' eat the cat!" And she was like, "I don't even eat dead cows."
Erica: "I was about to tamoxify it." Not tamoxify. "Taxiderm it." I was thinking cancer medications.
Kenrya: But I think there's so much mystery and skepticism.
Kenrya: And also this idea that the different parts... I love the way you were talking about how all of this entangled, because I think people tend to sit certain things over there.
Erica: Yeah, and it's all... "Mm, y'all." Everyone said, "Y'all be afraid of witches," but then you be like, "Don't put my purse on the floor. Don't sweep over my feet. Don't break this glass."
Erica: And it's like, "Mm, come on."
Kenrya: "Don't let nobody sit on your bed." All of these things that are so ingrained in who a lot of us... especially I guess people with Southern roots, Black folks in this country... that we fucking live by.
Erica: Yeah, and the more I learn and the more I think about it, it's just so beautiful. The story of Black religion is the story of Black Americans or Black people across the diaspora, because you take this very African thing, and then you turn it into what works for you. I mean, people probably know this, but it was new to me... About how they have the Catholic little statues and stuff. And so people in Voodoo cultures or in Voodoo religion... I probably was talking about it wrong. But anyway, people practicing Voodoo would stuff their own prayers, their own... I want to say trinkets... idols.
Erica: In the statues, and they're praying to that because it looks like you're praying to the Virgin Mary. And it's like, "Yeah, girl. Whatever. You're praying to who's inside of that."
Kenrya: Because white supremacy does the work of vilifying-
Kenrya: ...the things that come naturally to us and the things that have been a part of our culture and a part of who our ancestors were and are forever.
Erica: And so it's just beautiful. I'm busy as hell. I'm harried. But I'm trying to enjoy this journey, because I feel like the journey is going to help me figure out what the hell this looks like in the end. But damn, okay.
Erica: But something else that stood out in the book that's very, again, apropos for me in my life right now, is the dating. The two people... what are their names again? I'll fuck it up.
Kenrya: Assefa and Sanura.
Erica: Assefa and Sanura. These glasses are too big, so they keep falling off. That's what I get for buying $3 glasses on Instagram.
Kenrya: They're super cute. Oh, that's where you got them? Wait, are those the ones that were pink and green, but everybody was like, "They'd be cuter in a different color."
Erica: These aren't them, but I have those in green and brown. Green, black, and brown. I'll show you those later. Same company. Adore it. But one of the things that... Oh, and we're not giving the details on that, because they are not Black-owned and we ain't getting no money off of it. Holla at a playa if you see me on the street, and I'll give it a chance.
Erica: But I am currently dating, and I am trying to date with intention and be serious about what's going on. And so a lot of these issues that are coming up here are very... these are things that I have to actively ask myself. I've got to make an appointment with the therapist now that I'm talking, because I don't have an appointment. But these are things that I definitely have to now... I'm talking myself through as I am actually meeting great people. And it's like, "Okay, Erica, is it this? Is it that? What are you doing?" It's constantly an assessment, that kind of thing.
Erica: What are you thinking?
Kenrya: It's interesting. I want to know. Tell me the things.
Erica: Oh, okay. I met this guy. He's nice. We're having a great time. And I'm asking myself... like it's not intense, but it's lovely. Does that make sense?
Kenrya: Do you want it to be intense?
Erica: That's the thing. Do I? I'm used to intense, but I'm also divorced. I got a trail of bad relationships behind me. So I'm used to intense. Intense feels normal. But it's like, is intense good for you right now? And so I'm trying to ask myself... One of the things that happens in this book that we touched on, talked about, is a thing with love bombing, which is when someone shows up and they're everything you need and everything you want. It's the greatest thing. And then six months later, you're like, "What the fuck am I doing? How did I get here?"
Kenrya: Yeah, usually it's a cover for them being actually a shitty person, but they want to get you under their spell before you figure it out.
Erica: Exactly. Or they could just not be for you.
Kenrya: I guess. But love bombing very much to me shouts, "I'm going to fuck you over, but let me do this right quick so that you don't notice."
Erica: See, I don't know if I've got... I've met people so far that have done me intense love bombing, and I think some of it has been they're shitty people. Some of it I think is that they are so... They desire a relationship so much that they're going to do whatever it takes to get that relationship. And so I find myself doing the thinking for the both of us because I'm like, "Hey, hold on. You don't know if you want all that from me." That kind of thing. Because I met this one guy, and I do think he was truly genuine about... I think in his mind he thought that this is it. She's the greatest. And I mean, a bitch is. But I think it was from a, "She cool, I'm cool. She's single, I'm single." But it wasn't like a... Is it really that?
Kenrya: Or making someone up.
Erica: Yeah, are we just doing this because you free, I'm free, let's kick it? And that there is what I am trying to suss out in everything right now.
Erica: I met a new guy, and he's nice and it's fun. I think that I'm recognizing that in the past, a lot of my relationships have been passionate from the start, which is good, but is it? Is it right? Is it what I need? And I want whatever I go into next to be, if not the one, the one for a long ass time.
Kenrya: I'm going to sound like a broken record, because this is something I've been telling you as your best friend for years now.
Erica: I need to write a list. I need to write a list. I need to write a list.
Kenrya: I don't know how you can be intentional about what you're looking for if you haven't figured out what you're looking for.
Erica: Okay, cut.
Kenrya: And it doesn't have to look like a checklist, because I know that you worry that that taps into your OCD. But there can be some creative ways that you can... Because how do you know if someone is what you want if you don't know what you want?
Erica: Okay, don't be looking at me like that, because I have-
Kenrya: This is why you keep me around.
Erica: I literally have started a list.
Erica: Hold on, let me see if I can flash it. What I want in a partner.
Erica: Whatever bitch.
Kenrya: It's on her phone. It's in Notes y'all.
Erica: I definitely have started a list because I'm dating, and so now I'm learning what I like and what I don't like. Like, "Oh, I can't do that?" One of the things that I'm realizing, I met some really nice guys that are just really comfortable in their jobs, and I'm not comfortable with that.
Erica: No. Let me not say that.
Kenrya: Like you want them to be more ambitious?
Erica: I need ambition. And not to the like "I've got to hustle every weekend" ambition. So I met this guy, and he was a medical coder. And I'm like, "Okay, that's cool. That's cool." And he's like, "Yeah, I can do it in my sleep." And I'm like, "Did you want to go to med school or nursing school or something." "Yeah, I did, but I don't want to no more. I just like this. It's cool. I get paid. I get good raises, and the benefits are cool. So I'm going to do that." And I'm just kind of like, for me, it's like, "Dude, you're 37." I'm not comfortable with someone being comfortable in that for the rest of their life. And maybe it's because now I am at the point where I'm like, "I can't be sitting behind this desk for the rest of my life."
Kenrya: That's what I was going to say, because I feel like you have done jobs where you were doing them because they were rote, right?
Erica: Yes, but I always knew-
Kenrya: And it got to the point where that was untenable for you.
Erica: I always knew that that wasn't the end. This guy is like, "I'm fine retiring from here and getting a Rolex or getting a nice watch, getting my Timex." And to me, I'm just not comfortable with that. Not saying that... I don't need you to be like, "I'm about to create this app and take over the world." But I also... What were you going to say?
Kenrya: I want to speak to that without at all feeling like... I don't want to at all feel like I'm yucking your yum.
Erica: Yeah, but I also am trying to figure out how to properly articulate that, because I also don't want to make it seem like I want some like...
Kenrya: Like it's classist.
Erica: Yeah, because my granddaddy was a janitor. My momma ain't have a car. So we ain't... But it's just, I want someone that's going to strive for more. But at the same time, I'm learning my love language is physical touch. Shut up, bitch. And quality time.
Kenrya: Yes, I could have told you that a decade ago. So it's interesting. The thing that's on my list is-
Erica: I'm rolling my eyes at you so hard.
Kenrya: Whatever. Is that the person has to be happy with what they do.
Erica: Yes. Well, no-
Kenrya: Well, let me finish.
Kenrya: One, I've been with men who were really unhappy in their jobs no matter what it was that they were doing. And so I find that when men... when people in general are unhappy in their jobs, they tend to bring that home and they are unhappy because you spend so much time working. And so I want to be around people who find... I don't think that work should be the seat of our joy, because it's fucking work and we're in this capitalist society where we have to do this shit just to survive. But I also don't want to be with someone who is hating what they do for hours upon hours out of the day. I don't actually care what they do as long as they're not a cop. But they have to be able to take care of themselves financially, and they have to be able to say that they are happy in the work that they are doing.
Kenrya: And as someone who has been an entrepreneur for a long time honestly... and I sometimes talk about this with my partner who is also an entrepreneur... we spend a lot of time sitting up working together.
Erica: I mean, look. A good every two weeks check is delightful. That's where I am where I am and have been for a while.
Kenrya: Yeah, and I can appreciate... I can't honestly remember the last time I was in that kind of a situation, because even when I worked at magazines it was still a "you've got to be there ’til whatever time at night." But the idea that you can just go to work and do your job, and at five o'clock you can fucking leave and you ain't got to think about that shit until nine? What?
Kenrya: I kind of love it. And I do not at all hate the idea... I get it. I get why that is comforting and why that is something that someone would want to do. It sounds fucking dope. It's just not for me, because I don't want nobody over my shoulder. But I completely get the impulse.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah, so I'm still working through it. Because also, I'm not trying to sound elitist. I'm still trying to figure it out. And I appreciate you bringing that nuance to the conversation, because I ain't trying to block my blessings, because girl, I be driving slow.
Kenrya: They come at a lot of different points.
Erica: I be driving slow behind them trash trucks like, "Hey Zaddy."
Kenrya: Oh, because they be fine.
Erica: "Hey there. I see how you slug that trash can with one arm,” my nasty ass.
Kenrya: But I'm really glad that you have a list and that you're being intentional in your dating.
Erica: Whatever, bitch.
Kenrya: Stop rolling your eyes at me.
Kenrya: I'm being supportive.
Erica: Yeah, but also, okay, so here's the thing. I literally met somebody... I'm trying to debate if I'm going to share this.
Kenrya: How much...
Erica: How much I'm going to share. We're going to go, and some of this might get cut out. So I literally matched with this guy two days ago. So far, everything on my list. Everything, down to good teeth. Down to good teeth. And here's the thing. He knows a lot of my... a few of my friends. And one of my friends, who is very, very discerning, she was like, "Oh, he's cool people. You better swipe on him." I was like, "All right." And so now, the reason that I don't want a list is because I'm looking at this list and I'm looking at him, and I'm like, "Oh my God, Erica. Don't fuck it up. Don't blow it. Don't accept fuck shit."
Kenrya: Oh, because of the pressure.
Erica: And so now it's just like... yeah.
Kenrya: So the list got him in the door, right? Did you make the other list? The list about how you want to feel?
Kenrya: Okay. So the second part of the list exercise is to make a list of how you want to feel when you're engaged with this person. That helps you to move past that superficial "this height, this teeth" whatever to, "All right, does this person-?"
Erica: Oh, I do have a little bit of how I want to feel.
Kenrya: Mixed into that one?
Erica: You see that?
Kenrya: I do, yes. Good. So then in my... What I have done is-
Erica: I hate you! Your turn me into...
Kenrya: I use that list to help guide things moving forward. Once, "Okay, cool. That's what's up. They met that criteria." But then there's so much more. And then a lot of that comes down to not just being intentional, but listening to yourself.
Kenrya: I went on a date with somebody who seemed fine on the surface, but when I got home from that date, I had a panic attack, remember?
Kenrya: I remember sending you a picture that I took with him, you and our friend, and you all were like, "Oh, you all look like an ad," or some bullshit. I literally got home, laid on the couch, and had a fucking panic attack. Called you and said, "I need your therapist's information right now." And that began my latest journey into therapy, because my body-
Erica: Latest and most successful.
Kenrya: Yes, thank god. All the alarm bells were going off in my body, but I couldn't see it.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: But once I listened on that fucking couch where I couldn't settle down...
Erica: It was like, "Oh, bitch, you going to listen."
Kenrya: Yeah, so that's the next part of being intentional, is trusting in your intuition.
Erica: Yeah. Bitch, how are we there in the fucking book?
Kenrya: That actually brings up something that was key in the book to me, was that Sanura was waiting for the other shoe to drop, right? This man checked of all the things that she wanted.
Erica: Baby, baby.
Kenrya: But she was like, "What's wrong with him? What's going to fuck this up?" And I was just having this conversation with my partner about how... I mean, I can't speak for everybody, but I have definitely very often found myself with people who seem fine at first, and I was waiting for the shoe to drop, especially once I got healthy. And he was like, "Well, wait, were you waiting on the shoe to drop with me?" I say, "Yes, baby."
Erica: Yeah, yeah!
Kenrya: He was like, "Well, what did you think it was?" And I was like, "I don't know."
Erica: Anything, anything.
Kenrya: I was like, "It could have come from anywhere because I was on fucking keep my head on a swivel."
Erica: You can't even probably prepare for it, because you be like, "Okay, this date got a baby. He got another wife." Or something. You're preparing for that, and then it be like...
Kenrya: Right, there's going to be a family across the country. And then it's like he spent too much money on shoes or some shit.
Erica: Yeah, it will be anything.
Kenrya: It could be anything, yeah.
Erica: And I have been dating another guy. Damn, shit. I don't know how much of this we're going to do. Well, fuck it. Niggas need to know they got competition. So I'm dating another guy, and it's nice and it's fun and things are good, but...
Kenrya: Are they? Look at your face.
Erica: I feel like I'm waiting for the shoe to drop. Also, it's not so like... I think the biggest thing that I'm dealing with right now is I am so used to the highs. And it was always like... Like with me and my ex-husband. When the shit was great, it was fan-fucking-tastic. But when it was horrible, it was low. He did not beat on me.
Kenrya: No, he did not.
Erica: Sorry, I had to say that for my cousins. My cousins listening to this.
Kenrya: He did not. He would have got... Well.
Erica: Yeah, everybody would have fucked him up. And so I think because I've only always swung both sides of the pendulum, I'm looking for consistent happiness. And I know consistent happiness is not always a 25 out of a 10. You're not going to wake up every morning like, "Oh!" Because that's just like... Your mind gets numb to... It's kind of like if you... Oh, you're shaking your head?
Kenrya: Girl, I am consistently happy.
Erica: I love it.
Kenrya: But it's the first time. I'm almost 40, and it's the first time I ever felt this way.
Erica: But I mean like, okay. Damn, now you ain't... Well, shit.
Kenrya: Damn, I just made it worse, right?
Erica: No, I'm about to send a fucking few text messages. Because also, I am firmly comfortable being alone. And maybe it's only because I'm only a few years into my journey, because I feel like I look at some folks and they be like, "Send me a man!"
Kenrya: But I feel like you've got to get there to get there. Until I got comfortable being by myself because... Well, first of all, our therapist forced me to be. And then I was like, "Oh, this is beautiful." I wouldn't have been ready. In session all the time, we're doing... She'll just say, "You know, I just got to say again, girl, don't you... I'm so glad we did that work.”
Erica: I be like, "Girl, just mind your business."
Erica: Mind your business.
Kenrya: Patting herself on the back and whatnot. But she's right, and if I hadn't gone through being by myself, but also doing the work, right? Not just being by myself and pining, but being by myself and figuring out why I never liked to be by myself before, being by myself and figuring out what it was that I actually needed and I wanted, being by myself and figuring out how was it I wanted to feel, and what I would accept and what I wouldn't accept, that is what laid the groundwork for me to be in a relationship where I am consistently happy. Realizing that it is not the partner that brings the happiness, right? It is the union that we've created and the life that we're creating together that helps to boost my overall joy.
Erica: Yeah. And I feel like that is key. That's the part where it's like, "Oh, we got to get there."
Kenrya: But I will say, you're dating and things feel unsure, but shit pop up. You know what I mean? My partner was living two minutes away, two blocks away. Never would have met him out on the street, because he always in the car and I'm always fucking walking. It was an app. But it was random. It felt random. I dropped the age on the app, and there he was. And I was like, "Fuck it, let's give it a go," because he had a nice smile and he looked like he was fun.
Erica: Yeah, he has a good smile.
Kenrya: But it felt out of left field, and I didn't go on the first date thinking, "Oh, this is going to be my great love." It just was kind of like by the end of my first date, I was like, "I'm going to fuck this man."
Erica: Well, alrighty.
Kenrya: And then by the end of the second date, it was like, "Damn, this might not work, but I'm going to still fuck this nigga."
Erica: Thank you, pussy, for keeping me involved.
Kenrya: Yeah, basically, because then I did, and then it became clear that shit was amazing. Not because of that, but just because I stayed around and didn't give time to a bad situation, but just explored it and listened to my body and listened to my mind and my heart and figured it out. I say that to say it feels like shit can come from anywhere.
Kenrya: You just got to listen to what your gut is telling you as you go.
Erica: Yeah. Also, I have this firm... One of the things in the book also are just timelines and defense mechanisms. Like, "I'm waiting for the shoe to drop, so I'm just going to keep a wall up ’til a shoe drops with this motherfucker." And I'm realizing that I don't... I mean, who doesn't... but I'm realizing I have a visceral reaction to rejection. Like, "shoot yourself in the foot" reaction to rejection.
Kenrya: Like, go off on a nigga if he says something that felt even little bit-
Erica: No. I have too much pride to be going off on niggas. You will never catch me going off on a nigga. But I will cut you. One of my friends was like, "Your cut-off game is strong. You're going to act like you don't know nobody." Yep, sure do, and I'm good at it. But I kind of also think, "Damn, did you chuck that nigga for no reason?" So yeah, I definitely... And that's also something that I'm paying attention to as I'm dating, because I recognize that... I texted a guy. I'm an early morning person. You texting me at 9:30 is the equivalent of me texting you at 5:00 in the morning, 5:30 in the morning. I'm up. Not everybody's up, but I'm up. What's going on? I texted this guy. He texted me at like 10:30 at night. I texted him when I woke up, which was like 5:00.
Kenrya: You don't understand. I don't text you that late unless I can hear you up downstairs.
Erica: Right. It was a, "My bad. I was asleep." So then we kind of started chatting. I was like, "Yo, can you talk." He was like, "Oh my god, it ain't even 9:00." And to me, that was like, "You ain't going to carry me and try to make me feel like I'm a needy bitch." I was like, "You know what, have a great day?" Block, block, block, block. And now that I'm thinking, I'm like, "Damn, maybe I was a little hard." But you ain't going to make me feel like something wrong with me for wanting to have a conversation early in the morning. And it's, again, if you're for me, you're going to know that Erica might want to have a conversation at 8:30 in the motherfucking morning.
Kenrya: Well, but more than that, even if you don't want to have a conversation at 9:00 in the morning, you'll be like, "Yeah, my eyes are barely open. Can I call you?" Like you said, don't try to fucking carry you.
Erica: Don't try to carry me, bitch.
Kenrya: Yeah, so I mean, I ain't going to tell you ever to unblock a nigga. You know my block game is strong.
Erica: I was channeling Kenrya when I did that. I was like, "Hmm, where else should I block this motherfucker?"
Kenrya: I was going to say, because I will block you any and every fucking where. It's like you never existed. Oh, I'm sorry to this man. I do not know this man. I'm sorry to that man. Wait, wasn't she saying that about Biden? About the President?
Erica: It was about the Vice President, about Cheney.
Kenrya: Oh, was it?
Kenrya: Oh, okay. Nevermind.
Erica: Nevermind. Continue on. Okay, also something... You kind of touched on this. This book is very binary. There are lots of gender roles in it. Do you think it's more just gender roles, gender roles? Or did that make the story? Did that move the story?
Erica: Wasn't that a good question? I felt like I was Kenrya asking that question.
Kenrya: Some of it seemed like... How do I say this without giving... The structure of their lineage is such that the women, theirs is matrilineal, so their power is passed down through these female witches. And the cat's is patrilineal, so they are passed down... they pass through all men.
Erica: Yeah, witches. Oh. Sorry.
Kenrya: So some of it was really kind of just based on the lore that was built in that their familiars are men, and so the language kind of lent itself to that. It would talk about sometimes feminine energy and masculine energy. I mean, I guess that's a thing maybe. I don't know. But everything I saw it, it stopped me up short. But my guess is that most people would probably... It wouldn't even register.
Erica: But we have to... We wouldn't be doing our job at The Turn On here without saying something about it.
Kenrya: Pointing that out. Yeah, yeah. But it didn't detract from the story. I think it was just kind of the universe that the writer built in.
Erica: So I always say that I am a womanist through and through, except when it comes to taking out the trash and killing bugs and rodents. I will turn into one of them bitches that faint on them chaise.
Kenrya: A fainting couch.
Erica: Oh, lord.
Kenrya: You're talking about a fainting couch?
Erica: Oh, lord. My binder's too tight. My corset's too tight. I must faint. I do not like... My son knows, I will put shit on the top of the trash, around the trash, on the floor, whatever. I ain't touching the motherfucking trash, because I'm a woman. If I'm here alone and there's no sign of anyone coming back within the next 24 hours, okay, I'll do my own trash. But yeah, I'm clearly like...
Kenrya: That's where your gender roles kick in.
Erica: I was going to say take me back to the 1800s, but then I would have been a slave, so no. Yeah, no, I lied about that. But yeah, what about you? Do you have some clear "I ain't fucking with that"?
Kenrya: I do, but it's not around... so I've been living alone, right, since I was... or at least not in a situation where there was consistently somebody there to do those things for me since I left to go to college. And I don't have sons. I don't have the luxury. So I have always done all the things myself. But my partner, when he's here, he literally, automatically, when he's leaving he goes and collects whatever garbage is here and takes it downstairs for me without me having to ask.
Erica: Because that's your role. That's your role.
Kenrya: And I appreciate it. I mean, I do it if he doesn't do it, but I very much appreciate that he does it for me. But whatever. The one thing that I have never done is cut grass, and it is because I am so fucking allergic to grass.
Kenrya: But also, I don't want to cut grass.
Erica: Exactly. Fuck an allergy. That's because you don't want to. And that's the stuff. There are certain things... I mean, I have a whole hypothetical list. Like in my next marriage, long-term relationship, we living together, if we living together, you washing my car. You are going to...
Kenrya: But you had that. Your ex-husband was really good about taking care of your vehicle, wasn't he? Oh, look at your face. I thought he was good at that.
Erica: He be good at pestering me to tell me to go take care of my vehicle.
Kenrya: Oh, nevermind. I'm giving him too much credit.
Erica: I mean, yeah, if I was like, "Yo, I need some tires. I need some tires. I need some tires." Then he be like, "Okay, I'm going to take it." And also, he made it so that I could go. So it wasn't like... No, I am going to be like, "On Sundays, you taking my car to go get cleaned." Whereas with my ex-husband, he was like, "My friend owns a shop. You can go by anytime." I ain't trying to go sit and get my car cleaned. So yeah, and I mean, that is so random, but that's my... I'm literally giving niggas a hack to Erica.
Kenrya: Well, but so here's the thing, right? And I actually don't think of this as necessarily being a gender thing. I feel like if you build a life with folks, if you figure out systems that work... So for example, we live in the same... we live in a two-family house. Y'all take the trash down to the street, whoever it is. Your son or your brother, right? And I bring the trash cans back up. We have a system that works for us. We created a system. And I think that in any partnership, you figure those things out. There are chores, like I hate washing dishes. It stems back to associations in my childhood. I do not like dishes. My partner comes over, and he does the dishes. He don't mind washing dishes. He understands that it freaks me the fuck out and was doing it even beforehand. But that is a system that we have created, and I appreciate the fuck out of him for taking care of it for me.
Kenrya: Neither of us, if we had to cut the grass... which thank God we don't... but if we did, neither of us is interested in that shit. We already decided that's some shit that we pay somebody else to do. He does not really like putting things together. Guess what? I fucking love putting things together. That is my job.
Erica: That's your jam, yeah.
Kenrya: I like it. I like to build a good bookcase. I like to put a dresser together. I like to put a chair together.
Erica: Do wardrobes.
Kenrya: Shit, yes. He be like, "Yeah, okay. This is for you." And I'm like, "All right." And it's fine.
Erica: I'll have the finest teas when you're finished.
Kenrya: But we have figured out who likes what.
Erica: Yeah, and that's the thing. I think about growing up in my Midwestern home, and my grandmother and grandfather were very traditional. And a part of me loves taking care of my boo. I love feeding people. I turn into an old Black lady when somebody comes to my house. "You hungry? I got some chicken. Let me fry you some chicken." I turn into... That is what I do.
Kenrya: That's so funny, because that has been such an evolution.
Kenrya: Because you used to, "Cook, what?"
Erica: One of my linesisters, she laughed. She was like, "I would come to your house. The only thing you'd ever make was French toast." I mean, my French toast is the shit. It's funny because my brother was saying that French toast, waffles, and pancakes are like Destiny's Child. One is your Kelly, one is your Beyonce, and one is your Michelle.
Kenrya: Oh, which one is your Bey?
Erica: My Bey are pancakes, because they're consistently good, everyone likes them. But my French toast is Kelly. Often underrated, but good den a motherfucker. I use that thick ass bread. Oh, I got to tell you about this new bakery I found. This thick ass bread, and then I use heavy whipping cream, and I use cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. And a few other secret ingredients. It is so fucking good. And that's all I will make. And so my Line sister be like, "We eat at Erica's house..." It'll be like three in the afternoon. I'll be like, "I got some French toast if you want some. I can whip you up some French toast." They're like, "Bitch, can I have some chicken?"
Kenrya: Yeah, exactly.
Erica: So what's your Bey?
Kenrya: I think it's French toast, but it's because it's my favorite.
Erica: Yeah, and then your Kelly are your waffles, right?
Kenrya: Yes, yep. Yeah, my partner was like, "They always taste exactly the same. How do you do that?" I'm like, "Nigga, practice."
Kenrya: Yeah, I've been making them a long time.
Erica: Yeah, my brother's Kelly is French toast. So here's the thing with pancakes. My grandfather used to make the best pancakes.
Kenrya: From scratch?
Erica: We remember being in the limo driving away from the cemetery at his funeral, and my cousin's like, "Damn, we just buried good pancakes."
Kenrya: Oh my God.
Erica: My grandfather's pancakes were fucking magical. I don't know what...
Kenrya: None of you all ever asked?
Erica: Don't nobody know what to ask! And then I remember there was a particular spoon in my granny's house that he used.
Kenrya: To measure them out the right way.
Erica: Ain't nobody know where that fucking spoon is. He probably put that shit in his back pocket and took it into the damn casket. Like, "Not without me!" Yeah, it was like, I will never, ever, ever...
Kenrya: Have a pancake like that.
Erica: Yeah, yep.
Kenrya: Wow. My daddy used to make them in a big cast iron skillet. But you can only fit three in the skillet, and they was always weird shaped because they had to fit in the skillet. So pancake making was the slowest activity ever in my house.
Erica: Okay, and let me also tell you something. Yeah, we used a cast iron skillet. That griddle shit? I thought rich people used griddles.
Kenrya: Until I bought one for like $35, and we use this shit every weekend.
Erica: So okay, here's another thing. Hot take. You know how people say that they like their pancakes with crisp edges?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: That's only because y'all ain't had a good pancake. My grandpa's pancakes never needed a crisp. I didn't know what the fuck a crisp edge was until I started making my own pancakes, and it required crisp edges to have somewhat a smidgen of the tastiness that my grandpa's pancakes had. I'm telling you. If it's just a good fucking pancake, you don't need no crisp edge. Granted, the crisp edge is good, because it gives you a little salty sweet.
Kenrya: The crisp edge is...
Erica: And the texture.
Kenrya: I think the crisp edge is because you got some butter in it, honestly. It's the butter that gives you the crisp edge. But the best pancakes I ever had was at a restaurant in New Orleans last year. The last trip I went on before the fucking world shut down. And they did not have a crisp edge, but they were fucking amazing. So amazing that we went back for breakfast twice in a six-day trip.
Erica: Okay, I need that place's... Now you got me on this pancake search. I think I am now going to begin the search for good pancakes.
Kenrya: I'm not telling you shit, because we got a while ’til you can go anywhere.
Erica: Bitch, I ain't going nowhere. I can't. Really, the only reason keeping me from traveling at this point is the fact that I got to go to the hospital once a month for shots, and they ask you, "Have you been anywhere between 21 days?" And I be thinking like, "Well, maybe if I got a shot this day, now I'm leaving the next day."
Kenrya: You can time it. Don't do it!
Erica: And they got this mega-rona out now!
Kenrya: Yeah, well thank goodness that they're saying it looks like the vaccine actually works for that one too.
Erica: Girl, and honey, I watched a woman put on a hazmat suit before she injected my body with medicine. Do you think I give a fuck about what's in that damn corona vaccine? That corona vaccine going to get in my body like, "Goddamn, this how you living?" The chemo going to be like, "Surprise, shorty!"
Erica: My son said something about... that he found on Tik Tok. He was like, "Have you ever heard dah dah dah?" I was like, "What are you talking about?" He's like, "It's all over Tik Tok." I was like, "Not my side of Tik Tok, bro."
Kenrya: What was it?
Erica: I can't remember. I'll ask him. But it was something. It was something all the kid's doing.
Kenrya: They have so much stuff. But also, they have so much old stuff. Like your child be up here singing like old Nsync songs. I'm like, "Bitch, why do you know all the words and the ad libs to this song that came out when I was high school?"
Erica: Yeah, Tik Tok is interesting. I love it. There was this Tik Tok, and it was like, "Show a picture of someone that you met that's changed your life and you couldn't live without." And then this chick cuts to the Tik Tok logo. And I was like, "It's me. It's me." Tik Tok got me through 2020.
Erica: Okay, so do you have anything else to add?
Kenrya: Oh, I don't know.
Erica: Okay, well, we are going to take a quick break, and then we are going to head on into What's Turning Us On.
Kenrya: I like it.
Kenrya: Hey y'all. Today's a great day to start your own podcast. Whether you're looking for a new marketing channel, have a message you want to share with the world, or just think it'd be fun to have your own show like us, podcasting is an easy, inexpensive, and fun way to expand your reach online. And Buzzsprout is hands-on, the easiest and best way to launch, promote, and track your podcast. Your show gets put online and listened in all the major podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, everything, within minutes of finishing and uploading your recording. We use it here for The Turn On, and I can testify to the fact that it's pretty fucking dope.
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Erica: Okay y'all, so this week we're going to talk about what's turning us on. This week we're going to talk about nipple suckers. They are interesting as well. If you have been a part of my life, you know that I have titty issues. And so right now, there is nothing, not even sensation in these nipples. But they're like little silicone... You squish the air out of them and then put them on, and it sucks... Yeah, just like that, through your nipples. But let me tell you what I learned as a woman with nipples. But also, what's kind of button-y and nipple-like down below?
Kenrya: It's a clit.
Erica: Bam. Slap some lube on that bitch, put it down there, and go at it.
Kenrya: Oh, nice.
Erica: Right, right, right?
Kenrya: Love it. So I am someone who has probably sometimes too much feeling in their nipples. Lord have mercy. But I have traditionally really liked clamps. But I can't always have it though. Some days my boobs just don't want the clamps. And so the suckers are a good way to get yourself some pressure and some suction. And not just in partner play but in solo play, because you got your hands busy elsewhere, but you also want some nipple stimulation. That is a good way to go, because you just squeeze all the air out, put them over your nipple, let them go, and then you've got some consistent pressure going on that can help to get you where you're trying to go. Yeah, so there's a link to that in the show notes for this episode for anybody who is interested in getting on that nipple suction train.
Erica: Yes, yes, y'all. Okay, and with that, that wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On.
Kenrya: We are Killa and E. Two hoes making it clap.
Erica: Two hoes making it clap. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
Kenrya: I like it. Bye y'all.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme music is from Brazy. Now you can support The Turn On and get off. Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app, then drop us a five-star review, and you'll be entered to win something that's turning us on. Just post your review and email us a screenshot at TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com to enter. Our Patreon page is also live. Become a supporter today, and you'll gain access to lots of goodies, including The Turn On book club and two-for-one raffle entries. And don't forget to send us your book recommendations and your sex and related questions. And follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod and on Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. You can find links to books, merch, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at theturnonpodcast.com. Thanks so much for listening, and we will see you soon. Bye.
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.