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On Episode 10 of The Turn On, we read Song of Solomon from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible and discuss sex and religion, feminism and race.
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Kenrya: Come here. Get off.
Erica: So, welcome to this week's very special episode of The Turn On. With your hosts, Erica and Kenrya. Okay y'all. Welcome back.
Kenrya: I like that.
Erica: So, at our kids’ school's parent back to school night, the video rolls in the first song that they had was, "Welcome back."
Kenrya: It was and I was thinking about your ass.
Erica: I was like yes, they listen to The Turn On, all those parents in this hippy-dippy school. Okay, welcome back. This week we're going to do something a little different. We are going to read from the Song of Solomon in the Bible.
Kenrya: Yeah. Oh, snap.
Erica: Oh, snap. I will preface by saying this is the most you're going to hear me say dick and pussy for the remainder of the episode.
Kenrya: When talking about Jesus.
Erica: Just because I still feel like a little church girl in my white socks, and stocking, and my hair slicked back with smelling Blue Magic Grease when I read directly from the Bible.
Erica: We'll get into that also. Yeah, we're reading excerpts from the Song of Solomon, which is in the Bible. We are reading from the Contemporary English Version. I will touch on why... We'll go into a little bit more details later. Nonetheless, here you go. Sit back, relax, get your wine, get your weed, get your weed and herb. It's a flower.
Erica: So, get your wine, get your weed, get your water-based... I'm trying to find something that starts with a W that's a little churchy.
Kenrya: I don't know what that may be.
Erica: Get your wine, get your weed, get your wafers. Communion, that kind. Communion wafers. Anyway, sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Kenrya: The Song of Solomon, the Bible, Contemporary English Version. She speaks, 'Kiss me tenderly. Your love is better than wine and you smell so sweet. All the young women adore you. The very mention of your name is like spreading perfume. Hurry my king, let's hurry. Take me to your home.' The young women speak, 'We are happy for you and we praise your love even more than wine.' She speaks, 'Young women of Jerusalem, it is only right that you should adore him. My skin is dark and beautiful like a tent in a desert, or like Solomon's curtains. Don't stare at me just because the sun has darkened my skin. My brothers were angry with me and they made me work in the vineyard, and so I neglected my complexion. Don't let the other shepherds think badly of me.'
She speaks, 'I am merely a rose from the land of Sharon, a lily from the valley.' He speaks, 'My darling, when compared with other young women, you are a lily among thorns.' She speaks, 'If you are my brother, I could kiss you whenever we happen to meet and no one would say I did wrong. I could take you to the home of my mother who taught me all I know. I would give you delicious wine, and fruit juice as well. Put your left hand under my head and embrace me with your right arm. Young women of Jerusalem, promise me by the power of deer and gazelles, never to awaken love before it is ready.'
Their friends speak, 'Who is this young woman coming in here from the desert and leaning on the shoulder of the one she loves?' She speaks, 'I stirred up your passions under the apple tree where you were born. Always keep me in your heart and wear this bracelet to remember me by. The passion of love bursting into flame is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave. Love cannot be drowned by oceans, or floods. It cannot be bought no matter what its offer.' Their friends speak, 'We have a little sister whose breasts are not yet formed. If someone asked to marry here, what should we do? She has no wall that we can defend behind a silver shield. Neither has she a room that we can protect behind a wooden door.'
She speaks, 'I am a wall around a city. My breasts are towers and just looking at me brings him great pleasure. Solomon has a vineyard at Baal-Hamon, which he rents to others for 1,000 pieces of silver each, but my vineyard is mine alone. Solomon can keep his silver and the others can keep their share of the profits.' He speaks, 'You're in the garden with friends all around. Let me hear your voice.' She speaks, 'Hurry to me my darling. Run faster than a deer to mountains of spices.' She speaks, 'Let the north wind blow and the south wind too. Let them spread the aroma of my garden so the one I love may enter and taste its delicious fruits.'
She speaks, 'I was asleep but dreaming. The one I love was at the door knocking and saying, 'My darling, my very own, my flawless dove, open the door for me. My head is drenched with evening dew.' But I had already undressed and bathed my feet. Should I dress again and get my feet dirty? Then my darling's hand reached to open a latch and my heart stood still. When I rose to open a door, my hands and my fingers dripped with perfume. My heart stood still while he spoke to me, but when I opened the door, my darling had disappeared. I searched and shouted, but I could not find him. There was no answer. Then I was found by the guards patrolling the town and guarding a wall. They beat me up and stripped off my robe. Young women of Jerusalem, if you find the one I love, please say to him, 'She is weak with desire.'
She speaks, 'He is handsome and healthy. The most outstanding among 10,000. His head is pure as gold. His hair is wavy, Black as a raven. His eyes are a pair of doves bathing in a stream flowing with milk. His face is a garden of sweet-smelling spices. His lips are lilies dripping with perfume. His arms are branches of gold covered with jewels. His body is ivory, decorated with sapphires. His legs are columns of marble on feet of gold. He stands there majestic like Mount Lebanon and his choice cedar trees. His kisses are sweet. I desire him so much. Young women of Jerusalem, he is my lover and friend.' She speaks, 'My darling as gone down to his garden of spices where he will feed his sheep and gather lilies. I am his and he is mine. He feeds his sheep among the lilies.'
He speaks, 'You are a princess and your feet are graceful in their sandals. Your thighs are work of art. Each one a jewel. Your navel is a wine glass filled to overflowing. Your body is full and slender like a bundle of wheat bound together by lilies. Your breast are like twins of a deer. Your neck is like ivory and your eyes sparkle like the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath-Rabbim. Your nose is beautiful like Mount Lebanon above the city of Damascus. Your head is held high like Mount Carmel. Your hair is so lovely, it holds a king prisoner. You are beautiful. So very desirable. You are tall and slender like a palm tree and your breasts are full. I will climb that tree and cling to its branches. I will discover that your breasts are clusters of grapes and that your breath is the aroma of apples. Kissing you is more delicious than drinking the finest wine. How wonderful and tasty.'
She speaks, 'My darling I am yours and you desire me. Let's stroll through the fields and sleep in the villages. At dawn, let's slip out and see if grapevines and fruit trees are covered with blossoms. When we are there, I will give you my love. Perfume from the magic flower fills the air, my darling. Right at our doorstep, I have stored up for you all kinds of tasty fruits.'
Erica: Okay, so welcome back. I hope that we can get some good conversation around this. First, let's start off with why I picked this particular version of the Song of Solomon. I picked the Contemporary English Version because as well know the Bible was written by a bunch of men.
Kenrya: A long period of time.
Erica: A long period of time. I think that the more contemporary versions, try to do a better, try to be better at washing out some of the anti-womanist, anti-Blackness that was written in it. When I first picked Song of Solomon and I was reading various versions of it, the line that says, "My skin is dark and beautiful." In a lot of the other versions, it would say, "My skin is dark, yet lovely." Or, "My skin is dark but I'm pretty." That kind of thing.
Kenrya: Always a 'but' there.
Kenrya: Pretty for a dark skinned girl.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. I don't know if that really was it.
Erica: I found this Contemporary English Version and listened to a few scholars. Let me give the disclaimer, by no means are we-
Kenrya: We are not Biblical scholars.
Erica: We are not Biblical scholars. We are not trying to be Biblical scholars. We are just two Black girls.
Kenrya: Who believe in God.
Erica: Who believe in the Lord.
Kenrya: But, also believe in pleasure.
Erica: Pleasure, exactly.
Kenrya: Those things don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Erica: Exactly. The purpose of this episode is to walks through our decisions and thoughts about that. I'm not trying to be a Biblical scholar. I'm not trying to be a Biblical scholar. I'm not trying to act like I'm one. If you have your well, this happened, this happened. All right, girl.
Kenrya: That's cool.
Erica: Yeah, that's fine. We're going with what we're reading and how we're feeling. Back to what I was saying.
Erica: I feel like the dark yet beautiful, or dark yet lovely was just a set up from the beginning of teaching people that dark skin isn't beautiful. And so, I was really adamant on finding a version of this reading that didn't contain the thou, those, thee’s.
Kenrya: Yet's and but's. Oh, yeah.
Erica: I also wanted something that reflected what I feel was the intent of this, which is saying that my skin is dark and beautiful, and it's not a but or a disclaimer, but just the fact that-
Kenrya: This is who I am.
Erica: This is who I am and I still feel like I'm beautiful for that. So, that's why we went with this particular version.
Kenrya: That's dope.
Erica: I said they were setting up standards of white beauty. I think it's also interesting and I'll call out some points in these passages, but I also think it was interesting how they used the old-timey just metaphors for beauty. They were like, "Your cheeks are like pomegranates." I can't remember if we read that part, or your bosom is like two deers. Let a nigga tell me I got bosom like two deers, I'd be like, the fuck?
Kenrya: But, thank you.
Erica: But, I mean it worked out.
Erica: It worked out for all old-timey Biblical days. Right?
Kenrya: It did. Can we or will we later talk about the whole dark skin thing? I think that's an important thing for us to pull up.
Erica: I was going to, yeah.
Kenrya: Are we going to do that later?
Erica: No, we can do it now.
Kenrya: Well because I mean, what this made me think of something that happened to me my first week of school in undergrad. It's happened in various forms, but this is the most blatant version of it. I was in the cafeteria, just minding my business, getting my lunch, and some dude walked up to me and tried to talk to me. I mean, I'm a freshman, he's I don't know, maybe a junior. I was like, "No thank you." He was like, "What do you mean?" I was like, "No thank you." He was like, "I mean you should be glad I'm trying to talk to you."
Erica: Oh, oh, oh.
Kenrya: Oh, no. I didn't finish. "Because most dudes don't even like dark-skinned girls." I was like, "I've never had that problem." And I walked away and I went on about my business. I can't remember his face. I don't know his name, but the fact that he had the fucking audacity because that's what niggas always got, if they got nothing else, it's audacity.
Erica: Oh, wow. To say that out loud.
Kenrya: To say that to me.
Erica: They ain't got shit, but the nerve.
Kenrya: That has stuck with me. It comes back to that pretty for a dark-skinned girl, which is something that a lot of our friends have that we've talked about many times, about the way that you get treated as if it's a surprise that you're beautiful because you are dark. In reading that, that was what that brought up for me.
Erica: Oh. It all goes back to white supremacy. Just being indoctrinated with the idea that the further you are from the-
Kenrya: From whiteness.
Erica: From white.
Kenrya: From the idea of that shit.
Erica: White, straight, maleness, the farther you are from what's right.
Kenrya: And from grace, and God, in those translations, right?
Erica: And people will be so quick to classify themselves on a ladder just to make themselves feel superior.
Kenrya: Well, I mean as I do all these talks about white supremacy, I mean that's ultimately what we're always talking about. Folks will step on everybody else to get to the top of the ladder. The hoteps that we talked about.
Erica: I was just about to say, the hoteps.
Kenrya: They aspire to whiteness. They want to be able to occupy the white cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, wealthy, able-bodied man's spot at the top of the hierarchy.
Erica: I was scrolling through Twitter today and this is a half-assed, half-informed, I will say it now, but the bit I know, I'm this is already some fuck shit. There was a picture of T.I. and Alex Jones.
Kenrya: Oh, God.
Erica: Like dapping it up. They're like, "Yeah, we're going to get it in and have some conversation." It's just like and so my first thought was this is pure fuck shit, but also it was a thought that... See, this is a picture of hotepness because although hotepness is cloaked in the I love Black people.
Erica: I love all Black things.
Kenrya: It's cloaked in pro-Blackness.
Erica: The root of it is-
Kenrya: An aspiration to whiteness.
Erica: To white supremacy.
Erica: It's like although T.I. is Black and Alex Jones is white, they still share the same views on women.
Erica: And so I looked at that like oh, here's go T.I. stepping on the necks of everybody else for the sake of being white aligned, or closer to the top of that hierarchy.
Kenrya: Yeah. I call that white aspiring.
Erica: I mean, yeah. Ain't nothing worse than, I mean I think I respect an Uncle Ruckus more than I would a hotep.
Kenrya: I mean, at least that nigga honest.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: They say what it is.
Kenrya: Instead of cloaking it in, "I love my people.” Word?
Erica: I love Black women. Yeah, bitch.
Kenrya: Do you though? Which ones?
Erica: Go get a job. I'm like nah or get a job and support us so I can be my Black man in this. Yeah. One of the things that stood out to me also in this, was how when the woman was speaking. She said, "My brothers were angry with me. They made me work in the vineyard so I neglected my complexion."
Erica: Bigger than neglecting your complexion, I feel like this is something that happens. Women tend to, well not women, but people tend to throw themselves into service for other people and neglect themselves. You know, neglect themselves in the end. And then usually it takes something else happening for them to realize oh shit, I've been slaving away for this.
Erica: Ding, ding, ding. But yeah. I've been slaving away and doing all of this for other people and I've completely neglected myself. I think that's something that we all do, experience. Unfortunately, I think what's difficult about it is because as mothers and caretakers, it's a fine line because yeah, you got to take care of your kid.
Kenrya: Yeah, they like to eat all the time.
Kenrya: Three times a day at least.
Erica: They're the worst.
Kenrya: They be counting meals.
Erica: Didn't you just eat?
Kenrya: [inaudible 00:19:05].
Erica: Why are you growing so much? Your job, not your job. I don't want to say job, but what you do is take care of your kid, especially with us as single parents. I have a partner that supports and you do too. We're the primary caretakers. There's a fine line of taking care of everyone else and taking care of yourself. I used to say oh, I'm going to be selfish and do X, Y, and Z but it's not even selfish.
Kenrya: It's not selfish.
Erica: This is what I got to do to take care of myself.
Kenrya: You want to take a bath. You want to do more than take a two-minute shower and sit in your tub for 30, 40 minutes, that's not being selfish. That's cleaning your ass.
Erica: Exactly. Actually, just a couple of minutes ago, I was telling Kenrya that I've been going through lots of transition in my personal life. Today, I was like, I'm going to have to leave this kid at home. I just got to get away. I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll walk and go get some coffee. Maybe I'll do whatever.
Kenrya: Oh, there's a gelato place up there.
Erica: Oh, okay.
Kenrya: It's good too.
Erica: Maybe I'll do that.
Kenrya: Yeah, anyway.
Erica: But yeah, so it's one of those things where it's like do you know what? In order for this situation to continue to go as smoothly as it is, I need a break.
Kenrya: That's right.
Erica: I need to get away. I need to take care of myself. I also think about relationships, be it romantic, or whatever, where giving me stuff to do was a form of manipulation.
Kenrya: It looks like what?
Erica: Does that make sense?
Kenrya: Tell me.
Erica: I am a caretaker. This is the codependency in me, but I take of people.
Kenrya: Ah, okay.
Erica: I mean, don't want to say codependent.
Erica: I know why you responded like that. One of my codependent traits is that I have OCD. I take care of people. I organize. I yada, yada, yada and I feel like there have been points in relationships where I got a little too independent, or a little too on my own, and so then my partner finds things that they need for me to do.
Kenrya: For getting done.
Erica: In order to keep me under their thumb.
Kenrya: Been there, girl. I was making doctor's appointments like I'm a goddamn secretary.
Erica: Yeah and nothing's wrong with being a secretary.
Kenrya: For him, though.
Erica: It's just like I'm your partner.
Erica: You know.
Kenrya: That's my thing.
Erica: Yeah and then you look up and you're like, damn I poured all myself into this person and nothing into me.
Kenrya: He over here full as hell.
Erica: Full as hell or not even partaking in what I did because I've had guys that was like, "I need X, Y, Z." And so little codependent Erica, rush out and do it and they're like, "Oh, well, not yet." It's just like damn, I did put all this energy into this and just for you to be like "Eh, nah. I don't need it." It's wild to see that that shit go back to the Bible days.
Erica: Since the beginning of time. Also, she and you read this so beautifully.
Kenrya: Oh, thanks.
Erica: When she said that I am merely a rose from the land of Sharon, a lily in the valley. He was like, hold on boo.
Kenrya: Nah boo.
Erica: Nah, you're a rose among thorns. I think this goes to what we talked about with the I'm not like other girls or like, "Oh, this old thing. I'm just so plain."
Kenrya: The false modesty of it all.
Erica: Yeah, exactly. False modesty. That's what I'm going for.
Erica: He was like, "Nah, nah boo. Don't be dimming your light. You're a fly little sister. Fly little sweet thing." I thought that was really cool. To me, this whole passage that we read was so amazing to see how the stuff that we do today and the ways that we think, has been going on since the beginning of time.
Kenrya: The whole thing, every time it's he she, he speaks and she speaks where they're talking about each other, it's like the old Black man. I'm trying to get like you. The whole thing was them one-upping each other. Talking about how great they were and that really hit me. I'm like aww, y’all love each other.
Erica: This is the Biblical version of that song, "You will never be nothing... My boo."
Kenrya: What are you singing?
Erica: All right. My boo.
Kenrya: My boo.
Erica: In my mind, this is two people on the other side of the door singing.
Kenrya: Yes, singing.
Erica: Doing Biblical prose. Yeah, it's just really dope to see how this has carried over.
Kenrya: Over time, all the way to Usher songs.
Erica: All the way to Usher songs. When picking this, I definitely tried to stick to more... So, the way that the entire chapter is written out, there's a few players. There's the woman, which is she speaks. The guy, he speaks and there's choruses.
Kenrya: Right, the women.
Erica: The group of women and then there's a group of dudes.
Kenrya: Yeah, their friends.
Erica: Her brothers I think.
Kenrya: Oh, I don't think we read anything from the brothers.
Erica: I don't think we read anything but I really tried to skip to.
Kenrya: Yeah and then there's their friends which pulls from both sides I think.
Erica: I really tried to stick to really just the woman speaking. There's a little bit of the guy speaking.
Kenrya: We had to get a little bit of what he thinks.
Kenrya: And let him big her up a little bit.
Erica: I definitely tried to really focus on the woman's perspective of this just because that's what we're here for, women writers. I just wanted to throw that in. One thing I also thought was really interesting. I keep saying one thing because there's a lot of one things. There's a lot of I'm yours, you're mine, the possessiveness of it all. I found that really interesting because when you think Bible and you think men-women relationships in the Bible, you think man owning a woman. Well, not owning a woman, but you know
Kenrya: Well, yeah.
Erica: Yeah, the woman being the property of the man and that's it.
Kenrya: Yeah, literally traded for goods.
Erica: Cows. Here's a wife and a cow in exchange for that.
Erica: I thought about the possession, the whole idea of possession. You're mine. I'm yours. It seems like it was a little more mutual.
Kenrya: Yeah, it was never just I'm yours. She always followed it up, "And you're mine." I guess it doesn't bother me because it's mutual.
Kenrya: It's not giving him all the ownership and the agency. I think really that's what this really speaks to is the agency of this Black woman is what speaks to me most in this whole thing. She's not just sitting here pining away for this man. She go out in the streets and is like looking for this joker.
Kenrya: It's like telling her homegirls, "If you see him, tell him I'm weak."
Erica: If you see him...
Kenrya: Oh, girl.
Erica: It was so beautiful. Well that, until she got beat up by the guards.
Kenrya: Well, yeah there. Yeah.
Erica: I mean you know, again, niggas going to nig and that was niggas nigging. Actually, that was the next part that I was...
Kenrya: About the agency.
Erica: I'm a little confused about this because so I ready in certain places, and these were very churchy websites, not really scholars. I mean they were churchy scholarly websites. I'm probably using the wrong terms, as opposed to just a pure scholarly website. It had a religious bent to it. That this book was written by a woman, and Solomon and they were going to marry, and that kind of thing.
Kenrya: Oh, I had never seen any of that.
Erica: However, reading this, I don't get that.
Kenrya: It doesn't feel that way.
Erica: It feels like it's just two people in love because if you're about to marry a man, why are you running around at night in the streets sneaking around.
Kenrya: Right and well she never mentions at any point anything about them being married in the book. Is there?
Erica: There's a part that I cut.
Erica: In my Erica contemporary version.
Erica: The Erica abridged version. Erica Bible study version. There's Solomon like, "Hey, you're beautiful. I'm going to pick you. You're coming to my... You're going to marry me."
Kenrya: But, Solomon is not the man in the story.
Erica: I don't think he's the man in this story.
Kenrya: No. Remember, she refers, she says, "My skin is dark like something or Solomon's tents." From what I read, it's a tribute, the writing is perhaps attributed to Solomon as the writer, but that he's necessarily a player in the story.
Erica: Okay, see. This is us trying to work it out.
Kenrya: Figure it out. We don't know.
Erica: Because the part where she's like, "I'm in bed and I'm looking for man, so I get up and throw on clothes and run through the city looking for him." Honey.
Kenrya: You going and looking for a man now?
Erica: No, but I have. I mean, I thought about that lying in bed, scrolling a nigga’s Twitter feed, like what he doing tonight, you know? Which, yes, I have in the past.
Kenrya: Have you?
Erica: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: I don't know.
Erica: I mean I'm not stalkerish. Well, I guess that is a little stalkerish. I definitely have had some not necessarily searching the streets for him, but just like oh, what is this man doing? Oh, I need to... I want to be a little part of everything. What's happening here?
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. I mean I have the are you on your way? I need you to be here now.
Kenrya: You should come.
Erica: That's very different.
Kenrya: Oh, okay.
Erica: I'm thinking about like you know?
Kenrya: I'm just looking at the time.
Erica: You ain't mine, I'm lustful.
Kenrya: Oh, okay.
Erica: I'm lusting over this man. So what's good? What are you doing tonight? You know? You can't come over, what you doing then? That kind of thing.
Kenrya: More DM's sliding.
Erica: Yeah. I think I'm a little past that right now in my life just because I am, I don't know if it's that I'm lazy.
Kenrya: You got a lot going on.
Erica: Yeah, or it's just I haven't found anyone that tickles my pickle.
Kenrya: It's worth the interest. Yeah.
Erica: At that point. I definitely have people that I'm interested in and want to know what's going on with them. But the oof, walking the streets looking for them, I'm ain't there yet.
Kenrya: Well, but you also, as a grownup, just call him and say, "Hey, what you doing?"
Erica: Yeah. I am definitely at the point where I say what I mean, I mean what I say. I am okay with the vulnerability of it all. If I want to see you, I want to see you, and I'm going to tell you I want to see you. I understand we're adults and we have reasons that we're not. Like I got shit to do tonight. You ain't got to tell me. I'm like, I can't. I got shit to do. Okay, I dig it. I get it. I'm also more like I pay attention to things more because I've always been a say what you mean, mean what you say kind of gal but I think ignored some of the, "I got to go and wash my hair." I'm like, "Oh, he got to wash his hair." When I'm like no bitch. You should've just been reading the fact that he's not interested in that kind of thing.
Erica: I'm still consistently, say what you mean, mean what you say but I am much better now at reading between the lines. I also don't... I read between the lines but I also check-in and be like, "Hey, this is what I'm feeling. Is it true or am I misunderstanding you?" I always give people the opportunity to clear up what's unclear. It's difficult for some people because they're so used to operating in ambiguity.
Kenrya: Conflict. Okay.
Erica: Because that gives you a level of like, "Well, I never said we was together." That kind of thing. It's difficult for some people but again, that's one of those things where I'm like okay, you thrive off of ambiguity and so I'm not going to be a part of this. I'm not sure how we got here but, yeah.
Kenrya: No, we were talking about whether or not you're running through the streets looking for a nigga.
Kenrya: In part, I think it's because I'm in a relationship and so we set up all these expectations really early. And so, he asked me at one point when we were figuring it out, "How often do you want to see me?" I was like, "Well, how often do you want to see me?" Because it was still early and I wasn't ready to put myself out there. He was like, "I want to see you every day." I was like, "Oh, bet. Yeah, I want to see you every day, too." Then it just became anytime and it does happen where I worry that I'm being needy because I've been taught that to need someone or to want someone is equivalent to being needy and those are not the same thing.
Kenrya: I check myself by remembering that conversation when we point-blank laid out what our expectations were and what we wanted around spending time together. No, we don't see each other every day, but if I want him to spend the night four nights in a row, well then bitch, I say so.
Erica: I was and we had this conversation earlier this week, those conversations are difficult. Well, they're not difficult. Actually, they're not difficult, but they're uncomfortable when you're not used to having them.
Kenrya: Right. It's like a muscle.
Erica: Yeah, yeah and you just got to work it more and more. Now that I am dating healthily, it's so much easier when you have those conversations upfront because then you know. Because I'm one of those people like, let me know the rules. Let me know the rules and I decide if this is what I...
Kenrya: And stick to them.
Erica: Give me all the information I need to know right now and based on that information, I'll decide if I want to play. If I want to play, I'm good because we got rules.
Erica: I get pissed when you break the rules. I was one of them kids like, "But, I'm following the rules and you're not. You're cheating."
Kenrya: Like my child.
Erica: Oh, my God. My gosh. [inaudible 00:34:19] on my nerves. Yeah, that was me. I definitely am like yo, when I know the rules, these are the rules we decide we're going to play by, then we going to play by those rules and that's great. If we need to come back together and readjust, I'm all for that too, but these are the rules that we've agreed to. I actually feel like an adult when I'm having these conversations and figuring out what one's boundaries are. It's not sexy.
Kenrya: No, not usually.
Erica: But it's necessary to help and make it healthy for all parties involved. It keeps everything from because I'm thinking about the relationships that I've set it up, that I've set up. You know, that we've had those conversations about parameters and that kind of thing. I think should these relationships end, it won't be horrible because it's this is what we agreed to.
Erica: If we don't want this anymore, let's check-in and say it.
Erica: Unless, you all fuck up and break some rules, then die nigga, die.
Kenrya: But I mean, to me that's setting of parameters and boundaries, I think that oftentimes when people hear that, especially men, they think of it as preventing them from doing something, like it's restrictive. But, what I found is that it actually is freeing.
Erica: I think that a guy that finds it restrictive, is not what I'm looking for.
Kenrya: He's all some bullshit anyway. Yeah.
Erica: Yeah, if you find us figuring out what is healthy for the two of us, a punishment or something like that, then-
Kenrya: You should go do this with somebody else.
Erica: Bro, I don't need, this is ain't where you need need to be because I need to know what's happening. That's how folks get hurt when you start assuming shit.
Erica: And being all loosey-goosey. So, yeah. This is steamy.
Kenrya: It is.
Erica: It gets real steamy.
Kenrya: Yeah, if you pay close enough attention.
Erica: Let them spread the aroma of my garden.
Kenrya: Yep. My fingers are dripping with perfume.
Erica: "The one I love may enter and taste the delicious fruits." I find it... It's just like yo, you all talking about juices, and fruits, and things.
Kenrya: Yeah or all the juices, and the berries, and the oils.
Kenrya: Are going on.
Erica: They had peaches and eggplants in the Garden of Eden, huh?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Her breasts are grapes.
Erica: Yeah, well mine ain't grapes. Raisins at some point. Not grapes.
Kenrya: Oh, stop it.
Erica: Ripe raisins.
Kenrya: That's not true at all.
Erica: We're going to come back to the steaminess. I found it really funny how they pretty much have an argument about he came home and was like knock, knock. Let's get it on. She was like, "But, I took a shower."
Kenrya: I already washed my feet, man.
Erica: I already washed my feet. I got to get my feet dirty again? I was just like, yo. This is what happened? And then, she said, "All right, cool." Opened the latch, heart stood still, rose to the door, sorry, and he wasn't there.
Kenrya: Yeah. Hands dripping.
Erica: And then well yeah, go on. Hands dripping. It was just like yo, I found that such again, some nigga shit from all the way in the back.
Kenrya: Well, but remember, I think that she said that was part of her dream, right? She was dreaming that that was happening.
Erica: Yeah, yeah.
Kenrya: So, maybe it's the fear of losing him that she was dreaming out or of not making, like missing that connection that she was dreaming about in that moment. I don't know.
Erica: Yeah, but the feeling was so strong, that it caused her to get up and go looking for this Negro through the streets.
Kenrya: And he wasn't there. Yeah.
Erica: Then she ran into a bunch niggas that beat her up, which again, I was just like yo, this is horrible. And then she ends it by saying, "I'm weak with desire." Which can be sweet, but I'm like you just got your ass beat by a group of niggas.
Kenrya: So, you're probably weak from that.
Erica: Yeah, you're probably weak from that too. Oh, I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Okay, so again, we go into the Biblical standards of beauty, and metaphors of beauty, which I found just so some of them are oh, this is so great. Some of them were just like this is weird. "His head is the purest gold. His hair is wavy, Black as a raven." You can't tell me that ain't no Black man.
Kenrya: He got waves.
Erica: What are you talking about? He got waves. he got a bitch seasick. "His eyes are a pair of doves bathing in a stream flowing with milk." So, off-topic, but kind of on topic. I remember in college, I was taking the metro, no, taking a bus back to school. You know that main bus that goes through main street?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I'm standing in Chinatown, waiting to take that bus. This man comes over and he is like, "Girl, you are beautiful. Your eyes are so clear."
Kenrya: I was like am I horse? What the fuck?
Erica: I was like oh, he's had a long life of doing drugs where to him, what makes me sexy is that I have clear eyes.
Kenrya: You got clear eyes. He's like, "Bitch, you ain't got glaucoma."
Erica: You ain't got no glaucoma. You ain't got no red-eye. I mean, he'd probably see me now and be like damn hoe, you've been through some shit. But, yeah. "His arms are branches of gold covered with jewels. His body is ivory, decorated with sapphires. His legs are columns of marble on feet of gold."
Kenrya: A nice leg, thigh, butt situation.
Erica: Again, we here at The Turn On, we appreciate a solid undercarriage.
Kenrya: We do.
Erica: A solid-
Kenrya: Okay, let's talk about this very briefly. Y'all, the guys are walking around with the super developed upper bodies, but the little chicken legs, don't do it.
Erica: Please don't. No.
Kenrya: Just squat.
Erica: Just as much as you do upper body, let's work on them legs. Really.
Kenrya: You can't help me if your legs is like toothpicks.
Erica: Yeah and I shouldn't be able to fit your jeans.
Kenrya: You know that happened to me once.
Erica: And you're not a big chick.
Kenrya: I am not. No, he put on my jeans and I was even littler then.
Erica: I'm rolling my eyes, not on some maybe you're a man that likes a feminine look.
Kenrya: Oh, no. I didn't give a shit about that.
Kenrya: It didn't bother me that he tried them on. It was the fact that-
Erica: That you can actually fit them.
Erica: No offense against a smaller guy because do you know what? I might find a smaller guy to rock my world.
Kenrya: I mean I was with this guy. It was just his legs were so skinny. Upper body, fantastic. Legs, lordy.
Kenrya: You right on in my jeans.
Erica: No. Not at all. Yeah, I need a... See, again, I like a man with a little fluff.
Kenrya: You like, yes.
Erica: I like a thicker gentleman but I do appreciate a good body.
Erica: I do appreciate a good body.
Kenrya: We know I do. That's my constant.
Erica: Some shoulders to throw them legs over.
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: Okay. Yeah, see look. "He stands there majestic like Mount Lebanon and its choice cedar trees." The calls back to the-
Kenrya: Call back to the Old Testament when they was building and bringing cedar from Lebanon.
Kenrya: I was like I remember my Bible reading.
Erica: Oh, you all want some strength strength, okay. This just reminds me she is describing a solid ass man. That's what I want. I want you to be mentally solid, but I need you to be physically solid because I'm not a little bitch. You going to have to be able to hold up all of this girth. I mean I'm not huge.
Kenrya: You're not, no. Those two things go together, right? They should ideally. It'd be nice if you could be mentally solid, and emotionally solid, and physically solid. I guess that's the goal, right?
Erica: We have this passage, "My darling has gone down to his garden of spices where he will feed his sheep and gather his lilies. What do you think he going. You think he's really going down to the garden of spices or was that a metaphor?
Kenrya: Oh, yeah, I think it's a metaphor for oral sex.
Erica: Okay. Yeah, I did too. I was like, "Oh, put it in your mouth."
Erica: Said your motherfucking mouth. Okay, wait. That song was if you have a playlist of just...
Kenrya: Oh, yeah.
Erica: When we got to college, put this song on, complete banger. That song was it.
Kenrya: That's on that list.
Erica: “Back That Ass Up.”
Kenrya: Cash money taking over for the 99' and 2000s on that list, yes.
Erica: That kind of thing. I'm talking to my sister. She had never heard this song in her entire life.
Kenrya: No way. She's only a couple years younger than we are.
Erica: I think it's an east coast thing.
Kenrya: We not from the east coast. Had you never heard that song in Cleveland?
Erica: I can't remember.
Kenrya: I mean not Cleveland. In your town.
Erica: I can't remember but she thought it was a parody. You know how niggas be making up shit on Instagram?
Erica: She was like, "That can't be a real song." I'm like, "Yo." I sent her the Apple music link.
Kenrya: We were in high school when it came out?
Erica: I think the song is old.
Kenrya: I'm saying, high school.
Erica: [crosstalk 00:44:41] rock, yeah.
Kenrya: No, no, no. I think it came out when we were in high school, maybe eighth grade. Listen, we listened to that song all the time and then Mike Jones took it and turned it... You don't know Mike Jones.
Erica: I know Mike Jones.
Kenrya: Okay. He took that song and turned it into another song. It's a male version. Oh, I'm going to have to play it for you later.
Erica: Okay, add it to the playlist.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: We'll add that to the playlist.
Kenrya: I mean we were very into that song. It has been a staple in various forms for me for probably two decades.
Erica: And then, the follow-up which will get me turnt in a club is the good classic by my homey in Pink Cameron, “Suckin’ Or Not.”
Kenrya: Oh, yeah.
Erica: It is so misogynistic.
Kenrya: He puts that shit out there, though he's direct.
Erica: He's like, do you know what?
Kenrya: He is telling you what the rules are.
Erica: And I think that's why I appreciate the song because he's like, "This is what's on the table. My dick. You going to suck it or not?"
Erica: it's so horrible. it's so misogynistic. I was actually catching up on Blackish and it was this whole episode where they kept the running joke was that “Ain't No Fun,” is a problematic song.
Kenrya: Yes. I just watched that last week because I'm also way behind.
Erica: Yeah and I love-
Kenrya: And Bow was in the car. She's like, "I can't help it." We have a history with that song.
Erica: I mean, yeah, I love problematic music. I mean it's yeah, it's a guilty pleasure.
Kenrya: We went on stage at trap karaoke and sang that song.
Erica: Like no problem. I am going to say it's problematic. It's just I love love.
Kenrya: Listen, it is what it is.
Erica: So yeah, put it in your mouth.
Kenrya: It's the best that Warren G has ever sounded in his entire career.
Kenrya: He does not have a better verse. I'm sure he didn't write it, but he delivered it well.
Erica: No, I heard that Warren G was a writer because I was catching up on the mobile soundtrack.
Kenrya: But, have you listened to a lot of his stuff?
Erica: Well, here's the thing. We're not looking for the greatest rapper, the greatest lyricists.
Kenrya: The delivery is so hot.
Erica: It's a mood. It's a mood, I'm sorry. A mood.
Erica: That. What's the song, “Indo Smoke” from the what's the soundtrack? It was one of the South Central ass movies. Are you high yet?
Kenrya: I don't know that song.
Erica: You've never heard “Indo Smoke”?
Kenrya: I don't think so.
Erica: Bitch, we are going to ride out to “Indo Smoke” later today because it is definitely one of those summertime groovy ass. Oh, this is perfect for this. You know, we're going to smoke some weed in your car and ride out to “Indo Smoke.” The kids will be upstairs doing crafts.
Kenrya: And [inaudible 00:47:26].
Erica: Okay. Damn. My bad. Yeah, that was definitely a put in your mouth. I sound like my pastor when I go back to say, "We really encourage you to read the entire book." It's not long.
Kenrya: It's not. We couldn't do the whole thing, so we did have to do excerpts.
Erica: Yeah, but it's just beautiful. We close out our reading with him and her going on and on about how I'm yours, you're mine. You desire me. Just getting good and nasty and I love it. It just reminds me of those songs in the 80s where they end with a good, "If this world was mine." Type joint, where they just-
Kenrya: Going back and forth.
Erica: Going back and list.
Erica: And so it was just a delightful ending to it all.
Kenrya: Didn't she say, "If the flowers are out, let's go have sex there."
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Probably.
Kenrya: There's also a big up to outdoor situations.
Erica: Oh, I love some of the outdoor sex. Beach sex I think we've talked about that is not.
Kenrya: No, I've never done that because it seems like it won't be great.
Erica: In dawn let's slip out and see if grapevines and fruit trees are covered with blossoms and when we are there, I'll give you my love.
Erica: Damn. I have stored up for you all kinds of tasty fruits.
Kenrya: Tasty fruits.
Erica: I love it.
Kenrya: I'm going to start calling it tasty fruits.
Erica: Yeah. Do you know what? We are now calling giving some good love, giving you some tasty fruits.
Kenrya: Tasty fruits.
Erica: If your thing was a fruit, what would it be?
Kenrya: It's delicious and nutritious. Some of them are nasty. Something that's sweet and juicy.
Erica: Yeah. I was so like.
Kenrya: Oh, like a perfectly ripe nectarine right at the beginning of June when they're oh, yeah.
Erica: I was told, "Your pussy is like an orange. It's just squeezy and juicy." I was just like-
Erica: All right I'll take that. I will take that. Yeah, an orange. A good ’round the way filet orange.
Kenrya: Like it.
Erica: Not the ones with the thick skin.
Kenrya: No, the one's that's really easy to...
Erica: Again, this orange, if you got the right hand, you can open it quickly.
Erica: This takes me to my bigger question about here we have this book of the Bible that is clearly about sex and a romantic sex. Not that bullshit, this is the love the Lord has for the church. Girl, the Lord ain't churching nobody with some juicy fruits.
Kenrya: Well, yeah. I was reading that is how folks have traditionally tried to dissect this book is to say that it is symbolic of the Lord's love for his followers, and the Spirit. But, in more modern times, folks are like, "That's some bullshit."
Erica: Even if it’s symbolic, you used sex.
Kenrya: Sexual language.
Erica: To show symbolism.
Erica: It's kind of like with the whole shepherd and stuff. Yeah, you all use shepherd and sheep because niggas was doing shepherds and sheep shit. I mean, I think again, I feel like the whole idea that this is a story symbolic of the Lord's love for the church. I feel like that's bullshit. Even if we were to continue with that argument, niggers doing sex shit.
Kenrya: It's still that they chose to use sexual metaphors in order to do that.
Kenrya: Because people have sex.
Kenrya: If they are not asexual, then they are probably having sex in some way and hell, asexuals still have self-sex. It's all sex.
Erica: It's just sex is happening.
Erica: Even back in the Bible times. Somebody's probably cringing every time I say, the Bible times.
Kenrya: The Bible times. Some would say that we are always in the Bible times.
Erica: Do you know what? You right. Look at God. Okay, when you were growing up, what were your thoughts about because I feel you have thought... I feel like growing up you have very ideas and thoughts and about one thing. The thing that makes you more of an adult is when you figure out to merge those.
Kenrya: How those things can intersect.
Erica: Yeah, how those things intersect. What were your thoughts about sex and religion growing up?
Kenrya: I don't think I had any. I mean I didn't grow up in a super churchy household. I've written about this a bit. In my home, my father was very, "You need to know about all religions." When Jehovah Witnesses knocked on the door, my daddy invited them in and we had Bible study. I've been to Kingdom Hall. I've been to a Temple. I've been to a lot of different places because my dad was very, "God is everywhere. Let's go get some." Do you know what I mean, kind of a situation? I think because he was loosey-goosey on that and I didn't start going to church regularly until I was in high school and that was of my own volition like I didn't even go with my family.
There was no grandmother telling me that touching myself was not of God and it was dirty. There was no don't have sex until you... That that's something that you save for husband. I literally didn't get any of that from the people around me. I think that the most that I would've known about it is just media in terms of what that looks like. I can't say that it ever, not in any direct way inform me. I never ever had the idea that I was going to wait until I was married to have sex.
Erica: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that.
Erica: What were your thoughts around your virginity? Was it something sacred?
Kenrya: It was but it wasn't sacred in terms of religion. I was 18 when I lost my virginity. For me, it was more of this, I am this nerdy ass idealist and this is the way that it has to go. It was prom weekend. It was with my boyfriend who was trash. I rented a hotel room and lied to told my daddy that all my friends were staying at this hotel. It had to be the whole what I thought a movie would look in terms of losing my virginity. Of course, it was terrible but I had this whole plan in my head and so it was more about me feeling like I was emotionally ready, and having hit this specific number. I felt like 18 was grown enough. That I wasn't doing something that it wasn't emotionally ready for, in my mind.
Kenrya: I was very logical about it. I think that no matter who I had been with at that point because I had decided that that was the way that I should lose my virginity that that was what it was going to be. It was never this whole thing about oh God is going to feel a way about me doing this at this age, or in this stage. That never really played into it for me. What about you?
Erica: I grew up with a very religious, I mean not like crazy religious but definitely went to church every Sunday kind of grandmother. It's hard to say I grew up in the church because now I have a partner who grew up in a church. I'm like oh, I didn't grow up in the church.
Kenrya: That's a different life. Yeah, yeah, that's that you at church every Wednesday. You at church every Tuesday.
Kenrya: You had church all day Sunday for every service life.
Erica: Yeah am like oh, I didn't grow up in a church like that. I grew up in the church lite, L-I-T-E. Lite, a Crystal Lite. I mean when I lost my virginity, maybe this was the church lite speaking to me, but I didn't think much about oh, the Lord is going to kill me or something like that. I mean, I'm going to go to hell because of that because I also grew up in a home where we were surrounded by LGBTQ people. So, the religion that I got as a child, was very much love all people.
Kenrya: Inclusive, yeah.
Erica: Yeah. That kind of religion and not the fire and brimstone.
Erica: So yes, on one hand, I was like oh, I don't think God would be happy with me on this. I also was on the like, God loves everybody. I ain't kill nobody. We good. You know?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I think I was a little less freaked out about losing my virginity because again, you all heard the story, marching band.
Erica: Waterbed. As I get older, I think about how I want to teach my son about sex and how this jives with religion because I feel like now I'm a lot more spiritual and religious. I mean, I hate saying religious because that connotes Jerry Fallwell. I'm a lot more religious now than I was growing up or even as a kid. As a young or even as a kid.
Kenrya: In your early... Yeah.
Erica: I think I want my child to look at sex the way you did. Like, am I ready for it? Is this something that I want to do? I mean, I don't think he needs to... I think you may... critiquing your shit. You grew up a lot faster than you should have.
Erica: And so you made this decision from a 30-year-old, 18-year-old frame of mind.
Kenrya: I did. We had condoms with spermicide. We had separate monoxidyl. Whatever that stuff. I was so serious. I was like, "I got college to go to. You ain't going to knock me up." I had the whole situation together.
Erica: Yeah so I don't need you to because your situation was you all know what you don't even know kind of thing. Do you understand I'm saying?
Kenrya: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: You swore you knew it all and she was like, "Oh, poor baby. You don't know shit." I don't want my kid to necessarily be there but I also want him to understand that-
Kenrya: The implications of joining with someone in the [crosstalk 00:58:13].
Erica: It's not like you're about to make some soul ties with the mother fucker or something like that. It's just you need to feel like you're ready for sex and the consequences that come from it. There's a lot more than just am I going to get her pregnant, or am I going to get a cheesy dick?
Erica: Yeah, and then also as I become a lot more liberal in my sex because I do it all you all. I do a whole lot. I mean, I think you all get that from listening to me but I have fun.
Kenrya: You do. I was just thinking about it. I think we haven't really talked about the full extent of what partners look like. I think so far, it probably sounds like you only have sex with men and that's not true.
Erica: That's not true. Yeah, I like to swim in all ponds. We'll say that. Yeah and so I think even as I get more, as I deepen my spirituality, I also get more into my sexual freeness. I don't think that there's necessarily a need to jive. You want to be like does this fit in with these other held beliefs? I think right now I'm at a point where I don't think it necessarily needs to fit in. Reading the Song of Solomon, it is like look, this is a piece of this couple's life. Meaning, sex is a part of it.
Erica: And we only got a slice of it because there might have been juicy fruits. There might have been pears, pineapples, blueberries.
Erica: All types of juicy fruits. Yeah and I'm debating if I want to share this because it might be sharing too much about someone else, so I'm going to hold off.
Erica: I mean, I don't mind sharing my shit but I don't want to share other people's shit.
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah. No, you don't want to tell peoples stories.
Erica: Yeah, as I grow, and do more in my sexual exploration, I don't have a feel of oh, God's going to get me.
Kenrya: Yeah, I don't think I've ever felt that before but that's not the God I know.
Erica: Yeah. The God I know is a God that loves all and knows that we all fuck up. It was interesting because at church a few weeks back, the pastor did a sermon on the environment, climate change.
Kenrya: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Erica: It was such a good sermon. One of the things he said, he was like, "What makes a sin a sin is what is the intent, is what's behind it." Being an adulteress is a sin because you're treating this person as if they're for you and you only. You're treating this person as if they exist to be your sexual object and you're not thinking about the fact that this person has a wife and kids. That there's more, that you're treating this person as you are here for the sake of giving my pleasure. I get that. I mean, he didn't go as far as to say, "You all can go out and fuck all willy nilly."
Erica: I get that because I feel like sex is more than just I mean, it's intimate. It's an intimate act but it's also I don't want to cheapen it. I'm thinking this through as I talk to you all. You all might feel like I'm going all over the place because I am but we'll there, so just stay on this train with me. I feel like sex is pleasure between two that's shared.
Kenrya: Or more.
Erica: Yeah, especially for me. Sex is between people that share, that's a shared pleasure. I'm giving you pleasure. You're giving me pleasure. We're sharing this pleasure. I don't want to go as far, I mean I do think sex is intimate, but it's not the ultimate intimate act.
Kenrya: Which we talked about a bit a couple of episodes ago.
Erica: Yeah. I feel like intimacy is built over time also.
Erica: I don't want to yeah, I look at my sexual experiences as spiritual also. Sometimes it's nasty but sometimes it's-
Kenrya: Yeah. And that it takes you out of yourself but also puts you in yourself, at the same time. Do you know what I mean?
Erica: Yeah. You're such a writer.
Kenrya: Where you're so grounded in what you're doing in that moment but also connected to everything else that's going on. It's a beautiful, yeah.
Kenrya: I want to go back a little bit because when you were talking about what pastor said about the intent is what makes a sin. I find that an interesting reading because as somebody who does social justice and racial justice work, we talk about how intent is not what's important, it's the impact. To take this to, I mean I'll take it to a nonsexual place and then to a sexual place. It's when a white person says, "Well, I didn't mean to make you feel like I was a racist. I didn't mean to call you a nigger. I didn't mean that you're nigger." Well, nigga, your intent might not have been racist, but your impact was. Do you know what I mean?
You claim that you didn't intend to hurt me, but you did. To take to a sexual place where these men, typically, say that they didn't intend to sexually abuse, or harass, or otherwise, impune somebody else. They say that that wasn't their intent but the impact was that it was traumatic for that person. What we speak to is the way that people are affected by the things that we do in the world. Even with my daughter, she'll say, "Ah, momma. That hurt. When you said that, that hurt me." I don't say, "Oh, I didn't mean to hurt you." I say, "I'm so sorry that I hurt you." It's not about what I meant to do, it's about how she felt. I just wanted to speak to that language. That really made my ears perk up a little bit.
Erica: Yeah, no. That's a really good way to think about it. Yeah, I'll take that.
Erica: Yeah. That's something I got to think about.
Kenrya: It works really well to think about that framework when you're apologizing.
Erica: Yeah. I think that's also a great framework for men to think about. Well, for people to think about when they go into sexual experiences with people because yes, the intent might not be to harm but if you think this through... This reminds me of a situation I had with a partner. We were conversing, had plans, that kind of thing. It ended up where he suggested something that I was like, "Yo, wow. What the fuck?" It wasn't anything sexual or crazy. It was just a situation.
Kenrya: Girl, he was trying you.
Erica: Yeah, I feel like, "You trying to play me." I don't think he necessarily was and so I don't think the intent of trying to play Erica or to pull some crazy. I don't even think he was trying to pull some crazy shit, it was just like, "Dude, had you thought this through about how I might have felt?" I mean, this is still kind of new so I don't think he quite gets everything about me. This might have been a situation that someone was okay with. Knowing me, and knowing how I roll, I was like no, this ain't a situation I'm trying to be in. It's interesting because I don't think the intent for harm, or anything crazy to happen was there, but it's just had you thought about this a little bit more, you wouldn't have suggested it.
Erica: Yeah, I find that's a really good way of thinking about when you're going into a situation, you might be okay with it but just do a little deeper thinking about the person you're with, their headspace, and what they might want. We didn't talk. You didn't tell me or maybe I missed it. What are your thoughts about what are you going to teach your child about sex?
Kenrya: Yeah. I think I'm going to teach her with regards to religion and sex, it's the same thing as religion and everything. We are children of God. There is nothing that God has created you to do that is sinful. Do you know what I mean? There's nothing that I think I've heard people frame all types of things as being a sin. Using shit, there's people I'm sure that think this show is sinful. I think it's more about just making sure that she's pleasing to God, and that she is kind to other people, and that she—do you know what I mean? To me, that is more of what that is. I'm not a hardliner Leviticus said, "Don't pierce your ears and don't eat shellfish."
Erica: Also this makes me think just a bigger picture about so I did the read the Bible in a year app thing. Well, I didn't read it-
Kenrya: I have three times gone through and not finished.
Erica: It's like September, November.
Erica: And then it starts back in October again.
Kenrya: It's go. Yes, the end of the year and then things get hectic and then I fall off and so I start over. I know the Old Testament real well.
Erica: It is very difficult for me to get through the Old Testament.
Erica: It is very difficult.
Kenrya: It's tough.
Erica: Actually, our church was supposed to have a Bible study. It didn't really go as deep as I wanted it to. It's very difficult for me to digest the Old Testament. Primarily because people still use that as a foundation for certain things.
Kenrya: Right, even though the New Testament is a whole new animal.
Erica: Yeah and so it's a very tough piece of work to swallow and then you combine that-
Kenrya: Not to mention Numbers.
Erica: And then you combine that with sex is a sin, yada, yada, yada. I'm like yo, we was wilin’, we was wilin’ in the Old Testament.
Kenrya: Yeah. I mean giving up our daughters to be raped because it was preferable to that then someone having sex, gay sex. All of these things. It's so hard. Remember we were struggling trying to find really good womanist interpretations of the Bible.
Kenrya: And there just aren't a lot of... There's really no devotionals that really do that.
Erica: I need a good womanist devotional.
Kenrya: Because not just feminist because that white lens but a feminist reading of this would likely gloss over the I am dark and beautiful.
Kenrya: Do you know what I mean?
Erica: Or no, they would use the, "I am dark yet beautiful." Translation.
Kenrya: And use that to justify their fairness that white is beautiful. That and then a lot of it for me is about shoring up the way that she feels about herself and her body.
Kenrya: I think that will inform because I guess it has informed a lot of the way that I've related to people. Having that firm foundation in who she is, and like we talk about masturbation, about how self-pleasure is not just okay, but it is good, and have her enter into any type of relationships that she would have in sexual nature with other people with that grounding of who she is, and what's pleasurable to her will be really important. The third part is consent, which I have been working with her on since forever.
Erica: Consent with children is just so, it's so simple yet difficult because the way that kids play is I constantly, I'm like a broken record with keep your hands to yourself. Keep your hands to yourself. Keep your hands to yourself. And bigger than the fighting thing, it's just this is your body. People aren't allowed to touch it unless you give them permission.
Kenrya: Right. I think to me, the simple part of it is when you boil it down to the autonomy of it. What I tell her when we were going to see a dermatologist, and she was in a gown, and they wanted to look at the eczema that was on your bottom. I said, "Hey, you get to say whether or not she can look at you so is it okay if she looks and touches you." And she said, "Yes." And taking every opportunity to remind her that she gets to decide who touches her body. When they're fighting, that's your body, that's their body. You get to decide but let's not touch each other in ways that aren't gentle.
Kenrya: When it's with her and her friends all over each other, reminding them of that. When it comes down to, I'm forgetting another example of when I always bring in the autonomy part of it. It'll come back to me. I think that there are lots of moments because as you said, kids are always in each other's faces, to remind them that they get to make those choices from a super early age so that hopefully they don't get boxed into those places a lot of us as older women have, where we found ourselves not really feeling like we had the agency to tell somebody to get off of us.
Kenrya: Because we weren't taught. Oh, hugs. That was the thing. I don't make her hug people. If someone wants to hug her, I ask her if she wants to. I give her the choice and sometimes she says no. She ain't got to. I'm never forcing my kids to hug anybody and it's not just not hugging men, it's not hugging anybody if she doesn't want to. That's her body. She don't have to have somebody all up in her area like that.
Erica: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Kenrya: Giving her from the very beginning, letting her know that she can use her voice to say no from the consent standpoint, has been super important. I think those are the three things that rock for me in terms of preparing her for that later.
Erica: Yeah, yeah. I totally agree. Actually, we went to a new doctor yesterday. I thought it was really dope. An older Black woman and my son is hitting puberty age so she had to check his parts.
Kenrya: Oh, yikes.
Erica: She was like, "I'm just looking to see is he approaching puberty." Because they look different. I did not know that. She looks at me and she's like, "Mom, can I check him?"
Erica: And I said, "Yes." And then she looks at him and she's like, "No one is allowed to touch you unless you say you can and your mom says you can." She said, "It's fine. Can I look?" He was like, "Yeah." I just thought I mean, it wasn't like a huge thing.
Kenrya: Yeah, it's just worked into what you do.
Erica: I think that's really dope because I don't think that every parent says that to their kids. I mean and I don't think it's something that-
Kenrya: Because I don't think people think about it always.
Kenrya: Folks often are not super intentional about the way that we raise our kids.
Erica: Yeah, you just do what and so I thought it was great that she said that in front of both of us, and then it was also a check to parents that don't do that. If you don't ever hear it, you heard it here.
Kenrya: Here. Right here.
Erica: I thought that was really dope.
Erica: Okay. Do you have any more to add to this conversation?
Kenrya: No, just that I'm really glad that we did this. I thought it was a great idea. Hats off to you.
Erica: Thank you.
Kenrya: We talked about a few episodes ago about how this show will not always be what you think it's going to be and that our whole thing of sex and... really holds. It's not just sex and talking about a body part, or sex and talking about anal. It's sex and religion. It's sex and patriarchies. It's sex and race. And that this is a great episode of highlighting that.
Erica: Well, thank you very much. Thank you for joining us for this episode of The Turn On.
Erica: And this is Erica and Kenrya, two hoes making it Biblically clap.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Kenrya and Erica, and edited by B’Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. We want to hear from y’all! Send your book recommendations and all the burning “sex, and-related” questions you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. And please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter at The Turn On Pod and Instagram at The Turn On Podcast and find links to books, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at The Turn On Podcast dot com. And remember, we're part of the Frolic Podcast Network; you can find more shows you’ll love at Frolic.media/podcasts. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Peace.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their mines. 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.