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In this episode of The Turn On, Erica and Kenrya chop it up with Not Your Average Fairy Tale co-host Candace about the intricacies of parenting and being a sexual being.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Kenrya: Today, we're talking to Candace, pronouns she and her. Candace is the fun, straightforward, and loving friend you never knew you needed. She graduated from Howard University, the real HU, in 2006 and made D.C. her home. That's where she started her career in government and nonprofits, and where she met her husband, Sledge. Married almost eight years, and parents to three witty, dancing and singing machines, they now live in the Dallas area and co-host of Not Your Average Fairy Tale, a new relationship podcast. Candace loves God, her family and her friends. And she enjoys reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, Orange Theory, listening and dancing to music, and of course the ever-elusive sleep. Candace, thank you so much for joining us.
Candace: Thank you for having me.
Kenrya: How are you doing with the social distancing?
Candace: Doing good, because all my friends are available when I want them and when I need them. They're not at work during the day, so I can call them, FaceTime them, anytime.
Kenrya: You're one of those.
Candace: And they answer my calls, yes. "Text me back."
Erica: "No excuses. I know you ain't doing nothing."
Candace: I called Jen earlier like, "Uh, where you been all day?"
Erica: Shit, nah, Gchat me.
Kenrya: E is also one of those people. I am not one of those people. I don't answer my phone very often. Don't like it.
Candace: Yeah. But the kids can go back to school anytime. I mean you know, that's the hard part.
Erica: They are more than welcome to go back. Goodbye.
Candace: Yes, please.
Erica: I get it. So we learned in your bio that your work primarily centers with government and nonprofits, but how the hell did you come to host a podcast?
Candace: Ooh, how do we come to host? So I initially wanted to do a YouTube channel, and Sledge is more into the podcast. And so we were like, "Let's start with the podcast first, and kind of transition and see how the YouTube stuff goes."
Candace: Because YouTube is just, I think a lot more work. Because you have to do real live footage, and then edit that. And... It's a lot. And, it was a couple of different avenues. Because we wanted something with just us, and then we wanted something with the family. So we said if we do more of the kids and the family, that'd be the YouTube channel, because they're all into that YouTube stuff, and channels and recording. And the podcast will be more for the grown folks. For the experienced folks. So that's kind of how we decided on the podcast. And the other thing was that we were noticing ... And not often, but often enough, that people would ask us questions about our relationship thinking that everything was like perfect. And we're like, "Oh you all don't really know us. You all ain't really been around us like that, because this is far from perfect."
Candace: And so we just saw it as an opportunity to share and tell our story. Just with everybody. Just see where it goes, really. Yeah.
Kenrya: So, I think that was interesting. It was actually a question I already had, which was, you know you say on the show that people have like this social media driven image of who you and your family are, that doesn't really match up with your reality. So why is it important to you to dispel those myths of what people think you all are?
Candace: So the funny thing, and I was talking to a girlfriend about this with social distancing. She was like, "It really shouldn't be that fucking hard, because we already been doing it with social media." People don't talk to each other when they go out to dinner. People don't really leave their phones and spend time with individuals.
Candace: And so I think social media as a whole has just created this false reality of what things look like. And I think we're one of those raw families. Like we'll show when ... Like I'll get on my Instagram Stories or Live and my hair ain't done, makeup not done, nails not done. You know? And so, we never have had any issue with just showing the real, true, honest, who we are as a family, who we are as husband and wife. I will tell people, "Sledge get on my nerves. He made me mad today, whatever." So yeah, just that false reality that social media brings with it, and people just always wanting to post images, captions that makes everything seem positive. And not to say that you have to share your dirty laundry all the time, or with complete strangers. But I also think that there is a certain element of reality that should come with it.
Candace: Because I done looked through my feed, and I'm like, "When did they take these?" I mean pictures just look so staged, and so fake. And it's like, why do you have to have this super Photoshopped picture, or staged picture? Then the caption will be like, "My child, this pregnancy, my husband." I'm like, "What does that have to do with the picture?" So I just think it's just the new reality we live in, and so we kind of want to change that narrative as far as-
Kenrya: Things being fake.
Candace: Yeah. Pretty much. Things are fun and fine, and yeah, we will joke and laugh, but then shit gets real too. And we're going to share that with you.
Erica: Yeah. Yeah.
Kenrya: So we asked you to come on the show today because last week we read a story called “Homecumming.” And it starts with a married couple that finally gets some time to themselves to have sex. And we quickly learned that that's a struggle. Their kids are always underfoot. There's always something going on. Is that something that you can relate to?
Candace: Oh yeah. Big time. I feel like we are just now getting to a place where we can have, alone time. And for real alone time, because the kids are getting older. But I remember ... Because, you know, our story is very different. We had our first son before we were married. And so, we didn't have that honeymoon stage, that just me and him type of thing. So, and we also had our first son ... What, six months? Well we got pregnant six months after moving in together. So it changed a lot for us as far as like dating, getting to know each other, and spend just time together. Just Ralph and Candace. So yeah, those first... How old is Cheyenne, two? Maybe those first seven years was like a hit and miss. We had waves where it was like, "Oh yeah, we're able to go out, we're able to have uninterrupted sex." Or, you know, whatever.
Candace: And then it would go back down to it felt like when it was all about the kids. But I feel like now, since Cheyenne is two, she is starting to be a little more independent. We're finally getting to a place where it's like, "Okay, we can put them to bed, and stay up and do stuff that we want to do." And also not have to worry about who's getting up in the middle of the night, or who's getting up in the morning with them. We still have to do those things, but it's not to the extreme of like having an infant, or just having really needy children.
Erica: You still have a little visitors.
Erica: Popping through.
Candace: Yeah, but we could be more intentional about it now, you know? Before it was like, "I ain't staying up to have sex with you, because you don't get up in the middle of the night." Or, "You ain't getting up in the morning with these kids when they wake up." So yeah.
Kenrya: That's some real shit.
Kenrya: Which really leads me to the next question. There's another thing that you all say on the show that really stood out to me. And you said that you want to help all families feel normal. What does normal look like from your vantage point when it comes to parenting and being a sexual being, simultaneously?
Candace: Hmm. Well, I think first and foremost, normal is doing what makes you happy. So our normal is not everyone else's normal, but we want people to own what normal is for them. So if that's, you having sex seven days a week, two or three, four times a day, or once a week. I mean you just do what works for you and your relationship, and be okay with that.
Candace: I think we get into this comparison thing too much. And I was kind of getting into it now, like with the whole social distancing, it's like, "Oh, now everyone wants to show what they're doing with their kids on Instagram, homeschooling." You wasn't showing that before, why do I care now?
Candace: But yeah, just creating what's normal for you. And being okay with that. Not feeling like you have to compare it to your friend's marriage or relationship, or to your friend's parenting style and where their kids are academically, or you know in sports, or whatever the case may be. So just being comfortable with your normal, and sharing that story, and not feeling like you have to change it, edit it, for anybody.
Erica: So, we noticed that faith is a really big part of the conversation on your show. How does faith influence the way you parent?
Candace: The way we parent? So faith for us has evolved a lot in the past couple of years, because we haven't always been on the same page about it, and we definitely haven't always been in the same place. So, wow. So to say where it is when we parent, I remember when we had Taylor and we were just dating. We weren't married yet. And I would still get up and take Taylor to church with me on Sundays, and Sledge wouldn't go. And it wasn't like a fight or a battle, it was just, that was how we were. I got up, I went to church. He got up, he got ready to watch football. And that slowly started to change and evolve. And we kind of talk about that in the second episode, about how that changed for him.
Erica: Because you're in Dallas, and I saw that you all drive to Oklahoma for church.
Candace: Yeah, we have. We drove up there three times since the new year.
Erica: That's so great.
Candace: Yeah. Because we really just really love the church, and that pastor in particular. And we started following him, maybe about a year ago, and Ralph said he wants to spend the first Sunday of the new year there. So we made the drive, we made the trip. And it was interesting, because the first time we went, we went by ourselves. The second time we went, we took the younger two. And the third time we went, we took all of them. And it's very interesting to see, they remember it. It was crazy because the third time we went, Cheyenne was like not afraid to go to the children's church. She just was super calm, like she had been there a thousand times. We've been to churches numerous times in Dallas, and she'll still be like, "Don't leave me."
Candace: And not anything was wrong. Like they weren't-
Kenrya: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Candace: But I think her energy just felt we were comfortable in certain places than others. I mean, I don't know, it's kind of like we try and teach them lessons. We definitely pray with them a lot, but we're not one of those, "You all better be reciting y'all Bible versus today for this week." We just kind of let them ease into it. Because at the end of the day when they become adults, or even teenagers, they're going to have to decide what they choose to follow. We can't decide that for them. We just want to guide them what we believe to be true. But they're going to have to make the decision for themselves.
Erica: Yep. Yep.
Erica: So how does this influence the way you approach sex, your faith?
Candace: So ... It's very interesting. So the church we were a part of previously, their marriage ministry, and even their lead pastor. And it was really they first lady, and she's a soror too, they used to be like super candid about it. Which was very interesting. I will never forget, we were at this weekend retreat thing, and she was like ... How did she tell us? She told the story about football being on, and during commercials and halftime shows she would get on her knees.
Candace: And I'm like, "Oh, okay!"
Erica: "Oh we doing this?!"
Candace: "Yeah, okay! Okay First Lady!" But I liked that, because she was like, "I'm married, and I could do whatever I want with my partner, my spouse, who I'm married to. God created sex. He created for us to enjoy it. Enjoy it." She pretty much was like, "You all need to stop being such prudes. Just because you all are saved, or just because you all Christians, just cause you all in the church. You better please your man." You know? And you better please your woman too. So I really appreciated that.
Candace: I really appreciated her candidness, and her humor and fun about it. But she was real, she was like, "That's my husband. I could do whatever I want to do to my husband. He's mine, and there's nothing you can say about it." And so I think, not that we were the opposite, but I think that also made us a little comfortable to talk about sex as believers, and not feeling like, "Oh, this is something we could only talk about amongst each other-
Erica: Or with our heathen friends.
Candace: Exactly. It's not like the conversations weren't taking place, but it was like, you don't have to be ashamed of having that conversation, or showing your spouse affection, love, whatever, in any setting. Like, "No, we can do this. It's nothing you can say or do about it." You know? So, that helped a lot. Yeah.
Kenrya: I'm wondering how do you make time, in the chaos of parenting, and being a partner, and all of that, to be in touch with yourself and your body?
Candace: That is hard. And I'm still struggling with that. Because although I like working out, I will definitely skip a workout if I feel like I need to be there for my family. Or, I won't eat, because I'm doing stuff around the house for my family. And so I'm having to learn that, while they are a priority, they're not my end all be all. Like Ralph and I are like one of those definite couples where it's like in our marriage we come first. And we had this debate with a lot of friends. Our kids don't come first. We come first. Because, one, we need and want for them to leave this house one day, and be able to stand on their own and kind of be an independent person, not depending on us. And then we also want to show them how we view marriage, and how they should. So we kiss in front of them, hug in front of them, grind up on ... You know, I'll twerk in front of them.
Candace: They get embarrassed. But I'm like, "But this my man. I can do this. This my husband." Yeah, we have to definitely be intentional about how we spend time, and carving out that time. I remember hearing couples saying, "We scheduled time." And I'd be like, "That's just so corny to me." I'm not one of those people where it's like if we scheduled time in Tuesday at eight o'clock, we're going to have sex. No, because I'm not going to be in the mood.
Candace: I still need it to be organic. You know what I'm saying? Like I still need to know you want me, not because it's scheduled, but because my booty look big to you today. Or you want to rub up on me. Not because it's on the agenda to do. And so I think, like I said, with the kids getting older, it's easier to do that. Or we'll definitely make time where we're like, "Mimi, Papa, we're going to need you to keep them overnight, or keep them for the weekend." So we are blessed to have that as an option.
Kenrya: So you all have family right there?
Candace: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Yeah, my parents moved here when we moved here.
Erica: Oh, so lucky. I was going to ask about that. I know that your mother and father are super involved, and I was wondering, did you see that growing up, and is that why your so ... Did you see that sort of relationship between your parents growing up, and is that why you are so intentional about making sure that your children see parents that genuinely love each other and want to ... want to rub up on each other?
Candace: I actually didn't. My parents used to flirt, but it was still very candid, very like old school.
Candace: I'm sorry if you all can hear them in the background, dinner is over.
Candace: So yes and no. Like little flirting here and there, but not to the extent that how Sledge and I flirt. And so, I actually think in the beginning of our relationship it was a little hard for me to do that, to give that. Because Sledge's love language is touch, or I think it's like personal touch.
Candace: So he like, you know, all the physical, right? And so I used to be like, "Yeah, but PDA." So I had to really break down and be like, "No, if this is what your man wants, and if this speaks to his love language, if this feels his love tank, then do it. Because if he's filling your love tank then you should be feeling his," type of thing. So I had to get more comfortable about not being embarrassed to kiss him, or to just be up on him, or hug him, or whatever the case may be. At home, in public, wherever. I mean, of course still being respectful and not going overboard, but just being comfortable with doing that and not feeling like, "Oh people are going to think or say one thing, or be annoyed, or roll their eyes." Like, so what? You know? [crosstalk 00:17:35].
Kenrya: How has he adapted to meet your love languages?
Candace: He's done really well. Probably much better than I have, but we've definitely had those moments where we have to remind each other what our love languages are. Because my biggest one is acts of kindness, I think it is. And so to me it's like, "Help me around the house. Put these kids in the bed. Give them they bath. Cook they dinner. Get them ready for school. Like help me around the house."
Candace: And so that took a lot of back and forth. Because there was a time where he wasn't working, I was working, and he used to feel as though I would boss him around about doing stuff around the house. And I saw it as though, like, "No, I'm going to work all day every day, and you're home, so you need to be doing it." And so we had to really adjust how we communicated that to each other. And that it's like, "No, I'm not coming from a place of being bossy, but I would like for you to help me with X, Y, and Z a little bit more." And then also on the receiving end, him understanding like, "These are ways I can step up and help her. Because if I help her clean the kitchen, or get the kids ready for bed, they maybe I'm against some ass tonight." So, yeah.
Erica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kenrya: And you won't be too tired to fuck.
Candace: Exactly. I'm like, "Bruh, help me help you. Okay?"
Kenrya: Have you found that during this whole stay at home thing that it's been even more important to make time for yourself, and make time for your relationship, since you all in the house together?
Candace: Yeah, I definitely haven't made time for myself. I mean, it's funny, because one day he was like ... I was debating ... It was something about working from home, because he's home with the kids during the weeks now. And he was like, "No, you need to go to work. You need a mental break."
Candace: And I was like ... Part of me was like, "Thank you." But the other part of me was like, "What you mean I need a mental break? I'm good. What are you trying to say, I can't handle it?" But he was right. I do need the time away, just alone time. Especially because the gym is closed, so it's not like I'm getting up to go work out. I'm not good at pushing myself to workout.
Candace: So yeah, I think just the break away from home, and the kids, and the day to day just being ... Not routine, but just, nothing's changing. He's definitely supportive of that, and making sure that, emotionally and spiritually, I'm fed and I'm good. Yeah. But, and you asked this earlier, I'm sorry I didn't answer it completely, but as far as like self-care, I'm getting better. I wasn't always great at it, but I have to be, I've gotten better as far as exercising, and reading. And yeah, just spending alone time. If it means I have to wake up an hour earlier, or go to bed an hour later, I definitely make sure I try and do that. Because I can definitely notice a difference when I don't, in just how I'm responsive to him, and how I'm responsive to the kids, and just my energy. So, yeah.
Kenrya: Oh, okay. Wait, I have a question that's not on our sheet but just occurred to me.
Kenrya: So, I think that sometimes when people have been in relationships for a while, there are things that we like to do to spice things up. And sometimes that means that we use toys, either with our partners, or with ourselves. Is that something that you have had to encounter in your relationship? And if so, how did it go?
Candace: Yep. And I sure remember when. It was early in our relationship. And I was like, "What is up? What you trying to do?!"
Kenrya: He introduced the toys?
Candace: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Erica: I love it. Spicy!
Candace: And I was just like, "I don't ... Where does that go?" So yeah, it's been a while. It's been a long time since we tried to get that. My thing is, I like to go to hotels.
Kenrya: Oh you fancy.
Candace: I know, I don't know what it is about hotels. But I'm like, "I want to go to every hotel. Take me to the Hilton Anatole, take me to the W. Let's spend a night in a hotel." I don't know what that is-
Erica: "You going to get all this nasty."
Candace: Because I ain't got to wake up early. I ain't got to clean.
Erica: You ain't got to clean.
Candace: I ain't got to clean nothing. So that's my thing. I'm trying to think-
Erica: You're like, "I don't need toys. Just give me a nice suite."
Candace: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Exactly.
Erica: Whatever it takes.
Candace: Exactly, yeah.
Erica: Oh, okay. So one of the things that we like to ask our guests are "Would you rather" questions.
Erica: So, my "Would you rather" question: Would you rather have one night of romance only once a year, or would you have to live with quickies for the rest of your life?
Candace: Oh my God. Once a year?!
Kenrya: But you get to have your hotel, and your romance.
Erica: We'll let you do your hotel. Once a year.
Candace: Nah. I have to go with the quickies. And I actually like quickies. I had to get him to get on to that. We used to come home for lunch sometimes, and get a quickie in. Or we would do what we call skip days, and so the kids will be at school all day and we would both take off of work and stay home. Or go-
Erica: That's why you all got three of them now.
Candace: I told him, I said, "Listen, if these tubes weren't tied, we'd be so pregnant right now. This damn quarantine, we'd be so pregnant." But yeah, I'm going to go with the quickies.
Erica: Yeah, I think I'd have to go with the quickies. Ain't nobody got time for no long nights of passion.
Kenrya: I wouldn't survive.
Candace: Yeah, I wouldn't make it.
Kenrya: It'd just be a whole lot of masturbation. Well, you can masturbate, but it ain't the same.
Candace: It ain't the same.
Erica: Girl, as someone that's single, living single during quarantine. and I am literally living in a bubble. If I grab my vibrator one more ... I went to grab my vibrator, and it was like ...
Candace: Batteries dead. It's tired of your ass.
Erica: My vibrator was audibly like, "Ugh, hoe." So, yeah.
Candace: Yeah, nah. I had to put him on to the quickie thing. He's still not a fan, but I be like, "Listen, sometime it's not about all the passion. We just need to get... like I'm just horny. Let's go." You know?
Erica: Let's get it done.
Candace: He's a Pisces too. So he's super emotional.
Erica: He emotional, yeah. Oh, oh, oh poor baby. His birthday is coming up.
Candace: No, it just passed, at the end of February.
Kenrya: It already passed.
Kenrya: My birthday is coming up.
Erica: You're a Gemini now.
Kenrya: It sucks. We had to cancel our trip for my birthday. I've been looking forward to it for months, and now we can't go nowhere.
Erica: And he was going to Florida, you know that's a hot bed. Yeah. Yeah. We can't, that's even out of the option. But I did take off work, off all my clients. And we will quarantine and celebrate.
Kenrya: I guess. It makes me a little sad, but whatever. The thing that makes me happy is that you joined us today.
Erica: Yah! Thank you .
Candace: You're welcome. I had fun.
Kenrya: It was really good to talk to you and talk about parenting and sex, which is something that I feel like comes up in conversation for us a lot, because it informs how we, you know, you got kids. So it was really great to add another voice to that, that's an in a different situation. So thanks for coming on.
Candace: Thank you.
Kenrya: Let's tell the people where they can find you.
Candace: Well you can find us. So we have a podcast, Not Your Average Fairy Tale. It's available on Spotify, Apple, and Google Play. And so our Instagram is @n.y.a.fairytale. So please follow us. And we're on Twitter and Facebook. Our Twitter is just @nyafairytale, and Facebook just type in "Not Your Average Fairy Tale." And yeah, join us. Listen. We'd love to have you, get your feedback. Appreciate it.
Kenrya: All right.
Erica: Hey, hey, hey.
Kenrya: Well, that wraps up this week's episode of The Turn On. Thanks to everyone who took a minute to listen to us. Be well and be safe. And inside.
Erica: Keep your ass inside, please.
Kenrya: Stay home. Wash your hands.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. We want to hear from you all. Send your book recommendations, and all the burning sex and related questions you want us to answer to TheTurnOnPodcast@gmail.com. And please subscribe to show in your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter @TheTurnOnPod, and Instagram @TheTurnOnPodcast. And find links to our books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at TheTurnOnPodcast.com. And remember, The Turn On is now part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more shows you'll love at Frolic.media/podcast. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you soon. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.