Maintaining a long-lasting relationship often comes with a number of responsibilities and standards set by couples, which can either result in a lifetime of fulfillment or end in a complete catastrophe.
Luckily for Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, their walk of love led to exchanging vows last April during a lavish wedding ceremony in Atlanta. In addition to the couple displaying their personal lives on Bravo’s hit reality series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” the twosome also share a union in business, as Tucker serves as executive producer of the singer-songwriter’s popular web series, “Kandi Koated Nights.” This, naturally, involves experimenting with various products from Burruss’ line of adult merchandise, Bedroom Kandi, before each creation hits the market.
With Valentine’s Day steadily approaching, we decided to catch up with the “Hollywood Divas” executive producer (Tucker) and Grammy Award winner (Burruss), who dished on tricks to keep the flame ignited in a relationship, as well as their thoughts on the marketing of sex toys and stigma against sex in the black community.
What are some of the necessary do’s and don’ts for celebrating Valentine’s Day?
K.B.: I would say the first don’t is, don’t forget it. Don’t forget that it’s Valentine’s Day. A lot of guys will be like, “Oh, I forgot. I didn’t realize it was coming up.” Like, no! At least make it a point to show your significant other that you care by at least remembering. Let your significant other be the first person you call that day. Or if you’re like we are, we obviously wake up to each other. So wake me up with a “Happy Valentine’s Day, babe,” something. Breakfast in bed … something to make me feel special as soon as I wake up.
T.T.: You might be right with the “don’t forget.” Because I think with the brothers, for us it’s kind of like, “Man, Valentine’s Day … You really want to celebrate that?” Don’t downplay it. You gotta play it up. This holiday means a lot for the ladies, so we gotta put our best foot forward. You gotta go all out. And I think the biggest do is surprising her. Doing something that’s outside of the box and making it fun. I think we gotta stop seeing it as a female’s holiday, and see it as, “Man, we get a little something out of this to if we make her happy.” Don’t fight it, just be a part of it.
K.B.: And for me, I think a lot of people always equate gifts for Valentine’s Day, where it’s all about how much something costs, and that makes it mean something. I don’t think the cost of the gift matters as much on Valentine’s Day. I want to feel like you actually put some thought into it. So for me, the more you put together something that was more thoughtful is gonna make it mean more to me than you just spending a whole bunch of money on something.
Do you have any tips and tricks on how to sustain a relationship in and out of the bedroom?
K.B.: First of all, be open-minded and be willing to try new things. No one wants things to get boring. The longer you’re together, you should always want to spice it up. I think that’s the good thing about my Bedroom Kandi line for us. We get to try out all the products when we’re coming up with new stuff.
T.T.: I think the thing is being spontaneous. Stop thinking that sex happens at a certain time, at a certain place. And then we’re done by this time, and we go to sleep because we gotta get up to go to work in the morning. Don’t make it apart of your everyday routine like everything else. And don’t be afraid of foreplay. Foreplay is cool… It’s just about being fun and thinking outside of the box. Call your man “Daddy.” And don’t be afraid to do all those things you used to do in the beginning… Just because you have a kid or married don’t stop it.
K.B.: Yeah, I think that’s very important. Even with us now, we’re working on adding to our family, and Todd’s main concern is, “I hope you don’t change. I hope you don’t change.” I think as women, a lot of times women do get comfortable once they do lock their man down. And we have to remind ourselves, that we still gotta think like the single woman. We still gotta pretend that we gotta catch him, even though we already got him … just so it don’t feel like I’m taking him for granted.
Kandi, as a woman, what are the top three reasons for owning a sex toy?
K.B.: Well, first of all, for a woman, a lot of women can’t really tell their man … ‘cause women always wanna go, “Oh, he’s this.” Or, “He knows what he’s doing.” But a lot of times women don’t know their own bodies and they don’t know how to let someone know exactly what they want or what they like in the bedroom. So I always feel like a woman should have some type of toy, just so she can explore her own body and find her own triggers and then she could share that with whoever her significant other is.
It’s hard for some women to have an orgasm. A lot of people don’t know that a majority of women haven’t experienced an orgasm just from penetration … so it’s just about adding spice to the bedroom and doing something different. Because I think a lot of people, when they’ve been in a relationship for so long, they get so used to the same routine, so if you could just throw something different in there every now and then, I think it’s always better.
Todd, do you have any advice for the guys whose partners want to introduce new toys in the bedroom?
T.T.: I hear guys say a lot of times, “I don’t do that toy thing.” It’s just like, man, it’s fun, it’s stimulating your lady. It’s about her happiness as well as yours, cause you know we gonna get ours regardless. So it’s kind of like, just be open-minded and enjoy it. And know that you’re pleasing your lady. And it’ll be fun… But I think the ladies gotta take their time with it, too. You can’t just come in the bedroom with four toys and be like, “Hey, let’s try something different.” Especially if you know your dude isn’t that open to it. Start off with something that’s not so crazy. ‘Cause I think in some of our communities sex toys are kind of taboo, and “you don’t really do that,” and it’s like, nah, this is what it’s about. Exploring and making your mate happy.
Speaking to the perception of sex toys being viewed as taboo in some communities, do you feel like they’re marketed differently to black women and white women?
K.B.: I really didn’t realize it was as big of a deal until I started Bedroom Kandi. But people were saying that I was pioneering women being able to have sexual health and wellness with adult toys for black women, because they were like, “It’s so taboo.” But I don’t think it’s necessarily marketed differently. I don’t think before Bedroom Kandi no one even marketed anything as far as a sexual product to black women, period. And we don’t market it to black women, it’s just that I’m black and a lot more women of color have taken notice.
The reason why I wanted to do Bedroom Kandi, is because I wanted to make a product that you don’t have to see a porn star on the box. So I wanted to have products that did not look like it was a toy and women in general can feel comfortable having and not be scared that somebody is gonna see her with it or feel ashamed about it. And that was the main thing for women, because a lot of times people look at adult toys and be like, “Eww, that’s nasty.” And it’s like, no, there’s nothing nasty about knowing how to please yourself or knowing how to make the bedroom better for you as a couple. It’s not just about being freaky. And I think people have put this whole shadow over being able to feel free and please yourself. And it shouldn’t be like that.
What do you think is attributed to the stigma in the black community? Do you feel black women’s sexuality is more policed in America?
K.B.: I heard so many things ...the black community has always been very hush-hush about things, period. That’s just like, one minute it’s the whole church thing. A lot of times people feel like, “Oh, you don’t do that. You don’t do this.” That’s why when people talk about the whole “down low” thing being so big in the black community, and that’s because people are so afraid to talk about sex and be open and honest about their feelings. What they like. What they don’t like. It’s always about, “We don’t do that” or, “We have this image to uphold,” and, “That’s not something black people do.”
So anytime it comes to sex, I’ve heard people say, “People have always oversexualized black people, so that’s something that we’re supposed to try to make private,” and keep up this crazy image that we’re just above and beyond when it comes to talking about sex. Whereas just as people in general, we should be able to have the open and honest conversation about sex and the knowledge of sexual health, wellness, all of those things combined so that you won’t have people out here afraid to ask questions. And that’s when it comes to sex toys, anything to do with STDs, about their sexuality, anything. It’s always hush-hush in the black community and it shouldn’t be.
This post has been edited for clarity and length.