“Our identities inform our experiences with our body and with sex and sexuality,” Dalychia Saah from Afrosexology said. Coming from a predominately Mexican immigrant community, where Sundays were church days, I learned early on the importance of La Virgen de Guadalupe. La Virgen de Guadalupe is the goddess of all Latinamerica, she’s seen as the epitome of purity, love, healing, and grand. At an early age, I also learned that as a Mujer(woman) I am to be pure like her until marriage, and my womanhood is based on raising children and being a perfect wife. So, no one ever spoke about sex, relationships, or much less your body. Yet, we pushed marriage and childbirth at an early age, I remember hearing aunts uncles saying “ look at our cute babies they should be novios ( boyfriend and girlfriend).”
But if anyone found out that you were sexually active and had no monogamous partner, you were viewed as a puta (whore), because let’s face it, we all know those teenage couples that have been fucking since freshmen year yet, no one said anything. Our everyday behavior as young women was to be pure, therefore we couldn’t be out too late, we couldn’t wear revealing clothing, we had to be exceptional cooks, quiet submissive maids, and somehow when we arrived to our honeymoon we had to be porn stars. Let me tell you how EXHAUSTING that was, I was in a constant inner turmoil to a virgen but it seemed the putas were free and happy.
Then as a Latina in the states, I’m seen as “hot, spicy, loud, curvacious”, like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family, or Salma Hayek in any film, while there is nothing wrong with being sexy, or passionate what is extremely problematic is being viewed just as those adjectives. Growing up with these different extremes I was confused, was I supposed to be sexy or cover up and be a virgin? Who was I supposed to be? For whom? I chose to be “holy”, and push the sex until marriage narrative. Which was no surprise when I joined the Students Today Aren’t Ready For Sex or STARS, where I spoke to my younger peers about abstinence. I followed the rules for my family and community. Years later, one might think, time heals and forgets those white supremacist patriarchal norms that don’t benefit us? Nope, It actually took ten years to realize this. What I thought was my sexual liberation was drinking, getting high, and having one-night stands. But nowhere in that equation was I being pleased, I was waiting for others to please me, not realizing that I have to do this work.
At twenty-five, I bought my first vibrator, looked at my vulva, and explored my body. Now four years later, I know it is more than just having a dozen vibrators, taking pole classes( although that was helpful and essential) but what I really need is deconstructing my ideas around sexuality and expression. What good is it for me to buy all these sex toys and attend classes when I’m seeking male approval, the male gaze, or feeling ashamed when I would masturbate? It has been a whirlwind of emotions, lots of “aha” moments, and also understanding myself. As Audre Lorde said, “ If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” As I thought about this, I felt a need to have a destination of where I am with my identity and expression, this is just the beginning of my sexual liberation. I am currently being okay with the desire to date women, to be sexy for me, and yes my red lipstick is part of my armor against the patriarchy. Everything I do from what I wear to how I walk down the street is for me and against the ideas of what I grew up in, I’m intentional with my expression. Yes, I love and will forever pray to the Virgensita but I see her through a different lens than what I grew up with, I see her as the first mestiza(indigenous and european blood) like me a mixture of cultures, she defines herself, she heals herself and stands strong on this planet. So she is me, and I am her. I’m holy because I have boundaries, I am sexy because I love the skin I am in, and yes at times I am loud/passionate because I simply can be that. So who I’m I? A sexually liberated, queer, Chicana/Latina, who does not apologize for who she is.