Latina Sexuality: Has Our Culture Limited Our Sexual Growth?

Once upon a time, not too long ago World Atlas declared the Latino community one of the largest ethnic minority groups in the United States. According to their 2015 census, Hispanics make up approximately 17% of the country.

Similar to most minority cultures in this country, the Latino community became portrayed by the media in a whirlwind of inaccurate stereotypes.

The most pivotal myth of them all being in reference to a Latina’s exaggerated sexuality.

Whether you identify as a Latina or are a consumer of our television, music, and film, it is not odd to deem some of these myths inaccurate depictions of a Latina’s sexual tendencies. My question to you is: Is the media the only factor at fault for this perception?

Could it be a result of our culture and its limited explanations of our sexual growth?

Quoted from Sandra Guzman’s book The Latina’s Bible The Modern Latina’s Guide to Love, Spirituality, Family and La Vida,

“For a long time, the only thing standing between me and an orgasm was God”

Latina author, Sandra Guzman hits the nail right on it’s head when she states, “Latinas suffer from a ‘Dios en la Cama’ (God in the Bed) complex.”

Throughout my childhood and most of my adolescence, I was raised under a very religious and virtuous environment.

Although I never considered myself religious, my culture has always had a reputation of carrying out religious and cultural taboos that (to no knowledge of their own) ultimately downplay the desires in the bedroom.

This complex is passed down generations and then reinforced in our churches, novelas, and our communities.

Eventually these small deposits of moral code cause a psychological barrier as we begin to explore, learn, and enjoy the many levels of our sexuality.

For those Latinas who lacked religious fervor the indoctrinated lessons were no less enforced because the complex does not necessarily demand religion and its traditions, its only requirement is to impose guilt on sexual curiosity.

You see, in a Latina household sex and sexuality are not openly discussed.

Jane Delgado, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health states that, “according to new figures from the Centers for Disease control, teen birth among Hispanics is stubbornly high.”

When asked why does she think this statistics consistently remain the same, despite education classes offered across the country, she added, “Well as far as teachers, there is very little discussion.

“There’s definitely more discussion of our Catholicism that we were raised with by our grandparents then sex education classes. Many times it is also biological.”

As we develop curves, become more exposed to media and of course rely on other women to discuss “doing it”, we soon come to realize that the amount of shame we’ve been feeling is none other than an illusion placed on behalf of our families and culture.

There is, however, a silver lining to this realization. Subsequently, we also finally come to understand why they oversee our sexual growth – to protect us.

If our sexual growth would be left up to us at the early stages of our adolescence, we would  probably follow suit to what is displayed on media.

Now this is not to say that Latina women do not have a healthy and satisfying sex life, but the fear of judgement for eventually wanting to become deflowered causes much frustration – and to some, the urge to explode into sexual extremes, i.e. sleeping with anyone who breaths.

It becomes so embedded in our behaviors that no amount of sex education classes, uncensored movies or hot dog metaphors can undo the sexual hesitation easily.

Hence, even if Latinas do have a reputation of being hot in bed, there is no saving us from the much needed lesson that our sexuality is natural – and that only comes with open discussion.

I hope we end the silence in our communities and invoke open discussion on a well balanced sexual lifestyle that allows phrases like, “cierra las pernas”; translation, “close your legs” to become more of public courtesy on the subway as opposed to a lesson on how we as young Latina women should approach sex.

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Chrisalys DeJesus

A progressive, entrepreneurial blogger and enthused activist of human rights’, devoted to finding a healthy balance between self-care and the social growth of others.