We fear things that we don't understand, especially when we're not aware why we fear them.
For most of my life, I had a fear of my sexuality and had no idea that I did. It was all I knew. It was never told to me directly to fear sex, but rather learning and accepting the behaviors and attitudes of others which were giggles, faces of disgust and stiffened up bodies from the tension and discomfort of having heard the word SEX.
Fearing sexuality seems like a normal thing, especially growing up Latinx. I remember my "Bolita" telling me to cerrar mis piernas whenever I wore a skirt or dress. I respected my grandma and never thought to question her as to why, so I just did it. Little did I know, I was being taught to have shame about what was between my legs.
I know that her intentions were por mi bien, but that internalized shame was carried all throughout most of my life and as a result, I had to learn the truth about my sexuality through my own experiences, which were far from easy. Many of them were physically and psychologically traumatic.
I grew up as a non-practicing Catholic, rezando only before and after eating and before going to bed, then later becoming involved in a Christian church that further deepened my fear around sex. I remember being 14 years old and crying in bed because I was aroused and praying that God would take my urge to masturbate away.
I had so much guilt and saw myself as wrong, bad, evil, sucia for feeling turned on and thinking about sex. I knew these feelings were going to be responsible for me going to el infierno.
There's an embedded shame around sex for most people in the United States, but it seems that we have an added layer of it in our cultura.
We tend to think that sexual liberation is a gringo or Americano thing and that they should have vergüenza for being so open around it.
Why do we judge and view sexual expression as a white thing?
The answer isn't simple, but I invite you to look at our history of being colonized.
What better way to accomplish an imperialistic mission than to force the indoctrination of distorted religious beliefs upon a group of people who are in tune with nature to believe in a conditional and unmerciful God, who damns you to hell for what you do with your body?
Have you ever noticed that almost every attack made by a religious group shown in the media is about sex? (ie: birth control, abortion, homosexuality, etc.)
This isn't a coincidence here.
Fear of sex is a control of the psyche and the physical, which is why it is so effective. Religions are experts at it.
This is why I no longer call myself a Christian, Catolica or anything in between. It’s ironic that now that I read the bible, particularly the gospels, I understand the many teachings of Jesus and whether he was real or not, I aspire to be live a life like he did, which had nothing to do with religion.
This realization has freed me from so much from the shame of sex and the things I qent through around it and along with the sharing of my story, it has expedited my healing process.
It may be a long way for our culture to come to the realization of this, but it has become part of my mission to empoderar Latinx to see and respect sexuality for the amazing force that it is.
Our sexualidad is interwoven into ever aspect of our lives and only then can we have the lives that we desire and deserve to live, which is full of power, freedom and self-expression.