Being sexy was thrust upon me around twelve. I wasn’t fully formed, my face was still round, but it was the first time I remember distinctly getting catcalled in a street. Even more mortifying was the fact that I was walking beside my mother. I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened or what was said, I just knew I felt uncomfortable and violated. For the first time, I was made self aware about how I look to other people. I not only became aware, I became self-conscious.

By the time I was fifteen, I was aware of the lingering looks but was still oblivious to how I was truly unfolding under the male gaze. I was awkward and it was obvious that I had no awareness of beauty or a full understanding of sexuality at that point. I looked eighteen, and that resulted in cat calls from men who were well over twenty.

I am not here for you. My open talk of sex is not here for you.

It’s only now, at twenty-four years old, that I have been able to dismiss the male gaze as a thermometer for how I feel about myself on a given day.

I own my sexuality  —  every taste of it.

I own what (or who) I want to do, why, and how. I openly talk about sex with friends, give them advice, and read tips online as to how to give a great blowjob (to be fair, I no longer need them). I rally with women who fight against the term slut, and support the choices of my peers when it comes to sex.

“But Rebecca!” you might object. “Aren’t you just fulfilling the stereotype that all Latinas are great in bed?”

The answer is no.

Being sexy was thrust upon me around twelve years old.

Stereotypes are inherently negative.

The stereotype surrounding Latinas is that we’re hot, exotic lovers from another land, portrayed as friendly and with arms and legs wide open for a night of passionate bliss. This stereotype isn’t saying that we’re owning our sexuality for our benefit, or to understand it, or because we’re smart and open-minded people.

It brings us down to the most basic form and says we’re only good for service, and our whole lives are fulfilled by those moments.

The media portrays Latinas as loud, “spicy,” and sexual. The media doesn’t say we are outspoken, beautiful, and sexually confident. It doesn’t show successful Latinas, or anyone outside of the trope that we’re there for support.

It doesn’t lift us to believe we can be more, or can talk about anything other than that week’s hot take.

It doesn’t give us the confidence to become the lead role; we are always a mistress or a nanny. There are no confident women portrayed that put sexuality in a positive light.

Even Gloria in Modern Family is resented for her beauty and her marriage to a much older man.

‘Oh, you’re a Latinx woman? You must love having sex with men.’

Through the permeation of this stereotype, Latinas who don’t identify as straight are completely disregarded,  including their sexuality, their lives, and what they want to do with both. Oh, you’re a Latina woman? You must love having sex with men.

Not only is that hurtful thinking, it ignores a huge audience of Latinas and sets them aside for cis women who are used as props for sexual exploration.

I am not here for you.

My open talk of sex is not here for you.

I am not here to fulfill the decades-old stereotype of the slutty Latina, the best friend with juicy gossip, or the woman tempting your husband with seductive curves. I am not the spicy Latina to serve you looks and ass, and I am not here for your ideology of what I should be.

I am here to talk about sex without apologizing for it.

I’m not sorry, and I’ll say it again — I am not sorry for owning my sexuality, or for expressing it.

I’m not sorry for being open about my needs and wants, and I’m not sorry for wanting to discuss healthy sex and relationships as a daily topic.

  • Rebecca Carvalho is a New Jersey born and raised writer and marketing coordinator. She writes everything with a ton of brutal honesty and a touch humor. When Rebecca isn't writing, she's trying new cuisine or checking out her favorite band while enjoying a craft beer.