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This Is How Growing Up Catholic Made Obsessed With Having Sex Despite Believing It Would Destroy My Soul

When you spend your entire childhood growing up under the roof of a Catholic family you pick up a few quirks and phobias.

I became glaringly aware of the fact that temptations loomed everywhere. Things like drugs, death, and bodily functions both scared and deeply intrigued me. Mostly because my teachers and family taught me that these topics could quickly morph into “vices” or obsessions. Ones, that by Catholic teachings, could threaten your soul and pull you into the fiery pits of hell.

Growing up, my main “sinful” obsession was with virginity.

That ultimately drove me to become lowkey thirsty for info on the ins and outs of sex.

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Of course, I had some theories on how it worked. Kissing while naked, showering with someone, and doing what looked like cartwheels in bed were just a few.

For a while “losing” it was one of my biggest concerns.

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According to my very Catholic teachers, anything could be a threat to losing your virginity. Boys, kissing, music, bicycles. You name it, it was coming to pop your cherry.

And I constantly looked up words I thought were “dirty.”

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Actually, my first forms of porn came straight from Webster’s Dictionary because #pureimagination.

By the time I got to high school my confusion and interest in sex only EXPLODED.

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I was completely torn between my Catholic guilt and burning curiosity. I really wanted to try doing what everyone else was apparently doing, but I also didn’t want to meet el diablo.

Then I learned my friends were starting to do it and I was all like…

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And then I saw that they were all still coming to school the next day, not possessed by the devil or suffering from a soul that’s turned dark.

So I started to want a boyfriend, which of course my parents quickly shot down.

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And because boyfriends were SINFUL and I probably couldn’t have gotten one anyway (puberty was not kind to me), I tried to find other options.

I started doing a little “self-exploration.”

It wasn’t long before I learned that this too was a big fat Catholic no-no, and there were a TON of supposed repercussions for it, like blindness and going to hell.

But like a pecaminoso addict, once I started I couldn’t stop, and the fear and guilt came crashing in.

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I swore I was getting hairier –  a cruel punishment for someone who already suffered from intense fuzziness. According to the Cuban Catholic legends I’d heard, God worked in creatively mysterious ways, so growing hair was entirely possible.

So I stopped, and started, and stopped, and started, again and again and again.

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And each time I threw in a few Hail Marys. Just in case.

Eventually I realized that no matter how much I did it, El Coco still hadn’t come for me.

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Sure I was hairy AF, but it was probably just genetics. Plus, it wasn’t anything that a little shave session couldn’t fix.

Which meant that eventually I determined it’d be A-okay to give the old deed a go.

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And that is the story of how a little Católica came to understand that touching herself and having sex didn’t equal eternal damnation. Yay!


Read: Every Year For Nochebuena, My Twin Brother Gets To Go Golfing While I’m Forced To Play Cinderella And Help Make The Lechon, Here’s Why

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You Will Cry Tears Of Joy When You See This Abuela Doing a Mariachi Howl After Getting Surprised On Her 93rd Birthday

fierce

You Will Cry Tears Of Joy When You See This Abuela Doing a Mariachi Howl After Getting Surprised On Her 93rd Birthday

Abuelas are the best. They’re wise, fierce, cranky, and, if you’re lucky, they are so loving. That is why it’s so important to pay them the respect they’ve earned, while also celebrating their incredible life. People should honor their grandparents each year as if it’s their last — and in a way that they’d love.

That’s exactly what one family did for their grandmother.

A family in Arizona surprised their 93-year-old abuela on her birthday and holy hell was it sweet.

Twitter/Twitter/@Bracamonteee21

As soon as nana opened the door, her family started playing mariachi music, and she loved it! We have no idea how many people were in that house, but by the sounds of it, there was a lot. Her stunned face clearly showed she had no idea a birthday party in her honor would be behind the door.

The coolest part is seeing this cute abuelita do a mariachi howl.

Twitter/@Bracamonteee21

She seemed so ecstatic not only to be celebrating her birthday with her family, but also to be celebrating herself. Reaching that 93rd year is an incredible accomplishment and you can tell she was happy for herself.

The tweet — posted by @Bracamonteee21 — has since gone viral and has been retweeted more than 30,000 times.

“Thank you all for your kind words ???????? I’ll be going over to my nana house today to show her ❤️????,” @Bracamonteee21 tweeted. Although the family celebrated their nana’s birthday on March 25, today is actually her birthday. @Bracamonteee21 tweeted today: “Lunch with nana for her birthday ????❤️.”

Here’s some of peoples reaction to this heartwarming video.

She was so happy!

We live for these kinds of tweets.

If we’re not crying happy tears, then what’s the point?

We must see how they celebrate her 94th birthday.

She is everyone’s nana now.

The afterlife should feel like this kind of party.

We can only hope.

READ: The Bachelorette Learned That Latina Suegras Don’t Mess Around

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This Puerto Rican Illustrator Uses Art To Explore Her Sexuality

Fierce Boss Ladies

This Puerto Rican Illustrator Uses Art To Explore Her Sexuality

Art has the power to shift culture, and in Puerto Rico, a young illustrator is using it to help demystify female sexuality in a society where it’s largely still seen as taboo.

For the last four years, Guanina Cotto has used art as a way to explore her own sexuality, drawing erotic moments she has experienced to better understand what she likes and doesn’t like.

“It’s a tool to get to know myself,” Cotto, 25, told FIERCE. “It’s like writing for some people. For me, it’s like having a visual journal, where I draw ideas, what I’m feeling, new things I’ve explored and using it to learn about myself.”

Using Instagram as her visual diary, Cotto’s illustrations, which depict her lounging naked on a hammock, masturbating in bed, kissing other women or engaging in sexual practices with men, caught attention beyond her eyes. With more than 5 thousand followers, it’s become a site to challenge machista standards of female sexuality, gender expectations and heteronormativity on an island where public education teaches students sex is to be engaged in after marriage and where women are shamed, sometimes attacked, for daring to display their bare or scantily-dressed bodies.

The Isabela-based artist welcomes the attention her self-described “biographic soft erotic” illustrations have received, believing her portrayals could make people more comfortable seeing sexually liberated women in real life.

“My art is a way of normalizing sexuality,” she said. “Art exposes and stimulates people in many ways. I think the more people see the naked body, the more normal it will become.”

The process of normalizing an aspect of humanity that remains hush-hush, particularly in rural western municipalities like the one she lives in, comes with strains, however. In 2015, for instance, Collectivo Moriviví, a young women’s art collective based in the island’s metropolitan area, painted an anti-domestic violence mural that showed full-figured nude Black women with their faces covered. Months later, the piece, displayed in San Juan’s art district of Santurce, was defaced, with vandals drawing undergarments on the women’s bodies. For Cotto, whose work lives online, backlash to her art exists in reports to Instagram for explicit sexual content, a reprisal she says has become less frequent over the years.

Through normalizing female sexual autonomy and pleasure, Cotto believes it could help generations unlearn messages they were taught about their bodies, consent and relationships in school, through church and in their families.

She knows firsthand how detrimental these lessons on female morality and respectability are for young women trying to make sense of their desires. Growing up, Cotto attended a religious school, where educational instruction, and home lessons from her grandmother, taught her that premarital sex and self-pleasure were sins. While the artist does have a mother, who she describes as a feminist, that told her that she is in control of her body, the mixed messages impacted her connection with her body and sexuality and, as a result, her future romantic relationships.

“I grew up scared, scared of my own feelings and wants,” she said. “We grow up not knowing our own bodies and that we are capable of experiencing pleasure, too. They teach us that sex is something done to us, not for us to enjoy. We become objects, as if being beautiful and desirable is the most important thing to be.”

That fear and unfamiliarity of what healthy, respectful relationships look like, she shares, previously kept her tied to former lovers who wanted to control the way she dressed and acted in public. She believes women are less likely to stay in situations where they aren’t valued and respected if they are taught earlier in their lives that they have autonomy over their bodies.

“When we learn sexuality isn’t shameful, we can establish healthy boundaries and be more in tune with what makes us our true selves. We become empowered,” she said.

While Cotto views her art as personal, she also believes it, and others like it, have the power to allow women to feel comfortable in their bodies, own their sexuality and demand pleasure and respect. Her illustrations, which, in addition to presenting women engaging in eroticism, also depict them participating in daily activities like lounging, drawing or breast-feeding their infants nude, is often the first time people see women represented through a female’s gaze.

“When I draw the naked body of a woman, it’s not always sexual. Oftentimes, it is, but not always. For me, it’s about normalizing the body, showing the beauty of women and what it looks like to be a free woman, through a female’s gaze,” she said.

Read: After Sex Shame Led To A Porn Addiction, This Latina Is Encouraging All Women To Unlearn Ideas That Sexuality Is Dirty

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