Changing Times: On Sex in Cuba

Irina Pino

Cuban high school.  Photo: Juan Suárez

HAVANA TIMES — I’ve noticed that some of my previous articles dealing with the issue of sex have stirred up a number of debates and also a bit of mockery. I would therefore like to touch on this issue again. I imagine I’ll find other related topics of interest later, as this is a rich and multifaceted issue for discussion.

As a teen, I used to talk about sex with my close female friends. When our bodies began to change, we started showing each other our pubic hair and incipient breasts, without the least bit of embarrassment. We were simply curious about these transformations.

We would send the kids we liked love letters and hide with them in dark stairwells to pet one another and improvise our first kisses (our teeth would collide, for we didn’t know we could use our tongues while kissing).

Once, we found an anonymous letter left outside my house, describing the sexual act in the most profane manner. This made us want to find out more about sex. Concealed things tend to be attractive, and the forbidden makes us jump over walls. It also leads to many misfortunes. There is no worse prison than ignorance.

These were the experiences we kids had back then. Today, I am completely open with my fourteen-year-old son. I explain to him how “things” work, something which would have been considered taboo in my day. My parents were the first to refuse to talk about sexuality. Even today, whenever there’s a nude scene in a movie, they get up and stop watching it.

I ran into this kind of prudishness throughout my youth and was forced to discover the world of sexuality through other means, through books and information friends gave me. The rest I learned through the experiences I had with my different boyfriends.

I believe programs dealing with the issue of sexuality should be offered as part of junior high school education, so that kids who are experiencing hormonal changes do not have to find out about sex from others who can be just as ignorant about these matters as they are, so that they do not have to suffer the consequences of not knowing and do not make hasty decisions in this connection.

I speak to my son in a simple manner, without relying on scientific terminology or resorting to vulgar expressions – in a clear and direct fashion.

Because of this, I was not in the least surprised when, one day, he asked me the way to put on a condom. On another occasion, he spoke to me about some rather “hot” homemade videos that have been going around computers on the island, which a classmate had recently seen.

These things tell us that times have changed. Sex, however, remains the same, and we must learn how to channel our desires.


Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

13 thoughts on “Changing Times: On Sex in Cuba

  • February 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I tell my afro-Cuban sons as my parents told me to focus on the positive and be prepared for the negative. I don’t use negative circumstances as a excuse to limit ambition. If you wish to call this hallucinating, so be it.

  • February 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

    “Blacks can be whomever we choose to be….”
    Evidently a disproportionate number of young black men prefer to be tied in to the criminal justice system for doing the same crime that whites do. ( drugs)
    Blacks also choose to be disproportionately poor generation after generation .
    Blacks prefer to live clustered in the inner cities and there to be disproportionately unemployed, undereducated and brutalized. .
    Just what sort of hallucinogenic are you using ?
    You obviously did not read the preface to “some of my best friends….” or you would not have written what you did.

  • February 18, 2014 at 2:28 am

    Irina. You certainly do have a knack of somehow creating a shitstorm of discussion… And seems on this one not much of it is to do with your article…
    Keep up the good work…

  • February 18, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Wow man… you are seriously warped… Sorry for I will pass… I think that you have watched too many Adam Sandler movies… Grow up!

  • February 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    John, you missed the point. As a white guy, are you forced to choose who you must align yourself with? Blacks can be whomever we choose to be and still be “African-American”. I support both of these public figures on different issues and neither of them on others. In my community, MLK Jr. was most commonly referred to as Dr. King. My mother marched with him and many others in Selma. No one said “Jr.” when referring to Dr. King. Yet another example of you speaking outside your comfort zone. And FINALLY, did you really just write…”Some of my best friends?” Hahaha! Negro, and ‘Colored’ before that were before my time. I grew up and remain an African-American.

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