When We Were Young and Promiscuous

Irina Pino

In my youth.
In my youth.

HAVANA TIMES — Having casual relationships is something you do when you’re growing up, without fear of getting STDs. When I was young, I was promiscuous, like a lot of my friends. We had sex on stairways, in parks, on rooftops, in rooms they used to lend us…

The adventure of getting to know people, trying out new experiences, like smoking the kind of cigarettes that have you in stitches of laughter, walking the streets in the early morning, slightly drunk, these were all ways we could have fun in the ’80s.

We used to organize parties quite regularly. Somebody offered their house, another person was in charge of the music and together we bought something to drink. We could be up all night until dawn, talking on the Malecon, on the block, there were hardly any attacks on the streets at that time, and it was a safe environment. We were poor and happy, hypocrisy and double standards still weren’t a part of our world.

However, that happiness couldn’t last very long… soon, everything changed: Police raids began searching out gay people at the Casa del Te, on G and 23rd Streets in Vedado. Meanwhile, people were being caught and taken prisoner at Coppelia.

Luckily, I was never present when these things used to happen.  They caught some of my gay friends on more than one occasion and put them in the patera, which was what we used to call the jail facility they were taken. Gay and lesbian people could be held prisoner for hours or days on end. Families were greatly affected by this as many found out their son was homosexual in this way. Rejection, fear and exclusion were all incited.

Some jineteras from my neighborhood were taken to a house far from the city, which in reality was a detention center. Then they let them go with a warning.

The Arte-Calle art project, which was made up of alternative artists who used to paint on 23rd Street, was suppressed.

In Chivirico, Santiago de Cuba
In Chivirico, Santiago de Cuba

I was called in by a nurse at my health clinic to go and have some blood work done, which included a test for AIDs. I was very frightened because at that time they used to take people to the sanitarium in Los Cocos and wouldn’t let them go outside, as a measure to prevent the disease spreading.

My gay friend was also called to do these blood tests. I have to confess, those were terrifying days, afraid that they would come to get us, but they didn’t. After a few weeks, we picked up the courage to go and get our results, they were negative.

I had a boyfriend once who was stopped at the entrance to the Habana Libre Hotel, when Cubans weren’t even able to sneak a peek at the hotel lobby. They took him to the police station and forced him to strip down to his underwear. He experienced psychological coercion, of course. The incident has since traumatized him about anything to do with the police.

These were sad events in the past that changed our lives and our way of thinking. We’ll never be able to feel as free as we felt before.



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.

Irina Pino has 273 posts and counting. See all posts by Irina Pino

31 thoughts on “When We Were Young and Promiscuous

  • As Gordon is a supporter of the Castro regime, you may expect the “odd statement”.

  • Why do your children have sex?

  • You are a tourist, you forget my home is in Cuba. You are certainly correct Dan in telling CErmle that if he picks up my book he will learn about the real Cuba. I take care to translate when using any words in Spanish as you have obviously noted and I hope appreciated. Thanks for the promo!

  • What an odd statement!!!!

  • Typical Trumpite reply. Obviously you have no understanding whatsover of Democratic Socialism.

  • Yes indeed, CErmie, forget about Lillian Guerra, Ann Bardach, Tad Szulc, Jane Franklin,Marc Frank, ect, ect. If you want to know the real Cuba pick up the book by the undisputed Cuba expert, Carlyle Mcduff, tourist extraordinaire. Be forewarned though. You’ll need substantial Spanish skills and background to get through it b/c it’s peppered with esoteric terms like “Socialismo”.

  • Tommy Douglas would shudder at the thought of being considered similar in any way to you, for he was gifted with intelligence and concern for others.

  • My Cuban – Canadian children are not allowed to have sex for fun – Si !!!

  • I doubt it, they aren’t hard-core enough. I’ve interacted with a few people on the old Green Screen that I was positive were working for the US govt. They were much more over the top.

    I just think Moses and Carlyle have very strong opinions on the matter that you and I don’t happen to share. And that’s OK. It’s good to have forums like this where we can understand other people’s perspective.

  • Simply Google “Carlyle MacDuff” and it will take you to the bookstore that sells it.

  • I have provided the title of my book in these pages. You can find it on the web.

  • I don’t think you should take the risk! – of thinking!

  • I have not said one word about the “Castro family regime” or communism. You are so paranoid. You see things and hear things that are not there. By the way, who is this “Castro family regime”…two old men who are loved and admired by their people?

  • Have you ever wondered who they really represent, or if they might be “agents” of something or other? Just thinkin’ out loud.

  • Nice try. You skirted around that one like a real Donald Trumpite would. Same attitude. Absolutely I express my opinions to the US authorities. I am not a counter revolutionary. Neither am I a “communist”, and for that matter not a Trumpite either. I am a Democratic Socialist in the tradition of Tommy Douglas, Michael Harrington, Norman Thomas and Bernie Sanders. I don’t hide my ideology, and I certainly do think for myself. I think it’s a shame that you live in a country and work secretly against The People and their Revolution, pretending otherwise. Don’t you ever feel like a hypocrite? Just askin’.

    What is the title of your “book”, and where can it be acquired?

  • CErmle, I live in Cuba part time. You have never visited Cuba.

    You are so completely out-to-lunch regarding anything and everything in Cuba that it’s laughable.

    But thanks for the chuckles!

  • I am indeed antagonist to anything and anyone who apologizes for the failed Castro dictatorship. “World view” is a stretch but I agree my zeal for democracy and freedom for Cuba can be overpowering.

  • Rejected? Haha. They risk their lives in shark infested waters to escape Cuba. That speaks volumes!

  • Eden, You need to spend some time in Cuba and learn the values of the Revolution, not just parrot the capitalist roader line. The decadence of the capitalist society is well known, and rejected by the New Socialist Era.

  • ‘Vile’ names?

  • They only need to read my book! Do it!
    Have you made a personal visit to the US authorities to express your views directly to them? Why not?
    Your lack of comprehension about the political oppression in Cuba only serves to emphasize ignorance of the reality. You merely exploit the freedoms which the democratic world accepts as normal but wish to promote the communist ideology. Obviously you find being part of the “mass” easier than thinking for yourself as an individual.

  • Rich is right. Carlyle and Moses are frequently antagonistic to anyone that has a broader perspective than they do. If you relay any experience that does entirely line up to their world view, you are automatically accused of being all the way on the other side. It does not make for a productive discussion.

  • To many of us, Cuba, the country, people, and culture have many facets. Some are good, some are bad. But to you, anything having to do with Cuba is only an opportunity for you to again express your dislike of the Castros and the political system. Consider that you have turned Irina Pino’s post about her youthful sexual habits into a political one. Then anyone who will not jump on your bandwagon is a flag waving supporter of the Castros.

  • Since you claim (?) to live in Cuba, I would urge you to pay a personal visit to the authorities and tell them what you really think. Do it.

  • Please consider that tyrannical regimes like the Castros don’t need your flag waving support in order to survive. Evil, in general, only needs indifference. When I criticize, I don’t assume that the commenter “supports” the Castro dictatorship. But anything less than full- blooded opposition only serves to allow the regime to continue.

  • Carlyle, calling people you don’t know vile names and assuming they “support” Castro and communism if they remotely disagree with you is a tactic you and Moses need to at least embellish if not replace entirely.

  • I wonder if Irina see her youthful life experiences as any different from the majority of those in her generation.

    I also wonder if she believes that her youthful life experiences were part of what made her who she is today. I get the impression that she is pretty happy with the person she has become. So I wonder if she would change anything she did in her past in that mythical world where such was possible.

  • CErmle, READ THE ARTICLE! Haha… You’re such an old, tired nutjob….

  • What article are you reading? Irina sounds like she had fun. While I agree with you that what she experienced happens all over the world, I don’t agree that it is any worse in capitalist countries. Whatever worse means.

  • Hope you noted CErmle that “Cubans weren’t even able to sneak a look at the hotel lobby.” You obviously from your constant support of the Castro family regime and communism, think that this type of restriction is appropriate for Cubans.
    Would it be appropriate for you?

  • You appear to have had a very unhappy life due to your own choices. Your story is sad, but the same is repeated all over the world. It’s even worse in the capitalist countries. I hope you now have your life in good order.

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