National Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15 to October 15, celebrates the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic Americans. There are many significant days in the month when Latin American countries celebrate their independence, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile. To talk about her experience with her heritage, Pure Romance’s own Pia Briones wrote about the changes she sees happening that will brighten the future of Hispanic Heritage.

Hispanic Heritage. What does it truly mean? To most of us, it means a heritage that has richness in family, culture, cooking, music, traditions, and – taboos.

Most of the women that have grown up in Latin America or in a Hispanic household know there are certain topics that can be spoken about openly in the family and those that are never brought to the table. In some Latin American countries, girls are raised to not have any male friends, even as kids. Yes, it’s sad, but it’s true for some of them. They can only be with brothers, cousins, and family, but no other male friend. It’s crazy to think that the idea of machismo starts when girls are little. It’s even crazier that this may be one of the reasons why speaking openly about our bodies, sexual functions, and the natural beauty of the reproductive system are buried in the dust.

Instead of empowered with education and confident in our abilities to explore our sexuality, we go out into the world without a hint of knowledge about our bodies. We are “designed” to just obey. Be a good mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and wife. Being a wife sounds funny to me, as our aunts and grandmas and even moms are all raising us to become good mothers and wives. We spend our time mastering our cooking, dancing, and caring skills. But how do we become a good wife if we didn’t have resources in our child, teen, and adult years about our bodies, our sexual desires, and needs? In Hispanic culture, that question is supposed to stay open-ended forever.

We are here today taking the beauty and richness of our Hispanic Heritage and contributing in a positive way that impacts not only ourselves, but the next Hispanic generations. We must keep talking openly and freely about sexual taboos within our families. By speaking up, we are not only empowering our minds and souls, but also helping connect other women with their partners, their kids, and other family members. Somehow, those taboos have some of us living in the dust of “I can’t.” I “can’t” say this, I “can’t” do that, I “can’t” be me!

Thankfully, this generation is standing up to not only keep alive Hispanic Heritage but also make it better by adding the flavors of acceptance, freedom, and inclusivity for the common good. Women are making sure that our voices, dreams, and desires are being heard and seen. Even though we came from a past that has a lot of taboos and misinterpretations of natural and normal things, we don’t quit. We work harder, we love more, and we become resilient. We really show what we are made of by being our strongest, best self. At home we are the hot and spicy “mamacitas” with our partners, but we are also the bosses, and the sweet, fun, and caring moms. We changed what we used to be and removed those misconceptions from our minds and souls. We no longer accept feeling uncomfortable with “sex talk.” We no longer just take care of the kids at home without feeling professionally satisfied and productive. We are changing views on how we talk, ask, and deliver our sexual needs and desires. We are not taking “no” for an answer.

That, my friends, is the true power of the Hispanic Heritage.