MEXICO: Women with Disabilities Assert Their Sexuality
These women don't care if they scandalize their mothers by wearing bright underwear and talking about sex.
“When did you inform your mother of your right to orgasm?” I asked a group of women over dinner last September at the International Forum for Disability Prevention in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. During the forum’s cultural program, we watched and discussed two movies.
The first, Ocular Music, was a beautiful film in Mexican sign language. It is hard enough to portray the deaf as people with regular lives, but this film dared to include a deaf gay character. Some people in the audience did not approve and openly talked about its unsuitability for children and “decent” people, though the film does not have any nudity or characters talking explicitly about sex.
The second movie, The Sessions, centered on a man with limited mobility who wants to explore his sexuality. At the beginning of the film there were about 200 people in the audience. By the time the movie was over only a few brave souls remained to discuss such a provocative topic. “Don’t the disabled also have innate sexuality?” they asked. “Why are the disabled seen as asexual?”
The next night, some of us shared with each other stories of how our own mothers have encouraged us to ignore our sexual nature.
While listening to Argentinian musician Andrés Calamaro sing out on her computer, “I’m the boss of your most urgent part, I’m the crafter of your most human part, and I´m the commander of your front part,” Estela started singing along and dancing with her wheelchair before her mortified mother’s eyes. In listening to this explicit song, Estela discovered her sexual being, but her mother warned her sternly, “A decent single lady would never sing such a song, and you have no clue what it means.” From then on, Estela was not allowed to go on dates without a chaperone or buy any colorful undergarments.
For Paola’s mother, the recognition of her daughter’s sexuality came in a noisy way even though Paola is deaf. Her mother was supposed to be at work all night. Paola smiled and her whole body talked while recalling the anecdote. Her mother thought somebody was robbing the house and hurting her. After all, Paola was making noises her mother had never heard before. Fortunately, Paola was not being robbed; she was reaching an orgasm and could not have been better. Her mother was upset as hell and has never worked night shifts again.
After hearing these stories, Vilma sighed and quoted a congresswoman who had recently declared that people who cannot see each other while making love should be banned from marrying. It had been hard enough for Vilma to deal with her mother complaining about her new role as a single mother, but now even female politicians were meddling in her privacy. She asked, “What is next? Will they put me in jail because I’m breastfeeding my baby and cannot see her tiny mouth?”
As for me, I talked with my mom openly about my sexual rights for the first time a few weeks ago. She told me, “Of course, talk about it as much as you want, but don’t say ‘orgasm!’ Oh dear, what a profane word!” I bet a lot of Mexican moms would rather hear their daughters cursing than talking about their sexuality. After this talk, her view of me may have changed, but it did not make me less of a woman in her eyes—just one who wants and deserves all her rights to be enjoyed and guaranteed. Even if one of those rights is the right to the irreverent orgasm.
If we Mexican women had the guts to touch ourselves as a preventive measure, we probably would not see the high rates of breast and cervical cancer that we currently do in Mexico. We must encourage the coming generations of women to assert their sexuality and safeguard their well-being; we need more Estelas, Paolas, Vilmas, and Klaudias singing spicy songs, wearing bright underwear, screaming with pleasure even if they cannot hear themselves, and making love even if they cannot see their partners’ eyes.
Of course, rights come with responsibilities. So Mexican moms, instead of denying your daughters the right to orgasm, teach us to take it on with full responsibility! My mom has done so. Will you?