The Argonaut – Latinx Heritage Month explores sexual health and relationships
Addressing the importance of consent and respect in sexual relationships, Yarit Rodriguez spoke on Tuesday with students from Latinx University in Idaho. The event was hosted by the IU Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Women’s Center and the College’s Migrant Assistance Program, aligning with Latinx Heritage Month.
Rodriguez has several years of experience working with non-profit organizations which has allowed them to interact and help Latinx and LBGTQ + people.
Under the title “Los Que Tus Padres No Te Dijeron” or the rough translation of “What Your Parents Did Not Tell You,” Rodriguez’s lecture is taken from personal experience.
â€œI never had these conversations with my family,â€ Rodriguez said.
When it comes to sexual health and the more in-depth discussion of intimacy, that was non-existent at home.
â€œMy mom told me about credit before she talked to me about sexual health or relationships,â€ Rodriguez said.
When they were younger, Rodriguez felt uncomfortable saying the word “sexual”.
Now, they’ve learned more and kept an open dialogue going, giving advice on what a healthy relationship looks like.
While leading group discussions and addressing individuals’ relationship issues, Rodriguez noted a worrying but common pattern.
â€œA lot of times people say ‘my partner didn’t respect my limits’,â€ Rodriguez said. “When we’re in relationships, especially romantic, we think we owe them something.”
It served as a reminder to participants: you can say no.
â€œThere are more people out there who will take care of yourself and will respects you, â€Rodriguez said.
When dealing with a friend in a toxic or dangerous relationship, Rodriguez recommends not being negative towards your partner.
â€œIt can cause them to shut down,â€ Rodriguez said.
Instead, offering support and talking less directly, in a private setting, lets the person know they have a place to go if they ever need it.
Rodriguez emphasized having an open dialogue with partners, discussing limits and safety before having sex.
â€œIf you’re going to be sharing an intimate space like this, it shouldn’t be an awkward conversation,â€ they said.
Although sexually transmitted infections can be associated with sleeping with multiple partners, even those in a relationship should continue to be tested for STIs regularly. The reality is that most people who are infected don’t have any symptoms and can have one for years without knowing it, according to Planned Parenthood.
Abstinence is a choice Rodriguez also validated, as someone shouldn’t feel pressured until they’re ready.
In the discussion of consent, Rodriguez described it as an agreement that can change, whether in a sexual context or otherwise.
â€œYou never know people and their level of comfort,â€ Rodriguez said. â€œNo one should feel like they can’t speak for themselves. “
Watching body language, checking in, and being present enough to read your partner are all part of the practice of consent. Healthy boundaries are also important in relationships, romantic or otherwise.
â€œExpressing if you are disrespectful is not a bad thing,â€ Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has heard negative reviews from friends about the way they dress. On the days when they dressed more feminine, rude comments followed. It took a while for them to realize that the people closest to them shouldn’t be the ones making these comments.
In order to deal with past trauma and current issues, Rodriguez spoke about the importance of therapy, even when it is looked down upon.
Rodriguez must have familiarized himself with his therapist and familiarized himself with the typical flow of a session. They reached out and looked for a therapist who could speak Spanish, something they felt was necessary to properly express emotions. This process is something Rodriguez has found useful.
â€œIt’s there to be used as a tool,â€ Rodriguez said. â€œGoing to therapy and talking about it really helps. I feel lighter afterwards.
Haadiya Tariq can be reached at [emailÂ protected] or on Twitter @haadiyatariq