Podcasters Say Sexual Health Is Taboo Among Latinx Communities Because of Machismo

Alex Gonzalez
From left: Devon Williams, Alex Barron, Dax Bennett and Ana Fuentes, at work on their podcast Beneath the Briefs.
Although casual hookups and encounters were strongly discouraged during the early stages of the pandemic, there’s never a bad time for sex education, especially as things, er, loosen up. Last year, a group of behavior intervention specialists from the Prism Health North Texas organization launched a sexual health and wellness podcast, appropriately titled Beneath the Briefs. In its first season, the podcast covered an array of topics including oral sex, contraception, STD testing and a seven-episode series about the stigma of HIV.

In the podcast’s second season, which premiered this past June, the group continues to touch on topics like ghosting, sexual chemistry and lasting longer in bed. With the premiere of the second season of Beneath the Briefs comes its Spanish companion broadcast, A Calzon Quitado.

“There's a lot of stigma around the topics that we talk about,” says host Ana Fuentes, “like sexual health and sexuality. So we really want to touch on those topics that people don't really have the opportunity to learn somewhere else, and we want to be that opportunity for them to learn and grow and ask questions.”

When Fuentes launched Beneath the Briefs last year, she co-hosted with Prism Health’s marketing coordinator Tri Truong. She also enlisted her behavior intervention specialist colleagues Alex Barron, Dax Bennett and Devon Williams to guest on a few episodes before making them co-hosts on Beneath the Briefs’ second season, as well as A Calzon Quitado.

From the beginning, Fuentes intended on eventually launching a Spanish version of the podcast, and with A Calzon Quitado, she and Barron talk about things that tend to be taboo in Latinx communities. By sharing a platform to discuss topics such as sex toys, bisexuality, open relationships and more, the two hope to reach a community that often faces more barriers when it comes to discussing such matters.

“There's a lot of stigma around [these issues], and I think there is a lot more of it in the Spanish speaking community." – Alex Barron

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“There's a lot of stigma around [these issues], and I think there is a lot more of it in the Spanish-speaking community,” says Barron. “So I think it's a great way of bringing that education to our community.”

A recurring word that comes up on A Calzon Quitado is “machismo,” which both Fuentes and Barron say is the root of much of the sex-related stigma within the Latinx community. Both of them hope to help the Spanish-speaking community become aware of some of these biases and disabuse themselves of the fears and apprehensions toward unconventional relationship dynamics.

“It's deep in the roots of how we're brought up,” Fuentes says. “There are things that I even see in myself where I'm like, ‘Oh, well that's machismo.’ And the good thing about that is that I'm able to realize that because I have the information, and I want that same opportunity for everyone that's listening. There is machismo in all of us, but we’re able to change our views around that.”