Latina girls have a lot on their shoulders.
They’ve got to be good girls, listen to their family, succeed in their careers, hurry up and start a family, and do it all with a sassy smile and sway of the hips.
And when they go out with guys who assume they know all about Latinas because they eat Mexican food, they’ve got to patiently educate their dates about the differences between Mexicans and Dominicans.
Sujeiry Gonzalez has been there, done that.
Now she’s helping other Latina women carve out a space where they can talk freely about love and sex.
Sujeiry is the creator of Love Sujeiry, a brand that stretches across social media channels to invite dialogue about the Latina experience in dating and relationships.
In this week’s YBTV interview, Sujeiry explains how Latinas do it differently. She shares some of the missteps non-Latinos make when dating Latina women, the family pressure on Latina girls, and dating generalizations that just don’t make sense.
What You’ll Learn
Latina women are raised to not talk about love and sex and dating, and to not share our heartbreak and what we’re really going through in our relationships, because you don’t want anyone to know your business.”
Sujeiry Gonzalez wants to break the code of silence for Latina women.
That’s why her tagline across her social media empire is “Real stories, no shame, all things love.”
She wants to create a safe space “for women of color and Latinas, specifically, where they can come and talk and engage with me about everything, and I’m not going to judge; I’m not going to shame them.”
And her audience has responded with love.
Sujeiry has had women contact her saying, “Your podcast really helped me. I went through the same experience you did, and I had no one to talk to.”
Sujeiry is a firm believer in practicing what she preaches. She shares intimate personal experiences with love and sex on her podcast, blog and vlog.
“There isn’t another Latina doing it the way I’m doing it,” she says. “I’m here to just really tell my story and help other Latinas tell their story—and other women as well.”
How Latinas Do It Differently
If you look for culturally-relevant dating advice online, you’ll find slim pickings. Most dating advice doesn’t take into account cultural or ethnic context.
Latina girls have unique pressures affecting their love lives, like the role of family. Sujeiry’s family is really close; she talks to her mother three times a day. “To some cultures, that’s extreme,” she says. “That’s very common in the Latino culture.”
Latinas are expected to be good girls who cook and clean and take care of their man, but they’re also expected to be financially independent, not to mention complete babes. “There are so many roles that we have to fill, especially if you’re American Latina,” Sujeiry says.
When it comes to the family responsibility—especially when you’re first generation, usually the first person who graduated college, who has a career that’s not a factory job, having to be responsible for your mother or maybe your grandmother who still lives in the motherland—it’s a lot of pressure to uphold. Then you throw in relationships and the type of man you’re supposed to bring [home], and you’re supposed to have babies young…. It’s just a lot of expectation.”
Non-Latino guys don’t always understand these pressures.
And not all Latino guys get it, either. Because of the cultural differences among Latin American and Caribbean countries, it’s a myth that a guy from Puerto Rico, say, will automatically understand a girl from the Dominican Republic.
Even though Sujeiry’s ex was “was half Latino, there was a lot of nuances and cultural traditions that he didn’t understand.”
Sujeiry is Dominican by ethnicity and a New Yorker by birth. She went to prep school at Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts.
But the non-Latino guys she’s dated have assumed she’s from the hood, or that her parents came over on a boat, or that she loves tacos. People try to talk Spanish with her: “Hola, chica!” She shoots back, “I speak English. That’s not cute.”
She’s even been out on dates where the guy is like, “Where’s the Dominican Republic?” Or guys will assume she’s Puerto Rican or Mexican. “There’s a lot of having to teach on a date,” she says.
“A lot of white men or men who aren’t Latino are expecting a certain type of personality because of what they see in the media,” she explains. So Latina women end up explaining why they match or don’t match cultural stereotypes, which may or not be accurate. It’s a lot of work.
Is it even worth it? Sujeiry thinks it is.
It’s easier [to stick with dating other Latinos], but it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do…. What’s familiar usually is what’s comfortable, and I believe that in order to grow, especially in relationships … we need to be a little uncomfortable.”
Why Generalizations Make Bad Dating Advice
Sujeiry thinks a lot of general dating advice can actually point women in the wrong direction.
For example, a lot of relationship experts say that “if somebody breaks up with you, then it’s over and you move on.” But Sujeiry disagrees. She’s seen a number of women reunite with exes and live happily ever after.
Not every situation is the same. Not every breakup is for the same reason. Just because you broke up with someone, it doesn’t mean that they treated you badly or that there wasn’t love there. Sometimes it’s just bad timing.”
She adds that another general piece of advice is to avoid having sex on the first date, because a man will lose respect for you. She no longer believes that.
“Especially now, in this day and age, if a man likes you, he doesn’t care if you sleep with him in the first 20 minutes, the first 24 hours, or you make him wait 3 months.”
She adds that the right time to have sex “should be when you’re comfortable and when you want it, not when society or someone is telling you to have sex with someone.”
Love Sujeiry: The Brand, The Book, The Podcast
Sujeiry offers her unique spin on love advice on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and her podcast. She also has a book out on Amazon.
“My book Love Trips is a labor of love,” she says. It’s “a collection of personal stories” about heartbreak and relationships.
“The stories are funny … some of them are really shocking … but in the end it really is a message about how important it is to love yourself and walk away from something when the person you’re with isn’t really giving you what you need.”
Sujeiry’s podcast “Love Sujeiry” airs on Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, and anywhere podcasts are syndicated. It’s a love and sex podcast, although Sujeiry also touches on topics like motherhood and friendship.
Sujeiry hopes her work empowers women to love themselves and take control over their lives.
Really know yourself and look at your patterns. Realize who needs to stay in your life and who needs to leave, especially when they’re taking away your power.”
Jump to Topics of Interest
1:42 The vision behind Love Sujeiry
2:54 The importance of sharing your own experiences
4:28 The pressures on Latinas to balance family expectations with being American
6:40 Assumptions and stereotypes that come up in dating
9:48 Is it easier just to date within your culture?
11:56 Even though you broke up, you might still get back together
12:56 Have sex when you’re ready, not when society tells you to do it
14:00 Sujeiry’s book Love Trips: A Collection of Relationship Stumbles
15:37 Sujeiry’s podcast “Love Sujeiry”
16:38 Don’t give your power away
Sujeiry is a sassy and funny storyteller and creativepreneur. Her appeal, unique voice, and talent have led her to pen relationship articles for Latina.com, NBC Latino, Cosmopolitan, among others. Sujeiry’s humor and energy have also led to radio gigs on FM radio, SiriusXM, and podcasts. She is now focused on her son, having fun with friends and family, dating, sharing stories on air and on video, and helping women craft their stories so they can shine when telling it to the masses. Catch all things Sujeiry.