Since I was a child, I have always been a person that has challenged perceptions around sex and sexuality. When I was in middle school, I talked to my parents about my gay friends and told them that I did not agree with what I was hearing in church (I was attending a Catholic school then). At that time my parents were still working on their own homophobia, something that had been passed down to them through their indoctrination and heritage. They were much more homophobic before but now they have let go of this ideaology since my brother is gay.
I became sexually active in my teens, and while my parents didn't always talk to me directly about sex, they DID send me to loads of after-school programs dealing with safe sex, self-esteem, healthy relationships, and mental health. By the time I was 15, I was a health educator and I frequently did demos on cucumbers regarding the correct application of a condom. I also was someone who encouraged experimentation, since that was a way to be healthy. I was surrounded by many other young people with a large spectrum of experiences. Some of my friends had gotten pregnant by 18. I had girlfriends who had experienced violent forms of rape. I had guy friends who had multiple lovers. So I heard about it all, and luckily, I was the one to always have a condom to give away. Actually I didn't have 1, I had more like 100. I carried them around so that I could give them away or even use them when the time was right. Overall, I had the self confidence to build my own ideas around sex and so I carry that with me today.
At the same time, as I was growing up I was called a tom-boy. According to Wikipedia, a Tomboy is a girl who behaves according to the gender role of a boy. When I was living in Mexico City, I was REALLY ridiculed for acting so "boyish." I guess I was boyish because I was strong, loud, liked to play basketball, and overall did not act submissive nor dainty. I was called a host of things, and so I ended up hanging out will the guys, and eventually I ended up hanging out with folks who later in life came out as gay or lesbian or even bi. I actually was someone that lots of my friends came out to before they told anyone else. I believe it was because I was a young person that was not afraid to talk openly about sex.
Hanging out with boys and understanding the way THEY were trained to think about sex really helped me understand gender roles. Also being exposed to the way two different societies (US and Mexico) dealt with gender and sexuality, helped me for the opinion that our world was very conservative when it came time to talking about these things. I gained the self confidence to pave my own road and to just be me, the complex sexual creature I was becoming.
When I decided to follow my path as an artist, that gave me the creative channel to talk about these things. In my 30's, as an artist, I am able to write, draw, create work about what it means to be a sex positive person. Sex positivity to me means that we explore NEW ways of relationships, sex, and gender roles. I believe sex is a fluid identity, that it changes as much as our personalities, so we should let people change, adapt, transform, experiment. Life is too short to not allow ourselves this.
I don't identify as a performance artist, but I do act like this. I act out certain things, in order to elicit a response. That is how I get the inspiration for my work. I like to perform while I'm drawing. I like to perform my life experiences when I'm in front of an audience talking about my work. It's more like storytelling.
On February 23, I announced to the Facebook world that "Favianna Rodriguez is engaged but she will still be seeing other people! And so will my future husband! Time for a new definition of relationships!" This was not a true fact, this was me living in my fictional world and doing some performance art on FB. What I was hoping was to collect a series of responses and to get a discussion going on what this means. I was incredibly happy to see how many people supported me in creating my own paradigm around marriage and sex. I also was amazed that my own brother would believe this was true! I mean, does my brother not know that I would tell he and my family of any wedding plans before I announced it to Facebook !!!??? LOL. I also realized that this is a very sensitive topic, as one friend put it, "its like talking about the war on drugs." (I know I've had many many arguments with folks around the criminalization and legalization of marijuana)
The reality is that I am not engaged. Well I am to myself I guess! I DO believe that when and I do get married, I will most definitely try to carry an open relationship. I believe that this can work. I believe that sexual identities change and a healthy bond between two people, be that in or our of marriage, can allow for many things. We are complex creatures and I don't believe in the state telling me what to do with my body. I also think this whole concept about your lover as your property goes back to the colonial times. I fully encourage people to live and enact the person they want to be. As long as it's done so in an ethical and respectful manner and that people be honest. If you would like more reading on the topic, I would suggest the book, "The Ethical Slut." Anyway - this does not means I won't try monogamy, I have in the past and yes, I like it. But not always. So knowing that about myself, I can look for a partner that can understand my complexities as a liberated woman.
I hope I didn't offend anyone by posting a piece of my fictionaly and fantastical (as in fantasy) life. It was intended to get people thinking and talking. And also for me to come out as a poly.