The Tsismis on Sex: Learning About Pleasure Through Conversation

The phrase walang hiya has shamed pleasure as deviant and private. As Filipinx diaspora womxn, my sister and I have been told to never speak about sexual acts. Young women feel ashamed to ask questions thereby castigating our own pleasures as secondary. As an act to de-stigmatize pleasure and reclaim these pursuits, my sister and I have open conversations about sex and our partners. We “tsismis,” which is most closely translated to “gossip.”  We talk about our different bodies, the awkward moments, and what is most pleasurable. By having conversation about our partners (often times laughing), we share information and reclaim our sexuality. Having a space to talk amongst other womxn about sex, family, school, and life allow us to center our happiness, pleasure, and pains. Tsismis is not just gossip but a way to pass on knowledge amongst Filipinx womxn.

This embroidery is a symbol of our sexuality. By treating our sexuality like a flower garden, we learned through the conversations and the knowledge shared between us about not only the fragility of how society views female sexuality but our own pleasures as well.

This post is part of the Reclaiming #WalangHiya Project; see the landing page for more narratives.

Christina Marie Ang Ayson (she/her/hers) is a second generation Filipinx American womxn born and raised in the South Bay Area in California. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California where she is pursuing a M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her focus is on Filipinx American contemporary art, decolonial museum studies, and art history. She hopes to pursue a doctorate degree focusing on visual cultures to create a museum praxis for Asian American artists.



Cate Ayson (she/her/hers) is a second generation born Filipino American women, born and raised in the South Bay Area, now living in Ashland, OR to pursue her B.S in Communications with an emphasis in social media and public engagement. She spends her time writing articles about mental health and the rigorous fashion industry. Instagram | Twitter

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