Latinas and Latinos, Sexuality, and Society: A Critical Sociological Perspective

  • Gloria González-López
  • Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

What happens when we put Latinas, Latinos, and sexuality together? What if we add “society” to this complex interaction? As we inquire about Latinas, Latinos, sexuality, and society as mutually connected, what kind of processes emerge as we unpack them? This chapter examines the issues and concerns that surface as we explore some sociological answers to these questions. We offer (1) a critical analysis of the limited yet gradually flourishing area of theorizing and research on Latina/o sexuality in sociology, (2) a sociological examination of the state of the art of sexuality research with U.S. Latina and Latino populations2 across disciplines, and (3) our reflections with regard to some of the implications for future research in sociology of sexualities with these social groups. Our own personal histories and subjectivities are both diverse and unique; yet, they are unrepresentative of the populations commonly identified as Latinas and Latinos in the social sciences. The first author was born and raised in northern Mexico and migrated to the U.S. Southwest in her mid-twenties; the second author was born and raised in Puerto Rico and has lived in the United States since 1994.


Sexual Harassment Sexuality Research Latino Population Lesbian Woman Latina Woman 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Almaguer, Tomás. (1991). Chicano Men: A Cartography of Homosexual Identity and Behavior. Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 3(2), 75–100.Google Scholar
  2. Alarcón, Norma, Castillo, Ana, & Moraga, Cherríe (Eds.). (1993). The Sexuality of Latinas. Berkeley: Third Woman Press.Google Scholar
  3. Alonso, Ana María, & Koreck, María Teresa. (1993). Silences: “Hispanics”, AIDS, and Sexual Practices. In Henry Abelove, Michele A. Barale, & David M. Halperin (Eds.), The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (pp. 110–126). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Anzaldúa, Gloria. (1987). Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute.Google Scholar
  5. Argüelles, Lourdes, & Rivero, Anne M. (1993). Gender/Sexual Orientation Violence and Transnational Migration: Conversations with Some Latinas We Think We Know. Urban Anthropology, 22(3–4), 259–275.Google Scholar
  6. Asencio, Marysol. (2002). Sex and Sexuality Among New York’s Puerto Rican Youth. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Baca Zinn, Maxine. (1982). Mexican American Women in the Social Sciences. Signs 8(2), 259–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baca Zinn, Maxine. (2001). Chicano Men and Masculinity. In Michael S. Kimmel & Michael A. Messner (Eds.), Men’s Lives (5th ed., pp. 24–32). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  9. Cantú, Lionel. (1999). Border Crossings: Mexican Men and the Sexuality of Migration. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Irvine.Google Scholar
  10. Cantú, Lionel. (2000). Entre Hombres/Between Men: Latino Masculinities and Homosexualities. In Peter Nardi (Ed.), Gay Masculinities (pp. 224–246). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cantú, Lionel. (2001). A Place Called Home: A Queer Political Economy of Mexican Immigrant Men’s Family Experiences. In Mary Bernstein & Renate Reimann (Eds.), Queer Families, Queer Politics: Challenging Culture and the State (pp. 112–136). New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cantú, Lionel. (2002). De Ambiente: Queer Tourism and the Shifting Boundaries of Mexican Male Sexualities. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 8(1), 139–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carballo-Dieguez, Alex. (1989). Hispanic Culture, Gay Male Culture, and AIDS: Counseling Implications. Journal of Counseling and Development, 68(1), 26–30.Google Scholar
  14. Carballo-Dieguez, Alex, & Dolezal, Curtis. (1995). Association Between History of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adult HIV risk sexual behavior in Puerto Rican Men Who Have Sex with Men. Child Abuse & Neglect, 19(5), 595–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carrier, Joseph. (1995). De Los Otros: Intimacy and Homosexuality Among Mexican Men. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Carrillo, Hector. (2002). The Night Is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. D’Emilio, John. (1983). Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Modern Minority. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  18. Díaz, Rafael. (1998). Latino Gay Men and HIV: Culture, Sexuality, and Risk Behavior. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Díaz, Rafael, & Ayala, George. (1999). Love, Passion and Rebellion: Ideologies of HIV Risk Among Latino Gay Men in the USA. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 1(3), 277–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Díaz, Rafael M., Ayala, George, Bein, E., Henne, J., & Marin, Barbara V. (2001). The Impact of Homophobia, Poverty, and Racism on the Mental Health of Gay and Bisexual Latino Men: Findings from 3 US Cities. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 927–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ehlers, Tracy Bachrach (1991). Debunking Marianismo: Economic Vulnerability and Survival Strategies Among Guatemalan Wives. Ethnology, 30(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Erickson, Pamela I. (2001). Negotiation of First Sexual Intercourse Among Latina Adolescent Mothers. In J. Kenneth Davidson, Jr. & Nelwyn B. Moore (Eds.), Speaking of Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Readings (pp. 97–107). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Espín, Olivia M. (1999). Women Crossing Boundaries: A Psychology of Immigration and Transformations of Sexuality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Foucault, Michel. (1990). The History of Sexuality, An Introduction: Volume 1. New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1978).Google Scholar
  25. Gagné, Patricia, & Tewksbury, Richard. (2002). Gendered Sexualities (Advances in Gender Research 6). New York: Elsevier Press.Google Scholar
  26. García, Lorena. (2006). Beyond the Latina Virgin/Whore Dichotomy: Investigating Latina Adolescent Sexual Subjectivity. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara.Google Scholar
  27. González-López, Gloria. (2005). Erotic Journeys: Mexican Immigrants and Their Sex Lives. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  28. González-López, Gloria. (2006). Heterosexual Fronteras: Immigrant Mexicanos, Sexual Vulnerabilities, and Survival. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 3(3), 67–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. González-López, Gloria. (2007). Confesiones de Mujer: The Catholic Church and Sacred Morality in the sex Lives of Mexican Immigrant Women. In N. Teunis & G. Herdt (Eds.), Sexual Inequalities and Social Justice (pp. 148–173). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. González-López, Gloria, & Gutmann, Matthew C. (2005). Machismo. In the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Volume 4 (pp. 1328–1330). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  31. Gutiérrez, Elena. (forthcoming). Fertile Matters: The Politics of Mexican Origin Women’s Reproduction. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  32. Gutiérrez, Ramón A. (1991). When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Guzmán, Manolo. (2006). Gay Hegemony/Latino Homosexualies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Hirsch, Jennifer S. (2003). A Courtship After Marriage: Sexuality and Love in Mexican Transnational Families. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  35. Ingraham, Chrys. (1994). The Heterosexual Imaginary: Feminist Sociology and Theories of Gender. Sociological Theory, 12, 203–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ingraham, Chrys. (2005). Thinking Straight: The Promise, the Power and Paradox of Heterosexuality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Juárez, Ana María, & Kerl, Stella Beatriz. (2003). What Is the Right (White) Way to be Sexual? Reconceptualizing Latina Sexuality. Aztlán, 28(1), 7–37.Google Scholar
  38. Lancaster, Roger N. (1992). Life Is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  39. Luibhéid, Eithne. (2002). Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  40. Luibhéid, Eithne, & Cantú, Lionel (Eds.). (2005). Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  41. Marín, Barbara V. (1990). AIDS Prevention for Non-Puerto Rican Hispanics (National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph). In Z. Amsel, R. Battjes, & Z. Leukefeld (Eds.), AIDS and Intravenous Drug Use: Future Directions for Community Based Prevention Research (pp. 35–52). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  42. Marín, Barbara V., & Gómez, Cynthia A. (1997). Latino Culture and Sex: Implications for HIV Prevention. In Jorge G. García & María Cecilia Zea (Eds.), Psychological Interventions and Research with Latino Populations (pp. 73–93). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  43. Moraga, Cherríe. (1983). Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Pasó Por Sus Labios. Boston: South End Press Collective.Google Scholar
  44. Morales, Edward. (1990). HIV Infection and Hispanic Gay and Bisexual Men. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 12(2), 212–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Murray, Steven O. (1995). Latin American Male Homosexualities. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  46. Mutchler, Matt G. (2000). Young Gay Men’s Stories in the States: Scripts, Sex, and Safety in the Time of AIDS. Sexualities, 3, 31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Patton, Cindy. (1990). Inventing AIDS. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  48. Peña, Susana. (2005). Visibility and Silence: Mariel and Cuban American Gay Male Experience and Representation. In E. Luibhéid & L. Cantú, Jr. (Eds.), Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings (pp. 125–145). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  49. Rubin, Gayle. (1984). Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality. In Carole Vance (Ed.), Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (pp. 267–319). (Reprinted and expanded in Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, & David M. Halperin (Eds.), The Gay and Lesbian Studies Reader (pp. 3–44). New York: Routledge, 1993).Google Scholar
  50. Sassen-Koob, Saskia. (1984). The New Labor Demand in Global Cities. In Michael Peter Smith (Ed.), Cities in Transformation: Class, Capital and the State (pp. 139–171). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  51. Schwartz, Pepper, & Rutter, Virginia. (1998). The Gender of Sexuality. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.Google Scholar
  52. Silliman, Jael, Fried, Marlene Gerber, Ross, Loretta, & Gutiérrez, Elena. (2004). Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  53. Vidal-Ortiz, Salvador. (2005). Sexuality and Gender in Santería: LGBT Identities at the Crossroads of Religious Practices and Beliefs. In Scott Thumma & Edward R. Gray (Eds.), Gay Religion (pp. 115–137). Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  54. Vidal-Ortiz, Salvador. (2006). Sexuality Discussions in Santería: A Case Study of Religion and Sexuality. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 3(3), 52–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Williams, Norma. (1990). The Mexican American Family: Tradition and Change. Dix Hills, NY: General Hall.Google Scholar
  56. Zavella, Patricia. (1997). Playing with Fire: The Gendered Construction of Chicana/Mexicana Sexuality. In Roger N. Lancaster and Micaela di Leonardo (Eds.), The Gender Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy (pp. 392–408). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gloria González-López
    • 1
  • Salvador Vidal-Ortiz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.American UniversityWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations