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Erotic Journeys

Erotic Journeys: Mexican Immigrants and Their Sex Lives

Gloria González-López
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Pages: 331
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  • Book Info
    Erotic Journeys
    Book Description:

    Erotic Journeysis a fascinating, revealing, and respectful examination of the romantic relationships and sex lives of the fastest-growing minority group in the nation. In a series of in-depth interviews, Gloria González-López investigates the ways in which sixty heterosexual Mexican women and men living in Los Angeles reinvent their sex lives as part of their immigration and settlement experiences. Defying a broad spectrum of preconceived notions, these immigrants confirm in their vivid narratives that sexuality-far from being culturally determined-is fluid and complex. González-López explains that these Mexicans enter the United States with particular sexual ideologies and practices that, while diverse, are regulated by family ethics and regional patriarchies. After migration, a range of factors-including employment, the risks and dangers of resettlement, social networking with other immigrants, and the new demands of a fast-paced industrialized metropolis-begin to transform the immigrants' intimate lives in deep and unexpected ways. The remarkably candid interviews show that these men and women are skillful negotiating agents of their own sexuality. The author's incisive analysis of their narratives sets the stage for a nuanced and compelling understanding of this complex topic and its many social implications.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93613-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-17)

    In the fall of 1995, I started a Latina women’s support group at a Los Angeles inner-city elementary school, consisting of eight adult women, mostly from Mexico. They were all mothers, and all said they were heterosexual. They all were or had been in a relationship with a man. I led the women in discussions about many of their personal concerns, including issues such as self-esteem, domestic violence, drug abuse, family life, and parenting skills. Group members met every week for a total of ten months, but during the first weeks, they didn’t talk about their sex lives. After I...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Twice Forgotten: The Sex Lives of Heterosexual Mexicans in the United States
    (pp. 18-36)

    “I work and support myself so I don’t have to have sex with my husband if I don’t feel like it,” Azalea says assertively. Then she adds with a chuckle, “In Mexico, I worked in a factory, but here I became an apartment manager. Before, he used to do whatever he wanted to. If he wanted to have sex, I had to go right there and do it, day or night. I had no choice. But now that’s all over! That’s history!”

    Joaquín relates the stimulating talks he has with his friends: “Do you know what an orgasm is? Do...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Beyond the Hymen: Women, Virginity, and Sex
    (pp. 37-61)

    “I will preserve my virginity until I get married,” said Eréndira. “Not because of religion, but because of myself. I will preserve it to avoid many problems, like pregnancy, and also to better concentrate on my studies, among other things.” An immigrant from Guadalajara, Eréndira has lived in Los Angeles for more than ten years. She has never wed, and at the age of thirty-two, she is adamant about waiting until she marries to have sexual intercourse for the first time.

    Lorena, a thirty-four-year-old housewife who has lived in Los Angeles for a decade after migrating from her small town...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Pleasurable Dangers, Dangerous Pleasures: Men and Their First Sexual Experience
    (pp. 62-97)

    “In other words it was not a satisfying experience because eh . . . I remember that I was with her in the sex act . . . and some of the prostitutes do it for money, and for them, the sooner you are done, the better for them.” Fidel was explaining about the first time he had had intercourse, at a brothel in his small hometown. “And I remember that I . . . , I was afraid and I could not finish. I could not finish, and she told me‘¡Ándale!’to hurry me up. ‘Come on! They...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Sex Is a Family Affair: Nurturing and Regulating Sexuality
    (pp. 98-130)

    “They forced me to get married,” Irasema said. “My father said, ‘We’re not going to leave it like this!’ And he grabbed me and let’s go! Boom! He took me to the house of my husband and I do not know how many things they said . . . that he had to repair the damage.” With tears in her eyes, Irasema explained that her first sexual encounter had resulted in an unexpected pregnancy, which led to a coercive marriage with someone she would not have chosen as a husband. For Irasema and other women in this study, premarital sex...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Sex and the Immigrant Communities: Risky Opportunities, Opportune Risks
    (pp. 131-160)

    “This whole thing aboutel país de las oportunidades[the land of opportunities] . . . I will change the name, I will change the version. I will call itel país de las enfermedades[the land of diseases] because you get sick for any reason at all.” Eugenio, a forty-three-year-old from Mexico City, spoke in a melodic Spanish rhythm as he described the various health problems he has suffered in the United States, including relapse and recovery from alcoholism and a pattern of addiction that sometimes made him behave in sexually risky ways.

    Diamantina, a thirty-one-year-old, also from Mexico...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Sexual Discourses and Cultures in the Barrio: Networking
    (pp. 161-186)

    “Turn on the TV! Turn on the TV so you can see!” Victoria’s neighbor was shouting. The woman was urging her to tune in to a Spanish-language channel where a video on sexuality was being advertised for sale. After watching the endless sexual promises of the seductive propaganda, Victoria ordered the cassette. It turned out to be an important event. In many ways, her ideas about women’s sexuality were transformed after watching the video and discussing the new information about sex with her neighbor. Victoria also became the confidante of her neighbor by listening as the woman attempted to find...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Sexual Bargains: Work, Money, and Power
    (pp. 187-226)

    “When I arrived here, I was working. I was completely in charge of the household expenses, rent, everything, and I supported my mother. So I think I had the right to enjoy some type of freedom, more sexual freedom, too. I no longer had to ask my mother for permission to go out with a man,” said Eréndira, a thirty-two-year-old single woman who has lived in Los Angeles since she immigrated from her native Guadalajara eleven years ago.

    Azalea is a forty-three-year-old woman who immigrated from Mexico City twelve years ago and is an apartment manager in a predominantly Latino...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Gendered Tapestries: Sexuality Threads of Migrant Sexualities
    (pp. 227-256)

    “As two people begin undressing to make love for the first time, they invite one another to share their life histories. The ways in which they begin kissing and caressing one another are only the prologue to what has not yet been revealed. Their lovemaking becomes the language they use to gradually tell one another their stories, without being aware of it. And as each one tells of a personal past in silence, as their sex stories are being written invisibly through the movement of their sexualized bodies, they are being slowly embroidered in their bedsheets.” I originally wrote these...

  13. APPENDIX A. Study Participants
    (pp. 258-264)
  14. APPENDIX B. Methodological Considerations
    (pp. 265-268)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 269-286)
  16. References
    (pp. 287-306)
  17. Index
    (pp. 307-320)