Gender & Sexuality in Latin Culture

Ethnic studies analysis by Elisenda Guerra-Delgado

Overall focus and analysis

Focuses on the stereotypes surrounding Latinos concerning sexuality and gender. Examines the importance of knowing the traditional behavior of most Latino cultures and how sexuality and gender is discussed among family members. Includes the comparison of the stereotype mass media in the U.S. has created versus the reality for many Latino people and cultures.

Important terms

Latino, gender, sexuality, machismo, marianismo, familismo, and respeto


  • Definitions for Latino, gender, and sexuality can be found on the Merriam-Webster website
  • Definitions for machismo and marianismo can be found in the web article Gender Roles and Sexual Behavior among Latino Teens: Characterization Complicate
  • Definitions for familismo and respeto can be found in the scholarly article Familial and Cultural Influences on Sexual Risk Behaviors among Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican Youth

Despite stereotypes, remember:

  • Sexuality ≠ sexual orientation
  • Latino men are more promiscuous than Latina women
  • Topic of sex is taboo
  • Fathers do not view daughters as women for much of adolescence making the transition into womanhood strain father/daughter relationships

Further information on these topics can be found in Familial and Cultural Influences on Sexual Risk Behaviors among Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican Youth

"Special" topics concerning gender and sexuality in Latino culture include:

  • Disadvantages gay Latino men face
  • The role lesbian Latinas play in the LGBTQ community and the credit they DO NOT receive
  • The similarities between bisexual erasure in the U.S. and bisexual erasure of Latinas/os in their culture

More information can be found in the book Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies edited by Marysol Asencio

References

Asencio, Marysol. Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.


"Gender Roles and Sexual Behavior among Latino Teens: Characterization Complicated." News-Medical.net. 2010. Accessed April 28, 2016. www.news-medical.net/news/20100227/Gender-roles-and-sexual-behavior-among-Latino-teens-Characterization-complicated.aspx.


Guilamo-Ramos, Vincent, Alida Bouris, James Jaccard, Catherine Lesesne, and Michelle Ballan. "Familial and Cultural Influences on Sexual Risk Behaviors among Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Dominican Youth."AIDS Education and Prevention 21, no. Supplement B (2009): 61-79.