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Erotic Journeys

Mexican Immigrants and Their Sex Lives

Gloria González-López

Publication Year: 2005

Erotic Journeys is 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.

Published by: University of California Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-9

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pp. ix-xi

Many generous people have made this book possible. First, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the sixty immigrant women and men who opened their hearts and souls and trusted me with their personal life and sexual stories. I have done everything possible to make sure this book...

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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...

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1. Twice Forgotten: The Sex Lives of Heterosexual Mexicans in the United States

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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...

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2. Beyond the Hymen: Women, Virginity, and Sex

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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...

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3. Pleasurable Dangers, Dangerous Pleasures: Men and Their First Sexual Experience

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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 Wrst time he had had intercourse,...

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4. Sex Is a Family Affair: Nurturing and Regulating Sexuality

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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,...

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5. Sex and the Immigrant Communities: Risky Opportunities, Opportune Risks

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pp. 131-160

“This whole thing about el país de las oportunidades [the land of opportunities] . . . I will change the name, I will change the version. I will call it el 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...

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6. Sexual Discourses and Cultures in the Barrio: Networking

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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 Spanishlanguage channel where a video on sexuality was being advertised for sale. After watching the endless sexual promises of the seductive propaganda,...

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7. Sexual Bargains: Work, Money, and Power

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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...

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8. Gendered Tapestries: Sexuality Threads of Migrant Sexualities

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pp. 227-256

“As two people begin undressing to make love for the Wrst 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...

Appendix A. Study Participants

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pp. 258-263

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Appendix B. Methodological Considerations

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pp. 265-267

The research with the women and men was conducted in accordance with a human subjects protocol approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Southern California, and the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects at the University of California at Berkeley, respectively....


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pp. 269-285


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pp. 287-305


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pp. 307-320

E-ISBN-13: 9780520936133
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520231399

Page Count: 331
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 60312066
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Erotic Journeys

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mexican Americans -- Sexual behavior -- California -- Los Angeles.
  • Immigrants -- Sexual behavior -- California -- Los Angeles.
  • Mexican Americans -- California -- Los Angeles -- Social conditions.
  • Immigrants -- California -- Los Angeles -- Social conditions.
  • Sex -- Social aspects -- California -- Los Angeles.
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Social conditions.
  • Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Ethnic relations.
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