Migration and Sexuality: A Comparison of Mexicans in Sending and Receiving Communities

Emilio A. Parrado, Duke University
Chenoa A. Flippen, Duke University

Despite its significance for health and well-being, there is little quantitative information measuring the changes in sexual behavior accompanying migration. Drawing from original data collected in Durham, NC and four sending communities in Mexico, this paper compares sexual practices and attitudes across migrants and non-migrants in order to disentangle the sexual practices prevalent in communities of origin from those that arise in conjunction with migration. Our findings illustrate profound changes in sexuality accompanying migration with marked differences by gender and marital status. For men, certain sexual practices, such as the use of commercial sex workers and secondary partnerships, increase significantly with migration. Among single women, migration facilitates the formation of short term relationships. The impact of migration on sexuality is also reflected in attitudinal changes regarding gender roles and condom use. We discuss the implications of these findings for Latino health in both the U.S. and abroad.

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Presented in Session 4: Sexual Behavior, Sexual Networks, and STDs