Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 765–778 | Cite as

A Comparative Analysis of Homosexual Behaviors, Sex Role Preferences, and Anal Sex Proclivities in Latino and Non-Latino Men

  • William L. Jeffries IVEmail author
Original Paper


Machismo prescribes that homosexual encounters among Latino men are conducted along highly gendered lines: men tend to be anally insertive or receptive over the lifecourse, but not both. Some have argued that Latino men have more lifecourse homosexual behaviors in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups. This is often due to the perception that Latin America has quasi-institutionalized homosexuality, which sharply contrasts it with the United States. Although scholars suggest that sex role preferences and greater likelihoods for homosexual behaviors exist among Latino men in the United States, limited empirical data validate these claims. Latino/non-Latino differences in male homosexual behaviors and sex role preferences were analyzed by using the 2002 cycle of the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative, probability sample of 4,928 men. Findings revealed that non-Mexican Latino, but not Mexican, men had increased likelihoods of ever having anal sex than non-Latino Whites and oral sex than non-Latino Blacks. These relationships remained after controlling for age, education, and foreign birth. Latino men preferred insertive or receptive sex in comparison to non-Latino Blacks and Whites, but this difference disappeared after education was controlled. In full and reduced models, Mexican men tended to be orifice-specific (oral or anal), while non-Mexican Latinos were more oriented to both oral and anal sex. Controlling for other factors, all Latinos were more likely than non-Latino Blacks and Whites to refuse to answer male homosexual behavior questions. The implications of race/ethnicity are discussed for homosexual behavior patterns among U.S. men.


Latinos Homosexuality Sex Roles Anal sex Oral sex 



I would like to thank Barbara A. Zsembik, Milagros Peña, Marvin P. Dawkins, the Editor, and three anonymous reviewers for thoughtful comments on an earlier draft of this article. I also acknowledge Chuck W. Peek and Ronald H. Randles for statistical assistance and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (National Center for Health Statistics) for making these data publicly available. This research was conducted while the author completed a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship granted by the Florida Education Fund.


  1. Agresti, A., & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistical methods for the social sciences. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Agronick, G., O’Donnell, L., Stueve, A., San Doval, A., Duran, R., & Vargo, S. (2004). Sexual behaviors and risks among bisexually- and gay-identified young Latino men. AIDS and Behavior, 8, 185–197.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Almaguer, T. (1991). Chicano men: A cartography of homosexual identity and behavior. Differences, 3, 75–100.Google Scholar
  4. Bell, A. P., & Weinberg, M. S. (1978). Homosexualities: A study of diversity among men and women. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  5. Browning, C. R., & Laumann, E. O. (2001). Sexual contact between children and adults: A life-course perspective. In E. O. Laumann, & R. T. Michael (Eds.), Sex, love, and health in America: Private choices and public policies (pp. 148–196). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cáceres, C. F. (2002). HIV among gay and other men who have sex with men in Latin America and the Caribbean: A hidden epidemic? AIDS, 16(Suppl. 3), S23–S33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cáceres, C. F., & Rosasco, A. M. (1999). The margin has many sides: Diversity among gay and bisexual homosexually active men in Lima. Culture, Health, & Sexuality, 1, 261–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carballo-Diéguez, A., & Dolezal, C. (1994). Contrasting types of Puerto Rican men who have sex with men. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 6(4), 41–67.Google Scholar
  9. Carballo-Diéguez, A., Dolezal, C., Nieves-Rosa, L., & Díaz, F. (2000). Similarities in the sexual behavior and HIV risk factors of Columbian, Dominican, Mexican, and Puerto Rican MSM residing in New York City. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 12(4), 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carballo-Diéguez, A., Dolezal, C., Nieves-Rosa, L., Díaz, F., Decena, C., & Balan, I. (2004). Looking for a tall, dark, macho man...Sexual-role behaviour variations in Latino gay and bisexual men. Culture, Health, & Sexuality, 6, 159–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carrier, J. M. (1976). Family attitudes and Mexican homosexuality. Urban Life, 5, 359–375.Google Scholar
  12. Carrier, J. M. (1985). Mexican male bisexuality. Journal of Homosexuality, 11(1/2), 75–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carrier, J. M. (1989a). Gay liberation and coming out in Mexico. In G. Herdt (Ed.), Gay and lesbian youth (pp. 225–252). New York: Harrington Park Press.Google Scholar
  14. Carrier, J. M. (1989b). Sexual behavior and spread of AIDS in Mexico. Medical Anthropology, 10, 129–142.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carrier, J. M. (1995). De los otros: Intimacy and homosexuality among Mexican men. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Carrier, J. M., & Magaña, J. R. (1991). Use of ethnosexual data on men of Mexican origin for HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Journal of Sex Research, 28, 189–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carrillo, H. (1999). Cultural change, hybridity and male homosexuality in Mexico. Culture, Health, & Sexuality, 1, 223–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Centers for Disease Control, Prevention. (2006). Youth risk behavior surveillance: United States, 2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 55(SS-5), 1–112.Google Scholar
  19. Chauncey, G. (1994). Gay New York: Gender, urban culture, and the making of the gay male world, 1890–1940. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  20. Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. DeMoya, E. A., & García, R. (1996). AIDS and the enigma of bisexuality in the Dominican Republic. In P. Aggleton (Ed.), Bisexualities and AIDS: International perspectives (pp. 121–135). London: Taylor and Francis.Google Scholar
  22. DeMoya, E. A., & García, R. (1999). Three decades of male sex work in Santo Domingo. In P. Aggleton (Ed), Men who sell sex: International perspectives on male prostitution and HIV/AIDS (pp. 127–139). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Diaz, V., & Tellez-Giron, P. (2005). Research involving Latino populations. Annals of Family Medicine, 3, 470–471.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Doll, L. S., Myers, T., Kennedy, M., & Allman, D. (1997). Bisexuality and HIV risk: Experiences in Canada and the United States. Annual Review of Sex Research, 8, 102–147.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Dunne, M. P., Martin, N. J., Bailey, J. M., Heath, A. C., Bucholz, K. K., Madden, P. A. F., et al. (1997). Participation bias in a sexuality survey: Psychological and behavioural characteristics of responders and non-responders. International Journal of Epidemiology, 26, 844–854.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Girman, C. (2004). Mucho macho: Seduction, desire, and the homoerotic lives of Latin men. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hooker, E. (1965). An empirical study of some relations between sexual patterns and gender identity in male homosexuals. In J. Money (Eds.), Sex research: New developments (pp. 24–52). New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  28. Izazola-Licea, J. A., Gortmaker, S. L., Tolbert, K., de Gruttola, V., & Mann, J. (2000). Prevalence of same-gender sexual behavior and HIV in a probability household survey of Mexican men. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 37–43.Google Scholar
  29. Jeffries, W. L., & Dodge, B. (2007). Male bisexuality and condom use at last sexual encounter: Results from a national survey. Journal of Sex Research, 44, 278–279.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kurtz, S. P. (1999). Butterflies under cover: Cuban and Puerto Rican gay masculinities in Miami. Journal of Men’s Studies, 7, 371–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kutsche, P., & Page, J. B. (1991). Male sexual identity in Costa Rica. The Latin American Anthropology Review, 3, 7–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lancaster, R. N. (1988). Subject honor and object shame: The construction of male homosexuality and stigma in Nicaragua. Ethnology, 27, 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lancaster, R. N. (1992). Life is hard: Machismo, danger, and the intimacy of power in Nicaragua. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Laumann, E. O., Gagnon, J. H., Michael, R. T., & Michaels, S. (1994). The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Lumsden, I. (1996). Machos, maricones, and gays: Cuba and homosexuality. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Mirandé, A. (1997). Hombres y machos: Masculinity and Latino culture. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  37. Muñoz-Laboy, M. A. (2004). Beyond MSM: Sexual desire among bisexually-active Latino men in New York City. Sexualities, 7, 55–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Muñoz-Laboy, M. A., & Dodge, B. (2005). Bisexual practices: Patterns, meanings, and implications for HIV/STI prevention among bisexually active Latino men and their partners. Journal of Bisexuality, 5(1), 81–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. National Center for Health Statistics. (2004). Public use data file documentation, National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 6: 2002. Retrieved February 02, 2006 from Scholar
  40. Nelson, C., & Tienda, M. (1997). The structuring of Hispanic ethnicity: Historical and contemporary perspectives. In M. Romero, P. Hondagneu-Sotelo, & V. Ortiz (Eds.), Challenging fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latino lives in the U.S. (pp. 7–29). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  41. Parker, R. G. (1989). Youth, identity, and homosexuality: The changing shape of sexual life in contemporary Brazil. In G. Herdt (Eds.), Gay and lesbian youth (pp. 269–289). New York: Harrington Park Press.Google Scholar
  42. Parker, R. G. (1991). Bodies, pleasures, and passions: Sexual culture in contemporary Brazil. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  43. Parker, R. G. (1999). Beneath the equator: Cultures of desire, male homosexuality, and emerging gay communities in Brazil. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Paz, O. (1985). The labyrinth of solitude, the other Mexico, and other essays. New York: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  45. Ramirez, J., Suarez, E., de la Rosa, G., Castro, M. A., & Zimmerman, M. A. (1994). AIDS knowledge and sexual behavior among Mexican gay and bisexual men. AIDS Education and Prevention, 6, 163–174.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. SAS Institute. (1999). SAS online documentation, version 8. Cary, NC: The SAS Institute.Google Scholar
  47. Schifter, J. (2000). Public sex in a Latin society. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  48. Schifter, J., & Aggleton, P. (1999). Cacherismo in a San José brothel: Aspects of male sex work in Costa Rica. In P. Aggleton (Ed.), Men who sell sex: International perspectives on male prostitution and HIV/AIDS (pp. 141–158). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Schifter, J., & Madrigal, J. (1992). Hombres que aman hombres: Primer estudio Latinoamericano sobre cultura homosexual y SIDA. San José, Costa Rica: Ediciones ILEP-SIDA.Google Scholar
  50. Stokes, J. P., Miller, R. L., & Mundhenk, R. (1998). Toward an understanding of behaviourally bisexual men: The influence of context and culture. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 7(2), 101–113.Google Scholar
  51. Suro, R. (1999). Strangers among us: Latino lives in a changing America. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  52. Taylor, C. L. (1978). El ambiente: Male homosexual social life in Mexico City. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  53. Taylor, C. L. (1986). Mexican male homosexual interaction in public contexts. Journal of Homosexuality, 11(3/4), 117–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Torres, J. B. (1998). Masculinity and gender roles among Puerto Rican men: A dilemma for Puerto Rican men’s personal identity. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 68, 16–26.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Torres, J. B., Solberg, V. S. H., & Carlstrom, A. H. (2002). The myth of sameness among Latino men and their machismo. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 72, 163–181.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wegesin, D. J., & Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F. L. (2000). Top/bottom self-label, anal sex practices, HIV risk and gender role identity in gay men in New York City. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 12(3), 43–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral Science and Community HealthUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations