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Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 79–101 | Cite as

Scoring Men: Vasectomies and the Totemic Illusion of Male Sexuality in Oaxaca

  • Matthew C. GutmannEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper discusses research on men’s reproductive health and sexuality in Oaxaca, Mexico, and specifically why some men there choose to be sterilized. Men who opt for vasectomies do so after considering numerous cultural, historical, physiological, commercial, and other concerns. Men and women in Oaxaca negotiate certain cultural folk beliefs about supposed male sexual desires and practices before arriving at the decision to get the operation. Vasectomy as a method of birth control is chosen despite folk beliefs that take the form of a totemic illusion which treats male sexuality as naturalized, something fixed, and as entirely distinct from female sexuality. Among its many consequences, this totemic illusion serves to conceal inequalities in the sphere of reproductive health and sexuality in relation to contraception.

Keywords

contraception men Mexico sexuality vasectomy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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