Private Sphere: Introduction
Studies about feminism, sexual and reproductive health, attitudes about sexuality, gender, contraception, and relationships are often presented through a female lens, but seldom consider men’s perspectives. Inquiries on men’s perspectives on sexual expression, gender roles, and health can illuminate reasons why women may still lack adequate reproductive healthcare in Latino communities.
Firstly, I will present concerns of sexual and reproductive health among Latin@s. Then, I will examine how traditional ideas of gender and sexual expression create an imbalance in power dynamics within a Latino couple, and how these are passed down through generations and perpetuate imbalances in economic power, decision-making in a household, autonomy, mobility, and negative ideas about women’s sexuality. Finally I will demonstrate how the power imbalance aggregates to something greater than the sum of its parts and contributes to low contraceptive use and misinformation in Latino communities.
In order to effectively discuss reproductive health, I think it is important to outline some defintions. According to Sonia Corrêa, reproductive health, and sexual rights lie on opposite ends of a spectrum when talking about women's sexuality. Reproductive health outlines basic health of the reproductive system, freedom from disease, and planned fertility. However, reproductive health implies reproduction, and does not present motherhood as a choice but rather as an inevitable fact of life.
On the other hand, sexual rights takes a more radical approach, and also prioritizes healthy interpersonal relationships. Sexual rights means freedom from disease, but also presents motherhood as a choice for if and when to reproduce, freedom from sexual violence, and highlights the importance of a safe and satisfying sexual relationship that prioritizes women's pleasure as much as male pleasure.