Latin American immigrant women and intergenerational sex education

Maria Cristina Alcalde, Ana Maria Quelopana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


People of Latin American descent make up the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the USA. Rates of pregnancy, childbirth, and sexually transmitted infections among people of Latin American descent are higher than among other ethnic groups. This paper builds on research that suggests that among families of Latin American descent, mothers have a particularly strong influence on the sexual attitudes and behaviours of their children, yet that parents of Latin American descent communicate less with their children about sex than parents of other ethnic groups. It examines the messages about sex women received as children in their countries of origin, and how these messages and their views of the USA influence the sexual education women provide for their children. On the basis of data from focus groups, we suggest that, in spite of the persistence of sexual silence, some women's self-reflective analyses of their own sexual education as well as their views of the USA as a sexually more open society contribute to their views of silence as dangerous and trigger more open communication with sons and daughters. Mothers hope to break the cycle of unwanted pregnancy by speaking with daughters about the consequences of menstruation and with sons about contraception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalSex Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Latin American women
  • USA
  • parent-child communication
  • sexual education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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