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

Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 29(1):79-101 (2005)

23 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2013

See all articles by Matthew Gutmann

Matthew Gutmann

Brown University - Watson Institute for International Studies

Date Written: 2005

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: vasectomy, contraception, sexuality, men, Mexico

Suggested Citation

Gutmann, Matthew, Scoring Men: Vasectomies and the Totemic Illusion of Male Sexuality in Oaxaca (2005). Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 29(1):79-101 (2005), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2293694 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2293694

Matthew Gutmann (Contact Author)

Brown University - Watson Institute for International Studies ( email )

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