Partner selection among Latino immigrant men who have sex with men

Fernanda T. Bianchi, Michele G. Shedlin, Kelly D. Brooks, Marcelo Montes Penha, Carol A. Reisen, Maria Cecilia Zea, Paul J. Poppen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This qualitative study explored partner selection in a sample ofimmigrant Latino men who have sex with men (MSM). In-depth interviews were conducted with men living in the greater New York metropolitanarea who had been born in Brazil (n = 10), Colombia (n = 14), or the Dominican Republic (n = 9). One focus group was conducted with MSM from each of the three countries (9 Brazilian, 11 Colombian, and 5 Dominican participants). A grounded theory approach revealed three main themes relating to partner selection. The first concerned stereotypes of how Latino and Anglo-American men tendtobehaveintheir sexualencounters and relationships. The participants perceived Latinos to be more affectionate and passionate, whereas they saw Anglo-American men as more independent and practical. These cultural discrepancies sometimes resulted in a preference for Latino partners. A second theme concerned stereotypes of the national groups, including expectations that Brazilians would be sexy and sensual and that Dominicans would have large penises. As found in other research on MSM of color, ethnic and national stereotypes were associated with experiences of sexual objectification. The third theme addressed the importance of masculine characteristics in sexual attraction and partner selection. Negative feelings towards effeminate men who did not conform to normative male physical or behavioral presentation reflect a stigma found inside and outside of the gay community. These findings suggest that gender and ethnic stereotypes play an important role in shaping partner choice and have implications for sexual risk and relationship formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1330
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Latino
  • MSM
  • Masculinity
  • Sexual partner
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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