With Pathways of Desire, Hector Carrillo brings us into the lives of Mexican gay men who have left their home country to pursue greater sexual autonomy and sexual freedom in the United States. The groundbreaking ethnography brings our attention to the full arc of these men's migration experiences, from their upbringing in Mexican cities and towns, to their cross-border journeys, to their incorporation into urban gay communities in American cities, and their sexual and romantic relationships with American men. These men's diverse and fascinating stories demonstrate the intertwining of sexual, economic, and familial motivations for migration. Further, Carrillo shows that sexual globalization must be regarded as a bidirectional, albeit uneven, process of exchange between countries in the global north and the global south. With this approach, Carrillo challenges the view that gay men from countries like Mexico would logically want to migrate to a "more sexually enlightened" country like the United States a partial and limited understanding, given the dynamic character of sexuality in countries such as Mexico, which are becoming more accepting of sexual diversity.
Pathways of Desire also provides a helpful analytical framework for the simultaneous consideration of structural and cultural factors in social scientific studies of sexuality. Carrillo explains the patterns of cross-cultural interaction that sexual migration generates and at the most practical level shows how the intricacies of cross-cultural sexual and romantic relations may affect the sexual health and HIV risk of transnational immigrant populations.
Hector Carrillo is associate professor of sociology and gender & sexuality studies at Northwestern University. He is the author of the Night Is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS, also published by the University of Chicago Press.