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Nuptiality in Latin America

FIGURE 1 ABOUT HERE

Perhaps this is as a good a place as any to note the apparent ambivalence

about sexual relations in Latin America.

On one extreme of a continuum one

might place machismo, an idea that includes male sexual conquest without

thought

of

marriage

or

responsibility

for

any

offspring.

On

the

other

side,

one might place a faithful marriage that can only be broken through the death

of

a

spouse.

But

even

if

marriage

is

involved,

men

are

still

supposed

to

be

very concerned about honor and virility, and may be “somewhat formal and

restrained” with their children, even “stern and authoritarian” (Leonard and

Louriero

1980,

p.211).

The

irony

is

to

hold

both

familism

and

machismo

as

ideals at the same time although they contradict each other (Ingoldsby 1991).

Marriage and machismo can and do coexist when there is the double standard

that

ideas

women

about

must

stay

honor

and

faithful

in

marriage

but

the

position

of

women.)

men

do

not.

That

upper

(Remember

Moorish

class

married

men

often had lower class queridas (sweethearts), sometimes in an ongoing

consensual relationship, is by no means unheard of perhaps because “often

there is little emphasis upon the companionate aspects of the marriage”

(Leonard

and

Louriero

1980;

also

Carvajal

1980).

In

contrast,

their

wives

were supposed to find solace in their relationship with their children.

“Thus, the content of husband-wife conversation may hinge mostly on activities

of the children, local gossip and the activities of friends and relatives.

The husband is likely to belong to one or more clubs where he frequently goes

in the evening to discuss finances, philosophy and politics with friends and

associates.

There

are

few

women’s

organizations

in

which

the

wife

can

get

involved” (Leonard and Louriero 1980).

Among the lower class, both men and women were supposed to be more free

from the constraints and privileges of formal marriage since they were often

14

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