"I am tired but if i don't try to have sex, my wife will think i've been fooling around in the city": Work, migration, and sex among vietnamese migrant laborers

Huong Ngoc Nguyen, Melissa Hardesty, Khuat Thu Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mostly operating from a risk and risk-reduction paradigm, existing research on migrants in Vietnam tends to conceptualize sex and risky sexual behaviors as isolated life domains. This study begins to develop a contextually rich understanding of migrants' sex lives by examining the relationships among sex, work, and the constant pendulum-like migrating movements of 23 Vietnamese married migrants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Using data from in-depth interviews, it was found that most participants had no sex in the city; this was followed by visits to the home village, where they had sex with their spouses as often as possible to make up for the "long drought" in the city. Within this sexual schema, sex came secondary, and even peripherally, to migrants' working lives; thus, exhaustion from work was cited by migrants as the overwhelming factor leading to their sexual problems. This study suggests that migrants' intimate lives are more strongly linked to their working lives than has previously been recognized, and that their sexual behaviors should be viewed in tandem with the hardships of their working lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-559
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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