Soaking in Manhood: (Re)Negotiating Masculinities and Sexualities in the Spas of Quito, Ecuador
Date of Completion
anthropology, LGBT, masculinities, sexualities, gender, Ecuador, Latin America, homosociality, homosexuality, transvestism
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
In this ethnographic investigation, the narratives of several Ecuadorian males are used to address the current intersections between personal sexual identities and masculinities. The intersections considered often take place within the Ecuadorian spa, an ethnosexual frontier in which heteronormative identities are negotiated against a backdrop of homosocial camaraderie and homoerotic desire. The role of the spa in these negotiations is twofold: it offers a space for men who have sex with men (MSM) to gain culturally requisite sexual experience, and it challenges the stereotypes of MSM as hyper-sexualized by doubling as a homosocial space in which no sexual activity is required. Social scientists have noted the need to understand sexuality as a global dimension of power in which certain groups are privileged over others. Similarly, masculinity scholars have observed the ways in which contrasting studies of men, sexuality, reproduction, and identity help us to explore the global history and diversity of genders and sexualities. With the life histories of the informants who have contributed to this investigation, I explore some of the ways in which contemporary Ecuadorian masculinities are reconstructed in relation to alternative sexualities, where sexual identities do not necessarily align with sexual behavior. Personal identities are bound in time and space, and in these cases, they have been transformed by recent legislation and the emergence of spas.
Shepard, Ronnie Anthony, "Soaking in Manhood: (Re)Negotiating Masculinities and Sexualities in the Spas of Quito, Ecuador" (2017). Doctoral Dissertations. 1537.
Available for download on Thursday, April 09, 2026