Mexican Immigrant Mother-Daughter Conversations: Sexual Delay as a Path to Educational Achievement

  • Laura F. Romo University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Aída Hurtado University of California, Santa Barbara


In this article, we examine through quantitative and qualitative analyses Mexican immigrant mothers’ conversations about dating and sex with their teenage daughters who were not sexually active at the time of the study. The results of our mixed-methods study indicate that mothers give their daughters consejos (advice) restricting sex initiation embedded within messages that stress the importance of education as a means to achieve self-sufficiency and freedom. These messages of sexual restriction for the purpose of educational achievement and liberation are important for building a bridge of collaboration with teachers and schools to ensure the educational success of Mexican American female students. Our study examines whether the mothers’ consejos on sexual delay to achieve educational success results in their daughters’ postponement of sexual engagement for another year. We conclude by outlining the implications of our findings for teacher training.