Down Country Lanes, Behind Abandoned Houses

Down Country Lanes, Behind Abandoned Houses

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Social Sciences & Humanities.

Based on six years of extended ethnography in multiple agricultural areas of the Eastern United States, Down Country Lanes, Behind Abandoned Houses is a monograph which explores the lives of migrant ...
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Pp. 375-423 (49)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681081045115010012

Author(s): Keith V. Bletzer


This chapter continues the theme of first times by focusing on “sexual debut” (first sex). Material covers first sexual relations remembered by the 24 randomized narrators. Similar to new drug use, most narrators first had sex in their hometown – similar to the full sample – usually before they were traveling on-the-season for farm labor. Most first partners were close in age from the same school or neighborhood (United States) and village or rancho (Central America), or someone met casually at a local dance or public place such as a community park (United States) or bar or tavern (outside the United States). Those experiencing sex for the first time usually were younger than their partners, which meant that most of the opposite-sex and same-sex partners had prior experience.

Rare few were still with their first partner. Many men and some of the women if they were sex workers (among both narrators and full sample) were outside the parenting process for their children, which identifies one consequence stemming from their structural vulnerability. A few had no idea of current whereabouts of their first partner or their children from this person or subsequent partners.


Children, coercion, consensual, contractual, couple, emerging adulthood, experimentation, forced sex, hierarchy of needs, loyalty, opposite-sex partner, pregnancy, same gender sex, sexual debut, sexual intercourse, sexual risktaking, sustained partnership, unrequited romance, unwanted sex, virginity.