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At Planned Parenthood, we’re always looking to improve how we communicate sexual and reproductive health information to make sure it’s getting to the folks who need it. So the Planned Parenthood Innovation Team recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. Latino/Latina/Latinx people, and conducted in-depth interviews with 20 people in both English and Spanish. Participants varied in age, national origin, location, gender identity, and sexual orientation. 

Here are the four most important takeaways from our research: 

  1. Bodily autonomy isn’t always personal. People in the U.S. tend to view sexual and reproductive health decisions as private, but those with migrant backgrounds are more likely to share decisions about their sexual and reproductive health with their families. This is often because immigration status and language barriers mean these communities tend to rely on their families for the sexual and reproductive health information they need. One in three Latino/Latina/Latinx people we surveyed reported making decisions about birth control with their family, compared with just one in 10 white respondents. This means we must make sure that accurate, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information reaches all generations of Latino/Latina/Latinx people.
  2. When it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation, diversity is critical. Latino/Latina/Latinx communities need more gay and trans role models who show different kinds of love, family, and relationships. This is crucial for making sure that people of all gender identities and sexual orientations have access to the health care and education they need and deserve. As one study participant put it, “Sex ed should include educating [on all spectrums] on boundaries and what love actually looks like.” 
  3. Sexual and reproductive health and mental health are connected across generations

Gen X — especially migrants who spent their adulthood in the U.S. — are tired of feeling anxious about unintended pregnancy and STDs. As one participant said,  “[Sex has been] a constant worry and abstinence is not my thing.” 

Millennials want to be more inclusive, and they want to feel empowered in their health care and relationships. This is especially true of millennials who are parents: One participant said they wanted “... to share mistakes and I want [my children] to be open with me. I have to … listen and put myself in their shoes.” 

Gen Z wants sex to be safe and on their own terms: nearly 50% of Gen Z Latino/Latina/Latinx folks report changing up their birth control methods. 

4. Spanish speakers look to apps to help them prevent pregnancy. In a separate study of 1,000 Latinxs who track their periods with apps like Spot On, the majority (69%) of Spanish speakers surveyed reported using period tracking apps as a primary method of tracking their cycle to prevent unintended pregnancy

At Planned Parenthood, we believe that everyone deserves to have access to the care and resources they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures. This research helps us better understand how Latino/Latina/Latinx communities address sexual health and well-being, which helps us improve the information we provide on our websites and other Planned Parenthood resources.