Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

240 pages

12 halftones

July, 2014

ISBN: 9780814764923



Also available in


Juana María Rodríguez is Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces.

All books by Juana María Rodríguez

Winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Prize presented by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association

Finalist for the 2015 LGBT Studies Award presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings proposes a theory of sexual politics that works in the interstices between radical queer desires and the urgency of transforming public policy, between utopian longings and everyday failures. Considering the ways in which bodily movement is assigned cultural meaning, Juana María Rodríguez takes the stereotypes of the hyperbolically gestural queer Latina femme body as a starting point from which to discuss how gestures and forms of embodiment inform sexual pleasures and practices in the social realm.

Centered on the sexuality of racialized queer female subjects, the book’s varied archive—which includes burlesque border crossings, daddy play, pornography, sodomy laws, and sovereignty claims—seeks to bring to the fore alternative sexual practices and machinations that exist outside the sightlines of mainstream cosmopolitan gay male culture. Situating articulations of sexual subjectivity between the interpretive poles of law and performance, Rodríguez argues that forms of agency continually mediate among these various structures of legibility—the rigid confines of the law and the imaginative possibilities of the performative. She reads the strategies of Puerto Rican activists working toward self-determination alongside sexual performances on stage, in commercial pornography, in multi-media installations, on the dance floor, and in the bedroom. Rodríguez examines not only how projections of racialized sex erupt onto various discursive mediums but also how the confluence of racial and gendered anxieties seeps into the gestures and utterances of sexual acts, kinship structures, and activist practices.

Ultimately, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings reveals ­—in lyrical style and explicit detail­—how sex has been deployed in contemporary queer communities in order to radically reconceptualize sexual politics.


  • “With a distinctly lush style of inquiry, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings mobilizes the stereotype of the hyperbolically gestural Latina femme with and for both pleasure and politics. Juana María Rodríguez is a fierce critic in all the best senses of that word.”

    —Elizabeth Freeman, author of Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories

  • “Through sensuous and seductive prose, Juana María Rodríguez demonstrates how queer gesture highlights the tension between socially inscribed corporeal regulation and agential enactments of subjectivity. Pivoting away from this binary through a reading of Latina excess, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings demands that we radically reclaim abject sex as a site of queer futurity.”

    —E. Patrick Johnson, author of Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History

  • “Fun, sensual, and theoretically sophisticated, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings questions facile binary oppositions by exploring the intricate and perverse world of fantasy and pleasure, particularly in contexts in which marginality, submission, and racialization seem to foreclose key moments of identification for queer subjects of color.”

    —Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, author of Coloniality of Diasporas: Rethinking Intra-Colonial Migrations in a Caribbean Context

  • "Sexual Futures pursues a vital project of expanding the archive via documenting the ephemeral. In an especially fascinating chapter, Rodríguez connects the gestures of Latin dance to those of sex, elaborating the erotic implications of disco, mambo, rumba, salsa, and merengue, while also drawing attention to the often transient spaces in which bodies congregate for pleasure (the physical locations, as well as the gestures, are ephemeral). Given that bodily gestures may be captured best in visual media, it is no surprise that Rodríguez turns to the heterogeneous archive of Latina/o pornography; but she also explores, in the context of politicized kinship, those Daddy fantasies often found in BDSM sex scenarios. These archives and their richly elaborated contexts illuminate her claim that 'sex is always more than personal' (17)."

    —Tim Dean, American Literary History

  • “The book’s intriguing methodological protocols, its vibrant archives, and its foregrounding of a Latina femme perspective make it a commanding contribution to performance studies, porn studies, women of color feminisms, Latina studies, and queer of color critique.  That is productively engages such a wide range of disciplines speaks to the success of its own amorous gesturing.”

    GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies