Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

Sexualities on the Move


The Reproductive And Sexual Health Of Migrants:
an Ethno-Survey of bedrooms on the move

As a HOMInG postdoctoral fellow, I am extending my previous work on migration to focus more specifically on the sexuality – mobility nexus – in the context of the TRANS’HOME project, briefly introduced below.


“Good women stay at home. Bad women go everywhere,” says the Tamils (Ally 2014), in echo to Aeschylus’ advice to “Let women stay at home and hold their peace.”

Homes retain this imaginary of shelter or safe haven (Ley-Cervantes and al. 2015) – although, every day, three hundred women die of domestic violence, at home, and at least a third of sexual abuses would be perpetrated by relatives, inside homes (WHO 2015). However, the reliability and relevance of quantitative data is limited when it comes to the confines of domesticity.

Trans’Homes contends that a multi-sited ethno-survey of the bedrooms of transnational couples – by shedding light on the sexual and reproductive health of movers and stayers – can advance methodological, theoretical, and political debates.

The interrelations between mobility, domesticity, and sexuality remain understudied. However, international migration proved to have a significant positive impact on other dimensions of health. Around the globe, migrants’ contribution to health-related expenses prefigure the emergence of Transnational Social Protection (TSP) schemes (1) and mobility further entails the circulation of knowledge and know-hows relevant to health (2). In the same time, mobility disrupts the intimacy of migrants and non-migrants – with potential implications for their physical and emotional wellbeing (3). Extending these lines of research, I propose, through this research project, to focus on the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of cross-border couples.