This article argues that medical discourse attempted to establish gender and sexual behavior while determining women’s roles in society in nineteenth-century Cuba. Examining popular and medical journals, women’s periodicals, and health manuals, it illustrates how doctor’s preoccupations with women’s bodies reflected social anxieties over the sexual repercussions of shifting fashions, the moral impact of education and the need to biologically differentiate between black and white women. Medical emphasis on racial and gender differences mirrored social anxieties over control of female sexuality and the increased importance of motherhood and maternity as a symbol of a well-organized society. The article foregrounds the importance of examining medicine through a gender lens to highlight how doctors normalized cultural and social assumptions about race and gender in the nineteenth century. It illuminates how nineteenth-century medical conceptualizations provided a rationalization of gender, race and class differences steeped in Cuban assumptions about power.