Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 97–125

Fixing broken masculinity: Viagra asa technology for the production of gender and sexuality

  • Meika Loe

DOI: 10.1007/s12119-001-1032-1

Cite this article as:
Loe, M. Sex Cult (2001) 5: 97. doi:10.1007/s12119-001-1032-1


In the twenty-first century, technology is not so easily divorced from the human body. Viagra, the blockbuster drug hailed as the “magic erection pill,” exemplifies the increasingly accepted technologically-enhanced body. After a history of medical experts applying technology to women’s bodies in times of weakness, male bodies are now deemed in need of treatment. As male bodies digress from “normal” (erect and penetrating) sexuality, techno-scientific advances promise to “fix” the problem, and thus the patriarchal “machine.” Thus, Viagra is both a material and cultural technology producing and reshaping gender and sexuality under the guise of techno-scientific progress. Drawing on my own ethnographic data, I explore the use and circulation of techno-scientific advancement and inevitability discourses and the ways in which masculinity and heterosexuality are reproduced, as well as contested, critiqued, and reshaped by those who prescribe, dispense, market, and/or use Viagra. Finally, I argue that Viagra is currently being understood and employed as a “tool” to avert or treat masculinity “in crisis” in the contemporary America.

Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meika Loe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta Barbara