, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 249-265
Date: 19 Sep 2009

Rejuvenation’s Return: Anti-aging and Re-masculinization in Biomedical Discourse on the ‘Aging Male’

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Abstract

Since the late 1990s, a constellation of professional associations, journals and health promotion materials has emerged that has constructed the ‘aging male’ as a medical problem. Central to this construction has been a revival of a hormonal model of the male body in which anti-aging is linked to the restoration of masculinity. In this paper I revisit the association of aging and demasculinization that animated the rejuvenation movement of the early 20th century, and contrast this with the initial mainstream medical interest in testosterone therapy in the mid-20th century. Then I will demonstrate how the association between anti-aging and re-masculinization has been given new life in the remedicalized ‘andropause’, and as a contemporary focus on maintaining life-long virility has emerged as an important indicator of ‘health aging’.