Decreased Erectile Function in Context
Th is book has shown how men respond to illness, aging, social problems,
structural inequalities, and the erectile diffi culty that these experiences
may cause. It has traced the ways in which the individual study partici-
pants drew from an array of culturally intelligible ways of understanding
these experiences to revise their composite masculinities in attempts to
incorporate often undesired changes into enactments of desired ways of
being men. My aim has been to analyze the study participants’ accounts
of embodied and life experiences surrounding erectile diffi culty and dis-
cern how they revised their ways of being men in relationship to these
changes and the possibility of medical intervention. I have also sought to
illuminate the ways that men’s life contexts, especially economic hard-
ships and relationships with wives and physicians, infl uenced their inter-
pretations of and responses to erectile function change. Th e participants’
experiences demonstrate how it is possible, in a country where penetra-
tive sex is a famed marker of masculinity (to the point that the study
participants often cast the abstract Mexican man as being sex obsessed)
and ed drugs are heavily publicized and widely purchased, that men in
par tic u lar social and structural positions might reject or complicate
medicalization of erectile diffi culty and make positive social use of de-
creased erectile function.
Although the life experiences of each participant diff ered, common
patterns emerged as they drew from a shared cultural pool of ideas about
health, aging, and male sexuality when responding to similar bodily
changes. Despite the frequent occurrence of decreased erectile function
among this group of aging and often chronically ill men, most of the
cultural change over time in responses
to erectile difficulty
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