1. Designing Technology and Masculinity:
Challenging the Invisibility of Male Reproductive Bodies
in Scientific Medicine
1 Viagra has been described as having had the fastest takeo√ of any other new drug, outpacing
such quick starters as the anti-depressant Prozac, one of the best-selling drugs in the United
States (Handy 1998: 39).
2This does not imply that impotence was completely absent from public discourse prior to
the late twentieth century. For instance, studies of divorce show that impotence, often called
by other names, was articulated as a reason for divorce by women in New England as early as
the seventeenth century (D’Emilio and Freedman 1997: 25). I thank an anonymous reviewer
for making me aware of this history.
3 The history of medicine shows that there were two previous attempts to include the ‘‘aging
male’’ in the agenda of modern reproductive medicine. In the 1890s, medical scientists such
as Brown-Séquard and Vorono√ advocated the use of extracts of testicles or gonadal trans-
plantation as a medical therapy for aging men. The scientific community, for the most part,
reacted with hostility to Brown-Séquard’s claims. In their eyes, the clock was being set back
to the dark ages of quackery. From the earliest times, the testis has been linked with male
sexuality, longevity, and bravery. The Greeks and Romans used preparations made from goat
or wolf testes as sexual stimulants. The therapeutic claims of Brown-Séquard about the
e√ects of testis extracts on the sexual activity of men caused a controversy among clinicians
and laboratory scientists. There was such a strong resistance that Brown-Séquard’s reputa-
tion as a distinguished neurophysiologist was eventually ruined and he was marginalized in
the scientific community (Corner 1965: iv).
A second attempt to introduce testicular therapy for aging men took place in the early
decades of the twentieth century. Practitioners in France and the United States transplanted
monkey (and other) testes into men and animals, a practice that became known as ‘‘the
monkey gland a√air.’’ Like the early testes extracts therapy, this gland transplantation be-
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