As lifestyle drug production and medical interest in geriatrics increase, the medicalization of aging and sexuality have become intertwined. Drugs like Viagra naturalize lifelong performance of phallocentric sex as a marker of healthy aging. Yet despite the ubiquity of medical aids for having “youthful” sex in older age, this article argues that having no or less sex can be a conscious strategy for embodying respectable aging. Based on ethnographic research in a Cuernavaca, Mexico, hospital urology department, this article shows that despite the traditional association of penetrative sex with successful masculinity, many older, working-class Mexican men faced with erectile difficulty reject “youthful” sexuality and drugs that facilitate it in order to embody a “mature” masculinity focused on home and family. This article argues that social encouragement and structural disincentives for medicalizing erectile difficulty encouraged men to interpret decreasing erectile function as natural and appropriate.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.