Volume 32, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2012
The Downside of Getting It Up
How Viagra Reveals the Persistence of Patriarchy and the Need for Sexual Character
I BEGIN THIS ESSAY BY EXAMINING HOW OUR "VIAGRA CULTURE"—ATAN-gled web of biotechnology, consumerism, and medicalization—creates an opening for patriarchy in our era. The second section examines how such large sociocultural forces invade women's bedrooms, impacting their intimate relationships. We then consider men who adopt a counternarrative to that of patriarchy and anxiety, whose sexuality is distinguished by tenderness and mutual regard. The essay closes with reflections on how the Viagra culture reminds us of the need to nurture the virtue of generosity, a virtue that marks good sex and characterizes the lovers who practice it.