The Masculine Mystique of T

Katrina Karkazis at the NYRB:

Testosterone has been culturally endowed withaspirational, almost magical, qualities since before the hormone was first synthesized in 1935. Scientists told the first and most important stories about this hormone. One of the earliest came from a sensational speech delivered by the eminent physiologist Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard at a meeting of the Société de Biologie of Paris in 1889. He reported the miraculous effects derived from an elixir of blood, semen, and “juice extracted from a testicle, crushed immediately after it has been taken from a dog or a guinea-pig,” which he self-injected, eager to reverse “the most troublesome miseries of advanced life.” The first injection, he told the crowd, produced “a radical change,” including increased physical stamina, “facility of intellectual labour,” and a markedly longer “jet of urine.” The greatest effect by far was on his “expulsion of fecal matters.” Despite what appeared to be great promise, editors writing in what would become The New England Journal of Medicine quickly cautioned against the “silly season”that might ensue, warning that “the sooner the general public, and especially septuagenarian readers of the latest sensation understand that for the physically used up and worn out there is no secret of rejuvenation, no elixir of youth, the better.”

more here.