Is there such a thing as a “male biological clock”? What do we really know about men’s reproductive health?
The answer, accordingly to author Rene Almeling, is surprisingly little. In contrast, the medical specialty of gynecology, focused on women’s reproductive health, began over 100 years ago. Today, both medical and cultural messages about reproduction and fertility still overwhelmingly target women.
Sociologist Rene Almeling, author of GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health, joined UC Press Executive Director, Tim Sullivan in this virtual conversation to discuss the fascinating mystery of why there is still such limited research about men’s reproductive health.
As Almeling explains, the absence of a large and dedicated medical specialty focused on men’s reproduction presents a missed public health opportunity, as many men are unaware of how their health might impact their fertility and future children. Additionally, it impacts how we culturally frame reproductive politics as a “women’s issue.”
But the answer to this gap is not about simply advocating for the expansion of andrology, the male counterpart to gynecology. Almeling argues we need to build a more inclusive reproductive health focus that incorporates trans, gender nonbinary, and intersex folks. And at a societal level, we need to avoid public health messaging that targets individual-level behaviors, and instead recognize that health is a systemic, social issue.
Perfect for anyone interested in reproductive politics, history of medicine, public health, and gender, Almeling’s work also presents a unique methodological case study for scholars teaching on “the making of non-knowledge.”
Read more about Rene Almeling’s book, GUYnecology.