Male Menopause: The Concept Lives
The topic was largely treated as a joke in popular culture until 1993 when journalist Gail Sheehy wrote a magazine article suggesting many men go through an "unspeakable passage" surrounded by secrecy and shame. She elaborated on the possible effects on men two years later in her book "New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time" (Ballantine Books, $12.95).
"Although it is not strictly a menopause," Sheehy writes, "Many men in middle or later life do experience a lapse in virility and vitality and a decline in well being."
The topic later reared its head in a new compendium about life after 50 titled "Are You Old Enough To Read This Book" (Reader's Digest, $21) edited by Deborah H. DeFore.
"While scientists disagree about male menopause, the ultimate experts on the issue -- middle-age men themselves -- express few doubts that it exists," writes Cyra McFadden, who polled a dozen men age 45 to 70 for her chapter "Is There Really A Male Menopause?"
Therapist Jed Diamond, a nationally known men's-movement leader, says he was skeptical until he researched his own book, "Male Menopause" (Sourcebooks Inc., $22.95).