This article aims to explore the connections between bodybuilding, (hyper)masculinity, sexuality, and the construction of subcultural and sexual spaces among Swedish male fitness dopers. Analytically, the article employs the perspectives of hardcore masculinities—and the potential harms to relationships and health involved in the use of doping—as well as more legitimate and hegemonic masculinity configurations. The results show that there is a delicate balance between masculinity-connoted sexual and other bodily urges and desires, on the one hand, and the loss of control, on the other. Living in a pornographic imaginary can also result in a loss of reasonable contact with the world outside the subculture of bodybuilding. Upholding this lifestyle thus involves an ambivalent construction of masculinity found at the intersection between marginality and hegemony, which sometimes leads to loneliness and a lack of intimate relationships.
Jesper Andreasson is Associate Professor of Sport Science at Linnaeus University in Sweden and has a PhD in sociology. He has published articles and books in the fields of gender studies and the sociology of sport, health, and gym and fitness culture. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Johansson is Professor of Child and Youth Studies at Gothenburg University in Sweden. He is one of the key researchers in the field of men and masculinities in the Nordic countries. Email: email@example.com