Intoxication and Toxicity in a ‘Pharmacopornographic Era’: Beatriz Preciado’s Testo Junkie

  • Joshua Rivas


The term ‘hormone’, which pioneering endocrinologist Ernest Starling defined as ‘the chemical messengers which, speeding from cell to cell along the blood stream, may coordinate the activities and growth of different parts of the body’, derives from the Greek for ‘to arouse or excite’ (Starling, 1905). In Testo Junkie: Sexe, drogue et biopolitique, philosopher and queer activist Beatriz Preciado relates her experiences and observations over a period of 236 days during which she self-administered doses of black market Testogel, a synthetic pharmaceutical androgen primarily indicated for the treatment of (cisgender) men with low testosterone, but also prescribed to female-to-male transgender hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) patients as part of a medical sex reassignment process. Testo Junkie is composed of two alternating strands, the first an explicitly autobiographical chronicle of Preciado’s illicit experiences under the effects of her experimental ‘protocole d’intoxication volontaire’ (Preciado, 2008, p. 11). The diaristic narrative elaborated in the work is punctuated by theorisation in a more overtly philosophical mode on the state of gender, sexuality, subjectivity and the body in a cultural context wherein hormonal contraceptive pills and devices, performance-enhancing drugs of various sorts, cosmetic surgeries, and countless other medical and pharmaceutical somatechnical interventions have become veritable norms.


Cosmetic Surgery Gender Dysphoria Hard Drug Gender Identity Disorder Philosophical Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bayer Australia Ltd. 2012. Testogel (package insert) (Pymble: Bayer Australia Ltd).Google Scholar
  2. Butler, J., 2008. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York and London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  3. Chen, M. Y., 2012. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Durham and London: Duke University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Haraway, D. J., 1991. ‘A Cyborg Manifesto: Science Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century’ in D. Haraway, ed., Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge) pp. 149–81.Google Scholar
  5. Pila, R., 2005. ‘Mort de l’écrivain gay Guillaume Dustan, adepte du sexe à risques’, MYTF1NEWS,–10/mort-ecrivain-gay-guillaume-dustan-adepte-sexe-risques-4859780.html, date accessed 5 February. 2013.Google Scholar
  6. Preciado, B., 2008. Testo Junkie (Paris: Grasset).Google Scholar
  7. Preciado, B., 2013. Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era, trans. Bruce Benderson (New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York).Google Scholar
  8. Starling, E. H., 1905. ‘The Croonian Lectures on the Chemical Correlation of the Functions of the Body’, Lecture I, The Lancet 2, pp. 339–41.Google Scholar
  9. Stevens, E., 2010. ‘The Pharmacopornographic Subject: Beatrice [sic] Preciado’s Testo Junkie: Sexe, Drogue et Biopolitique’, Polari Journal, 2,, date accessed, 20 June 2013.

Copyright information

© Joshua Rivas 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua Rivas

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations