Virility refers to any of a wide range of masculine characteristics viewed positively. It is not applicable to women or to negative characteristics. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED1) says virile is "marked by strength or force." Virility is commonly associated with vigour, health, sturdiness, and constitution, especially in the fathering of children. In this last sense, virility is to men as fertility is to women. OED1 also notes an obsolete use of virile in this sense for a "nubile" young woman - "a maide that is Mariageable or ripe for a Husband, or Virill."
The word itself is derived from the Latin word vir meaning simply "man" (in a gender specific sense). The German for "virility" is Manneskraft - the strength of a man.
Historically, masculine attributes such as beard growth have been seen as signs of virility and leadership (for example in ancient Egypt and Rome).
As a term for positive reference, virility does not accord with feminisms that put forward various deconstructions of masculinity. According to these points of view, virility is redefined as an outdated abstraction, impacting negatively on women via unwanted sexual activity, and unwanted pregnancies.
This article is based on "Virility" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Virility&action=history