Manuscripts of late medieval and Renaissance ritual magic provide a unique insight into the gender construction of learned men. They reveal a subjective world of desire and anxiety that has for the most part been a matter of conjecture in the literature on masculinity. These manuscripts also overcome one of the limitations associated with the anxiety model: the tendency to regard masculinity as constructed in negative relation to other social groups. In part, learned masculinity was constructed according to external standards, most commonly from the world of the aristocracy. But it was constructed in greater measure according to standards (or desires) deriving from the clerical and learned world itself.