The genesis for this special edition occurred at the 8th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies conference hosted by Victoria University, Melbourne in 2008. A special theme, organized by Tess Kay, Kevin Lyons and John Jenkins encouraged eight presenters to examine masculinities and leisure under the title of 'Unlocking men: Presentations around the theme of men, gender and leisure'. Three papers are worthy of specific mention as they revealed that a more extensive examination of leisure and masculinities was warranted. Kay (2008) provided a critical assessment of the gendering of leisure studies and a call to address the deficit of knowledge concerned with masculinities and leisure. Kevin Lyons (2008), in a similarly provocative manner, examined how men's leisure research had been pre- occupied with responding to the critiques made by feminist leisure scholarship rather than addressing the gendered experiences of men's leisure. And Veal (2008) argued that the leisure experiences of men had been neglected, and perhaps even 'stereotyped', within leisure studies. It was within this challenging and critically engaged context that the seeds for this special edition were sown. In this introductory paper, we first present an abridged overview of how gender analyses within leisure studies have developed. We then provide the results of a content analysis that examined papers published in three leading leisure journals concerned with leisure and masculinities. This is followed by a discussion of issues associated with theorizing masculinities. Finally, we introduce the papers presented within this special edition.