Androgenic steroids are important for male development in utero and secondary sexual characteristics at puberty. In addition, androgens play a role in non-reproductive tissues, such as bone and muscle in both sexes. The actions of the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone are mediated by a single receptor protein, the androgen receptor. Over the last 60-70 years there has been considerable research interest in the development of inhibitors of androgen receptor for the management of diseases such as prostate cancer. However, more recently, there is also a growing appreciation of the need for selective androgen modulators that would demonstrate tissue-selective agonist or antagonist activity. The chemistry and biology of selective agonists, antagonists and selective androgen receptor modulators will be discussed in this review.