Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction may want to dig a little deeper into what’s causing the problem before they reach for a pill. New findings show men who earn less money than their wives are more likely to take medication for ED. Disruption of traditional social norms could lead to trouble getting an erection, at least for some men.
The finding, published in the Personality and Psychosocial Bulletin, looked at how a man’s sexual desire is tied to social and cultural norms.
The authors write, “When women outearn their husbands, it challenges the traditional social norms of the man as economic provider and female income as supplemental.”
Past studies have shown men who earn less money than their spouse suffer from higher rates of depression. When women bring home more money than their husband, the authors contend the result is an upset in marital harmony.
Households with women who earn more than their spouse have higher rates of domestic abuse, also cited by the authors in studies.
Underlying erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire is disruption of traditional male roles that the authors say can lead to serious sexual dysfunction.
Higher use of ED drugs for men with lower income
Investigators for the study looked at 200,000 Danish couples from 1997-2006. .
Men whose wives were the main breadwinner were more likely to be taking drugs for erectile dysfunction. Women who made more money than their husband had a higher likelihood of taking medications for anxiety and insomnia.
The results also showed sexual dysfunction “may continue to worsen as the income gap grows.”
The authors acknowledge that many men are proud of and attracted to wives whose job income is high. They also say they’re not suggesting women shouldn’t make more money than men; emphasizing that “…ED and sexual health more generally have many causes, and that our findings do not discount the importance of any of them.”
The finding highlights a cause for erectile dysfunction when men are usurped as the main breadwinner in the family. Earning more money could lead to sleepless nights and anxiety for women. The cost for men may be a trip to the doctor for a prescription for Viagra or Cialis. .
"In Sickness and in Wealth: Psychological and Sexual Costs of Income Comparison in Marriage"
Michael S. Dahl
Washington University in St. Louis
February 3, 2013
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