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As American women continue to gain on men as the primary breadwinner in households, the issue may become a larger one.
Research finds men are more likely to have issues in the bedroom, including anxiety and erectile dysfunction, when their wife earns more money.
Those men are also more inclined to cheat as a means of recapturing their lost masculinity.
Conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, the study cross referenced two Danish government databases to compare reported salaries against reported health issues.
Professors Lamar Pierce and Michael S. Dahl, from Aalborg University in Denmark, co-authored the report.
“There is a powerful social norm for many men that it’s important to make more than their wives,” Pierce said. “When that social norm is violated, what this does is make them feel emasculated.”
“Men are more likely to have issues in
the bedroom when their wife earns more.”
“Male sexual desire and behavior is tied to cultural and social factors such as patriarchy and money, potentially causing men to suffer reduced sexual desire or dysfunction when perceiving their traditional role of provider to be usurped,” he added. “The impact of upward social comparison in marriage clearly depends on which partner is looking upward, as social norms in marriage dictate the traditional role of the husband as financial provider.”
Researchers point out the results “in no way suggest that the trend toward female breadwinners is socially harmful. Nor do we argue that all men will respond to upward income comparisons negatively; many husbands are proud of and attracted to high-earning wives.”