Here’s some less-than-arousing news: The size of your paycheck may be affecting the size of your man’s er…manhood. A recent study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that men married to women who out-earn them are more likely to use erectile dysfunction medication.
The researchers studied around 200,000 married couples between the ages of 25 and 49 over a period of nine years in Denmark (because their universal health care system makes medical access a non-issue) and found that in heterosexual, two-partner couples, anxiety and depression (which can result in decreased sex drive) increased in men as their partner’s paychecks increased.
I spoke to one of the researchers involved with the study, Lamar Pierce, who said, “We have detailed income and medication data, that shows even small differences in income, which cannot be explained by other factors, impact sexual and psychological health.”
Does this mean if you’re a woman with a high-paying job that you’re automatically a boner killer? No. But it does suggest that social and cultural ideas about men, women and their bank accounts are more gingham-apron old-fashioned than we’d like them to be. Though erectile dysfunction is obviously not a conscious vote for traditional gender roles, is it an unconscious argument for them? What does this say about the values of men who cannot remain mentally and physically able because they’re on the low end of the income scale? Because women have traditionally (and for the most part, still do) earned less than men, and male sexual desire is, to some extent, tied to patriarchy, perhaps an upset in that patriarchy can manifest itself in physical ways. Obviously this is not a causal relationship; the researchers say the study is not evidence of a direct correlation between female income and male sexual health, because the results could be further explained by things like career choices, marital satisfaction, and other problems affecting sexual health.