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If Wife Earns More, Husband's Sexual Performance May Suffer: Study
Date:2/11/2013

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A man who finds his wife's salary is eclipsing his own may feel that earnings difference in the bedroom -- and not in a good way.

That's according to a new study that found that men who made less than their wives were more prone to require impotence drugs, compared to when the income gap was the other way around.

Admittedly, the difference wasn't much: Men who were out-earned by their wives were 10 percent more likely to take drugs for erectile dysfunction, said study co-author Lamar Pierce, an associate professor of strategy at Washington University in St. Louis.

However, even a relatively small difference in income between the spouses boosted the odds that a man might need pharmaceutical help in the bedroom.

"Men who make [even] $500 less a year than their wives are 10 percent more likely to take ED medications than men who make $500 more," he noted.

The study was published online recently in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

A shift in the marital "income gap" seemed to be key: According to Pierce, the findings did not apply to couples where the woman already made more than the man going into the marriage. "Men who knowingly married a female [primary] breadwinner appear to suffer no costs from being out-earned," Pierce and co-authors wrote in the study.

Nor did the findings apply to unmarried couples who were living together.

To Pierce, that suggests that ''marriage is an important social construct dictating his role [as primary breadwinner]."

The study was done in Denmark, which is viewed as a socially progressive country, Pierce said. He believes the findings would apply in the United States, and probably even be more robust among American couples.

In the past 20 years, the percent of American wives who make more than their husbands has risen from 4 percent to 22 percent
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