The new study focused on two databases. One included demographic information, such as income and other details, for all Danish citizens. Another included all medical prescriptions for the population. Pierce looked at data from 1997 to 2006,and zeroed in on more than 569,000 couples, aged 25 to 49, where both partners worked full time.
Men were not the only ones affected psychologically by income differences within marriage. For example, Pierce found that wives who out-earned their husbands were themselves more likely to take medications for insomnia and anxiety. Out-earned husbands were also more likely to take anxiety and depression medications compared to situations where the male was the major breadwinner.
The research suggests a link between marital income disparities and impotence, but it cannot prove cause-and-effect, Pierce stressed. He did add that he factored out issues such as health problems, which might affect income, and the link still held.
He can't explain for sure why the out-earned men turn to impotence drugs. "We can't directly say this is [a result of] them being emasculated," but it may be, he said.
Another expert sees two possible explanations. One might be that ''it is threatening for men to be out-earned by their wives, and that threat is carried all the way into the bedroom, which leads him to be less able to perform well sexually," said Kathleen Vohs, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. Her work focuses on the impact of income/money on human psychology.
"Another explanation," she said, "which is similar but not quite, is that the husband might use the ED medication as a way to guarantee that he is not emasculated in the bedroom."
Pierce said it's important not to suggest that the trend toward female breadwinners is socially harmful. Many men are perfectly fine with, and very proud of, a spouse who earns
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