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When a man's partner is too close to his friends, his sex life may suffer
Date:8/8/2011

men who were healthy and capable of having satisfying sexual relationships, there is increased risk for sexual problems when their partners have greater contact with the couple's shared friends.

"In general, while the majority of men have more contact with all of their confidants than their partners do, about 25 percent of men experience partner betweenness in at least one of their confidant relationships," said Laumann, the George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology at UChicago.

Cornwell, an assistant professor of sociology at Cornell, said the data reveal a strong association. "Partner betweenness is a significant predictor of ED: A man whose female partner has greater contact with some of his confidants than he does is about 92 percent more likely to have trouble getting or maintaining an erection than a man who has greater access than his partner does to all of his confidants."

In a surprising twist, the study found that as men age, the complications of having a partner who dominates shared confidant relationships wane. Among men in their late 50s and early 60s, the prevalence of ED more than doubles when the female partner is closer to a shared friend than the male partner is. The relationship all but disappears among men in their 70s and 80s.

Researchers suggest it is possible that older men have a different concept of masculinity than the younger men in the survey.

"Older men's greater focus on close, kin-oriented relationships increases their likelihood of adopting new definitions of masculinity that emphasize conveying experience and mentoring rather than independence and autonomy, and under these circumstances partner betweenness is less likely to trigger erectile dysfunction," Cornwell said.

Laumann said the study shows the value of understanding the connections between social relationships and health. "The results point to the importance of social network factors that are
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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8356
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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