A recent study published in the American Journal of Sociology has found a link between erectile dysfunction in older men and friendships between their partners and male friends. The research was conducted at the University of Chicago on 3,005 men, ages 57 to 85.
Described as "partner betweenness," this phenomenon occurs when the female partner has stronger relationships with her hubby's friends than he does, effectively coming between him and his friends. This undermines the man's feelings of autonomy and privacy, which researchers say are central to traditional concepts of masculinity.
"Men who experience partner betweenness in their joint relationships are more likely to have trouble getting or maintaining an erection and are also more likely to experience difficulty achieving orgasm during sex," the researchers say.
Says Edward Laumann, a sociology prof at the U of C and one of the study's architects: "The results point to the importance of social network factors that are rarely considered in medical research — network structure and the individual's position within it."
Maybe this means that men get more anti-social as they age, while women continue to be social butterflies? It's interesting that the perceived threat/turn-off here is that the woman will come between the man and his friends — not that she will cheat on her partner. Would it be safe to assume that's what the surveyed men are really afraid of?
Cry me a river, older men. It could be worse!
What do you think about this study? Does it ring true?