American and Danish university researchers suggest men are more likely to experience mental and physical anguish when their female counterparts are the primary breadwinners.

The new study, In Sickness and in Wealth, posits the potential psychological and sexual costs of income disparity in marriage.

Professors Lamar Pierce and Michael S. Dahl examined prescription drug and financial data from Denmark, arriving at ironic correlations between decreased virility and increased infidelity among men whose wives/girlfriends outperform them financially.

Professor Pierce, speaking to NBC News, said, “There is a powerful social norm for many men that it's important to make more than their wives. Men feel emasculated when this norm is violated.”

Emasculation in this sense, the study suggests, manifests as erectile dysfunction.

Other Male Health Issues Related to Money and Power

“Patriarchy and money are psychosocial underpinnings of male sexual desire. When men presume women have usurped their traditional role as provider, men frequently experience reduced sexual desire and/or dysfunction. Anger and frustration can lead to sexual problems as shown in the preexisting medical literature on the subject.”

So say Pierce and Dahl in their aforementioned 16 page report. Some of the “preexisting medical literature” they refer to includes a 2010 paper written by Christin Munsch, a Cornell University sociology researcher.

Professor Munsch's extensive research shows stay-at-home dads are more likely than stay-at-home moms to cheat on their working partners.

The most recent Census data indicates this side effect may be on the rise. Women comprise not only 47 percent of the American workforce but account for 40 percent of principal breadwinners in households with children. These numbers are up 11 percent since 1960.

Between a Rock and a Soft Place

Beyond the stress of feeling their classic role as provider slipping away, men are also likely to feel anxious for not living up to traditional expectations women still harbor concerning prospective life partners.

Pierce and Dahl's research indicates women are progressively more committed to becoming autonomous high-earners while still demonstrating a strong desire to partner with men who outearn them. They cite a 2010 study by Hitsch, Hortascu, and Ariely to the end of buttressing this theory.

Elsewhere in their report, Pierce and Dahl write women who outearn their mates are apt to experience a decrease in happiness and/or more intense spells of anxiety, suffer bouts of depression and rely upon insomnia medication.

Pierce and Dahl speculate as to the direct source of these side effects, whether they are owed to the psychological costs of a woman's busy and demanding career or spillovers from her husbands' reduced psychological and sexual health.

Changing Roles

Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University, believes a change in male attitudes toward working mothers could likely ease tensions that arise within families who have nontraditional parental roles.

While their wives continue to outearn them, the supposed conclusion is men will continue to perform poorly in bed and suffer psychologically.

Author's Bio: 

Derek is currently blogging for a health site that provides help and support for men who are facing different male health issues. He enjoys blogging about different health topics, exercising, and dieting for men.