Two social scientists have made an astonishing discovery. Or maybe not. Benjamin Cornwell at Cornell and Edward Laumann at the University of Chicago have published a study of erectile dysfunction and the social network. Or, as the title of the study says, “Network Position and Sexual Dysfunction: Implications of Partner Betweenness for Men.” (You probably never knew betweenness was a word; it probably wasn’t a word before these researches got to work.)
Their study showed that when a wife had more contact with her husband’s friends than he did, the chance that her husband would have trouble making love to her increased. Or as the researchers put it: “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.”
Isn’t this called jealousy? Did this come as a surprise to the researchers? And isn’t that line in quotes a rather weird sentence? And do people ever achieve orgasm not during sex?
The two scientists also discovered that while this effect was most apparent for men in their 50s and early 60s, it just sort of disappeared for men in their 70s and 80s. Want to guess why? Don’t even try. Here’s the answer: “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.” Now you know.