A wife who gets too chummy with her husband's best friends undermines his "autonomy and privacy," and may inadvertently be causing hubby's erectile dysfunction.
It sounds like a Judd Apatow flick, but the research, out this week from Cornell University and the University of Chicago, correlates male sexual problems with "partner betweenness" -- that's how far a woman had infiltrated her lover's bromances.
"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 lead authors write in the study, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Sociology.
The researchers pulled data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a survey of 3,005 people aged 57 to 85. They found sexual dysfunction in situations where a man's female partner enjoyed stronger relationships with his buddies than he did.
The researchers argue that a woman who comes between a man and his friends -- the equivalent of re-decorating his man cave -- undermines his sense of independence and privacy, concepts central to traditional masculinity. This can apparently stir conflict or zap a man's attraction to his partner.
No word on what the equivalent fallout would be for a husband who encroaches too intimately on his wife's hen circle -- perhaps researchers find this a laughable prospect.
Have you experienced the phenomenon of "partner betweenness?"