one_of_the_boys.jpgIf you want to improve your relationship with your man, the old advice goes, you should get to know his barkada. But what if making friends with his mates could be bad for your man's sexual health? A new study conducted by Cornell University and the University of Chicago says that men whose female partners have gotten too close to their male buds have an increased likelihood of getting erectile dysfunction (ED).

Researchers Benjamin Cornwell and Edward Laumann dubbed the phenomenon in which a man's female partner becomes closer to his male friends than he is as "partner betweenness."

"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," they are quoted as saying in the study.

They used data from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project and discovered that 25 percent of the men they examined from ages 57 to 65 experienced this phenomenon, and these same individuals were the ones who had the most sexual trouble.  

"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,” Cornwell is quoted as saying in the study. While factors like health conditions could make this worse, the study showed, they discovered that even the healthy men had the same increased risk.

The phenomenon was most evident in men in their late 50s and early 60s but disappeared significantly for men in their 70s and 80s. The study points out that this might have something to do with men's concepts of masculinity. More than getting jealous of a possible relationship arising between you and one of his friends, for example, he relies on his barkada for a sense of independence, and by inserting yourself between him and his buds, you're essentially threatening his masculinity.

Cornwell explains this in relation to why older men don't feel as bothered by their female partner's closeness to their friends: "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."

The researchers say that, while partner betweenness is an unusual situation, having shared friends with your hubby can help foster more feelings of "couplehood" and develop a stronger foundation for your relationship.


While getting too close to his barkada might be detrimental to his sexual health, ignoring them altogether will also cause discord in your relationship. Learn how to interact with his barkada with the tips in this article:

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(Screencap from
My Boys courtesy of TBS)
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