The term “man-child” or “man-children” has been around for ages. Used to refer to males who are technically adults but who act immature or lack the ability to fulfill basic adult tasks, man-children cause major issues in heterosexual relationships. In fact, a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour discovered that man-children are more than just annoying. They’re actually killing women’s sex drives too.
- Man-children are a serious problem. It’s not just women being “naggy” and unreasonable, either. Researchers from universities in Canada and Australia confirmed that this juvenile behavior and inability (or unwillingness) to contribute equally to a relationship is likely why so many women in straight relationships report having a low sex drive. Well, duh.
- Women want a partner, not a child. The researchers behind the study noted that women who have to take care of household and life responsibilities despite having a partner tend to see those partners as helpless kids rather than equals. As a result, they have less and less desire to be intimate with them. This unequal division of labor is so bad, it accounts for the reason more women file for divorce than men (via BBC).
- This study aimed to discover how this severe imbalance in heterosexual relationships affected women’s sex drives in particular. One of the study’s co-authors, Emily Harris, tells Vice that such a question had never been asked before due to “unspoken assumptions” about women’s libidos. “One of these is that low [sexual] desire is caused by individual factors, like hormones and stress, or general relationship factors, like conflict and dissatisfaction,” she said. “What these assumptions miss, is the broader context of gender inequity.” Plus, it’s easier to tackle hormone imbalances or stress than deal with massive issues like misogyny and inequality.
- Of course, women aren’t surprised by this at all. Many of us know all too well what it feels like to be dating a man who appears, by all accounts, to have his act together yet acts completely different behind closed doors. Having to chase someone to do basic things like taking the trash out, washing his dishes, or picking up milk when you run out is exhausting. That’s especially the case when both partners are working full-time and have other responsibilities. If there are actual children in the mix, this imbalance is even more frustrating and potentially relationship-killing.
- So, how do we change things? In many ways, the study just confirms what most women knew about their own sex drives. The question is whether or not it’s possible to change. The answer is both yes and know. It’s possible that talking to your male partner about your feelings and setting new expectations for the relationship could help. However, many women know that man-children typically improve their behavior on a short-term basis until they become too lazy and complacent to keep it up and ultimately revert to old patterns. In this case, seeing a professional relationship counselor might help. However, if the male partner refuses to make permanent strides to bring equality to the relationship, it’s unlikely to last long-term.