Kinky 50 Shades-inspired sex is hot, sure. But if you find yourself in the dominant position every single time, maybe it’s time to swap roles with your girl and give the whole submissive thing a try. Why? Because men who always want power over women have poor mental health, according to a new study.
The research, which was published in the American Psychological Association, found that men who strictly conform to the traditional masculine norms of having more power over women have worse mental health than men who adhere to these norms more loosely.
Researchers from the University of Indiana performed a meta-analysis by compiling data from roughly 80 previously published papers containing almost 20,000 participants, and they looked for any consistencies.
They determined that, of 11 “dimensions” of masculinity—winning, emotional control, risk-taking, violence, dominance, pursuit of playboy behavior, self-reliance, primacy of work power over women, disdain for homosexuals and pursuit of status—nine had a significant connection with poor mental health. Self-reliance, pursuit of playboy behavior and power over women were always shown to lead to low mental health.
What should the takeaway of this study be? According to Raewyn Connell of the University of Sydney, it’s important to remember that correlation doesn’t mean causation, and we should take these results with a grain of salt.
“The statistical technique of meta-analysis has value for some purposes,” Connell explains. “But (it) always adds further difficulties of interpretation. To think this report could tell us anything clear and substantial about men in general is a major stretch.”
On the other hand, Michael Flood of the University of Wollongong has found that men who strongly identify with traditional masculine behaviors typically display poorer health as they are more likely to take increased risks than other men.
Flood states that traditional characteristics of masculinity, like self-reliance and dominance, have a direct effect on men’s health and that “there’s consistent evidence that when men take on those traits and emphasize those traits in themselves, they show poorer mental health and are less likely to seek help when their physical and emotional health is poor.”
It’s OK to let someone else be more powerful than you sometimes. Try it—you may just like it.