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November 26, 2021

Marriages, sex lives suffer if wives are better educated than husbands

In marriage, as in life, inequality is certain, no matter the union.

In terms of economics, this can come in many forms. Women, as we have discussed here until we've been red in the face, earn far less than men, as a rule.

But women, as is the growing trend, are also becoming far more educated than their male counterparts; in the U.S., about 135 women are enrolled in colleges and universities for every 100 men. Such compensation patterns between genders, many have surmised, may soon adjust to better align with the education levels of the workforce.

However you slice it, though, education, compensation and employment have very real effects in a marriage. Even, as one study shows, in the bedroom.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sex Research, marriage inequalities in terms of education and employment level tend to lead to dissatisfied relationships, as well as a real bummer in the sack.

*Bing: Why do women earn less than men?

The study, which was based off Pew Research Center data and face-to-face interviews with more than 1,000 participants, found that a woman’s satisfaction in her marriage drops by 40 per cent when she’s better educated than her husband (compared to a marriage where both parties are equally educated).

Further, men admitted their satisfaction with marriage decreases by 64 per cent when they’re unemployed and their wives are not, compared to when both parties are working.

Worse for guys, men admitted they are less satisfied with their sex life when their wives are better educated than them.

On the surface, this all seems like a big ol’ case of sour grapes for men, and it’d be tough to argue otherwise.

But the study also shows a very real effect, which has likely gone unspoken in modern marriages.

The best bet for a happy marriage among traditional couples may call for very defined roles. According to the study, men need to feel they are the earners, the providers, in a union for it to work. That is, work for them.

For women, then, should you become one of the few that earn more than their husbands, it seems you’re losing that way now, too.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...