Research has revealed that the phenomenon of the "man-child" is real and that women who view their partners as fitting that description feel lower sexual desire towards them.
Women tend to be attracted to strong men who take responsibility, thus when adult males exhibit traits generally attributed to dependents, their sexual desirability goes down.
In their study, Gender Inequities in Household Labor Predict Lower Sexual Desire in Women Partnered with Men, researchers Emily Harris, Aki Gormezano, and Sari van Anders surveyed over 1,000 women on whether their male partners' level of dependency was correlated with their sexual desirability.
Results showed that "women who perform a large proportion of household labor relative to their partners are more likely to perceive their partners as dependent on them … which is associated with lower sexual desire for them."
Male partners' lack of responsibility was most likely to send women's sex drives plummeting when it came to tasks related to "childcare and development, parenting logistics, and life and social planning."
The man-child is generally regarded as a male who has failed to grow up and assume the responsibilities of an adult. According to Swiss psychologist Marie-Louis von Franz, the Puer Aeternus "remains too long in adolescent psychology; that is, all those characteristics that are normal in a youth of seventeen or eighteen are continued into later life, coupled in most cases with too great a dependence on the mother."
While many man-children live with their parents well into their adult lives, others are able to find female partners, to whom the attributes of the mother figure are transferred. The man-child will often treat his girlfriend or wife less as a partner, and more as a caregiver, asking her questions a boy might ask his mother such as, "What's for dinner?" and feel free to engage in behavior most adult men have outgrown.
The most dangerous trait exhibited by the man-child is perhaps his failure to take responsibility. As Harris et al showed in their paper, this has an impact on individual relationships, however, there are implications for society at large as well.
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