…says the Economist. Men have measurable health benefits from being surrounded by women during their lusty, pubescent years. (The opposite is not true for women).
Researchers looked at males who went to high school with lots of women, and males who went to high school with fewer. The former category lived longer than their counterparts — an increase in lifespan comparable to that from exercising or losing excess weight. But why?
Possible explanations, according to the article:
The idea that a dearth of available women hurts male longevity has been around for some time. There are several reasons why such a hypothesis makes sense. It is now well established that marriage has a beneficial effect on health and survival. Since women are traditionally the caregivers, these benefits accrue especially to men. If there are fewer potential mates around, men may delay marriage or forgo it entirely, losing out on these nuptial niceties. In addition, with more men and fewer single women, the intense competition for a mate is likely to be stressful. Such early-life stress is known to have effects on health that can last for years.
So is the same not true for women because men haven’t traditionally been caregivers? It can’t be the other explanation. I’d balk at an assertion that women don’t experience the same stress or competition for mates that males do. One episode of Sex & the City is enough to destroy that hypothesis completely.