Don't snicker. According to Mike Lousada, a celebrated sex therapist (he got a boost from former Al Gore adviser Naomi Wolf, who writes about his treatments in her latest book, Vagina), those in high-stress jobs suffer from all sorts of sexual dysfunction.
In a recent article in eFinancialCareers, Lousada (above), a former investment banker, says that male bankers suffer two unwelcome symptoms: “One is erectile dysfunction (ED). The other is premature ejaculation (PE). Both are linked to the nature of banking jobs.” As for female bankers, Lousada says that their big problem is "a loss of femininity" (more on that in a bit). The article says that Lousada has treated "close to a thousand people."
Naturally, I was intrigued about how all this applies to lawyers, and called Lousada in London for a chat. "Yes, there's certainly the same situation with lawyers, doctors, and other professionals who work in high-pressure environments," he told me, adding, "I have a few senior lawyers amongst my clientèle."
I was dying to ask him which Magic Circle or Am Law 100 partners he services, but I held my tongue. "I can't imagine lawyers have the time, must less the nerve, to do this," I said to Lousada. "Aren't lawyers too uptight to see a sex guru?"
"By the time they’ve come to my door, they’re open to it," Lousada told me. "They’ve done their due diligence. They realize their relationship isn’t working."
So what's the trigger for these sex problems? "Professions like banking, law, accountancy are very mind-oriented," explained Lousada. "Sitting in front of a computer screen is not what their bodies are supposed to do."
I get it: It's a mind/body disconnect—and lawyers are using their brains too much but not their other body parts. I also get the stuff about high-pressure jobs and male performance anxiety, because that theory has been around for a while
But what puzzles me is what Lousada means by "loss of femininity" among female professionals. Is he advocating that women drop their high-power jobs if they want decent sex lives?
No, no, no, Lousada assured me. "I’m not saying throw out the career. I support integrating both parts of you," meaning both the professional and the personal sides, the masculine and the feminine. The problem erupts, he explained, when women can't drop their masculine side at the door at the end of the day. "The essence of the feminine is to be in the moment, and to fully experience the state of being," he said, "while the masculine is more goal-oriented."
Lousada also told me that high-charging women have certain expectations about their mates. "Stronger women require stronger men. They would be disappointed with a New Age wimp. . . . They want someone who will make them feel feminine."
At that point of our chat, I was still not sure what women want/need. Who is this "stronger" man? Some hunk like Tarzan? Or some obscenely rich but not so hunky guy like Ron Perelman or Rupert Murdoch?
Lousada tried to set me straight. "Strength and status are not the same thing," he patiently told me. "Equating the two is a bit reductive." In fact, he said, "there are many other ways men can be masculine." What's really important to women is that their men "have meaning and purpose in their lives." Once female lawyers find that type of man, "you can then surrender into sensuality."
Well, that sounds easy—I guess.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Related post: Is Your Job Killing Your Sex Life?
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