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Men place too much importance on their manhood and not enough on health, experts say

Men place too much importance on their manhood and not enough on health, experts say
From Global News - March 6, 2017

The stereotypical ideal of a man usually conforms to the imagined characteristics ofa superhero: conventional good looks, chiselled abs, bulging muscles and, well, bulging bulge. Its a perfect caricature of a manly man: one who doesnt eat quiche and never gets sick. And by the dictates of popular culture, a lot of his power is between his thighs.

Experts believe this kind of thinking can be dangerous because it instigates risky behaviours as early as boyhood.

We go to great lengths to teach boys traditional attitudes and behaviours that can ultimately kill them, says Dr. Will Courtenay, a psychotherapist in Oakland, Calif., and author ofDying To Be Men: Psychosocial, Environmental and Biobehavioural Directions in Promoting the Health of Men and Boys.

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By early adolescence, theyre at greater risk to be involved in a car crash or to get skin cancer. They dont take precautions, he says. And its ingrained in them early in their lives that a large penis is indicative of being more of a man. It symbolizes virility, potency and power.

Its this belief in physical infallibility and focus on the sexual organ that has led to a 30-year lapse in the progression of mens health awareness versus that of womens health, says Dr. Dicken Ko, director of regional urology at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Theres a social perception that is ingrained in many cultures that mens health is not something to be discussed, he says. Theres an impenetrable demeanour that men are not affected by the same things women are affected by. That has a huge impact on why mens health hasnt grown on par with womens health.

Ko, who was one of the pioneering doctorsinvolved in the first penis transplant in the U.S. last May, says the open discussion about erectile dysfunction isnt helping to further the message of mens health either, because itintrinsically links the entirety of mens health to sex.

The focus of mens health is always the penis, but thats not where the problem is; thats a symptom of other problems that are arising in their lives, he says. If the penis isnt working, it could be a result of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure or cholesterol. Every component of health contributes to dysfunction, including the health of your social network.

READ MORE: I love you, man:New research suggests bromances improve mens health

Experts point to societal constructs and pop culture, in particular, as the culprits in this phenomenon.

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