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Marijuana & The Decline of Men
Marijuana is just one more bandage that people put on an underlying, pustulating wound.
Written by John Mac Ghlionn
The United States is thoroughly divided. Some fear that a civil war is imminent. Whether Americans go to war with each other remains to be seen. But wars are not always fought with bombs and bullets. As I write this, there is a psychological war taking place. The victims of this conflict? The boys and men of America.
The above might sound hyperbolic, even preposterous. However, when one considers that masculinity has been equated with the word ‘toxic’ for years, and that powerful organizations now pathologize masculinity, the phrase “war on men” becomes more understandable and plausible. The mainstream, liberal establishment in the West demonizes many masculine traits, causing real psychological damage to boys and men.
For example, more than 60 percent of young men under 30 are now single. Males are responsible for 80 percent of the country’s suicides, according to the CDC. Every 13.7 minutes, somewhere in America, a man takes his own life. The men of America are suffering. And things might be getting worse.
Regular sex is associated with happiness. That’s bad news for the men of America. In 2021, according to Alexander (known on Twitter as DatePsych), a behavioral science researcher who regularly discusses intersexual dynamics, 15 percent of men reported zero sexual encounters. That’s roughly 25 million celibate men. Even worse, as Alexander has also shown, some 7 percent of men between the ages of 20 and 30 haven’t had any sexual partners in the past five years!
What is going on?
Younger people are engaging in far fewer social interactions. Face time has been replaced by FaceTime. We now live most of our lives immersed in virtual worlds, largely detached from the possibilities and pitfalls associated with the physical world. Insulated and isolated, we are challenging Donne’s claim that no man is an island.
Life can be wonderful, but it’s also challenging. Humans are risk-averse creatures. It is much easier to stay indoors and explore the world via devices than to put on pants and leave the house. Instead of finding love, more men find themselves alone, turning to pornography and video games to fill the void, substituting real friends and romantic partners with phantasms.
Others are turning to marijuana.
Like porn and video games, weed is a sedative. It is “designed” to immobilize those who consume it regularly. The stereotype of the slobby stoner, passed out on a couch, covered in saliva and crumbs, is a tired one. But not wholly untrue. Research shows that those who frequently smoke weed report feeling less energetic and less productive. Regular weed use is also associated with increased procrastination, as well as an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders, including depression and psychosis. All of this is common knowledge. Of course, there is some debate about the degree of harm marijuana causes; and it is important not to leap from correlation to causation. Still, the preponderance of the evidence suggests that excessive marijuana consumption is deleterious and is likely causally related to myriad bad outcomes.
Regular weed use is also associated with decreased testosterone levels and shrinkage of the testicles. It is estimated that 20 percent of males between the ages of 15-39 are deficient in the sex hormone. Not only has weed been shown to decrease testosterone levels, it has also been shown to create ancillary problems like weight gain and infertility.
Thankfully, natural solutions exist, and some of them are relatively inexpensive and immediately accessible. Take weight training, for example, Men who lift weights regularly tend to have higher testosterone levels and better sperm quality. Upping one’s intake of protein and healthy fats can also boost testosterone. Getting adequate levels of sunlight is also vitally important (rather alarmingly, 42 percent of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D). The importance of sleep hygiene cannot be emphasized enough. More than one-third of American adults are sleep deprived.
As testosterone levels continue to plummet, obesity levels continue to jump, and more men find themselves blinded by a weed-induced haze, it’s difficult not to see the masculinity crisis getting many times worse. This brings us back to the psychological war on the boys and men of America. Hard times may not necessarily create strong men, but hard times certainly require strong men. They also require clear minds and lucid thoughts. Regular weed use, contrary to popular belief, is not compatible with a healthy lifestyle. And it will only exacerbate the problems that plague boys and men.
Marijuana is just one more bandage that people put on an underlying, pustulating wound. It may hide it, but it cannot heal it. Without proper treatment, this infection, one fears, will continue to spread. Until we address the real problem, the real wound, boys and men in the West will continue to suffer.
John Mac Ghlionn is a psychosocial researcher and essayist. Follow him on Twitter here.
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