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Thursday, June 11, 1998 Published at 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK

Health: Latest News

Modern man under pressure

So perhaps it is true after all: 90s man does care. Laddish culture has taken a knock with the release of a survey that shows modern men have a far more responsible attitude to life.

If you see a man playing pocket billiards, the chances are he is checking his testicles for signs of cancer - 80% of men know how to do it according to the survey published in Men's Health Magazine.

[ image: Half would be prepared to take the male pill]
Half would be prepared to take the male pill
When it comes to contraception, more than a third now say they take responsibility in the bedroom and more than half would be prepared to take a male pill.

But overall, the results of the poll tend to suggest men are feeling the strain of modern living. Thirty-six per cent said they often felt depressed, while 28% said they felt undervalued at work.

"Our findings show that men are facing demands their fathers never had to confront. At home, at work, in bed - they feel the need to perform and a significant number are clearly suffering as a result of these pressures," said Men's Health Magazine editor, Phil Hilton.

Male problems

Men clearly still have trouble talking about their problems. They are quite happy to chat with friends about work, sport, current affairs and TV, but fewer than half would raise concerns about their sex life, their marriage or their health.

Nevertheless, almost a quarter had been to see their GP about psychological problems.

Dr Ian Banks, the British Medical Association's spokesman for men's health issues and chairman of Men's Health Forum, said the findings seemed to reflect a more widespread change in men's attitude to their health.

"There has been a definite shift in the way men perceive their health. Previously, women had always looked after the health of men, men have had poor insight into their own health and, for a long time, it hasn't been politically correct to talk about men's health," he said.

"The statistics for every single medical condition bear this out - men die six years earlier than women, more men die from melanoma and more men will die from bowel cancer even though the incidence is the same for men and women. The differences are staggering."

Old habits

Some men still like to live up to the old stereotype.

Almost a half of all men in the survey said they had had an affair whilst in a relationship, with many maintaining the secret liaison for up to six months.

[ image: Almost a half admitted to an affair]
Almost a half admitted to an affair
Like all figures there are regional variations. The Welsh are most likely to have an affair that lasts over a year - Scots are the most faithful.

Denise Knowles, from the marriage guidance organisation Relate, said: "Men in Scotland say they are most unhappy with their sex lives yet are least likely to have an affair.

"This shows that affairs are not always about unhappy sex lives, and suggests there's more to a happy marriage than a good sex life."

Just like women

In some respects, the survey shows men to be very like women. A third of all men said they spent up to 20 minutes pampering themselves each morning. Almost a fifth did it for over half an hour.

Sixty seven per cent have been on a diet. And although over half would never consider cosmetic surgery, almost all the respondents said they would go to the gym if asked by their partner to shape up.

Just like women, males are struggling to juggle work with family life. A third claimed they could only spend, on average, 7.5 hours a week with their children. More than three-quarters said they wanted to spend more time with their kids and would be prepared to play house-husband and look after them full-time if necessary.

The Men's Health survey is conducted once a year. It interviewed 1,500 men. The average age was 33.

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