February 11, 2013

Sharing Household Duties Results In Less Sex

Men who do stereotypically female chores get less time in the sheets according to sociologists at University of Washington. Male chauvinists applaud and egalitarianism gets a kick in the teeth.

So you’re a man that cooks dinner for your family after a long day of work? You spend your spare time with giant yellow rubber gauntlets on hands, washing dishes and scrubbing the floors? You think you’ll be rewarded handsomely by your lover in the way of sexual favors?

Think again.

That’s what sociologists at the University of Washington are claiming in their latest research.

According to CNN Health, “After reviewing data on how married couples in the U.S. tackle housework, as well as self-reports of how often they enjoyed intercourse, sociologists at the University of Washington (UW) say that couples who shared the burden of chores — cooking, cleaning and caring for the lawn — tend to have the least active sex lives.”

The findings were drawn from 4,500 heterosexual married U.S. couples participating in the National Survey of Families and Households.

Before the survey began, the couples reported having sex about five times a month on average, but if the husband did no stereotypically female tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, couples had sex 1.6 times more per month than couples in which the husband shared household chores.

Couples that had the husband doing household chores, but stuck to the more stereotypically male tasks, such as working on the car or the yard, had sex .7 times more than those where the wife did all the stereotypically male housework.

In a nutshell, that means “that couples where husbands do no traditionally female tasks have sex the most: 4.85 times a month. Conversely, couples where men do all the female work have sex the least: 3.3 times a month.”

Some of the findings are sort of contradictory because one would think that couples that shared chores would be happier sexually, but that’s not always the case.

Julie Brines, a co-author of the new study published in the American Sociological Review, and her colleagues have done work “suggesting that the division of housework doesn’t align with an “exchange model” where chores are traded for a share of income, for example, or sex.”

Instead, Brines presumed that the connection between sex and housework is actually far more complicated. It’s actually tied more to stereotypical views of what qualifies as women’s or men’s work.

Despite all of the progress made towards gender equality (and we’ve come a long way in 100 years), “These are residues of sexual scripts that have been in place in our culture for a long time,” Brines says.

Research neglected the most important of all household duties, taking care of the kids. Also, the national survey data was collected between 1992 and 1994, but Brines and her co-authors say, “that the relationship between sex and housework has changed little since then.”

For the male chauvinists celebrating the research, Brines has a word of advice, “Don’t walk away from this research thinking, I should stay away from cooking or cleaning because I’ll benefit from it. There may be costs associated with doing that.”

Every couple is different and their circumstances can’t all be put in a box like this research suggests.

As mentioned in several previous blogs such as, Stay at Home Dads Rock Your Socks Off, I do the majority of the household duties because my wife is generously putting me through college after being laid off, and I don’t think our sex life has suffered from it, but then again I don’t count.

Maybe I’ll start.

Image Credit: Luc Ubaghs / Shutterstock

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