lawn mower and gardener

More sex when couples split chores traditionally

U. WASHINGTON (US) — Married couples who split chores by traditional gender roles have sex more often than couples who share so-called men’s and women’s work.

Previous research has suggested that husbands had more sex if they did more housework, implying that sex was in exchange for housework. But those studies did not factor in what types of chores the husbands were doing.

A new study, published in the February issue of the journal American Sociological Review, shows that sex isn’t a bargaining chip. Instead, sex is linked to what types of chores each spouse completes.

Couples who follow traditional gender roles around the house—wives doing the cooking, cleaning, and shopping; men doing yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance—reported greater sexual frequency.

“The results show that gender still organizes quite a bit of everyday life in marriage,” says co-author Julie Brines, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Washington. “In particular, it seems that the gender identities husbands and wives express through the chores they do also help structure sexual behavior.”

Husbands shouldn’t take these findings as justification for not cooking, cleaning, shopping, or performing other traditionally female household tasks, warned lead author Sabino Kornrich, a researcher at the Juan March Institute in Madrid. “Men who refuse to help around the house could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives’ marital satisfaction.”

The findings come from a national survey of about 4,500 heterosexual married US couples participating in the National Survey of Families and Households. The data were collected from 1992 to 1994, the most recent large-scale survey available that measured sexual frequency in married couples.

Brines says that it is unlikely that the division of housework—which did not include child care in this study—and sex have changed much since then.

Robust connection

The researchers found that husbands, average age 46, and wives, average age 44, spent a combined 34 hours a week on traditionally female chores. Couples spent an additional 17 hours a week on chores usually thought of as men’s work.

Husbands performed about one-fifth of traditionally female tasks and a little more than half of the male-type work. This suggests that wives help out with men’s chores more often than husbands help with female tasks.

Men and women reported having sex about five times, on average, in the month prior to the survey. But marriages in which the wife does all the traditionally female tasks reported having had sex about 1.6 times more per month than those where the husband does all the traditionally female chores.

Brines, an expert in family and household dynamics, says that it wasn’t surprising that sexual activity was tied to the division of household chores. “If anything surprised us, it was how robust the connection was between a traditional division of housework and sexual frequency.”

The researchers ruled out other possible explanations for their findings:

  • Husbands being sexually coercive did not have a role, because wives reported similar levels of satisfaction in their sex lives whether they were in households with traditional or nontraditional divisions of labor.
  • Two-income households had comparable patterns of sexual frequency and division of household chores relative to households where a spouse did not work outside the home. Similarly, wives’ income was unrelated to how often the couple had sex.
  • Other variables such as happiness in marriage, religion, and gender ideology did not have a role.

“Marriage today isn’t what it was 30 or 40 years ago, but there are some things that remain important,” Brines says. “Sex and housework are still key aspects of sharing a life, and both are related to marital satisfaction and how spouses express their gender identity.”

Source: University of Washington

chat6 Comments

You are free to share this article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

6 Comments

  1. Okuni McKinney

    And…exactly how old is this data? Is this relevant?

  2. Romie

    Really? It’s unlikely that divisions and sexual perspectives have changed in 20 years? It might not matter that people in their 30s and 40s now grew up with Free To Be You and Me, or after Stonewall and Ms Magazine and cable television? What an offensively ridiculous assmption.

  3. Allyson Smith

    Yes, VERY relevant ..
    Romie , the only thing I find offensive is your additude. There is a lot to be said for gender specific roles and the reasoning behind them.

  4. Masayuki Ohashi

    Good evening. How are you doing now.I am working some business in internet cafe (Manboo) at Yokohma. this is rental room and rental pc,

  5. Gerald

    Wow, this is interesting. I never really thought about having my wife wash the car or mow the lawn, all though if I asked her to do any of those chores I don’t know if it would really make her horny enough to want to have sex, lol. She might get upset and make me sleep on the couch. Good article though, enjoyed reading it.

  6. doggers

    Hello, I would like tto subscribe for this blog to
    obtain most recent updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.

We respect your privacy.