A heterosexual study on the subject of men and housework is here to throw a wrench into that perfectly symmetrical, super modern equal partnership you have going on. If you’re married to the type of man who cooks, cleans, and does the grocery shopping, some researchers find you aren’t sexing as much as the couple who keeps those gender roles rigidly traditional — based on data from almost 20 years ago.
TODAY reports that this conclusion was made using old data collected from a 1996 national survey. But despite the nearly two decades that have passed, researchers still feel confident enough saying things like this about contemporary couples:
“Households with a more traditional gender division of labor report higher sexual frequency than households with less traditional gender divisions of labor,” says Sabino Kornrich, lead author of a study that appears in the February issue of the American Sociological Review. “Housework is something that people use as a very important way to express gender, masculinity and femininity. We weren’t surprised to think that sex might be more tied to this type of gender expression.”
Kornich and his colleagues define “core housework” as the stuff that has historically been deemed lady terrain: cooking, cleaning and laundry. Researchers determined a “statistically significant difference” between husbands who performed zero “core housework” and those who regularly took up said chores:
“For couples in which men did no ‘core’ housework, sexual frequency was 4.8 times per month,” says Kornrich. “For couples in which men did all of the ‘core’ housework, sexual frequency was 3.2 times per month.”…”You end up with a more nuanced pattern,” he says. “Men who do a greater share of male-typed housework and women who do a greater share of female-typed housework report more frequent sex.”
And according to Kornrich, straight couples who are keeping it traditional in the domestic duties arena even enjoy sex more — both men and women. But on the flip side, those manly men who shirk their stereotypically masculine chores aren’t in the clear either:
“Men who refuse to do housework, including both traditionally male and female tasks, could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives’ marital satisfaction, he says. “Earlier research has found that women’s marital satisfaction is linked to men’s participation in the household.”
Are you wresting the dirty dishes from your husband yet?