You And Your Dish-Washing Husband Aren’t Having As Much Sex As Traditional Couples, Says Out Of Date Study

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men and houseworkA 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?

(photo: Nejron Photo / Shutterstock)


  1. K.

    January 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I love it when people make the arguments to curtail progress made in increasing social and economic equality for women because it makes men feel bad.

    • Koa Beck

      January 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm


  2. Andrea

    January 30, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Oh snap! I literally chuckled when I read this.

    I guess we have a pretty traditional marriage. I cook and do the laundry and do most of the day-to-day parenting. He takes care of all “maintenance” issues and kills the bugs.

    I think it is a more of a matter of what works for you BOTH than of how many dishes you wash.

  3. zeisel

    January 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    The end paragraph, basically negates everything stated prior to that. ?? I was thinking exactly what that last paragraph says, while I was reading the whole article. If my husband had to eat any meals that I conjured up, we would have had a sexless marriage and probably divorced a long time ago. He is an amazing chef and has the best palate and loves cooking. If he did the laundry, I would be broke and very depressed with all my clothes either shrinking or ruined by him doing the laundry. We have a very healthy ‘ahem’ sex life, because, we’ve found a balance and don’t need to do the passive/agressive ‘who’s turn is it’, ‘i did it last time’, comments. And all the other chores-if you see it needs to be done- you fucking do it! That is the type of mentality that is mature and responsible- maybe it’s because we’ve lived with many roommates and at times a house full when in college and you had a systematic way of sharing responsibilities, regardless of gender. wow, imagine that.

  4. Zach Rosenberg

    January 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    All hail the age of enlightenment, where we have to feel bad about progress. My wife and I just do the housework – “core” or not. Someone gets to it. We have least favorite activities that we help each other with. Otherwise, stuff gets done, including each other.

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  6. whiteroses

    January 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    So the fact that my husband and I screw like rabbits and yet he does the grocery shopping and diaper changing means what, exactly?

  7. lea

    January 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Housework is an important way to express gender? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    If you feel that your level of participation in “core housework” is that essential to your sense masculinity or femininity, you have bigger problems than who is doing the dishes tonight!

    • Paul White

      January 31, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Yeah that’s one thing I don’t get.
      My wife and I have nearly flip-flopped traditional gender roles but I don’t think anyone would mistake her for a man or me for a woman?

    • The Real Mrs. Robinson

      January 31, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      I know I feel more feminine cleaning the toilet.


  8. Justme

    January 31, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I have an almost-two-year-old and two dachshunds. My husband and I also teach and coach full-time.

    There are definitely days when I would MUCH rather have my husband washing dishes by the sink than rolling around naked in our bed.

  9. LiteBrite

    January 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    So couples who have more traditional roles in the home have sex 1.5 times more than those who don’t?

    Eh. Nice try researchers. DH can still do the damn dishes.

  10. Amanda Low

    January 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I think it’s bizarre that this study seems to be trying to infer that frequent sex equals happy sex life. The number of times you do it is no indication of whether it’s actually enjoyable for both parties…for all we know, these traditional men may not give a rats ass if their wives actually get their cookies in bed!

  11. BK

    February 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Maybe this is because both people are so exhausted at the end of the day that neither wants to do housework. You know, instead of in the “olden days” where only the wife was exhausted and the man had his way regardless.

  12. Jade Cahoon

    February 1, 2013 at 10:49 am

    The real story here is that these couples are having sex less than 5 times a month.

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