Honey, you’re going to want to do some ironing.
A new study from the University of Alberta found that male-female couples had better and more frequent sex when men chipped in with the chores. The findings revealed that when a man felt he was making fair contributions to household chores, the couple had more sex and each partner reported more sexual satisfaction.
Matt Johnson, a family ecology professor in the university’s department of human ecology at the University of Alberta, set out to debunk a 2012 study that concluded when men helped out with chores traditionally regarded as female housework (duties like cleaning the dishes, cooking and doing laundry), the couples had less sex. Johnson said the findings didn’t fit in with his intuition and background experiences as a couple’s therapist.
Analyzing data from a five-year study of 1,338 German couples, Johnson found his intuition to be correct. Helping out with household work doesn’t detract from a couple’s sex life, it enhances it, the data showed.
His theory isn’t that women find watching men Swiffer the living room particularly arousing (though, to each her own). Really, it seems to be about respect.
“A division of household labor perceived to be fair ensures that partners feel respected while carrying out the tasks of daily life,” Johnson wrote in his paper. “Completing housework may or may not be enjoyable, but knowing that a partner is pulling his weight prevents anger and bitterness, creating more fertile ground in which a (satisfying) sexual encounter may occur.”
What exactly constitutes as “fair” was not deciphered, Johnson told HuffPost. The researcher also acknowledges cultural discrepancies in his findings: He wrote that Germans tend to have more traditional gender roles than people in the U.S., and German men perform less housework than men in North America. It’s also important to note that the research only evaluates the effect of shared chores and sexual pleasure among heterosexual couples.
Still, his conclusions complement an April 2014 study published in the journal Sex Roles that revealed an uneven share of household chores negatively affected wives’ marital satisfaction, especially when wives felt the roles should be more equal: Researchers examined 220 stateside couples who had married within the previous 24 months, and found that setting and meeting expectations about sharing household chores are crucial elements to marital bliss.
Having a joint understanding for who does what around the house could be the making or breaking of a relationship. “In the United States, ambiguity in division of household responsibilities between working couples often results in ongoing negotiations, resentment, and tension,” wrote UCLA researchers after tracking 32 local, dual-income middle-class families. In a 2007 Pew Research Poll, 62 percent of adults said sharing housework was important for marital success, an opinion that was shared equally between men and women.
These newer findings reinforce the importance of sharing the mundane parts of life in order to share the exceptional ones. Johnson’s research is important for couples who want to maintain sexual intimacy while keeping up with the routine obligations of everyday life.
“Rather than avoiding chores in the hopes of having more sex, as prior research would imply, men are likely to experience more frequent and satisfying passion for both partners between the sheets when they simply do their fair share,” he wrote.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us how the divvying up goes down in your household:
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