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article imageStudy: More housework equals less sex for married men

By Angela Norwood     Jan 30, 2013 in Health
A study published in the American Sociological Review reveals husbands who do more "traditionally female" household chores have less sex.
According to a study published Wednesday in the American Sociological Review, married men who do more household chores are likely to have less sex.
Examples of household chores examined by the study include cooking, housekeeping and shopping. Stereotypically viewed as "woman's work," the study finds men who help out more with these chores have sex with their wives less frequently than men who perform stereotypical male chores like automotive maintenance, household repairs and yard work.
University of Washington associate sociology professor and study co-author Julie Brines explains why husbands doing household chores that wives typically handle lower the frequency of which the couple has intercourse.
"While wives tend to be more satisfied with the marriage when there aren't issues about housework, it doesn't translate to sex if the men help," Brines said. "For women in traditional arrangements, the wives' sexual satisfaction is greater. The wives are benefiting too."
This means that although wives may complain they want their husbands to help more frequently with homemaking chores, it may cause some women to view their husbands as household helpers rather than sexually desirable partners.
The new study is in opposition to a report by the Council of Contemporary Families published in 2008 that suggested men who help with household chores experience a more fulfilling sex life with their wives.
"The headline was that men who did more housework got more sex," Brines said. "My colleagues and I saw that and didn't see the evidence."
Couples surveyed reported having sex 5 times a month on average. However, both males and females who performed gender-traditional chores reported having sex 1.6 times more per month. Not a staggering difference, but a difference nonetheless.
"Our findings suggest the importance of socialized gender roles for sexual frequency in heterosexual marriage," said lead author Sabino Kornrich of the Juan March Institute in Madrid.
"Couples in which men participate more in housework typically done by women report having sex less frequently. Similarly, couples in which men participate more in traditionally masculine tasks -- such as yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance -- report higher sexual frequency," he says.
Kornrich warns husbands who view the study as a reason to avoid tasks like grocery shopping, washing dishes, cooking, or other household tasks their wives may need help with.
“Men who refuse to help around the house could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives’ marital satisfaction,” Kornrich said. “Earlier research has found that women’s marital satisfaction is indeed linked to men's participation in overall household labor, which encompasses tasks traditionally done by both men and women.” he added.
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