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Published on March 26th, 2013 | by No Artificial

Why Husbands Who Share Housework Have Less Sex

A recent study found that husbands and wives who assign housework in traditional ways have more sex than those who split the duties more equitably.

The new study, published in the February issue of the journal American Sociological Review, shows that sex is linked to what types of chores each spouse does.

Sociologists at the University of Washington (UW) say that couples who stick to 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 couples claimed having sex about five times a the month on average before the survey began.
But if the husband did no stereotypically female tasks, couples had sex 1.6 times more per month than couples in which husbands shared housework.

Couples where the husband contributed to household tasks, but stuck to the more stereotypically male chores, such as car maintenance or bill paying, had sex .7 times more than those where the wife did all the male work.

That means that couples where husbands do no traditionally female tasks have sex the most: 4.85 times a month. On the other hand, couples where men do all the female work have sex the least: 3.3 times a month.

The couples where husbands pitch in but do only the male tasks, fall somewhere in between; they’re sliding between the sheets 4.7 times a month. At the same time, couples where wives do all the male tasks have sex just under four times a month.

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

The findings come from a national survey of about 4,500 heterosexual married U.S. couples participating in the National Survey of Families and Households and they add some context to other scientific studies that have found that husbands get more sex when they do more housework.

In the new study, Julie Brines and her colleagues surmised that the relationship between sex and housework is actually far more complicated. In reality, it’s bound to stereotypical views and opinions
of what qualifies as women’s — or men’s — work. And regardless of progress when it comes to gender equality, “These are residues of sexual scripts that have been in place in our culture for a long time,” Brines says.

Still, for the husbands who may possibly be feeling smug about the final results of her study, Brines has a bit of advice. “Don’t walk away from this research thinking, I should stay away from cooking or cleaning because I’ll benefit from it,” she cautions. “There may be costs associated with doing that.”

S. Kornrich, J. Brines, K. Leupp. Egalitarianism, Housework, and Sexual Frequency in Marriage. American Sociological Review, 2013;

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