More sex for couples who split chores along traditional gender lines: Study

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QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

A new study suggests that straight, married couples who divide household chores in traditional ways have more sex.

Or, at least they did in the '90s.

The study looked data from a national survey of about 4,500 heterosexual married U.S. couples between 1992 to 1994 — the most recent large-scale survey available.

"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," said lead author Sabino Kornrich of the Juan March Institute in Madrid.

And that's not because traditional men are sexually coercive, the researchers say.

"Wives' reported satisfaction with their sex life has the same relationship to men's participation in household labour as sexual frequency," Kornrich said. "Had satisfaction with sex been low, but frequency high, it might have suggested coercion. However, we didn't find that."

"The results show that gender still organizes quite a bit of everyday life in marriage," said co-author Julie Brines, a sociologist at the University of Washington. "In particular, it seems that the gender identities husbands and wives express through the chores they do also help structure sexual behaviour."

But, the results are no excuse for husbands to slack off.

"Men who refuse to help around the house could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives' marital satisfaction," Kornrich said.

The University of Washington study was published in the American Sociological Review.


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