The Domestic Bliss of Housework

Do couples who share housework chores really have less sex or not?

A 2013 study comparing "traditional" couples in which women do most of the housework and more egalitarian couples that share chores equally suggested that the egalitarian couples had sex less frequently.   The researchers concluded that "gender display" was an important part of marital sex, i.e., men doing more traditional "male" chores (such as mowing the lawn or doing repairs) and women doing laundry and dishes, etc.   The study went on to generate a lively debate in the media over the pros and cons of sharing housework, and what it means for marital sex.

Even as that debate dragged on, other researchers began questioning the methodology used and whether the study's conclusions actually made sense.   Previous research examining the link between housework and marital sex has often yielded contradictory findings.  Some researchers have argued that the amount of time spent on housework might actually cut back on the time available for sexual intimacy though later studies haven't really shown this.  If anything, many couples engage in a "work hard, play hard" routine with couples finding time for  housework, paid work,  and sex.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.


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