Is Sharing Household Chores Ruining Your Sex Life?

by OneTaste Australia  Feb 12, 2014
man ironing

Lori Gottlieb wrote a fascinating article for the New York Times, exploring modern relationship dynamics in a time when women make the same if not more money than men and household chores are split.

"A study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” which appeared in The American Sociological Review last year, surprised many, precisely because it went against the logical assumption that as marriages improve by becoming more equal, the sex in these marriages will improve, too. Instead, it found that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex. Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming — the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do — then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car. It wasn’t just the frequency that was affected, either — at least for the wives. The more traditional the division of labor, meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction."

Gottlieb goes on to analyze why this might be the case... "But Pepper Schwartz says that while women may have always had these types of fantasies, now they have permission to give voice to them because of how much power they have in real life. “The more powerful you are in your marriage, and the more responsibility you have in other areas of your life, the more submission becomes sexy,” Schwartz says. “It’s like: ‘Let me lose all that responsibility for an hour. I’ve got plenty of it.’ It’s what you can afford once you don’t live a life of submission.” Married women, she adds, may have had a very different relationship to their fantasies back in the ‘50s, but even so, “this mixture of changing gender roles and sexual negotiation is tricky.”

This intersection between more progressive relationships and the desire to have passion and intimacy in our sex lives, is a paradox we often see in OneTaste Coaching. There isn't a cut and dry remedy, but certainly communication, and relationships built on what both people genuinely want and need is important. By that, I mean, moving away from occupying static roles in relationship, and instead discovering what you want, telling the truth, and creating that together.

To read the rest of Gottlieb's article click here.