A study published in the February issue of the American Sociological Review found that men who do housework reported having less sex than their less helpful counterparts. The study used data from the National Survey of Families and Households to come to its conclusions.
In heterosexual marriages, men who took on more “female” duties such as cooking and cleaning said they had sex with their wives an average of 5.2 times a month, significantly less often than men who were in control of more traditionally masculine chores like paying bills and fixing the car. The study’s authors were sure to rule out the possibility that men in more masculine roles were not coercing their wives into sex by comparing frequency of sex with sexual satisfaction. If couples were having often but women were reporting low satisfaction, this might suggest coercion but this isn’t the case.
Researchers concluded, “The results suggest the existence of a gendered set of sexual scripts, in which the traditional performance and display of gender is important for creation of sexual desire and performance of sexual activity.” While gender roles seem to be less important in relationships—plenty of men are changing diapers—it seems couples need them for sexual satisfaction.
But before men put down their scrubbing brushes, they should note there is plenty of research (and anecdotal evidence) that refusing to help out around the house causes marital conflict. This same conflict lowers marital satisfaction and can make its way into the bedroom.