Who takes out the trash the most in your house ... the man or the woman? Your answer could be a factor in how much sex you're having.
A new study in the American Sociological Review shows that husbands who spend less time doing traditionally female chores, such as cooking, cleaning and shopping, reported having more sex each month than those who perform more masculine chores. But married men who took on more "feminine" chores report having less sex than couples who didn't evenly share so-called men's and women's work.
Indeed, men and women reported having sex about fives times, on average, in the month prior to the survey. But marriages in which the wife takes on all the traditionally female tasks reported having had sex about 1.6 times more per month than those where the husband does the cooking and cleaning.
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. The data were collected from 1992 to 1994, the most recent large-scale survey available that measured sexual frequency in married couples. Julie Brines, co-author and a University of Washington associate professor of sociology, says that it is unlikely that the division of housework -– which did not include child care in this study -– and sex have changed much since the study was completed.
"I also can report that our study findings hold for both older and younger couples in our sample. To test this, we ran our analysis for younger couples and then again for older couples, and found the same pattern –- couples with more traditional divisions of labor at home (in terms of chores) have more sex," Brines told Huff/Post50. "To control for age differences in sexual frequency or the division of labor due to declining health, we also control for self-reported health. That also doesn’t explain away the pattern."
The researchers found that husbands and wives spent a combined 34 hours a week on traditionally female chores. Couples spent an additional 17 hours a week on chores usually thought of as men’s work, such as yard work, car maintenance and paying bills. Husbands performed about one-fifth of traditionally female tasks and a little more than half of the male-type work. This suggests that wives help out with men’s chores more often than husbands help with female tasks.
Although other studies have found that husbands got more sex if they did more housework, implying that sex was the payoff for pitching in, those studies did not factor in which types of chores the husbands were doing, Brines said, adding that sex is linked to what types of chores each partner completes.
She said it's not surprising that couples who follow traditional gender roles reported having more sex. “If anything surprised us, it was how robust the connection was between a traditional division of housework and sexual frequency," she noted.
Although Brines acknowledged that marriage today isn't what it was 30 or 40 years ago, she insisted that some things remain important.
“Sex and housework are still key aspects of sharing a life, and both are related to marital satisfaction and how spouses express their gender identity," she said.
CORRECTION: The headline has been amended to reflect that the type, rather than the frequency, of chores affected the frequency of sex for couples, according to the study.