In what feels like a blow to egalitarianism, new research finds that husbands and wives who assign housework along traditional gender lines have more sex than those who split the chores more equitably.
After reviewing data on how married couples in the U.S. tackle housework, as well as self-reports of how often they enjoyed intercourse, sociologists at the University of Washington (UW) say that couples who shared the burden of chores — cooking, cleaning and caring for the lawn — tend to have the least active sex lives.
The couples reported having sex about five times in the month before the survey began. But if the husband did no stereotypically female tasks (making meals, perhaps, or scrubbing floors), couples had sex 1.6 times more per month than couples in which husbands were responsible for doing all of those chores.
Couples where the husband contributed to household chores, but stuck to the more stereotypically male tasks (car maintenance, bill paying, yard work) had sex .7 times more than those where the wife did all the male work. That means that couples where husbands do no traditionally female tasks have sex the most: 4.85 times a month.
Conversely, couples where men do all the female work have sex the least: 3.3 times a month. The couples where husbands pitch in but do only the male tasks, fall somewhere in between; they’re sliding between the sheets 4.7 times a month.
Meanwhile, couples where wives do all the male tasks have sex just under four times a month.