UW study: Men who don't do dishes have more sex

UW study: Men who don't do dishes have more sex
Photo: Flickr user inkynobaka (CC License)
SEATTLE -- Married and want to have more sex? Then ladies, do the cooking and cleaning, and guys, mow the lawn and pay the bills.

Sounds straight out of the '50s, but it's the finding of a new University of Washington study published this month on sex and chores.

Researchers found that married couples who divvy up housework along traditional gender lines have more sex than couples who share so-called men's and women's work.

"The results show that gender still organizes quite a bit of everyday life in marriage," said co-author Julie Brines, a UW associate sociology professor.

She said the "gender identities" of a couple expressed in chores also "help structure sexual behavior."

Other studies have found that husbands who do more housework have more sex, with an implication that sex is a bargaining chip for chores, researchers said.

But UW's study, published in February's American Sociological Review, didn't focus on sex and amount of chores done, but rather type of chores done.

Couples in the study said they have sex about five times a month. When the wife did all the traditional "female" tasks - cooking, cleaning, shopping - couples had sex 1.6 times more a month than couples in which the man did all the women's work.

So should guys take this as incentive to ignore dishes and laundry? No, researchers warned.

"Men who refuse to help around the house could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives' marital satisfaction," said lead author Sabino Kornrich, a former UW graduate student.

Housework for couples totaled 51 hours a week, with women doing much of it more than men, the study found. Women also did more of the "men's chores" than guys did of the "women's chores." Child care wasn't included in the research.

So after doing all that housework - and the apparent uneven division of labor - women weren't too tired and grumpy for sex? Apparently, not.

"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," researcher Brines said.

Data comes from an early '90s survey of 4,500 of straight, married couples. Gay marrieds, you're on your own here.