Relationship experts agree that a healthy sex life is an essential part of happiness within any couple, but does a man have to go out and work while the woman stays at home to clean for a couple’s sex life to thrive? A study conducted at Georgia State University has revealed that couples who share housework do not endanger their sex life contrary to a 2013 study that suggested conventional couples where the women handles the brunt of household chores were more sexually active than their equal counterparts.
“Attitudes are a big difference,” Daniel Carlson, lead researcher and assistant professor of sociology at Georgie State, said in a statement. “Couples today have role models to look at to make this work. In the ‘80s, egalitarian couples were at the forefront of change. Today’s couples have those examples to look to. It makes it a lot easier, resulting in higher quality relationships. I think we’ve moved to a place where a very stark division of labor is not something people want nor is it something couples want.”
Carlson and his colleagues from Georgia State gathered their data using the 2006 Marital and Relationship Survey (MARS), which included responses of low- to middle-income couples with a child. Couples who reported sharing the division of labor in their household did not experience negative consequences in terms of sexual frequency or satisfaction. In fact, couples that practiced equality within their relationship had similar if not better sex lives compared to couples who were more conventional.
“Both arrangements are sexy for people,” Carlson said. “You can find high quality relationships in both types of relationships. Neither are detrimental.”
A similar report based on research from the University of Illinois found that couples who share household chores are more likely to report being happy about their overall relationship. In addition to actually performing tasks around the house, communicating how the divide in housework would break down within the first two years of marriage was essential to avoiding patterns where one spouse performs the majority of chores. This result often lead to an increase in conflict and a decrease in happiness.
“It is clear what the vast majority of people want,” he said. “It’s just that right now our social institutions are lagging behind our cultural values. Eventually, as people continue to argue and fight for policies that promote gender equality at home and at work, people will be able to achieve their desires.”
Source: Miller A, Hanson S, Sassler S, Carlson D. The Gender Division of Housework and Couples. Annual Meeting of the American Sociology Association. 2014.