Study: Husbands who do more traditionally female housework have less sex

January 30, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC, January 24, 2013 -- Married men who spend more time doing traditionally female household tasks--including cooking, cleaning, and shopping--report having less sex than husbands who don't do as much, according to a new study in the February issue of the American Sociological Review.

"Our findings suggest the importance of socialized gender roles for sexual frequency in heterosexual marriage," said Sabino Kornrich, the study's lead author and a junior researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies at the Juan March Institute in Madrid. "Couples in which men participate more in housework typically done by women report having sex less frequently. Similarly, couples in which men participate more in traditionally masculine tasks--such as yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance--report higher sexual frequency."

The study, "Egalitarianism, Housework, and Sexual Frequency in Marriage," which considers heterosexual married couples in the United States, relies on nationally representative data from the National Survey of Families and Households. Men in the study reported having had sex an average of 5.2 times in the month prior to the survey while women reported 5.6 times on average. But, both men and women in couples with more gender-traditional divisions of household labor reported having had more sex than those with more egalitarian divisions.

"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," said Kornrich, who co-authored the study with two University of Washington researchers, Julie Brines, an associate professor of sociology, and Katrina Leupp, a doctoral candidate in sociology.

The researchers also investigated, and ultimately ruled out, a number of other possible explanations for their findings. For example, they explored the possibility that couples with more traditional divisions of labor had more sex because the husbands in those relationships were sexually coercive. "Wives' reported satisfaction with their sex life has the same relationship to men's participation in household labor as sexual frequency," Kornrich said. "Had satisfaction with sex been low, but frequency high, it might have suggested coercion. However, we didn't find that."

In addition, the researchers found that happiness, religion, gender ideology, and a range of other variables did not affect the relationship between more traditional divisions of labor and more frequent sexual activity.

"The importance of gender has declined over time, but it continues to exert a strong influence over individual behaviors, including sexual frequency within marriage," Kornrich said.

But, for husbands who might see the study as justification for not cooking, cleaning, shopping, or performing other traditionally female household tasks, Kornrich issued a warning. "Men who refuse to help around the house could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives' marital satisfaction," he said. "Earlier research has found that women's marital satisfaction is indeed linked to men's participation in overall household labor, which encompasses tasks traditionally done by both men and women."
-end-
About the American Sociological Association and the American Sociological Review

The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society. The American Sociological Review is the ASA's flagship journal. The research article described above is available by request for members of the media. For a copy of the full study, contact Daniel Fowler, ASA's Media Relations and Public Affairs Officer.

American Sociological Association

Related Marriage Articles from Brightsurf:

Survey reveals popular misconceptions about child marriage
Misconceptions about child marriage (marriage under 18) appear widespread among the American public, potentially hampering efforts to address the practice globally.

Do unmarried women face shortages of partners in the US marriage market?
One explanation for declines in marriage is a shortage of economically-attractive men for unmarried women to marry.

Could marriage stave off dementia?
Dementia and marital status could be linked, according to a new Michigan State University study that found married people are less likely to experience dementia as they age.

Happy in marriage? Genetics may play a role
People fall in love for many reasons -- similar interests, physical attraction, and shared values among them.

Your genes could impact the quality of your marriage
The quality of your marriage could be affected by your genes, according to new research conducted at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Ideal marriage partners drive Waorani warriors to war
In a new study, a team of researchers examined the social composition of raiding parties and their relationship to marriage alliances in an Amazonian tribal society, the Waorani of Ecuador.

Is student debt keeping Americans away from marriage?
Having a student loan could influence whether America's young adults first union after college is marriage or cohabitation.

Recent trends of marriage in Iran
Data about marriages in Iran points to the declining number of formal (arranged) marriages in recent decades despite strong cultural and religious traditions favoring such marriages.

Marriage name game: What kind of guy would take his wife's last name?
The study looked at whether a man's level of education -- both his own and relative to his wife's -- influences the likelihood that he chooses a nontraditional surname in marriage.

Get a grip: What your hand strength says about your marriage prospects and mortality
Researchers found men with a stronger grip were more likely to be married than men with weaker grips.

Read More: Marriage News and Marriage Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.