Men may soon put down the vacuum and pick up a lawn mower to spice things up in the bedroom.
A study published in the February issue of the American Sociological Review found that married heterosexual men who mow the yard, pay bills and change the oil have more sex than men who cook, clean and shop for the household.
“Households with a more traditional gender division of labor report higher sexual frequency than households with less traditional gender divisions of labor,” explained Sabino Kornrich, the study’s lead author. “Housework is something that people use as a very important way to express gender, masculinity and femininity. We aren’t surprised to think that sex might be more tied to this type of gender expression.”
In an effort to examine the connection between men who perform ‘core’ housework— traditionally female chores–and sex frequency, Kornich and his team from the Center for Advanced Studies at the Juan March Institute in Madrid reviewed findings from Wave II of the National Survey of Families and Households. They found little difference between the survey results collected in 1996 and today.
“For couples in which men did no ‘core’ housework, sexual frequency was 4.8 times per month,” Kornrich said. “For couples in which men did all of the ‘core’ housework, sexual frequency was 3.2 times per month.”
They also found that when either spouse did more chores they experienced more sex depending on the type of chore completed.
“You end up with a more nuanced pattern,” Kornrich suggested. “Men who do a greater share of male-typed housework and women who do a greater share of female-typed housework report more frequent sex.”
Allison Ellis admits that her and her husband divide up the household labor equally no matter what gender the chore is associated with.
“He wants to clean and doesn’t want to cook ever,” Ellis said. “Our deal is I cook and he cleans. I’m not allowed to touch the dishwasher.”
She also revealed that she gets hot and bothered when her husband reaches for the vacuum.
“It’s more of a turn-on when he’s doing the vacuuming than when he’s doing the traditional stereotypical tasks,” she said. “I wouldn’t say there’s a direct correlation but it’s definitely something that keeps us in sync. “
Although some men are eager to find ways to increase their bedroom action, others are content and don’t even notice a relationship between chores and sex frequency.
“In my mind, that seems to be a little overly simplistic, that doing some chores around the house will earn you a trip to the bedroom,” said Jeff Friedrich a 38-year-old plastic surgeon. “I’ve always done the kitchen and done the vacuuming and we’ve always had what I think is a good sex life. But I haven’t tested it. I haven’t stopped vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen to see what happens.”
Kornrich believe it’s best for men like Friedrich to keep it that way.
“Men who refuse to do housework, including both traditionally male and female tasks, could increase conflict in their marriage and lower their wives’ marital satisfaction,” he suggested.