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Splitting Chores Will Get You Laid

Married couples who evenly split chores have more sex, according to a new study.
Image by Nemanja Glumac via Stocksy

A new study finds that married couples who evenly split household chores like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping have more sex than couples where one partner does the majority of the work.

According to the study's author, Sharon Sassler, "contemporary couples who adhere to a more egalitarian division of labor are the only couples who have experienced an increase in sexual frequency compared to their counterparts of the past." In other groups, including those where women do more of the work, she observed an actual decline in the frequency of sex. "This finding is particularly notable given reports indicating that sexual frequency has generally declined worldwide over the past few decades," she says.


The results clash with a different study published in 2013, which seemed to indicate couples whose marriages reflected more traditional gender roles (i.e. those where the woman did most of the housework) had more sex. The authors of that study concluded that traditional gender roles were "turn-ons."

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Sassler calls the data from the previous study "outdated," since most of it was collected in the 1980s and 1990s. Her study examines more recent data collected from a survey taken in 2006. The survey looked at heterosexual married and cohabiting couples at a variety of income levels where the wife was younger than 45 years old and where the couple lived with at least one child younger than 12. The results from the 2006 survey show a significant shift in the sexual behavior of married couples and reveals that, nowadays, equality is the ultimate lubricant.

The couples who split household chores more evenly had sex about 6.79 times a month, while couples in which the woman shouldered most of the in-home labor had sex on average 6.3 times a month. The difference may seem small, but it becomes more significant when you compare it to data from the 1990s, when equal couples had sex 5.95 times a month (less than they did in 2006) and traditional couples had sex 6.79 on average (more than they did in 2006).

What's really happened is that our sense that the household division of labor is fair (or equitable) matters more strongly now in terms of having sex than it did in the past.


"What's really happened is that our sense that the household division of labor is fair (or equitable) matters more strongly now in terms of having sex than it did in the past," Amanda Miller, an associate professor of sociology and director of the MA in applied sociology at the University of Indianapolis and co-author of the paper, tells Broadly.

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"I think we've found that when the scale is tipped too far in either direction in terms of who does the housework, it feels unfair," Miller says. "It's the sense of fairness that really mediates the relationship between household chores and sex."

The shift to more sex in equal marriages has been relatively swift. Miller says that, going forward, she expects that "the link between egalitarian sharing and more frequent sex will become even stronger as more and more young people want a partner who will equally share both the housework and paid work."

"Of course, that doesn't mean that people with conventional or counter-conventional divisions of household labor can't have fulfilling and frequent sex," says Miller. "But I'd definitely recommend that when your partner grabs the mop, you pick up the bucket."