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Husbands have long known they can boost their chances of having sex with their wives if they bring home roses and chocolates. But according to recent studies, husbands are more likely to ensure a romantic evening if they pick up a mop and bucket instead. Research has shown that when husbands share in the housework, their wives tend to report more feelings of warmth and affection toward them, the husbands are more likely to report higher marital satisfaction and those couples have more frequent marital sex than other couples.
According to the book, “VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework and Commitment,” by Neil Chethik, men doing housework is a kind of aphrodisiac for women. Wives were less likely to have affairs, couples were less likely to separate or divorce and couples were more likely to describe themselves as happily married if the husband did more chores. And the happier a wife is with her husband’s housework participation, the more frequent sex she has with him.
And the Wall Street Journal recently reported on a new study published in the Journal of Family Issues that shows that husbands who do more housework have better sex lives and happier marriages compared to others. That study is based on a random, nationally representative sample of 6,877 married couples.
More time at work is also linked to higher sexual frequency in marriage, according to the study. Researchers say that people who are high achievers, or “go-getters,” can successfully balance all the responsibilities in life, which includes work, housework, other activities, as well as sex.
Researchers speculate that housework may serve as a symbol for one’s commitment to a shared marital partnership and that a smooth-running, clean and calm home can lead to a sense of well-being, which allows partners to enjoy one another more.
In an interview with CBS News, gender expert Michael Gurian said it’s such a pleasant surprise to women when men do more around the house than expected. These studies aren’t saying that women are consciously trading sex for housework, but that seeing their men do more of it puts them in a better mood in general.
According to The Huffington Post, a report by the Council on Contemporary Families found that men’s contribution to housework had doubled over the past four decades and that men tripled the time spent on child care during the same period. “If a guy does housework, it looks to the woman like he really cares about her—he’s not treating her like a servant,” said Joshua Coleman, a psychologist and author who is affiliated with the Council, “And if a woman feels stressed out because the house is a mess and the guy’s sitting on the couch while she’s vacuuming, that’s not going to put her in the mood.”
If these studies are true and more men start believing the results, we should start to see more and more husbands grab brooms, mops, irons, and rags, and get to work around the house.
In an interview with CNN, Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco-area psychologist and author of “Lazy Husband” offers the following tips on how to encourage your husband to help out more with household chores
• Don’t be a gatekeeper: Husbands who aren’t micromanaged tend to contribute more.
• Don’t send mixed messages: A woman may telegraph ambivalence by asking her partner to help, but then tell him he’s doing the task all wrong. Or she may not ask him to help at all, then become angry because he’s not helping.
• Be assertive: Insist on an equitable division of labor if he won’t take initiative. Say something like, “You agreed if I cooked, that you’d clean. You haven’t done that yet, so can you do it now or tell me when you will?”
• Communicate productively: Avoid accusations of blame and shame. Approach your husband with affection, keep the conversation brief and to the point, and use language that doesn’t veer toward criticism.
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