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US gender role study: helping men in the household have less sex
Should a new study confirm antiquated role models? This could be the result if you read the summary of the researchers at the Juan March Institute in Madrid. According to this, married men who actively take on household chores should have less sexual intercourse than men who think that cleaning the kitchen and bathroom is purely a matter for women. The decisive factor, however, is not whether men also work in the household, but also whether both are equally employed.
"If housework is shared equally among married people, sexual activity is reduced," the psychological scientists write in the American journal "American Sociological Review". Thus, the psychologists contradict the common assumption that men's involvement in the household is rewarded with an increase in sex. Pioneering, however, is “not the commitment as such, but the actual division of tasks.”
Study data from 4,500 couples evaluated For the study, the scientists led by Sabino Kornrich from the Juan March Institute in Madrid evaluated questionnaires from around 4,500 heterosexually oriented and married couples from the USA. The sheets were given up as part of another research on couples in 1992 and 1994. Although the data situation appears somewhat older, the study is the "most current" in this size.
The result showed that the spouses spend around 34 hours a week doing household chores such as cleaning, cooking or shopping. Another 17 hours are spent on “typically male-related tasks such as gardening, repairs or car maintenance”. A fifth of the men surveyed helped with cleaning or cooking and about 50 percent of the women also took on “male-dominated jobs”. All couples said they had sex about five times a month.
If men helped less in the household, the couples had sex more often
The researchers were able to discover some anomalies when evaluating them more closely. Couples in whom the women performed all "traditionally female household chores" alone had sex on average around 60 percent more often than in couples in which the men kept the housekeeping in good shape.
The researchers then examined personality traits such as dominant behavior of the men within the partnership. However, the researchers were able to quickly rule out this aspect. The researchers were also able to rule out the need for sexual intercourse. The survey study had shown that the sexual satisfaction of women did not decrease with the frequency of sexual intercourse. An increase in household help by men also had no effect on the frequency of sexuality practiced.
In the next step, the psychologists assumed that work could play a role. Here they compared the frequency of the sexual intercourse with the question of whether both were employed. "Neither the income of women nor professional life had an impact," said the study director. "We were also able to rule out satisfaction with marriage, belonging to a religion or gender ideologies".
Attraction as a reverberation of old role models
As an explanatory approach, the researchers now suspect that experiencing the partner in gender-typical roles could increase sexual desire. There are indications of this from previous studies. "But it is also possible that women who do the household alone have a more traditional understanding of roles and therefore consider it a duty to have sex with the man on a regular basis," the scientists write in their report. But it is also possible that classic role models minimize marital conflicts and therefore an increase in sex can be observed. However, a final statement cannot be made with absolute certainty.
However, men should not start withdrawing from household chores, Kornrich warns. "Men who refuse to help around the house could cause marital conflicts and reduce their wife's satisfaction with the marriage." On the other hand, it is better to do all the tasks in consultation according to your own understanding of the role. "The importance of gender has waned over time," explains the expert. Nevertheless, it still has a reverberating effect. (sb)
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