More Housework Means More Sex For Busy Couples

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Busy people are getting busier. Literally. A new study published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Issues finds that wives and husbands who spent more time on housework had more frequent sex.“No research has examined the direct effect of housework time on sexual frequency,” says Dr. Gager, lead researcher of the study. "We expected that if husbands spent more time on housework, their wives would be less tired and more willing to engage in sex. The surprise finding was that for both husbands and wives, more time on housework was linked to more frequent sex.”

"We expected that if husbands spent more time on housework, their wives would be less tired and more willing to engage in sex. The surprise finding was that for both husbands and wives, more time on housework was linked to more frequent sex.”

Busy people are getting busier. Literally. A new study published in the February issue of the Journal of Family Issues finds that wives and husbands who spend more time on housework report more frequent sex.

With the trends of women spending more time in the workforce and the increasing speed of daily life, co-authors Constance T. Gager and Scott Yabiku wanted to explore whether the resulting time crunch affects the frequency of sex among married couples. Their article, “Who has the time? The relationship between household labor time and sexual frequency,” revealed that people who “work hard” apparently “play hard.”

“No research has examined the direct effect of housework time on sexual frequency,” says Dr. Gager, lead researcher and a sociologist in the Department of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University, Montclair, N.J. "We expected that if husbands spent more time on housework, their wives would be less tired and more willing to engage in sex. The surprise finding was that for both husbands and wives, more time on housework was linked to more frequent sex.”

The study of 6,877 married couples examined the link between sexual frequency and three issues: time availability, gender ideology, and involvement in numerous activities (multiple spheres). In the research, housework was defined as hours spent in nine tasks: cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, laundry, driving family members to activities, shopping, yard work, car maintenance, and paying bills. The research revealed that regardless of age, health, education, duration of marriage, religion, income, race or ethnicity, and marital satisfaction, spouses who spent more hours on sex had more sex. Other factors considered in the research were hours per week spent in the paid work force, and for couples with kids, the age of children in the household. Even after taking these time constraints into account, the link between housework and sex still held for both husbands and wives.

The data showed that married couples reported having sex 82.7 times a year on average, or 1.6 times a week, about the same as in other studies. Wives spent nearly twice as much time per week on housework – on average 41.8 hours compared to husbands’ 23.4 hours. Outside the home, husbands spent an average 33.8 hours a week on paid work, compared with 19.7 hours for wives. However, the effects of housework on sexual frequency did not vary significantly by gender. “Our results show that both wives and husbands who spend more hours on household labor report more frequent sex than those who devote less time to household labor,” says co-author Dr. Yabiku, associate professor of sociology at Arizona State University, Tempe. “The results also showed that time availability and views on gender roles had much less impact on sexual frequency.”

The study’s findings support that a select group of individuals may be achievers in various aspects of life. It suggests that as life gets busier and time gets tighter, these go-getter spouses can successfully balance multiple time commitments. “We’re not saying that housework causes sex, rather there are groups who ‘do it all’ and other groups who do not,” says Dr. Gager. “We found that these go-getters are prioritizing their busy schedules to make time for sex.”

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Professor Connie Gager
Montclair State University
(201) 650-5926
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