Men who do their fair share of the housework may benefit from a better sex life.
Study coauthor Dr. Matt Johnson, a family ecology professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of Alberta in Canada, and colleagues recently published their findings in the Journal of Family Psychology.
The team's findings oppose those of a study reported by Medical News Today in 2013, which suggested husbands who help out with what are deemed traditionally female household chores - such as doing the laundry or washing the dishes - have less sex than those who leave all the chores to their wives.
In addition, the study found no association between the amount of housework a man did and the sexual functioning between them and their partner.
"[That study] didn't ring true," says Dr. Johnson. "It didn't fit with my intuition and background experiences as a couple's therapist."
To reinvestigate the association between housework and sex, the researchers reviewed the data of 1,338 couples who were part of the German Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (Pairfam) project.
Each male partner was asked about the amount of housework they did, what chores they did, and whether they perceived their housework contributions to be fair.
The frequency of sex among each couple and each partner's sexual satisfaction were assessed 1 year later.
Sexual satisfaction improved when men did fair share of chores
The results showed no association between the amount of housework a man did and a couple's sex life.
"In any relationship, the amount of housework is going to mean something different based on the couple's context, based on their own expectations for what each partner should be doing, and their comparison levels of what happens with other couples they know," notes Dr. Johnson.
However, compared with men who reported making an unfair contribution to household chores, those who perceived a fair contribution to household chores engaged in more frequent sex with their partner, and both partners reported their sex being more satisfying.
The researchers note that there are cultural differences between Germany and the US; Germany tends to adopt more traditional gender roles, and studies have indicated German men do less housework than American men.
However, Dr. Johnson points out that if previous studies rang true, these latest results would have shown a negative impact of housework on the sexuality of German men because of their more traditional gender views. "But that wasn't the case at all," he added.
Overall, the researchers say their findings indicate that couples who wish to improve their sexual intimacy may benefit from a fair division of household chores. Dr. Johnson adds:
"Rather than avoiding chores in the hopes of having more sex, as prior research would imply, men are likely to experience more frequent and satisfying passion for both partners between the sheets when they simply do their fair share."
Household chores may not only improve sex life. MNT recently reported on a study that suggested dishwashing could help relieve stress.