sex.jpgA recent article in the New York Times titled Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? got lots of people in an uproar for claiming an equal distribution of the housework meant less sex for those egalitarian couples.

The study found “that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex.”

How’s that for an attention grabbing nugget.

First off, I’m sick of sensational stories that prey on people’s fears and end up sending our still old-fashioned work-life model back 50 years. And second off, we take reports like this as gospel without reading the fine print that reporters either overlook on purpose or by accident.

The reporter continues:

Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming — the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do — then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car. It wasn’t just the frequency that was affected, either — at least for the wives. The more traditional the division of labor, meaning the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction.

I put the “sexual satisfaction” part in bold because it turns out the researchers of the year-old study she cites did NOT look at sexual satisfaction. They only looked at the frequency of sex.

The report states:

“We find that households in which men do more traditionally male labor and women do more traditionally female labor report higher sexual frequency.”

The researchers make a point to say:

“The question of satisfaction is undoubtedly important and
should be pursued in future research.”

This could have been just a dumb mistake by the reporter. I’m sure I’ve done similar things when I was in the journalism trenches. But mistakes like this get us freaking out. Let’s stop freaking out people!

This is a cautionary tale for working parents out there who want to change, and are changing, the way the work-life-family structure is shaped. Keep fighting the good fight, even though you may not be having sex as often. Clearly, splitting up the household duties when both spouses are working is going to impact things in your life.

Is this a surprise? And what’s the alternative?

Many working women don’t want to handle all the traditional housekeeping chores on their own. I definitely don’t. I hate to vacuum!

On the other hand, I love sex, and lots of it.

Are my hubby and I sometimes too tired to see straight? Yes.

But we also have two kids, so don’t get me started on how that probably impacts whoopee frequency.

Bottom line, we work on making our marriage great every day because we love each other, and we try not to let dumb news article mess up the good egalitarian thing we’ve got going.

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