Here’s a dirty reason for couples to clean up together — partners who share more housework have more sex, according to a new survey.
CreditLoan.com quizzed 993 cohabitating couples on how splitting the chores correlates with relationship satisfaction. And couples were happiest when they divided tasks the most evenly, particularly taking care of the kids — a pressing concern for many parents thanks to the soaring costs of child care in recent years.
And relationships where both partners dusted and cleaned the bathroom had sex nearly two more times each month than when women shouldered the responsibility alone.
“When you have equality in a relationship, you tend to not have resentment. If the burdens of household chores are divided, nobody feels that they’re stuck in a gender role,” New York City-based relationship expert Susan Winter tells Moneyish. That’s a major turn-on.
And partners who communicate that they need help getting things done — rather than waiting around for a partner to pitch in — also have happier relationships. (Alas, our partners aren’t mind readers.)
Yet CreditLoan.com also found that women are still doing most of the work at home. During the average week, women spend twice as much time on chores like laundry and cooking (five hours and 48 minutes total) than men. This adds up to an extra 301 hours of unpaid overtime a year, according to the study. Men, meanwhile, spent more time than women organizing household finances, attempting home repairs and taking out the trash (up to 55 minutes per week).
Psychologists note that if women feel burdened by doing too much work, they will feel less inclined to get intimate with their partners because they don’t feel supported.
“There are a lot of things that are involved in the sex drive. It’s not just physical; there’s a big emotional and psychological component, as well. If someone is feeling more supported, their partner is more likely to get lucky,” psychologist Patricia Thompson explains. “If a woman is less stressed, she is probably more likely to be intimate. If people have a lot going on, and they’re tired, then sex can feel like something else they have to do. If they’re not as tired, or less stressed, then they’re more able to relax — and more likely to want to connect to a partner.”
The study also found that respondents who spent less time doing chores in general tended to be happier overall in their relationships — but unfortunately, not everyone has the money to outsource a cleaning service.
A separate study by Match.com found that 43% of men and 50% of women strongly agreed that both partners in a relationship should share household duties equally. And while no one wants to volunteer to clean the bathroom or do the dirty dishes, relationship experts say that there are some things, such as walking the dog, cooking at home or taking the kids to school, that couples can do together as a team — which also doubles as sneaking in some more quality time together.
For everything else, clearly spell out what needs to get done, and check it off, Thompson says.
“The most straightforward way to do the boring stuff is to have a chore chart; that way it’s clear who’s supposed to do what when, and you’ll be less likely to nag each other,” Thompson suggests. “If you leave it to someone’s instinct, you’re more likely to be disappointed.”
For some, like Winters, someone taking initiative and helping without being asked to shows how much they care.
“Do you know how sexy I felt when my boyfriend was doing yard work for me?” Winter says. “I was like, ‘Wow, you really care.’ I thought, ‘How sweet is that you bothered to make my life easier?’ And how endearing it was.”
Talk about choreplay. “He did something to contribute to the quality of my life,” adds Winter. “I felt very much like I wanted to express my gratitude.”