Couples who divide housework fairly have more sex

New research from the University of Utah and Cornell University suggests that couples involved in egalitarian marriages, at least as chores are concerned, have more sex. (Note that the study is only about heterosexual marriages.) This new study appears to counter a 2014 New York Times Magazine article titled "Does Gender Equality Kill Sex Lives?." For this work, the Utah and Cornell researchers compared a 2006 marital satisfaction survey with data from 1992-1994. From a news release about the paper:

Turns out, the “rules” that govern sexual and marital satisfaction have been changing rapidly—and, like many generalizations about modern marriage, the 2013 study (that the NYT article reported on) was based on outdated data. As Cornell University Professor Sharon Sassler shows in her new paper, “A Reversal in Predictors of Sexual Frequency and Satisfaction in Marriage,” presented today to the Council on Contemporary Families, when couples share similar tasks rather than different, gender-stereotyped ones, this seems to deepen desire.

Sassler reports, “Contemporary couples who adhere to a more egalitarian division of labor are the only couples who have experienced an increase in sexual frequency compared to their counterparts of the past. Other groups – including those where the woman does the bulk of the housework – have experienced declines in sexual frequency. This finding is particularly notable given reports indicating that sexual frequency has generally declined worldwide over the past few decades.”

Quartz digs deeper into the new study:

...Couples who reported sharing housework equally had sex 6.8 times per month, on average, or about once more per month than those where the woman does more “routine housework,” defined as: preparing and cooking meals, washing dishes, cleaning around the house, shopping for groceries, and doing laundry...

The study had some not-so-great findings too. Couples in which the man does the bulk of the housework have significantly less sex than those in conventional or more egalitarian pairings (the study did not look at same-sex couples). And while sexual satisfaction varied little between conventional and egalitarian couples; counter-conventional couples, those in which he does the bulk of the housework, were more dissatisfied with their sex lives compared to those in other arrangements.