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Couples who share the housework have a better sex life, study finds

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Couples who live together have better sex if they both do their fair share of housework, a study has found.

While it seems pretty obvious that dividing tasks unequally would leave one partner more tired, resentful and generally dissatisfied, the new research debunks a widely-cited 2012 study that found heterosexual couples with an egalitarian approach to chores had less sex.

The old research, published in The American Sociological Review, found that the love lives of US couples suffered if men did everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning.

However, it used data taken 20 years earlier and the findings did not ring true for family ecology professor Matt Johnson, from the University of Alberta.

He set out to debunk the notion that modern men just find sex a bit 'meh' if they've had to do the washing-up.

Using data taken from 1,338 German couples over five years, he found that they reported more, better quality sex in homes where housework was picked up by both partners.

man hoovering

Sitting and watching doesn't count

His research has been published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

Dr Johnson explains to CBC News, “If we feel respected by our partners … then that sets the stage for the possibility of a sexual encounter to unfold later.”

“If one partner is not doing his or her fair share around the house, then what happens? Either the other partner has to pick up the slack, which is more likely to be a female partner … or the housework just doesn't get done.

“Either of those scenarios is likely to lead to anger and bitterness on the part of the person who feels slighted ... Doing your fair share is so powerful because it helps insulate us from these negative feelings.”

He said that his findings reflected modern couples, rather than cultural differences among Germans.

“There are cultural differences but if the logic held from the prior studies, we would have expected to have a more pronounced negative impact of housework on sexuality in Germany because it’s a bit more traditional,” he says. “But that wasn’t the case at all.” 

Images: Thinkstock, Rex Features

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