Society and customs have changed, especially among young people who have seen couples’ traditional roles transformed. Partners take part more equally in domestic duties and share so much of their daily life for the first time. This seems to have had an impact on sex life.
Research, published in Socius magazine by a team of researchers from Cornell University, the University of Indianapolis and the University of Utah, analysed the changes in the division of domestic work in American families between the 1990s and the early 2000s. The data used by the researchers come from two large surveys of the United States population.
These surveys were the second wave of the National Survey of Families and Households which was carried out between 1992 and 1994, and the Marital and Relationship Survey took place in 2006.
More than 1095 individuals within the Marital and Relationship Survey were analysed and 10,005 from the National Survey of Families and Households. The researchers compared the couples’ division of chores in both surveys and cross-referenced the results with data on the happiness of the couples interviewed and the quality of their sex life. They noticed an important change between the two periods.
In the mid-1990s, partners were more likely to share the burden of food shopping and dishwashing. These activities were carried out by husbands (28 percent) and partners (16 per cent). In 2006, 30 percent of couples participated equally in food shopping and 29 percent equally divided the dishwashing activity. In the mid-1990s, only 12 percent took part in household cleaning on an equal basis, and nine percent shared the laundry activity. In 2006, 22 percent of husbands cleaned the house and 21 percent did the laundry.
The study authors point out that the change is not just about everyday habits and the greater sharing of domestic work between the two is reflected in the bedroom. In earlier decades, the men who said they had the greatest satisfaction in their sexual relationships were those who did not participate equally in household chores. Between the 90s and 2000 the situation reversed with men showing more sexual satisfaction when they took part equally in daily activities, particularly food shopping, which was an activity related to males having more satisfaction (including sexual).