Sunday, March 2, 2014

Real Simple, Sex Life

One of my favorite magazines is Real Simple. They have great recipes, meal plans, and articles that make me reevaluate myself, my finances, and how I organize my pantry. They also have these fabulous statistics, matching the theme of the month's issue, in the first few pages. I love these. I read them aloud to my husband every month. He reads me the funnies from Playboy and I read him statistics.

It's our thing.

January's issue was all about the work/life balance. I was, excitedly, in the middle of reading the first statistic when Real Simple threw me a curve ball.

"3.9 About how many times a month a married couple have sex when both partners help with everyday chores, like cooking and cleaning, as calculated in a 2013 American Sociological Review study. You might think that the number would go up the more dishes men wash, but the opposite is true. When women do all the housework and husbands stick to traditionally male tasks (lawn mowing, auto care), couples get busier in the bedroom-4.8 time a month on average. Apparently sticking to gender roles is sexy. (Psst, guys-that means you take out the garbage)"

Wow, geez, thanks Real Simple. Like it wasn't hard enough to get my husband to help around the house. Now you're basically telling me I need to make the choice between gratuitous amounts of sex or getting some help around the house. 

Hmm, let me think

We all know what it's going to be if hubs has been shooting off like a roman candle, leaving you flapping in the unorgasmic breeze. I would think this would be a selling point to up Mr.Man's game. Sharing house cleaning responsibilities is going to be top priority at the next family meeting if the Missus's tingly bits want nothing to do with Mr.Man. 

You know that's right

Now, what about the other side of that spectrum? I've been with my husband for twelve years, and in the early (training) years, I was a control freak. I never let him do the cleaning, even when I worked seven days a week. This was a HUGE error on my part.

Ever since I've had my son (seven long years) I've been trying to spread the wealth. I am not super woman. He's taken over lawn maintenance, (yeah, seriously I did everything) and he's often done his own laundry since the folding war of 03'. (he told me I was doing it wrong, I didn't clean his clothes for two years)

He doesn't help with dishes, after dinner cleanup, sweeping, dusting, bathroom cleaning, making meals, budget, groceries, etc. None of that, unless it's Mother's Day, my birthday, or I'm terribly sick. But we have sex eight or more times a month and he cares about my orgasm....

in theory

I'm sure if you tally in the weeks of year I'm sick, have the extra long menstrual cycle, or get taken down by vagina numbing allergy meds, we'd fall in the 4.8 category. 

At least I don't usually work outside the house these days. When I was working full time, after my son came along, I started delegating household chores out and my husband gave it a half hearted attempt before begging me to cut back at work. We tightened the budget, moved things around and I cut back at work. As much as my feminist friends are horrified by this, it was actually a huge relief, for many reasons. The world righted it self and peace was brought back to my husband and I's relationship. 

BUT, we're in a situation where I can be home, and enjoy staying home, more often than not.

Honestly, I'd feel guilty if I didn't do all that I do when my husband works 60hrs a week outside the home. This is our dynamic sweet spot, and in a way, always has been. Whenever we've veered from this, it has caused discord in our relationship. Big time. 

We had a long time of resentment and anger sweating the small stuff. And if you've ever been married you know the small stuff snow balls into a giant ice ball of animosity, rolling down the mountain side of life, crushing everyone trying to climb up. 

This couple pulled over to argue, 
when their shit caught up to them

I remember the crap that built our giant angry ice ball. He thought, since he made more money, I needed to do more around the house even though we both worked full time. I constantly felt over whelmed and he felt like he was stretching himself too thin. We both were constantly pissed off at each other. We still had sex a lot, but it was angry sex. 

All of this got me pondering. What about the households where the wife works full time? I want to hear about the lady bread winner's sex life. How's the stay-at-home dad situation?  And what about the average American that has two full time working spouses. Do they fair better when they share the chore load?

 Also, what about the LGBT families? Does it serve these couple's sex life better if they have specifically separate household roles? 

Are any of these people getting laid?

I'm sure you hear it all the time, from comedians to sitcoms, marriage ends your sex life. That surely isn't right. I have single friends that have gone much longer without sex than me. Am I part of the exception not the rule? Should couples not having sex be pitied or should married couples having sex be commended for their sexual prowess when life has made everyone else numb bellow the belt?

Where's that article Real Simple?!

I feel the data is incomplete. Were the couples having an average of 3.9 a month carrying resentment and anger over a misplaced balance? How many of the couples rocking the 4.8 average are part of the housewife/working spouse households?

I need the variables. 

I'll tell you one thing, it's going to be a while before I can go to a Cub Scout or PTA meeting without wanting to quiz people about their sex/chore life. 

So, Bill, Marge, who did the dishes last night and 
was their sex after?

I need to find a university that will let a curious blogger set up a Sex Habits Of Married Folk study. 

So tell me, do you do dishes and are you having quality sex? 

Seriously, I want to know!!! 

1.How is your work/house chore balance and has it caused resentment in your relationship? 

2.How has you and your spouse's home/work dynamic changed over the years?

3.If you could change one thing about your work/home dynamic, what would it be?

Please, feel free to share!


  1. It is an interesting correlation. I wonder perhaps if couples in which housework is shared are too busy, exhausted for sex? Perhaps both partners do the housework out of necessity because it's too much for one person to handle. If both people are tired--but not in sync, sex would be less likely to occur. I don't know if that's the case or not. It's just a theory.

    1. I wondered that also! This is why I would love to know the variables of this study. I've been asking my g/f''s, in relationships where both partners have full time careers, if they share chore load. I was shocked that 5 out of 6 of the women do most of the house chores and hired a Merry Maids type service that comes once a week, when they got overwhelmed. They also have a lot of frustration and resentment over the lack of help from their partner. And they aren't feeling very amorous as a result.

      So now I'm wondering if the 3.9 is actually the silver lining for couples that both work, and the 4.8 is for couples that don't both have full time careers. The exception, not the rule.

  2. My husband and I both have full time jobs and various other things going on with our schedules. We have never stuck to traditional roles. During the first few years of our marriage he was home a lot. For a bit he was unemployed, then working from home, working freelance. We were having money problems and I was working my butt off outside the home. As a result he pretty much did everything. Cooked, cleaned, vacuumed, grocery shopped.

    I managed the bills, paid the rent, got blood from a stone. But I was stressed! I still did some stuff around the house (he will not do laundry, and never notices that the bathroom is dirty). If I were doing all of that on top of cleaning the house and cooking you bet I would have been resentful and not really up for any kind of sexy time.

    Now we both work full time outside of the house. He has taken over most of the bills. I vacuum a little more than I used to. I think household chores are more evenly divided. We are both less stressed, but I think that has more to do with money than household chores.

    In both scenarios we were having the same amount of sex. I mean, I guess it always varies, but it doesn't have anything to do with household chores.

    I am wondering if this study was trying to hint at the fact that some men might feel emasculated because they are doing 'women's work'? In which case I wouldn't want to have sex with them anyway.

    1. LOL, to the last part. That is a good point. Just from my inquiries it seems the person who most wants those chores done is the one doing them. It doesn't seem as much a case of feeling emasculated as much as lacking motivation. Basically the guys just don't give a fig if the toilet is clean or not.

      That was more of what I was dealing with when my husband and I were both full time workers. We had stand offs, until the house was so yuk I'd cave and do a huge scrub down.

  3. I think the wife is withholding sex until the husband completes the chore CORRECTLY. That is why they're having less sex.

    Oh, and by the way, I've been married almost 25 yrs to the same guy. You may not think this is a good thing until you realize I've trained him and I'm not letting all that training go to another woman, or training another one. It was exhausting the first time!

    1. LOL, Bill Cosby says that's the reason widowed women don't remarry! Sounds reasonable :)