Chop Wood, Have Sex

Chop Wood, Have Sex


Published March 2014. Positive 365

You may not know this, but American married couples are having sex less often than ever before.  In fact, some social scientist coined the term “sexless marriage” to define those unions in which the couples have sexual relations no more than 10 times per year.  It’s estimated that one in five marriages fall into this category.

But here’s what’s interesting: despite the decline in sexual frequency, these same couples report that their marriages are happier than ever before.  How do we explain this paradox?  We’ve been taught that a healthy sex life is essential to a strong marriage.  So, how can we be happier with less sex?  The answer is simple:  laundry.

Last year, the American Sociological Review published a study called “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage.”  The study refuted the assumption that, as couples divide household chores evenly, their sex life would improve.  Instead, it found that when men did certain kinds of chores around the house, couples had less sex.  Specifically, if men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming-the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do-then couples have sex 1.5 fewer times per month that those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car.  Here’s the kicker:  sexual frequency wasn’t the only thing affected.  The more traditional the division of household labor, the greater the wife’s reported sexual satisfaction. 

Note:  I need to pause here in order to load the dishwasher….

OK, where were we?  Oh yes, wives are turned off when their husbands do non-traditional household chores.  In my case, the situation is compounded because I do the laundry and, invariably, ruin an expensive piece of my wife’s clothing in the process.  Thus, she is both turned off AND angry; a combination that all but scuttles any chance of sexual intimacy beyond an occasional high five.

This study has made me appreciate my dilemma.  In my household, we have permanently and contractually divided the household chores.  The breakdown is simple: I have them all.   Now, that’s OK because, as was mentioned above, the egalitarian nature of our marriage ensures a greater degree of happiness (I’m assuming more for her, but let’s not split hairs).  Still, I must face the reality that my wife is likely never to be aroused as long as I’m immersed in traditionally, non-male chores.  Besides, even if she did get turned on, I’m too busy doing housework to simply stop and jump in the sack.

So, I’ve been thinking about what I can do to encourage a higher level of friskiness from my wife, realizing, of course that I will never be relieved of my non-traditional responsibilities.  I’ve come up with a few ideas that might work to increase her libidinous urges (hopefully towards me, but I can’t be picky at this stage):

  • I’m going to hunt elk as a means of providing food for our household.  I’ve read that women are aroused by the scent of elk on their man (or is it female elk that are aroused?).  Heaven knows, my lavender bath salts aren’t doing the trick.  I haven’t checked, but I’m hoping that there is an abundant elk population near my condo complex.  And, I’ll need to borrow an elk rifle, otherwise I’ll have to reason with the elk and hope they turn themselves in without a fight.
  • I’m going to re-wire our house.  I caught my wife looking at me lasciviously a few days ago as I changed a light bulb.  Which got me to thinking: how alluring would I be if I could re-wire an entire home?  First off, I’ll get to wear a tool belt.  I read in Mechanics Illustrated that women find guys in tool belts very sexy.  Of course, I’ll have to borrow my wife’s tool belt, but hopefully she won’t notice. 
  • I’m going to join a motorcycle gang.  I’ve read that women are turned on by dangerous guys…outlaws.  So a motorcycle gang is perfect.  It’s important to note that I don’t drink or smoke and I’ve never been in a knife fight.  Plus, there is the small issue of my wife not letting me have a motorcycle.  But I think that once the guys get to know me, they’ll be cool with me cruising along in my VW Passat.

I’m sensing a new era of passion coming to my marriage.  But I can’t really worry about that now.  I have laundry to fold and another load to be washed.  By the way, is it OK to throw a cashmere sweater in with the whites?


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