(USA TODAY) -- Husbands who do a lot of cooking, cleaning, laundry and othertraditionally female forms of housework may do their marriages some good-- but, contrary to popular belief, they are not rewarded with moresex, a new study finds.
Instead, it's the guys who do the mostlawn work, car repair, driving and bill-paying - traditional men's jobs -who have the most sex in marriage, the study suggests. The same is truefor women who do the most traditional female housework, according tothe study published in the February issue of American Sociological Review.
Forbetter or worse, the authors say, heterosexual married couples maystill be reading from traditional "sexual scripts" when it comes to bothhousework and sex.
In other words, the study concludes: "Men orwomen may, in essence, be turned on (however indirectly) when partnersin a marriage do more gender-traditional work."
The study comeswith one major caveat: It is based on data collected two decades ago.While the researchers say little has likely changed since then, someother experts disagree.
The researchers, from the Juan MarchInstitute in Spain and the University of Washington in Seattle, lookedat data collected on about 4,500 heterosexual married U.S. couplesparticipating in the National Survey of Families and Households between1992 and 1994. The couples reported having sex an average of five times amonth.
Couples in which women did all of the traditional femalechores had sex 1.6 times more each month than couples in which men didall of those jobs. The more cooking and cleaning a husband did, the lesssex the couple had; women's cooking and cleaning was linked with moresex. Couples in which men did more traditional male chores also hadmore sex; it did not seem to matter if women did more or less of thosechores.
The findings were not linked to male or female earnings or to religious beliefs.
Butbefore the nation's husbands throw out their dishcloths, they mightwant to consider this: The study does not say more traditional couplesare more satisfied with their sex lives or their marriages. Theresearchers cite other studies showing that "when men do morehousework, wives' perceptions of fairness and marital satisfaction tendto rise." Couples with more equal divisions of labor also are lesslikely to divorce, research shows.
"Some women may find a guy moresexy when he's fixing something around the house than when he's doingthe ironing," says Stephanie Coontz, director of research and publiceducation for the Council on Contemporary Families. "I'm not surprisedthat there are many women and men who still find the old ways more sexy.But there also are couples who now find egalitarian relationships moresexy and a better prescription for long-term happiness in marriage."
Asurvey conducted today likely would find more couples in the lattercategory, says Coontz, who teaches history and family studies atEvergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
Also worth noting: Thestudy did not include childcare -- so it says nothing about whether menwho change diapers have more or less sex.