For her part, Markie Blumer, an assistant professor in the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the age of the data is a big weakness in the study. "The economic crash definitely changed a lot of the household dynamics," she said, adding that many of those who became unemployed were men who started doing most of the housework.
Lead study author Sabino Kornrich said it's possible that when both spouses work outside the home, sheer fatigue could reduce the frequency of sex.
"I suspect that in cases where people are too tired to do any chores, they just don't have sex," said Kornrich, a researcher at the Juan March Institute in Madrid, Spain. "Our research and earlier studies find that couples who do more housework overall have more sex, suggesting that those who have more energy to do housework also have more energy for sex."
Kornrich added that although same-sex couples were not the focus of this study, research suggests that the division of household labor among gay, lesbian and cohabitating couples is influenced by gender. "But differences remain in how these couples divide household labor compared to heterosexual couples, so we cannot say from our results," he noted.
Brines suggested married couples consider having direct conversations or negotiations about the division of household labor and about their sex lives. "Put it up for renegotiation at any time," she said. "If you want a different arrangement, talk about it rather than letting inertia take hold."
For more about sexual health, see the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Julie Brines, Ph.D., associate professor, department of sociology, University
All rights reserved