A study shows that an unfair division of labor kills sex drive in women
First, the study found that women who shouldered more housework were also more likely to perceive this dynamic as unfairly— and this feeling of unfairness in the relationship was part of what led to the decreased desire for a partner.
The researchers note that this is important because it refutes the argument that women take on more housework because they want to or because they simply enjoy caring. While this may be true for some, this study found that women in unbalanced partnerships actually often resent the situation. And it is very difficult to pick up someone you resent.
Second, researchers found that women who deal with an imbalance at home are more likely to feel the same way their partner dependent on them. This feeling—that is, feeling that your husband relies on you to take care of him and do basic life tasks for him—was another factor associated with decreased sex drive.
As Harris and team point out in the paper, doing someone’s laundry, cooking for them, cleaning up after them, and planning their social calendar are tasks that people typically do for children. So when a woman has to perform these tasks for her husband without real reciprocity or recognition, the relationship “reflects more of a mother-child relationship.”
Oddly enough, it’s not very sexy.
“Unequal shares of housework can contribute to a burdensome blurring of mother and partner roles, rendering partners perceived as care recipients, similar to dependent children,” they write. “As a result, women may feel less desire to have partners who are perceived as dependent.”
There is a common joke among married women that when asked how many children they have, they include their husband in the count. This dynamic is often laughed at and seen as the norm between men and women, but as this study shows, it has direct consequences for a couple’s sex life. It’s very hard to feel sexually attracted to someone you think you need as a mother.