Results of a recent research project are getting a ton of media play, and for good reason: it seems a groundbreaking study found that the more household chores a person does, the more sex they have. Now, had this study focused exclusively on how housework pays off for otherwise reluctant guys, of course the findings would have made perfect sense. Most women I know would give it up on the spot if they saw their mate wielding a Swiffer or spontaneously emptying the dishwasher without
threat of castration being asked. But here’s the part that stumps me: The study found that for both men and women, more housework equals more sex.
As a compulsive type-A neat freak who has been known to make the bed around her snoring husband in the morning, I find this hard to believe. According to this theory, considering the staggering number of hours I already log sorting socks and chasing crumbs and plumping pillows each week, I should be having more sex than a billionaire in a brothel. Am I to believe that my marital KY consumption would skyrocket if I just added a little more scrubbing, scouring, sweeping, sponging and straightening to my endless daily to-do list? Would a gleaming toilet bowl or streak-free windows—made that way through my own tireless efforts and an excess of elbow grease—make me feel ever-more-frisky? Even more discouraging to consider, is my housekeeper swinging from her ceiling fan at night in a pair of crotchless chaps while I’m passed out wearing ear plugs and flannel Hello Kitty pajamas?
The researchers (a man and a woman; no word on whether or not they are having sex with one another) admit that they were surprised by their own findings. Once they finished scratching their respective heads, ultimately they chalked the cleanliness-sex-connection up to something called the “multiple spheres” hypothesis, which suggests that people who “work hard” also “play hard.” The theory is that compared to “normal folks,” both workaholics and neat freaks are better at prioritizing their time to make room for the things they enjoy. I have a slogan for them: Go-Getters: Making Life Miserable for the Rest of Us Since the Seventh Grade Science Fair.
In my (occasionally) humble opinion, what the sex-and-chores study fails to consider is the cause and effect relationship between getting clean and, well, getting dirty. Perhaps it’s the other way around: Maybe people who have more sex find themselves in such a perpetually whip-cracking good mood that they can’t help but whistle around the house as they spit-shine it. Or maybe
assholes people who exaggerate about the amount of action they get are also likely to overestimate their own contribution to the household division of labor. Or it could be that the 6,877 married couples surveyed were a bunch of pathological liars and the whole thing is just a conspiracy concocted to make the rest of us sexless slobs feel even worse about our grimy homes and listless love lives.
A gal can hope, right?
(This excerpt quasi-adapted from my book IF IT WAS EASY THEY’D CALL THE WHOLE DAMN THING A HONEYMOON.)