I am always on the look-out for reports and surveys dealing with developments in human relationships – both out of general personal interest and in case these might shed light on some of the mysteries of the universe.
In which context, one of the media stories doing the round of the broadsheet newspaper websites today is that on 20-years’ worth of research conducted at the Juan March Institute in Madrid into the lives of married couples in the United States of America, as published recently in the American Sociological Review. This concluded that men who regularly do housework have less sex than men who don’t.
See here for a representative piece by Richard Holt that appears today upon the website of the DAILY TELEGRAPH
On one level, plainly, this type of thing is just another piece of froth coming under the general heading of ‘entertainment’. On the other, however, it seems to me that the occasional example does sow the seeds of an insight or two into the human condition.
Inevitably, of course, one ends up comparing the new research’s findings to one’s own experience.
In doing this, I am not so sure that I agree with the conclusion the academics have reached.
Let’s begin with the basics. Instinctively, like many men, I have never been remotely interested in undertaking housework off my own bat.
However, there have been times when, under duress from a female and/or in the hope or expectation of receiving some reward (up to and including sexual intercourse), I have carried out specific acts of housework, usually under close supervision.
More recently, viz. whilst living alone most of this past decade, I have done my level best to avoid housework at all costs – well, save in unusual and extreme circumstances where this has been absolutely necessary in order to fend off either humiliation and/or rat infestations.
During these latter years, contrary to the conclusions of the Juan March Institute’s research, I can report that I have noticed no significant increase in my personal access to sexual favours – i.e. over those periods when I was married (twice) and/or was in what might be described as ‘settled’ relationships.
Mind you, I wasn’t getting much then … and I’m not getting much now. I guess there’s a lesson in there somewhere.