Sharing Child Care Improves Your Sex Life
When you have kids, your life changes.
Things that used to matter to you, no longer do. Responsibilities shift. Your world turns upside down. And you forget what sleeping used to feel like.
I haven’t gone through the process of having a child myself, but I’m sure you look at things differently once you have a kid.
I’ve heard it’s a blessing and a curse. There’s a lot of worrying that comes with parenting, but it can also be a truly rewarding experience.
It can also change the relationship between you and your partner. Worry and stress escalate with a child and you have less personal time. And when you focus less on yourself or your partner, romance is sure to suffer.
A lot of individual sacrifices have to be made by both parents. Traditionally, though, it’s the mother who shoulders a majority of the child rearing responsibilities.
Let’s say you want to keep the romance alive in your relationship. New research from Georgia State University finds that if you want to increase your overall relationship, then men should start taking on more of the parenting responsibility.
Daniel Carlson and two of his graduate students presented their research at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. It took a look at how satisfaction with the relationship, sex life, and child responsibilities were related.
They found that when men took on more of the child rearing responsibilities, that overall relationship satisfaction improved.
When women take on all or a majority of the responsibilities for raising children, both men and women report the lowest relationship satisfaction in the relationship and sex lives.
Okay, so what happens when men take on the majority of the responsibility? When roles are reversed from a more traditional setting.
While there is drawbacks when this happens to women, this isn’t the case for men. Daniel comments:
“What we find is that there’s generally little to no downside to men being largely responsible for child care. We conclude that being an engaged father is very important to men. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t see such a high level of satisfaction.”
Pretty interesting that this occurs for men and not women. But Daniel believes this signifies something. He continues:
“It suggests that father engagement and sharing child care with one’s partner is important to both sexes.”
There is One Drawback, Though
Except Daniel kind of glosses over one little fact here.
When men did a majority of the child care, they reported the least satisfaction in their sex lives. Women in this scenario, on the other hand, had the highest overall satisfaction with their sex lives.
So as a couple they may be the same or slightly better in their relationship satisfaction, the men do take a hit in how much they enjoy playtime in the bedroom.
The study seems to show that when either parent takes on the majority of child rearing responsibility, the relationship will suffer. So in today’s world, equality in this respect is key.
Like any study, there were limitations and factors they weren’t able to consider.
Firstly, the study only looked at heterosexual couples. There’s a likely possibility that the results may not be found in same sex marriages. Or that they could vary depending on certain other factors.
Across cultures, people’s expectations about gender roles vary. In the United States, society is becoming more accepting of men taking on traditional female responsibilities around the house. Couples in other cultures may not reflect these findings.
The authors also admit that certain child duties were taken into account. More research would need to be done looking at a fuller range of work associated with children to validate the findings.
There have been other recent reports stating that equal housework leads to less satisfaction and sex in a relationship. A study in 2012 by researcher Sabino Kornrich found that equal work means less sex.
While this issue is far from simple, there’s reason to believe that Daniel’s findings might outweigh the 2013 study.
The strongest point comes from how current the data is. Daniel’s team used information from the 2006 Marital and Relationship Survey (MARS). Sabino’s research uses data from couples that got together back in the 50s and 60s.
Newer generations may well have a different idea of what is equal and fair, thus affecting results. No doubt the gender roles were more rigid back in the day.
In addition to this, there is another study related to Daniel’s study that has had similar results. Scientists from Canada also discovered that men who contribute to housework not only have more sex, but that it also increases satisfaction.
What Could It Be
Looking at it from a big picture point of view, this could really be about one thing.
This is only a guess on my part, of course. But if you feel like your partner isn’t pulling their weight you just might not be as happy.
Your partner is your confidant. It’s you and them against the world. When they aren’t doing they part, you might feel a little under-appreciated. Or get the sense that they don’t care. This would obviously have consequences for romance.
In the end, this study might be saying a simple truth. Happier couples are going to have more romance in the bedroom.