What do chores have to do with sex?

The other day a friend asked me the secret to slowing down her chore treadmill to a more manageable pace.

After giving her the number for an amazing cleaning lady, I held my breath, and added, “have you thought about sex?”

She looked at me quizzically. “Sex?” she asked. “What do chores have to do with sex?”

Well…consider this:

Feel like a romp in the sack when you’re facing a mountain of household chores after a long work day or week? Doesn’t help matters when you see your husband watching TV while you’re feverishly figuring out the weekly menu plan and mapping a strategy to fit in a grocery run on your way home from work, does it? And tell me, how good are your DH’s odds when he makes eyes at you while you fold the laundry on Tuesday night, which, p.s., you have spent the past 40 minutes dealing with while he was hunched over his computer?

Pretty darn long, right?

Sadly, even in this day and age, statistics show that for every hour a woman spends taking care of the household, her husband spends about 30 minutes doing the same. Studies also show that, the more housework husbands do, the more often you are likely to have sex – but ONLY if the chores he is doing are more “masculine” in nature – like taking out the trash, fixing broken hinges, and paying bills.

We clearly have a few centuries of programming to overcome.

But if we are conscious of this as an issue, why not consciously focus on rewarding desired behavior (a more equal distribution of household chores) so that the men in our lives adopt new, more helpful routines? Behavioral psychologists have long known positive reinforcement is more powerful than negative reinforcement. And, for guys, I’m guessing sex has got to be one of the most powerful rewards going.

So instead of nagging, what if you “rewarded” him for participating more fully?

Ok. Maybe that’s a bit much.

I would honestly never consciously make that trade – or hold out on my DH if he didn’t help out for that matter. But factors like stress (to-do list that’s 10 miles long, anyone?) and fatigue do have a dampening effect on my libido for sure. And when I see my husband pitching in on something around the house, it makes me feel a lot more connected to him – it’s tangible evidence that he’s as invested in this crazy house and home and our life in it as I am. It also reminds me of how lucky I am. And best of all, just looking at him shrinks my to-do list.

Aphrodisiac city.

What do you think? Would you ever consciously trade your husband a promise for a romp in the sack in exchange for a helping hand around the house? What other ways do you reward good chore behavior to reinforce better habits?