Parents who want to spice up their love life may need to first reevaluate who’s handling most of the child care. A recent Georgia State University study shows that parents who share 40 to 60 percent of childcare responsibilities not only have more satisfying relationships, they also have better sex lives.
The study found that couples who split these responsibilities fought less, had higher quality relationships, and were more satisfied with their sex lives and the amount of sex they were having.
This makes sense to licensed clinical therapist, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, who says issues with the delegation of childcare duties comes up in 90% of the child-rearing couples he treats. “Typically these issues arise as part of a more global frustration about how one partner is failing to take responsibility for the well-being and functioning of the family,” he says.
And, no one wants to feel like they are doing more than the other. This can lead to resentment, which doesn’t lead to lovemaking.
Parenting expert and CEO of divamoms.com, Lyss Stern, says, “When you have an open and honest relationship where you share everything, you feel good. You don’t feel like one person is overworked outside and inside the home.” In other words, nobody wants to feel the brunt of managing the household alone. “When you feel like equals, it’s a turn on. You want to be closer to the other person,” she says.
Does this mean making an even list of who does what and when? It can.
“Splitting duties means whatever the couple wants it to mean and whatever provides them with the greatest benefits and relief,” says Hokemeyer. “Some couples prefer to have a rigid delegation of duties that are immortalized in stone. These couples benefit from predictability, routine and structure,” he says.
However, for other couples, this kind of thinking can lead to an “I did this, you do that” mentality, a recipe for petty fights and retreating to bed angry.
Other couples may benefit more by rotating duties and having a more fluid approach, like Stern has in her household. “In my home my husband and I do everything. We just go with the flow and each takes care of what needs to get done. We both split all of the duties in the household and it works because we are on the same page,” she says.
Whichever approach works best for your relationship, one thing to keep in mind is that studies show women find guys who are adept with kids more attractive.
Says Hokemeyer: “By nature, women will get turned on by men who are loving and nurturing fathers.”