ups and downs
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Ups-and-downs in relationship research

By Steve Korver Thursday, December 3, 2015 - 16:28
Happiness peaks at once-a-week … Unpredictable relationships bad for health … Men doing dishes is sexy after all …
These news flashes and more in this week’s Sex in the Press.

Keep it fair

Last year, a flurry of stories suggested that men in relationships who do more traditional female housework (cooking, dishes, laundry, etc.) get less sex. Even though articles such as ‘Doing the housework means men get LESS sex: Researchers reveal chores seen as feminine can put women off’ were based on an old and flawed study, they went viral anyway – likely because it gave men an excuse not to vacuum.

But a new study essentially suggests the opposite: that men should man-up and do a fair share of the dishes, according to ‘Fair division of housework = Better sex life’.

“Rather than avoiding chores in the hopes of having more sex, as prior research would imply, men are likely to experience more frequent and satisfying passion for both partners between the sheets when they simply do their fair share.”

So no worries, guys: the world is set right again and you can still do the dishes.

Ambivalence kills

If you and your partner do a lot of bitching about the housework, you may be in an “ambivalent relationship” – and that may be screwing with your “marriage benefit”.

Various studies have shown that married people are healthier and have longer lives than unmarried people. But does that still hold true for sucky marriages? Or semi-sucky marriages?

“Every marriage has highs and lows from time to time, but some relationships are both good and bad on a regular basis. Call it the ambivalent marriage – not always terrible, but not always great, either,” according to ‘The ambivalent marriage takes a toll on health’.

“While many couples can no doubt relate to this not bad, but not good, state of affairs, new research shows that ambivalence in a relationship – the feeling that a partner may be unpredictable with his or her support or negativity – can take a quiet toll on the health of an individual.”

“The results suggest that it is the unpredictable nature of an ambivalent relationship that may be taking the toll,” says one expert. “When you know someone is not going to be supportive, you acclimatize to that. But if they are sometimes one way and sometimes the other way, it’s much harder.”

What’s the sex=happiness peak?

We are often told: “Sex is like money; only too much is enough.” To be healthy and happy, we need to be having sex ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

But who’s got the freaking time? And who wants to walk around with chaffed genitals all the time?

A recent study suggests that once a week may be enough. “And this is either great news or tragic, depending on how you're feeling about your sex life,” states ‘Is sex once a week enough for a happy relationship?’.

Researchers looked at data on 25,510 Americans, ages 18 to 89, based on surveys made in 1996 and 1998. “But when the researchers crunched the numbers to find out if there's an upper limit to improving well-being through sex, they found that the happiness maxed out at sex about once a week.”

"Therefore it is not necessary, on average, for couples to aim to engage in sex as frequently as possible," says the lead researcher.

Other studies seem to back this once-a-week sweet spot – and that it seems to hold steady across ethnicity, gender, age and relationship length.

But these studies only show trends, so you can still be happy if you are doing it more or doing it less.

Rather, the take-home message is: “It's important to maintain a sexual connection with a romantic partner, but it is also important to have realistic expectations for one's sex life.”

So relax, you don’t have walk around with chaffed genitals anymore. You can now take the time to take a deep breath and smell the flowers – or at least do your fair share of the dishes.

How often do you have sex? Are you happy? Share your experiences. Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.

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