Fact or fiction? Men who help with housework enjoy better sex life

Nov 10, 2015, 10:20 IST | Suprita Mitter and Dipanjan Sinha

All the men, who shrug domestic work, think again. If the lives of 1,300 people are anything to go by, then participation in domestic work leads to better and more sex in a relationship

All the men, who shrug domestic work, think again. If the lives of 1,300 people are anything to go by, then participation in domestic work leads to better and more sex in a relationship.

This was suggested by a study conducted by University of Alberta in Canada after studying the couples for five years.

City experts like psychologist, Seema Hingorrany, relationship counsellor Ameeta Sanghavi Shah and psychologist Shyam Mithiya seem to concur with the study, though they add that it is still unusual for men to share a bulk of housework.

Take the plunge
Mithiya, who runs a clinic in Ghatkopar and deals with relationship issues, says that it is still not very common for men to share household chores in India and hence, it is even more beneficial for intimacy, as it’s indication of the effort teh man puts in. “Knowingly or unknowingly, sex life improves,” he says.

He also points out that there are more men willing to participate in household work than a few years ago. Hingorrany, who is also the Author of Beating the Blues, a book on mental health, agrees, “This scenario is not common as many men still hesitate to admit that they help their wives at home.” However, she points out that things are changing.

“We do witness relationships where men are more proactive in giving a helping hand to the lady with chores. Their overall relationship including sex life is healthier and better,” she says. She adds that the study carries merit since when couples collaborate on tasks, they bond well and have more value and respect for each othe, enhancing the chances of intimacy.

Hingorrany narrates a case of a Mumbai- based working couple, aged 30 and 28, respectively who had approached her with their dysfunctional relationship. “The main grouse she had was that he would not help her with daily chores. This would leave her feeling angry and tired, as both had hectic work schedules.

With the help of therapy, he realised that he needs to break his old school thought (read: conventional thinking) and help her. The results were wonderful. In one of the therapy sessions, She mentioned that this change has made their sex life healthier too,” she recalls. They realised that when they argued over who woul do the dishes, it drained them physically and mentally, leaving them with no energy for between the sheets.

“Many times, when the wife vents to us about the husband not helping, it often leads to the husband realising that there may be issues with the way he is thinking, which is why, they even agree to see a therapist in the first place. We try and show them what we refer to as ‘future templates’ which helps them see the consequences of their current actions, and the benefits that change can bring,” she explains.

Urban truths
City-based relationship counsellor, Ameeta Sanghavi Shah, however, says that the study holds true for many urban couples. “This would surely be true for the educated urban dual career couples or even single career couples. Women want men to either share household work or child care (if nuclear) or, at least, be considerate.

This definitely leads to a feeling of being supported, cared for and loved. In joint families, they expect men to remain supportive in relieving them of some of the family expectations,” she says.

Sanghavi adds, “These matters play into intimacy and rapport. It reduces stress and fatigue and hence, leaves her feeling loved and energetic. It allows space for taking care of oneself and looking good. Also, the time for leisure increases the possibility of romantic moments.” She says that husbands now need to view the wife’s role differently from the one they carried while growing up. “They cannot expect their wives to do what their mothers did. It will not work,” Sanghavi explains.

Forty two-year old Pranali Deshmukh’s (name changed) husband would not participate in domestic work. This led to differences between them. When it become unmanageable after their daughter was born, her husband started making an effort.

“Both, my mother and in-laws, live in different cities. It was tough to manage a new-born on my own. When Prakash started helping out, I felt he was paying more attention to me, and I made an effort to try to keep the spark in our marriage alive. It was difficult at first but his involvement with the house brought us a lot closer.”

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