Our society has surely moved to greater equality for women in the workplace, as well as men in the home. Not only do a majority of women work outside the home now, but there are also increasing numbers of men who prefer to stay at home and be the primary caregivers to their children. You might not think this has a connection to sex, but more and more scientist are finding that what creates equality in the social and work sphere, do not always mean a triumph for a couple’s sex life.
Although the feminist movement was eager to promote the idea of equality, it seems the biological truth is that there are consequences to trying to be equal. As Dr. Marianne Brandon points out in her new book Unlocking the Sexy in Surrender, in terms of sexual desire women are wired to respond to men being aggressive, and men are wired to respond to women being receptive. What this means is that we have some connections in our brains that make ‘masculine’ men trigger arousal for women, and more ‘feminine’ women trigger arousal in men.
As you can imagine, this idea is not the most popular one, especially for women who have fought long and hard to be recognized as capable in the workplace, worthy of equal (or greater) pay, and deserving of help around the house and with childcare. But studies have found that masculine and feminine actions trigger our more primitive ways that have significant impact on our sexual arousal. What works in the workplace doesn’t work so well in the bedroom.
Studies have shown that in the home environment, when a man appears in a more masculine role, his female partner is more likely to get sexually aroused than when he is appearing in a more feminine role. This has been demonstrated in the type of housework a man does as being either more likely or less likely to get him laid. It seems that when men perform more ‘feminine’ chores such as vacuuming, washing dishes, or doing laundry, women tend to get turned off. On the other hand, a man taking out the garbage, fixing things around the house, or paying bills is often seen as more ‘masculine’ and tends to increase the amount of sex that couple has. It’s not that some chores are naturally more ‘feminine’ than others, but in our society, we are taught that some roles are more feminine and some more masculine. We have been programmed as to what is masculine and what is feminine.
This doesn’t mean that men should immediately refuse to do any household duties considered more ‘feminine’ and leave it all up to his female partner, because studies have also demonstrated that not helping around the house results in couples fighting more often and having less sex. If equitable distribution of household chores is something you have or strive to have, consider perhaps performing some of these chores when your partner is out of the house, and counterbalance these with displays of more masculine roles for men, and more feminine roles for women when your partner is around. These suggestions are not meant to be sexist, but simply encourage understanding the way each gender’s brain responds to triggers that are biologically set.