If you’ve attempted to guess what this word means and your guess had something to do with incorporating mops and French maid outfits into your sex life…you’re close. And you probably have a good sex life.

For the rest of us…CNN reports today on the correlation between sex and partners sharing the burden of housework, and finds that a correlation does, according to scientists, exist:

  • “One recent study from the University of Western Ontario, for example, found that wives are happier when their husbands pitch in with housework.
  • Another report from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago even suggests men who help clean, take care of their kids, and do other domestic chores may see the benefits of their labor pay off in the bedroom.”

As much as I want to refute this and scream angry feminist rants at the author (more on that in a moment), honestly? I’ve totally been there.

It’s not so much that watching my fiance do dishes is particularly sexy. In fact, the feeling that I’ve experienced regarding the relationship between housework and sex is summed up nicely in the article:

“…if I’m in the mood and the kitchen’s a mess—Errrt! Mental brake screech. My head is suddenly filled with dirty dishes and duties, instead of sex.” [said Heidi Raykeil].”

The phenomenon has to do not so much with chores but with relaxation. Turns out women get off more easily when we’re relaxed, a fact that’s been scientifically backed up (although no doubt we can all attest to it) during brain scans of ladies. So if chores, or dirty floors, or the idea of washing one more fucking dish has us stressed us out, it’s not because we’re 1950’s housewives and we think more about our houses than about boning down — it’s because we often don’t like to fuck under duress.

Now, this might not be true for everyone — so-called facts about sex rarely are. And it also renders a number of action movie sex scenes highly implausible. But speaking from personal experience, stress — whether it’s about work, or family, or life in general — has a way of seeping into my mind, and distracting me from sex.

The fact that this seems to be a more common phenomenon for women than for men also shouldn’t be mistaken for a dictum stating that chores are womens’ jobs, a point made in the article by Debby Herbenick, a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute:

“It’s very important not to get into a ‘bartering’ system or even to see it as a man ‘helping his wife’ with chores,” she warns. “Household chores and parenting are shared responsibilities that researchers have generally found women spend more time on than men. When couples have a more equal partnership, they do tend to have  more satisfying sex lives.”

OK, so as far as the author goes — full disclosure, this article was written by my personal nemesis, Ian Kerner. The fact that the article — while well-written and well-researched — was written by a douchebag became clear as soon as Kerner inserted himself into the narrative:

In my own life, I’ve noticed that when I take the time to really play with my kids, my wife finds me sexier—and my chances of sex improve.

Why does he have to douche up what is otherwise an interesting point? “My chance of sex improve.” It just makes it sound like everything he does is weighed and measured against the likelihood that it will result in him getting some. After all this talk about sex not being a prize or a bartering tool, he treats it as one.