Splitting child care duties improves parents’ sex lives

Dad with daughter

Divvying up child care responsibilities isn’t only fair—it also leads to more sex and better relationship satisfaction among parents, suggests a new study out of Georgia State University.

After surveying 487 heterosexual couples, researchers found that those who embraced an equal partnership with regard to parenting duties appeared to be happier all around.

“If you shared it equally or if you had dad doing it all, couples tended to have a lot of happiness in the relationship,” says Daniel L. Carlson, assistant professor of sociology at Georgia State University. “They didn’t fight as much, and they were very satisfied with their sexual intimacy as well.”

The one caveat, Carlson notes, had to do with dads doing the bulk of the child care work. In these instances, men reported the lowest overall sexual satisfaction while their female partners reported the highest.

“Just like when women do all the child care, it could be a situation where one partner is being over-burdened and the other one is not,” Carlson adds. “One is benefitting while the other may be resentful. That’s why sharing is so important because people are cooperating, they’re communicating, they’re tending to each other.”

Instances where the load is not shared can be a breeding ground for relationship problems, he warns. Case in point: the lowest-quality relationships and sex lives were reported among couples where the woman was doing the majority of the child care.

Carlson did draw attention to some of the study’s limitations. For example, it didn’t explore tasks like bathing and feeding children, so researchers weren’t really able to investigate how sharing those types of tasks might relate to couples’ outcomes.

“But the tasks that we did look at were broad and covered several dimensions of child care,” says Carlson. “At the same time, we still had some pretty good measures that make us pretty confident in our findings.”

Related Sexual Health News

October 7, 2015
Post-sex blues

Post-sex blues not so uncommon

October 7, 2015
August 18, 2015

Testosterone therapy may protect against heart issues

August 18, 2015
August 13, 2015
Sexting

Sexting might be good for your relationship

August 13, 2015
August 5, 2015
Sex on the beach

Women who have casual vacation sex underestimate the risks

August 5, 2015
July 3, 2015
Teen couple

Risky sexual behavior more likely in teens with weaker memory

July 3, 2015
May 22, 2015
Coffee

Drinking coffee may curb erectile dysfunction

May 22, 2015
May 21, 2015
Attractive man

Why do men even exist? Scientists take a closer look at sex

May 21, 2015
May 15, 2015
Sex

Having more sex won’t make you happier, study finds

May 15, 2015
March 24, 2015
Curvy woman

The real reason men prefer curvier women might have to do with evolution

March 24, 2015
March 16, 2015
Surgery

First-ever penis transplant a success

March 16, 2015
February 5, 2015
Smartphone

Smartphone accessory provides STD testing

February 5, 2015
January 13, 2015
Vaccines

Birth control shot associated with increased HIV risk

January 13, 2015
December 15, 2014
Sperm fertilizing egg

Defects in semen linked to health problems like hypertension

December 15, 2014
December 12, 2014
Teen getting vaccine

HPV vaccine doesn’t lead to promiscuity, study finds

December 12, 2014
December 2, 2014
Crying infant

First-ever guidelines for circumcision are in the works

December 2, 2014
November 19, 2014
Intimate kissing

Kissing transfers 80 million bacteria

November 19, 2014
October 31, 2014
HPV eradicated with mushroom extract

HPV successfully treated with mushroom extract in study

October 31, 2014
October 21, 2014
New research shows more college students are having unprotected sex.

The odds of having unprotected sex doubles from freshman to senior year

October 21, 2014