Study finds couples who fairly share household duties have more and better sex.

This article originally appeared on 11.16.15


In the magazine aisle there's no shortage of suggestions to spice up your sex life with your partner.

They usually range from "duh" to ... absurd.


Not a real Cosmo cover. But it sooo could be. Image by @Remiel/Flickr (altered).

While most magazine tips focus on what women can do for their male partners (I mean, there's a reason why Cosmo has a reputation), a newly-released discovery is for the fellas.

What Canadian scientists recently found is an easy-to-follow tip that probably won't be in the next issue of Esquire: Do your fair share of chores.

Sorry. I hate chores, too. GIF from "The Office."

I know, I know. Sorry. But it doesn't have to be so bad! If this did make it into the Cosmo and Men's Health sex and relationship tips sections, I imagine it'd go a little bit like this:

"Think of her carpet ... and how badly it needs to be taken care of. Then reach for the vacuum for a loud cleaning session to make that rug spotless."

"If you really want an irresistible move to get her in the mood, try introducing plastic into your routine. Using plastic gloves while scrubbing the tub and toilet doesn't just give your skin a relief from those harsh cleaning chemicals, but that cleaning sesh will really show you mean business."

"To achieve sex-god status, you have to truly master cleaning the pots. Firmly hold the handle of the pot and gently scrub away that grease and grime. The clean, shiny insides of her cookware will really get her going. For extra points, clean the pans, too."

Sexy, right?

This guy knows what he's doing. Image by garlandcannon/Flickr.

If you've been following research on the effect of chore division on a couple's sex life, then you might be scratching your head. This new research goes completely against a bombshell 2012 University of Washington study that said men doing what is traditionally seen as "women's work" in the home leads to heterosexual couples having less sex.

But wait, before running to mop the floor a few extra times. It isn't a certain qualitative amount of chores that helps couples reach the sexy times jackpot.

The key to the couples' satisfaction is whether the man feels he is doing his fair share.

While pouring over a five-year study of German couples and their sex lives, researchers found a trend for which couples had the most frequent and most satisfying sex: the ones who had a male partner confident that he's pulling his weight in the household.

Sorry folks: Skipping doing the dishes in hopes of more romps in the bed is the wrong way to go.

The finding is helpful for cohabiting couples trying to balance their needs for both a clean house and sexual intimacy.

They only studied heterosexual partners, but I bet the moral behind it could be true regardless of gender. When people make a fair contribution to the household, everyone feels better and the couple has more opportunity for quality time.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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