ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Couples who share child care duties have more satisfying sex lives, according to a new study as reported in the Los Angeles Times.
“When it comes to relationship satisfaction and couple conflict, the only arrangement that seems to be problematic is when the female is doing most or all of the work with the kids,” explained lead researcher Dan Carlson, a sociologist at Georgia State University.
Carlson and his team looked at data collected in 2006 from 487 straight couples from low-income and middle-class households.
A majority of the couples in the 2006 survey shared child-care tasks. Women reported sharing child care with their partner 73 percent of the time, while men reported sharing the same duties 80 percent of the time.
The researchers found that moms and dads who evenly split child-rearing duties have a lower level of conflict, higher overall couple satisfaction, and higher quality sexual relationships for both partners than couples who didn’t.
Women reported the highest satisfaction with their marriage and sex life when their partners handled most of the child care.
But men who do most of the work with their kids said they less often than the men who split child care more equally.
“We thought this was worthy because of what we know about couples in the U.S. and what they want,” noted Carlson. “Our culture has consistently moved toward the attitude that having an equal partnership is good and important, and that has increased over time.”
The study found that the majority of couples surveyed were very satisfied in their relationships and reported little conflict.
The researchers stressed that the findings in the study are general; couples who follow more traditional roles in their marriages and child-rearing practices also reported being sexually satisfied.
“What really drives all of this is if are you satisfied with your relationship,” Carlson said. “For a vast majority of people, and especially young adults, an egalitarian relationship is what they want, but that’s not to say that people who have more traditional divisions of labor will have a negative outcome.”