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Sheryl Sandberg Photo: Getty Images
Call it the Fifty Shades of Grey-effect, but lately everyone seems more open to talking about sex, and how to get more of it. In the latest installment of “Women at Work,” the ongoing series in The New York Times written by Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg, the pair contend that the way to a happy marriage, is not roses or fancy dinners, but couples sharing chores at home.
“Men and women who work hard (together), play hard,” they quote, citing a 2009 study by Constance T. Gager and Scott T. Yabiku, which measured “The Relationship Between Household Labor Time and Sexual Frequency.” To wit, Sandberg advises men that doing the laundry is a better show of affection than buying flowers, and she recounts a story of a couple’s exchange after hearing her advice. Upon being asked to do the remedial task, the man responds, “Is this Lean In laundry?” He was of course citing Sandberg’s popular book, but the sentiment is real according to the author. Leaning-into chores will lead to more exciting work in the bedroom, too. “Choreplay is real,” Sandberg and Grant conclude.
Elsewhere in the article, the pair reinforces how the equal division of work at home is beneficial for the family as a whole. According to the article, children of involved fathers are “healthier, and less likely to have behavioral problems,” and girls specifically are “less likely to limit their aspirations to stereotypically female occupations.” Children who come from households where both parents are involved at home, as well as in jobs of their own are more likely to believe in gender equality, and let it have a meaningful effect in their lives as they grow old and raise children of their own.
Perhaps the most important statement in this article is the revelation that “equality is not a zero-sum game.” Meaning, we do not need to take away power, and rewards from men to give to women, rather, both persons should be able to enjoy access to the same things, and housework needs to stop being seen as women’s work. It should come as a surprise to no one that if husbands contribute to the housework as much as their wives do, marriages last longer, and children have better skills to cope with the world and become agents of equality themselves.
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