Mowing lawn
Men who mow the lawn instead of cleaning have more sex (Reuters)

Married men who take on traditional masculine chores about the house such as mowing the lawn, topping up the car with oil and drilling holes for reasons unknown - have more sex than those who cook and clean.

Research by scientists at the University of Washington, published in the American Sociological Review, found that couples who split chores along traditional gender lines have more sex than those who do not.

Couples where the woman cooks, cleans and shops and the man does the gardening and pays the bills have more sex than couples who take a more fluid approach to sharing chores.

Julie Brines, co-author of the study, said: "The results show that gender still organises quite a bit of everyday life in marriage.

"In particular, it seems that the gender identities husbands and wives express through the chores they do also help structure sexual behaviour."

Lead author Sabino Kornrich, a former University of Washington graduate student, who is now a researcher at the Juan March Institute in Madrid, said: "The results suggest the existence of a gendered set of sexual scripts, in which the traditional performance and display of gender is important for creation of sexual desire and performance of sexual activity.

"Our findings suggest the importance of socialised gender roles for sexual frequency in heterosexual marriage.

Woman cleaning toilet
Traditional roles when it comes to chores increases sexual frequency (Wiki Commons)

"Couples in which men participate more in housework typically done by women report having sex less frequently.

"Similarly, couples in which men participate more in traditionally masculine tasks - such as yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance - report higher sexual frequency.

"The importance of gender has declined over time but it continues to exert a strong influence over individual behaviours, including sexual frequency within marriage."

The researchers found that the average couple spent 34 hours per week on "female chores" and 17 hours per week on "male chores".

It showed husbands performed around a fifth of female chores, on average, and just over half of men's chores - suggesting that wives help men with their chores more often than husbands help wives.

The average number of times a couple had sex was five times per month. However, this was 1.6 times higher in couples that split household chores traditionally compared with couples where the man did the female chores.

Brines said: "Marriage today isn't what it was 30 or 40 years ago, but there are some things that remain important.

"Sex and housework are still key aspects of sharing a life, and both are related to marital satisfaction and how spouses express their gender identity."