Who’s Got the Time?: The Relationships between Household Labor Time and Coital Frequency

Constance T. Gager, Arizona State University

Although prior research has examined the relationships between marital satisfaction and household labor, equity, and time use, few have examined a dimension of marital quality that requires time: coital frequency. Motivated by the trend of men and women spending more time in paid labor and the general speed up of everyday life (Gleick 1999; Schor 1991), we explore how the resulting time crunch affects coital frequency among married and cohabiting couples. We test two competing hypotheses using the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). Our results contradict the opportunity hypothesis that time spent on household labor reduces the opportunity for coital frequency. We find support for a new hypothesis suggesting that women who “work hard” also “play hard,” as our results show women who spend more hours in unpaid and paid labor report higher coital frequency. We find no significant relationship between men’s household labor and sexual frequency.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design