It’s been suggested that sharing child care can make a relationship better – AND improve your sex life.
Well. Who doesn’t want that?!
In a study of 487 heterosexual couples, sociologists found that both parties were less content in relationships where the woman looked after the children at least 60% of the time.
But those who split child care reported greater sexual and emotional satisfaction. Interestingly, the same occurred when men took charge of the little ones.
The research was drawn from a paper called the Marital And Relationship Study, which was then presented at a meeting of the American Sociological Association.
Academics had asked the surveyed couples to report on their relationship satisfaction, conflict, how often they had sex and how happy they were with that.
Study leader Dr Daniel Carlson – of Georgia State University – says: ‘One of the most important findings is that the only childcare arrangement that appears really problematic for the quality of both a couple’s relationship and sex life is when the woman does most or all of the child care.
‘It suggests that father engagement and sharing child care with one’s partner is important to both sexes.’
When you think about it, this isn’t exactly surprising. Surely the strongest relationships are the ones where you can rely on each other?
While the scientists can’t give an exact reason for the results of the survey, other commentators have tried to shine some light on them.
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Manchester Business School’s Sir Gary Cooper tells the BBC: ‘If you have a “new” man who is happy to share child care, he probably invests more in the relationship anyway.’
He added that it was becoming more acceptable for men to opt for more flexible working hours in order to take on family responsibilities.
‘Increasingly there’s a lot of pressure on men who wouldn’t normally do that – the question is would that make a difference in the relationship. I think it could do,’ he says.