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Sex and the Swiffer

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I am not only deeply boring. I am utterly predictable. How do I follow up a whiny post about how miserably uninteresting I am? With a post about sex of course! To, well, show that I am not boring after all. No. In fact, I am edgy enough to talk about sex. Kind of.


So, here it is. My transparent attempt to appear brazen and bold and oh-so-sexy …


Almost every day, Husband sends me links to articles he think might interest me. I love this. I love this because this demonstrates to me his support of my blogging. I love this because Husband is usually right; I am almost always intrigued by the pieces he sends. And I love this because I usually read some subliminal message into what he is sending me even if he is not in fact trying to send me a message.


Recently, Husband sent me this article. The title of said article? Housework Pays Off Between the Sheets. I saw this title and laughed out loud. I laughed out loud for a couple of reasons. First, housework is not a word in my lexicon. I own my lack of domesticity. I rarely clean. I rarely cook. I rarely do laundry. I am not proud of these things. These are things I hope to change. Second, I also laughed because I immediately interpreted this as Husband’s indirect effort to get me to be a little more domestic. But in mere moments, my laughter faded and I was left sitting there alone, somberly, quietly, undomestically (FYI – that is not a word), staring at my sad screen, pondering life and love and sex and housework. In no time, everything grew more sinister. My insecurities? They came out to play.


Then I figured I better actually read the article. So I did.


The article references a study that purports to show that for both husbands and wives, the more housework you do, the more often you are likely to have sex with your spouse. One explanation for this? The “work hard, play hard” hypothesis that suggests that working hard in one domain produces more energy in other domains. Per the study, this argument holds true for paid work as well. The idea here is that it is the energetic go-getters, the individuals who are toiling away at home or at the office who are more likely to make sex a priority.


The article’s author also interviewed husbands and wives to gain further understanding for the posited housework-sex connection and learned—and this I find compelling—“that housework might be a proxy for a general willingness to invest in shared interests, a symbol of commitment to home and hearth.” The balance of the article highlights several other explanations for this connection; shared housework promotes friendship, collaborative housework demonstrates minimization of selfishness, a clean home is more relaxing and conducive to intimacy. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety to appreciate the nuances of this fascinating study.


I, however, am more interested in the basic premise and what it says for me. Selfish? You bet. Is there something about housework per se that is an aphrodisiac? Or is housework part and parcel of a more general chemistry and collaboration between husband and wife? I’m not so sure. I do know (avert your eyes, dear Grammy) that when I see Husband wiping down the counter or changing a diaper or folding laundry, I find it very sexy. I love that fact that he contributes so mightily, and wants to, to our home and to our family.


But then. Then I think about what he sees when he looks at me. A creature who leaves a trail of empty Splenda packets in her wake, who never screws the caps back on our condiments, who tosses her coat on the dining table when she comes through the door. Hardly hot. But then I think that maybe, just maybe, he sees beyond these domestic deficiencies. Maybe he glimpses me twirling our girls around, giggling, dancing to Dora, hunched behind this screen striving to make my dreams come true, and finds all of these things impossibly alluring?


Maybe. Because housework aside, there are still sparks. Big, fat, sparky ones. (That is as much as I will say. Lame? Absolutely. Sue me.)


But if I have taken away one thing from this article, maybe it is that housework is not just housework. Maybe housework is evidence of true commitment, of a continued desire to contribute, of genuine participation in the home. And with this new lens on things, I feel humbled and a bit guilty. I am committed, I want to contribute and participate. Maybe, just maybe, I should peel myself from this screen and acquaint myself with Mr. Swiffer.


Husband, thanks for the article. Thanks for putting up with this undomestic goddess. Thanks for giving me, and us all, something sexy to think about.

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