Do Egalitarian Couples Have More Sex?

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Kristin HAJEK , Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germany
The German Family Panel (pairfam) is a multidisciplinary survey focusing on partnership and family dynamics. The survey implements a complex study design. In addition to the panel approach, it follows a multi-cohort and multi-actor approach. This means that so-called anchor persons from birth cohorts 1991-93, 1981-83 and 1971-73 are surveyed annually. Furthermore, the anchors' partners, parents and children are also included in the survey. By next year the panel will comprise of five waves. Because pairfam collects yearly information from both partners it is perfectly suited to address partnership topics.

Studies show that partnership characteristics are influenced by distribution of housework, e.g. if the man's share of the housework increases, the woman's partnership satisfaction rises and the risk of divorce diminishes. However, relatively few studies have addressed how housework distribution influences the frequency of sex in domestic partnerships.  Kornrich et al. (2012) is a recent exception. They suggest that traditional gender behavior fuels sexual scripts and therefore results in higher sexual frequency. However, the data for their study, collected in the United States, is 20 years old and only focuses on married couples. Further, other studies assume that women exchange sex for housework, resulting in a negative association between women's share of housework and sexual frequency.

So far there is no known study from Germany that deals with this topic. Using pairfam data I can demonstrate that couples with an egalitarian housework distribution have the highest sexual frequency. This correlation exists for traditionally female, as well as for traditionally male housework. Neither sexual scripts, nor exchange seem suitable to explain this correlation. Moreover, I am going to use fixed effects panel regression methods to examine if this correlation also holds true in a longitudinal analysis and to explore the underlying causes of this correlation.