Couples who split childcare duties enjoy quality relationship and sex lives than those who do not, says a study conducted by researchers from the Georgia State University (GSU).
Researchers found that when women were responsible for most or all of the childcare, men and women reported lower quality relationships and sex lives.
"The childcare arrangement appears really problematic for the quality of both a couple's relationship and sex life when the woman does most or all of the childcare," explained Daniel. L. Carlson, an assistant professor of sociology.
The team used data from 487 heterosexual couples. They grouped the couples, all of whom had children, into three childcare categories.
These categories were: relationships in which women did most or all of the childcare, relationships in which men did most or all, and relationships in which men and women split the work.
They also looked at each couple's relationship quality — as indicated by relationship satisfaction and relationship conflict — sexual frequency and quality of sex life.
Unlike mothers, fathers in a heterosexual relationship could take on most or all of the childcare responsibilities without negative effects on the quality of the couple's relationship.
"In addition, couples in which men did most or all of the childcare had just as much sex as couples with egalitarian arrangements, and were just as satisfied with the amount of sex they were having," the researchers noted.
In future research, Carlson wants to learn more about the mechanisms behind why couples with more egalitarian childcare arrangements reported higher quality relationships and sex lives.
"We are trying to understand what is it about sharing that couples view so positively," he noted. The findings will be shared at the 110th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).