Sex, in this view, is a resource that partners might use for exchange. In this article, we assume that internalized dominant cultural scripts govern sexual behavior, although interpersonal and intrapsychic scripts may also structure sexual behavior in marriage. Although the notion that egalitarian marriages are sexier was widely broadcast in the media, there is little empirical support for this view. Second, heterosexual attraction and intimacy seem to be organized around the enactment of difference or complementarity between the sexes Goffman ; Rich The approach suggests that scripts exist at three levels:
We dealt with missing and extreme values on the housework variables using a slight modification of procedures described by South and Spitze We use nationally representative data to test whether and how sexual frequency is linked to the household division of labor. This prediction reflects an understanding of marriage as a site characterized by the exchange of scarce resources between partners, and is concordant with popular and scholarly understandings of sex in marriage. Another looked at total hours spent on chores, and found, the more time men spent on housework, the more sex. Baumeister and Vohs argue compellingly that sex should be seen as a female resource due to the principle of least interest— if men want sex more than women, they must induce women to engage in sex by offering other benefits. Egalitarian couples who share between 40 to 60 percent of child care duties, from reading bedtime stories and diaper changing to arranging carpools and playing in the park, not only have higher quality relationships than more traditional couples where women do the bulk of the care work, they also have the best sex lives, the research shows. As a simple example of a script, intercourse typically takes place in a series of relatively tightly delineated stages, moving from kissing to fondling and then to coitus Gagnon and Simon Although research and theory support the expectation that egalitarian marriages are higher quality, other studies underscore the ongoing importance of traditional gender behavior and gender display in marriage. Throughout this article, we assume that greater sexual frequency is generally a desired good: In this article, we assume that internalized dominant cultural scripts govern sexual behavior, although interpersonal and intrapsychic scripts may also structure sexual behavior in marriage. How does a sexual scripts approach translate into testable hypotheses about the link between beliefs about gender, the division of housework, and sexual frequency in marriage? For parents, a new study suggests that one of the surest ways to do that is to equally share child care responsibilities. They had higher quality relationships. We first discuss predictions derived from exchange theory, then predictions from an approach that stresses the gendered nature of sexual scripts, and finally turn to a range of important control variables derived from the existing literature that emphasizes constraints and opportunities for sex. To the extent that masculinity and femininity are central parts of both the household division of labor and sexual attraction and activity, we expect that households with more traditionally gendered divisions of labor will experience greater sexual frequency. We attempt to determine whether the alternative mechanisms we noted could explain any association we find. Attrition could lead to bias if these couples had lower sexual frequency or less egalitarian divisions of labor. However, to account for the theoretical relationship Gager and Yabiku suggest, we also include measures of the total amount of time spent in housework. Thus, men may initiate sex more frequently, and wives refuse less, with no link to desire. They were more satisfied with their sex lives, and they were more satisfied with the amount of sex they were having. In fact, Carlson and his colleagues analyzed historical trends and found that the amount of sex people are having has been on the decline for years, except for those in egalitarian relationships. Romantic and sexual scripts are often highly gendered outside marriage Udry and Chantala , and we suspect they remain so within marriage. First, to check whether gender ideology is responsible for any association, we include measures of gender ideology and religious affiliation, because religion is often correlated with gender ideology and traditional behavior. A sexual script approach suggests that for intercourse to occur, a script must exist that defines a situation as sexual Gagnon and Simon Sexual activity, in addition to being important in its own right, also offers a view about the functioning of gender relations in marriage at the close of the twentieth century.
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