When in Love, Men Pitch In, Women Pipe Down

Couple washing carMen and women speak different languages, in life and in love. Most women like it warm, men like it cool. Women like cuddling and snuggling, men like hot and heavy sex. At least that’s what social norms tell us. But according to a recent article, a study conducted by Elizabeth Schoenfeld of the Human Development and Family Sciences Department at the University of Texas at Austin proves that just isn’t always so. In fact, after following 168 married people over 13 years, Shoenfeld found that the behaviors exhibited by those in love were quite different than what society would like us to believe.

Shoenfeld discovered that the women in love were less likely to instigate sexual encounters than those less committed to their spouses. Surprisingly, the men in the study did not report sex as their number one way of expressing affection either. In fact, the women in the study said that they were less likely to criticize or put demands on their partners when they were most in love. In other words, women nagged less. The men, on the other hand, did not commit random acts of romance like buying flowers or sprinkling rose petals on the bed. Instead, the men said that they got more involved in activities that their wife was engaged in, even chores, to express their loving feelings.

“If the wife is washing her car, he’ll pitch in,” Schoenfeld said. “Sharing activities and household tasks is what really seems to be connected to men’s love.” Shoenfeld believes that men may be confused as to how to display their affection. Because social norms dictate romance and intimacy, men who are naturally inclined to assist and get actively involved may feel like their efforts are being overlooked. Shoenfeld believes that her study shows that despite what popular culture and our modern society want us to think, men and women, even really happily married ones, show their love in a number of ways that may never make it to mainstream media. Sex sells, but doing dishes together doesn’t.

Harris, Misty. (n.d.). Women in love less likely to initiate sex, finds study. Retrieved August 1, 2012, from http://www.canada.com/life/Women+love+less+likely+initiate+finds+study/6988123/story.html

Related articles:
9 Secrets for a Lifetime of Like, Love, and Lust
Three Truths Every Couple Needs to Know About Marriage
How Do I Know I Can Count on my Partner?

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  • Yolanda

    August 9th, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Yeah, I like flowers abd all, but sometimes nothing says I love you quite like a clean house done by him! Now that’s enough to make my heart sing!

  • shane

    August 9th, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    what’s portrayed in popular culture is not what most people do,its just the most ‘glamorous’ way and that is why it has so much exposure..that’s just the way things are marketed.

    consider valentine’s day and all the frenzy that comes with it.while valentine’s day is a good concept,its more important to be loving towards your partner all throughout the year rather than buying him or her an expensive gift on that one day and ignoring the marriage the rest of the year…

  • Jake

    August 9th, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    My wife would absolutely kill me if I thought that the way to her heart was through a clean kitchen!

    She wants to be romanced and wooed still after all these years, so I think that those women who are saying that all it takes is for a man to pitch in around the house, well, I think that they are saying a few little untruths there.

    Cleaning the house to show your love. . . it’s kind of like giving her a vaccuum cleaner for an anniversary gift. Even though she may mention that she needs a new one, it’s not really the best idea to give it to her as a gift, know what I mean?

  • william.s

    August 9th, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Jake:hahaha I totally understand what youre sayin’.Some girls just want to be wooed to no end and no matter how much you do in ‘practical’ things they always have this fantasy of being swept off their feet.And that in turns gets the men to be stressed at the end of it! ;)

  • Georgia

    August 10th, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    A good relationship should always be about a marriage of equals. Equal pay for equal time so to speak.

    Why men always go around thinking that they should get all thie recognition or a pat on the back for doing a little housework every now and then ticks me off.

    I am supposed to feel loved so much just because he cleans occassionally, yet I never even get a thank you for the things that I do EVERYDAY to keep the house running?

    That’s not exactly being very appreciative if you ask me.

  • Faye

    August 10th, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    So is the flip side of this that my husband will feel I am showing him more love when I decide to crack open a beer and manhandle the TV remote away from him?

  • Emery

    August 10th, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I can confirm that women do act and behave so much better when theyre in love.Through the course of all my relationships I have found this to be true to a high degree.As for men,yes,we really don’t mind pitching in with whatever help is needed as long as there is no nagging.I think it is well known but let me say that again-Men just hate nagging.

  • allison stevens

    August 11th, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Yay for my husband, but I am a girl who wants it all! :)

    I want him to show me love with the little things like flowers and I love yous, but it’s also nice when he pitches in around the house too. I don’t expect all of this without doing the same for him though. It is all about striking that perfect mix and balance that works for your relationship. You ahve to know your partner and anticipate the things that will make him or her happy, not determine the things that you will or won’t do based solely on your own likes or dislikes. That’s just being selfish.

  • Brett

    August 11th, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Great- so when I start nagging now my husband will think I am not as in love with him anymore, not that I just want him to contribute a little more around the house.

  • liza

    August 12th, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Funny how when you are in those first stages of love, nothing about your man seems to bother you much at all! It’s only once you have become really comfortable with one another that the nagging begins. I am guilty of it too, I know that, but it just kind of happens without you even realizing it. Hopefully though, if he loves you strong enough, then he will overlook it and forgive you for that! :)

  • Liam

    August 13th, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    If I have time I will always help my wife out around the house. But if I am swamped with work, and my wife is a stay at home mom, then why should I still be responsible for household chores too?

  • JackJ

    August 13th, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    It’s a lie
    Women can’t pipe down because they always have something to harp about!

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