Article: Housework and stress (libido connection?)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2007
Article: Housework and stress (libido connection?)
76
Sat, 10-08-2011 - 3:30pm

There's an interesting article in the Autumn 2011 issue of Trojan Family magazine:

http://tfm.usc.edu/autumn-2011/his-stress-her-stress/

Quote: "A USC study published in the Journal of Family Psychologyfound that it isn’t enough for couples to relax together for their stress levels to fall at the end of the day. Men find it easier to unwind if their wives are still busy with chores. Women prefer hands-on help: Their stress levels go down if their husbands chip in with housework...For both husbands and wives, the research showed, doing more housework kept cortisol levels higher at the end of the day – in other words, doing chores seemed to limit their ability to recover from work-related stress...For wives, cortisol profiles were healthier if their husbands did chores alongside them in the home. Alternately for husbands, leisure was linked to healthier cortisol levels – but only if their wives kept busy with chores."

I'm not entirely sure that high cortisol levels are linked to low libido, but at least some people think so (http://cortisolconnection.com/ch6_5.php, http://www.livestrong.com/article/78982-high-cortisol-symptoms/, http://www.southerncaliforniacenterforantiaging.com/low-libido). So, for HL men in ML relationships that seem to be suffering due to high cortisol levels from stress, would doing the housework alongside one's mate improve the ML by reducing stress and cortisol levels? And for HL women in similar ML relationships, would doing housework while one's mate relaxes be the answer?

I was also intrigued by this finding: "...more happily married women showed healthier cortisol patterns, while women who reported marital dissatisfaction had flatter cortisol profiles, which have been associated with chronic stress. Men’s marital satisfaction ratings, on the other hand, were not connected to their cortisol patterns." Does this mean that the average LL woman could experience an increase in libido if her stress hormone levels were reduced by helping her feel happier about her marriage? What other things might help reduce her stress hormone levels and thus increase her libido (besides doing housework alongside her and helping her feel happier about her marriage)? And does this mean that an HL woman's efforts to improve the ML by helping her mate feel happier in general about the relationship are wasted (on average)?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
This is all fascinating to me. I will say, however, that I am most certainly NOT like the women in this study. I don't feel less stressed if DH works alongside me. I feel MORE stressed. What actually works best for me, is if we are both working on our own individual projects that will decrease the overall to-do list. I get MORE stressed if he's not working on chores and I am, but I'd rather that than have him "helping" me, because his "help" isn't helpful at ALL.

He made me so irate this weekend that it was almost tragic, while trying to help me make the bed. He won't LISTEN to what I am asking him to do. Then when I get upset about it, he actually thinks that is funny. Other attempts to "help" either wind up in me being severely criticized for doing it "wrong" or with things going completely off the rails and other projects being inserted in the middle of what I'm trying to accomplish (kitchen floor scrubbing, when I am trying to clean light fixtures or some other oddity.) I approach tasks in a very linear, goal-oriented fashion. He gets distracted and then cleaning the closet turns into a trip down memory lane and emptying the shelves in the garage. How am I supposed to get anything accomplished that way? I try hard to get the bulk of my work done while he is sleeping, because that way I can do it efficiently and in peace.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2007

And for HL women in similar ML relationships, would doing housework while one's mate relaxes be the answer?

Good distraction frees us from emotional pain, bad distraction gives you a mouth full of whizz. ~~~ Guru Tugginmypudha
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2007

I believe that some people are happier when they are under the gun/stressed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2004

Personally i think those articles are both grasping for straws. neither uses concrete connections between one thought and the next, it all reads like a meandering discussion of circumstantial inferences rather than solid research particularly on the topic of cortisol having some affect on libido.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
>>Thanks,

The Curious One<<

hee hee hee. I finally figured out what it is about your posts that always make me laugh. The way you launch a zillion questions in a single post is exactly like DHs grand daughter, who tickles me pink. She's CURIOUS....about EVERYTHING, and she delivers her questions in person just like you do in your posts, one after another, without waiting for an answer to any of them, until she's out. Then she sits there and stares at you until you answer them. She's so damn CUTE. And she wants to know EVERYTHING. And she wants to know it, RIGHT AWAY.

lol....
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2009

Yeh, the "just-so" explanations - seizing on some one chemical or other - truly irritate the scientist in me.

I'm also fine with the there-is-no-answer and every-situation-is-unique, except that I do think there are some approaches that stand a better chance for most people than others.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2004

Is that the best you can do? :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-31-2009

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