What's going on here? Michael Gurian, author of several books on gender differences, says that because of cultural expectations, women generally carry the burden of ensuring that their home is clean. So when a husband takes it upon himself to do his fair share, a wife feels appreciated and appreciative. It's no surprise, then, that she is more likely to be extra affectionate toward her husband.
Gurian says most wives probably are not consciously trading sex for housework. They often reported feeling some distance from their partner when he wasn't doing enough housework, but they didn't notice a direct impact on their sex life. A woman "feels like she has to become a mom and dominate (her husband) to get him to help her out. Why would she want to have sex with someone who makes her feel like that?" says Gurian.
Interestingly, the study also showed that a man usually doesn't have to do half of the housework to make his wife happy. He just needs to do enough so that she feels supported. The exact amount may be negotiated based on the hours each partner spends on paid work, yard work and other contributions to the family.
And for men who absolutely hate housework, there's a potential out: Hire a housekeeper. Of course, this costs money. But it may be money well invested: It turns out that when both partners are happy with the housework, the couple is half as likely to seek marital therapy. So why pay a marriage counselor down the road when you could just pay a housekeeper now?