Does a clean kitchen lead to more sex? The art of ‘chore-play’

Want to get lucky tonight, Guys? Then perhaps you should reach for a bottle of Windex before you reach for her body. No, I’m not suggesting anything kinky. In fact, the concept of “choreplay”—that women are more likely to want to have sex when their male partner helps out around the house—is a hot topic in research circles:

  • One recent study from the University of Western Ontario, for example, found that wives are happier when their husbands pitch in with housework.
  • Another report from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago even suggests men who help clean, take care of their kids, and do other domestic chores may see the benefits of their labor pay off in the bedroom.

Our experts at Good in Bed agree: “When we first started talking about the sex–chore connection, my husband was offended,” admits Heidi Raykeil. “To him, it felt a little as if I was withholding sex unless he was a ‘good boy’ and did his chores. But if I’m in the mood and the kitchen’s a mess—Errrt! Mental brake screech. My head is suddenly filled with dirty dishes and duties, instead of sex. For me, choreplay just helps a potentially hot situation stay that way.”

The “mental brake screech” Heidi describes is actually backed by science: Researchers in the Netherlands found that “the key to female arousal seems to be deep relaxation and a lack of anxiety.” In a study in which the brains of men and women were scanned during the process of sexual response using a technique called positron emission tomography (PET), the results showed that the parts of the female brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion reduce during sexual activity.

Men showed far less change in these areas of the brain. Says Dr. Gert Holstege, “What this means is that deactivation, letting go of all fear and anxiety, might be the most important thing, even necessary, to have an orgasm.” So what’s the lesson? If you want to turn a woman on, the key is to help her turn off—turn off her brain, that is—and that means helping her not worry: like about all the chores that still need to be done.

Of course, it’s tough for a woman to chill out when she comes home from one job, only to be burdened by a “second shift” of cleaning, cooking, and chaos. In that scenario, sex is just one more task on her to-do list. The goal of choreplay: to move sex to the top of that list by helping her cross off some of the less scintillating items.

Men aren’t mind readers, but most of us are aware enough to notice when the sink is full of dirty dishes or the garbage is overflowing. Once guys start carrying our weight around the house, we’re apt to find that women have more energy in the bedroom. There’s no motivation like sex! And for all of you guys out there who are already doing your share of the housework, more power to you.

But choreplay isn’t just about chores, says Debby Herbenick, a research scientist at Indiana University and sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute. “It’s very important not to get into a ‘bartering’ system or even to see it as a man ‘helping his wife’ with chores,” she warns. “Household chores and parenting are shared responsibilities that researchers have generally found women spend more time on than men. When couples have a more equal partnership, they do tend to have more satisfying sex lives.”

In my own life, I’ve noticed that when I take the time to really play with my kids, my wife finds me sexier—and my chances of sex improve. Of course, playing with my kids isn’t a chore, but it’s interesting how all the stuff outside the bedroom can make or break what happens inside.

Says Good in Bed expert, Kristen Mark, “ One of the reasons many women get turned on by these out-of-bedroom acts is because they demonstrate caring in a different way. If it becomes clear that the act is being done as a means to get sex, it can become a turn OFF. So, do these things as a way to help out, not as a way to get sex….and sex just might end up being a bonus!”

That said, time to go clean up my house and play with the kids.

5 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life in the Kitchen

So, you’re having sex in the kitchen, huh? Kinky boots! Even if you’re not, now’s as good a time as any to try it out. Why?

The colder weather is coming, (time to move things inside dude), and a busy start to the school year may have put too much laundry on the bed. You might not be able to find it. Add to that the fact that variety is the spice of life, and well, why not?

That being said, getting it on where you bake your cake can be tricky.

Here are 5 ways you can make sex in the kitchen even better than the real thing:

1) Bring in Yoga Mats and Couch Cushions

While it can be sexy to be someplace new in the nude, cold tiles and crisp counters are the anti-dote to great sex.

A study done in the Netherlands and led by Gray Hunch, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the center for uroneurology at the University of Groningen found this out.

Details? Just 50% of participants having sex in a drafty room in this weird but wonderful study were able to climax without socks on. When everyone got a cozy pair of cotton, that percentage jumped. It went all the way up to 80%.

Apparently, wearing socks calmed the amygdala and prefrontal cortex- the areas of the brain responsible for feelings of anxiety, danger and fear. This, in turn, allowed for orgasm.

So, it might not be the hum of that fridge that’s keeping you from amazing kitchen climax. Maybe it’s the tiles.

2) Turn on those Bright Lights

This one is good for the men. Bright lighting might feel unromantic, but a study out of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) indicates that exposure to bright lights increases testosterone levels. It can increase sexual satisfaction in men with low sex drives, and turn on latent desire.

3) Grab Some Water and Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to grab a fresh glass of water when the tap is in front of you. Which is good- because being well hydrated boosts blood volume and experts say this could be related to treating erectile dysfunction.

Drinking water could also take away those libido crushing headaches.

4) Get Tasty

Engage all your senses with delicious treats that get both of you involved. Yes, there are strawberry, chocolate and banana flavored condoms. Why not go for the real thing, though?

Partners can easily add food to sex in the kitchen. Expert suggests you hold the savory and spicy as it can burn your skin, and go for sweet with fruit and candy.

5) Go For the Counter Top

When a woman lays back on something like the counter top, the man can penetrate her while standing in front. Sex expert Margaret Wagner says this is an all round winner. This way there are more chances for your guy to stimulate the anterior vaginal wall, (the one that lines up with your hand on your stomach), and to reach those things that feel wonderful.

For guys, this position has control and deep penetration.

Finally, what does great sex have do with your overall health? A lot. Healthy relationships, emotional well being and better quality of life all come into play.