Remember your parents and how they divided what needed to be done? Housework and childcare were usually the woman’s job–100% hers. And if you have spent even three hours taking care of a couple of small children and tried to keep the house neat, you know it’s a lot of work and is emotionally draining.

I did have two small children under two once upon a time. During the week, Darling Husband was at graduate school in another city. We only saw him on the weekends. DH and I also owned a house and I worked full-time. I was stressed a lot of the time. The girls and I were so thrilled to finally see him on Friday night. But he has always done many, many things for the family, inside and outside of the house.

Sharing is caring, literally: Thank goodness that times have changed and we don’t say men “help with” the housework. Life partners should be splitting chores down the middle as much as we are able.

This sharing of housework idea got me thinking about suds. Suds occur when soap hits water, and usually, that means cleaning. It could be cleaning the car, floor, bathroom, dishes, or clothes, and the list goes on. But my favorite mental picture is DH with his arms in the kitchen sink, washing dishes. And that man likes his suds at least up to his elbows. 

Why suds can lead to sex: Those suds show me DH is contributing to the housework. And I’m old school, I admit. I grew up with the “woman does the household chores” idea. But I know I also need and want help with the house that for many years contained three kids, their friends, and multiple pets. So even today, the suds represents his caring about me, which makes me feel happy and safe. I feel understood. I am relieved that there is one less thing for me to do. Sometimes I even feel surprised that he is doing it because maybe I meant to and hadn’t gotten to it yet. And yes, when I feel happy and safe, I want to show him that I love him and that eventually is going to lead to sex. Maybe not immediately because emotional intimacy is a complicated, ever-changing state. But happiness, sharing, and most of all safety is a huge part of feeling emotionally close to your partner.

And remember this: the positive feelings that I feel toward him are brought forth without any words on his part. It’s like a silent sex secret. That’s kind of cool, isn’t it? 

It’s science, people: Many studies have been done on the suds phenomenon. These studies all come to the same conclusion: when my man does housework, it makes me horny. At least that’s how Men’s Health magazine phrased it. 

Here is an article outtake about the findings of one of my favorite marriage researchers, John Gottman:

      According to research conducted by Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington, wives are more likely to get in the mood when men help out with the housework. Gottman and other scientists who have researched domestic chores say that wives feel it is a sign of love and caring when men contribute to the chores. Therefore, they are more sexually attracted to their mates. Read the article here.

See, I told you so. 

Will this have the same effect on all women? Maybe not. What if you are a man and you already do the dishes and wish that she would help you? That’s completely reasonable and I hope she hears you when you gently suggest that she do dishes while you clear the table after dinner. Partners are continually negotiating the chore sharing. 

I only know that the secret is in the suds, and suds in all its many applications brings DH and me closer as partners. That’s why I call suds his “silent sex secret.” I love the effect of those suds!

Just a footnote: When I discuss an issue that bothers me as a woman, I don’t mean to dismiss a man’s emotions or a man’s role in the family. Men have plenty of challenges becoming a man and then as adults. Men and women have different emotional lives but, most importantly, we also have much in common.


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