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Milestone: How Did Housekeeping Get Sexy?

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The world of sex is a world of mystery. Why, we wonder, do famous and powerful men persist in having risky affairs with women who are not even remotely hot? Why do women who are unquestionably hot persist in jumping into bed with would-be Where the Wild Things Are II costars Adam Duritz and Salman Rushdie? And why does anyone persist in suggesting that there's anything hot about, say, scrubbing shower grout with a toothbrush?

Here at Details, we're not averse to the idea that a domestic setting—a kitchen, for instance, where Giada De Laurentiis is braising carrots in butter—can be charged with erotic allure. As for the recycling bins, we're not so sure, and yet the feminist radicals at the Wall Street Journal recently published a story, headlined "Housework Pays Off Between the Sheets," that hinted at the near-fetishistic power of vacuum cleaners and mops. "A new study," wrote Sue Shellenbarger, fearlessly throwing down three of the most wince-inducing words in the English language, "shows that for husbands and wives alike, the more housework you do, the more often you are likely to have sex with your spouse."

Setting aside that this was clearly a study involving men and women who had plenty of time to participate in a study, the notion isn't entirely a new one. Lately there's been a boomlet in the stocking-stuffers-for-folks-who-don't-do-much-stocking-stuffing-anymore Porn for Women books and calendars, which cheekily revel in pictures of male models dusting cabinets, vacuuming rugs, and changing rolls of toilet paper. And there have been plenty of studies indicating that women like it—duh—when the dude helps around the house. But this new study, unleashed upon the populace by those notorious pervs at the Journal of Family Issues, actually seems to give men an incentive: Grab that broom handle, Darrin, and Samantha will be more inclined to reciprocate.

So, why is that true? Well, there's a bunch of boring data in the story, and the word "chores" keeps coming up, which is a buzzkill, but we're going to side with New York resident Tracy Evans, who points out to the Journal that she and her husband "definitely can relax better if the house is clean."

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