Could domestic chores be the new foreplay?

We’re often led to believe that women are very complicated creatures. We might get huffy for seemingly nothing. There will be a reason, but only we will know what it is – although sometimes not even then.

I’ve been known to smile lovingly at my husband and within minutes I’m watery eyed and emotional, muttering ‘nothing’ when he asks what is wrong. We say we don’t want chips and then get upset if our partner points this out when we reach for another one of his. But I think I might have found an area where we’re actually fairly straightforward, and believe it or not, it’s to do with having sex.

A few weeks after I’d had my second baby, I was standing in the kitchen stirring something on the hob (don’t get excited – it was probably baked beans and I was definitely wearing saggy tracksuit bottoms). I imagine my day had consisted of feeding, feeding some more, negotiating with my 22- month old (while feeling guilty that the new baby had robbed me and him of time together, and then feeling guilty that my poor newborn was being parked in her bouncer in a corner out the way so the toddler couldn’t sit on her) and basically working out the logistics of two kids. My husband had just got in from work and sunk in to a cute little low armchair I’d purchased for somewhere comfy to sit for the hours of feeding. ‘Do you know…’ he started, not making eye contact but sinking further down in to the chair and rubbing the arms of it back and forth ’…this chair is the perfect height for a blow job’. He thought that was an acceptable ‘come on’, hadn’t realised that his timing was beyond dreadful, and was hopeful for a better reaction from me than the dead-eyed stare he received.

It is so different for women. Once we’re through those lusty first months (remember those? Ha!) we need to feel a connection before we’re even interested. I remember lots of advice about foreplay being an important part of sex when I was growing up – my education mostly took place in the early 90s sneaking glimpses at my older sister’s more! magazine. However, before you get anywhere near ‘Position of the Fortnight’, you’ve got to actually want to do it.

More 1993 found on

For many of us, it’s more of an emotional thing and if we’re tired, anxious, moody or our partners have done something to upset us (such as point out our chip consumption) it’s off the table. There are also long lists of distractions that many of us seem to put in the way, our mind filled with things that need to be done. BUT domestic and unsexy as it is to admit this, in recent years I’ve noticed that some kind words and helpful behaviour are more likely to put me in a good mood and, therefore, in the mood. And I hate admitting that as it makes me feel a bit pathetic and so far removed from the gal about town I think I was when I met my husband, but it’s true. Forget wining and dining – is it possible that feeling like you’re in this together and sharing the load could be a pathway to more sex?

I was talking to my friend about this and she completely agreed, revealing more than I was expecting to hear. A few weekends before, her husband had packed the kids’ swimming bag.

Not said he’d pack it but left out towels, or asked her where each item was as he did it, but he packed it on his very OWN. He even packed a snack pot. This made her so happy that they had a lovely family day and later that evening partook in…ahem…intimate relations. In the kitchen. When he asked what the occasion was and she explained her logic, he told her she was weird. But I totally get it. When it can feel that a lot of your time is spent looking after and thinking about other people, having someone take care of you feels lovely. Especially if it removes one of the items on your things-to-do list. It frees up your mind to allow space to focus on something that we often neglect – time as a couple – and might just make you want to return the favour, in a ‘how’s your father’ kind of way.

I don’t think men realise that often it could be that simple. Be kind, do something thoughtful, something that shows that at some point in your day, you thought of her. If she’s recently had a baby, she’s probably not feeling especially horny. Lack of sleep, feelings of anxiety and leaking nipples tend to do that. But run her a bath, take her some wine, give her 20 minutes to herself before you pile in all naked and wanging your willy about and she might just take you up on it. And the most important part, do these things WITHOUT her asking. If you’ve seen The Break Up, there is a brilliant line where Jennifer Aniston says ‘I want you to want to do the dishes’. Now, we know no one wants to do the dishes (or pack the swimming bag). Frankly neither do we, but for the most part we do it.

Before there’s a flurry of men jumping up to load the dishwasher, all bitey-lip and swinging their hips as they take the bin out, holding your gaze while vigorously wiping the sides down, I should point something out. This isn’t a chores-for-sex trade-off. He can’t shove a load of clothes in the washing machine and then stand there panting like an expectant puppy. It might take more than one occasion for us to feel the benefit of that help. And it definitely doesn’t count if your clothes are shrunk so that they’re only fit for a 7 year old. It needs to be genuine and done properly and we reserve the right to remain not in the mood. Worth a try though, boys?

Is it the little things that count – what would you like him to do a bit more of? Or is he already a domestic god? What’s stopping you from being the girl you felt like when you met? Would love your thoughts on this using the comments box below.

Pictures: men in aprons,; more! cover from 1993, found at

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34 thoughts on “Could domestic chores be the new foreplay?

  1. Sam says:

    This is hilarious Steph and so so true. The times I have tried to explain this to my husband (who likes to play the “you clearly just don’t find me attractive any more” card to which I have to reply (in exasperated tones) “you could be BRAD PITT and I would still be hoping you would put the bins out and make me a cup of tea”! It’s just not funny! X

  2. Jude says:

    Ha! I love this post, so funny! The chair?! Just what you were thinking when you bought it, yes? Also loving the idea of men everywhere wiping the sides seductiviely. Not sure I could handle my lust. 😉

  3. Flea says:

    Spot on. Felt like I was reading about me and my life (and one of my daughter’s is called Mabel too!). Thanks for articulating my feelings – I’m too foggy to do it myself 🙂

  4. Liz says:

    Another fab read, so often I hear the words ‘what should I dress her in’ ‘what should I put in her lunch box’ ‘you need to brush her hair I’m no good at it’ I just want to (and often do) reply wtf are you an idiot you have managed to dress and feed yourself for the last 38 years the same principles apply when managing child care!! 🙂 he is an amazing father and way better at playing with the girls than I am but jeeze when it comes to domestic tasks use your initiative!! And the words ‘yep in a sec love’ send me into a proper frenzy!!! Keep them coming Steph 🙂 xxx

  5. Morgan Prince says:

    What a great post. I totally agree and sometimes a little kindness goes a long way. Just knowing that he thought of you and took it on himself to help you out makes you feel so much better. My hubby helps out occasionally but I think it’s when I suddenly have to take on jobs that were previously his, like taking the bin out, that I get annoyed! #PoCoLo

  6. WallyMummy says:

    Mine is really pretty good 😉 has his moments *cough* but can’t really complain! I like to think this is down to a lifetime of slowly waring him down with alcohol and psychological conditioning 😉 lol xx

  7. suzanne3childrenandit says:

    What a fabulous post! So glad to have found your blog 🙂 So….on to the point. My OH is actually very good around the home but what does it for me? When he offers, yes offers, to do that one extra taxi run to/from *** (insert whatever after-school activity it happens to be) or fetch my child from her friend’s house because he can see how tired I am. It most definitely is the little things because they are what makes us feel loved, and that’s all us women really want. Not asking much are we?! In turn, the husband only feels loved if he’s had ‘intimate relations’ so we could all be onto a winner here!

  8. Verily Victoria Vocalises says:

    Fantastically written – and so true! There are times when Ross gets it and times when he doesn’t. He was really supportive to me over something quite important that happened the other week and as a result it made me feel much more amorous towards him – and I told him that too! Thanks for linking to PoCoLo – hope to see you again next week 🙂 x

  9. Gill says:

    Love it steph! The swimming bag is a regular cause of frustration in our house! Keep up the great work. Do you mind if I share it with some Bondi mums? X

    • Steph says:

      Please do share it as far and wide as you like! And it makes me feel better that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, daft things like packing swimming bags can cause frustration. Or bloody great rows x

  10. Gordon says:

    Sisterhood and all that or a mans/idiots guide to fatherhood and a healthy marriage or perhaps even a don’t worry dude you are not alone?

  11. Beth Hardie says:

    Excellent second installment Stiffy. I don’t even have kids and this rings so true! Some great comments too. You are right though about it not becoming a payment thing – I find myself positively reinforcing after he’s completed his once a month spat of hoovering, yet I don’t get a huge celebration every time I clean the loo etc etc. Its true though, it’s the feeling of being in it together that I think does it for me…

  12. Alicia says:

    Fab second edition, I LOVE it. Couldn’t agree more either, I have spent a ridiculously long time badgering my man about making the bed if he is the last one out of it, his reply is there’s no point….. Well there is to me and to millions of others. So finally after explaining how draining it is to keep moaning on about the bed or all the other chores just DO IT! if only to shut me up. So in the last few weeks he has made the bed on a number of occasions (8 years and he has finally listened) and its probably very pathetic to say but I was so over the moon that he had done it I smiled for hours…. That feeling is far more likely to get me “responsive” than a meal out! So in reading this wickec blog its reassuring to know that I am normal and not OCD about the bed as the man has previously described! Keep them coming Steph, its a breath of fresh air to read and I laugh a lot x

  13. lisa gardiner says:

    That’s just fab, very well said!! Nothing more sexy than a man hoovering, washing up and bathing children. Steph your fab, great read and cheered my morning up!!
    much love xxx

  14. Sarah Pryce says:

    This blog is becoming my guilty pleasure! I have discovered after recently having twins (nearly one) and a three year old there isn’t much time to get all hot and bothered like the good old days- our lives for the first 8 months were like being put on fast forward to the benny hill theme tune- it takes both of us constant non stop to care for our three- but what I’ve learned is never underestimate the enjoyment of “the quickie” the twins had been about 6 months when we remembered we hadn’t had sex in what felt like forever – i realised i didn’t need or have time for a bunch of for play “your beautiful” and all that- a quick 6 minute wrestle is about all we have time for these days!!! Try it- it’s quicker and just as satisfying!

  15. Kate says:

    Not sure what made me laugh more: my first read with mick asking what I was laughing at, him reading and laughing or him asking Finlay where he keeps his swimming pants! Very well written and amusing for parents of little peeps! :0)

    • Steph says:

      If this post achieved nothing else, I can feel relieved that there is a new audience of men across the country who know what goes in a swimming bag and where to find it. Thank you! x

  16. Melissa Holian says:

    The woman who had relations in the kitchen sounds like a TOTAL hussy. 🙂 Another cracking post Stephie. Love it. Mainly because it’s so true but also because I feel the word “wanging” is hugely under-used in everyday life. Keep them coming (snigger.) x

  17. Emma says:

    Another great honest read! I’m so tired most of the time THAT is the last thing on my mind. I think I heard once that a woman needs to feel loved to want to do IT and a man needs to do IT to feel loved…

  18. Tired says:

    Made me laugh out loud – I can’t relax (or feel… ahem… reeelllaaaaaxed) if there is a pile of manky dishes and laundry. I seem to spend a lot of time trying to get rid of said piles so I can sit on the sofa; a point I never reach.

    The piles don’t seem to bother my husband who lies on the sofa asking me to make less noise as I clean everything up as he can’t hear the TV.

    Doesn’t make me want to jump on him.

  19. Elizabeth Dixon says:

    Oh so true! If we had an important evening out (with his clients), it was always up to me to get a babysitter, sort out his suit, shirt etc, before I ever thought about me and what I was going to wear, let alone find the time after working all day, feeding the children their tea, clearing up, getting ready, putting on make-up if there was time. Are you surprised I left him? – thought not!