What’s His & What’s hers: Disparity in Our Bedrooms
What’s His & What’s hers: Disparity in Our Bedrooms
What’s HIS and what’s HERS in the bedroom? It used to be that couples each had their side of the closet. These days, however, more and more couples have everything but their underwear in common. Many heterosexual couples even share the same pair of pants. The disparity in sexual pleasure and satisfaction can negatively impact other aspects of your relationship. With some role reversal going on between them, it’s no wonder that gender roles are being challenged even in the bedroom!
Why Gender Roles Matter
Sex is a natural and integral part of many relationships. From an evolutionary standpoint, our brains are wired to give us pleasure when we pursue sex; as such pleasure leads to reproduction and perpetuation of our species. But as important as sex is, gender roles matter even more in a relationship—here's why. Humans are social creatures; interacting with one another provides a wealth of benefits that are essential for our survival, including communication and problem-solving skills, knowledge sharing, and teamwork experience that come from cooperation within communities
It is a common thing in society that a woman is viewed and expected to be submissive to a man. Women are expected to rather be quiet and an open show of courage or power showed by women is quickly shut down. The world has come a long way from where it was decades ago, but there's still so much progress to be made. In most households, gender roles have not changed as much as they should have over time; men are still seen as superior, more capable leaders than their female counterparts. Cerrato& Cifre (2018) observed that this disparity has led to many problems in relationships, including unnecessary stress and arguments between couples because of differences in expectations based on gender roles.
How to Divide the Responsibilities
Here are some common household chores along with who should be doing them to help remove any disparities that might exist in your bedroom. Because even if the tasks seem unfair, they still need to get done. In fact, by dividing the responsibilities, you and your partner can ensure that both of you have time for yourselves (and outside interests). The dishwasher is a great place to go when you need a little alone time. Not sure who should be handling what? Consider these ideas to figure out what works best for your lifestyle.
Because women are typically still doing more of these responsibilities—especially because they get home earlier than their partners—we recommend taking one day off each week as a homemaker day. That means no laundry or cleaning for you! One can even volunteer for a few extra days around your house so that your partner can enjoy some alone time too. And don't forget, those fun date nights (or Netflix binges) can happen any night of the week. One thing's for sure: It's a good idea to figure out who should be doing what before you start piling up dirty dishes or laundry, otherwise it'll become a bigger issue down the road.
So how can this translate in the bedroom? To keep things fresh and exciting, both partners should have a voice when it comes to what happens behind closed doors. While some couples have specific roles that they prefer, others enjoy switching things up on occasion. If you're struggling with an imbalance of power or desire for more spontaneity, then you should try making a schedule (together) that works for both of you. This could be anything from which nights you're going out together to when each partner will take control over different aspects of your sex life. Remember, if one person is dominating all of these responsibilities, it's likely to cause some resentment down the road. After all, no one likes doing chores!
Makeovers are Good for Both of You
Scott (2007) noted that women take on a very substantial role of trying to keep both their physical and emotional needs met, without any help from their partner. This can lead to miscommunication and frustration for both parties. A major perk of a makeover is that you can let your partner know what you want. And if you happen to learn more about his sexual preferences at the same time (or vice versa), great! The adage that it takes two to tango applies here. Take advantage of your makeover and get back in touch with each other.
Hielscher et al. (2021) advised couples to take some time to understand each other and how both of you would like to distribute the different roles in the household. Make sure that both of you are open to whatever your partner is ready to say to make your listening session work for both of you. Listen carefully to what your partner has to say and give your answer in a way that doesn’t offend your partner but is still strong if you agree with them.
The Only Hard part is Deciding Who Gets What!
The same also applies in the bedroom, although there might be a need for changing roles on who does what and who doesn’t: following the natural flow of things might go a long way to help both of you to have a healthier relationship.
Deciding which of you will take charge might not be easy, but if one or both of you had a very specific idea of what role you want then it might be easier to decide. Higgins& Hirsch (2008) noted that one thing to keep in mind though is that during intercourse, most positions are acceptable for both partners as long as they’re equally pleasurable. If one or both of you prefer any certain position, then that also can be considered part of your roles and responsibilities. According to Sagarin et al. (2015), the main thing is if you do decide on who’s on top of who’s at bottom roles, keep them consistent and don't change when things get heated—this could lead to something much worse than hurt feelings.
Creating a clear set of boundaries—what belongs to each person and what belongs to both—is a great way to keep your relationship healthy. Whether you make it a habit or not, it is always good to discuss these matters at least once in a while. No relationship is perfect, but one thing that you can do is work together to figure out what will work best for both of you in your bedroom. At no point should any woman feel like she has to cater to her partner's sexual desires, nor should any man be expected to get his girlfriend off every time they have sex.
In a world where equality is being called upon more and more, having an equal way of doing things in the bedroom will help make your relationship stronger. It all however comes down to how the both of you view things, if you are okay with things as they are then it’s okay. Communication however is key to making sure no one is feeling oppressed by the other.
Cerrato, J., & Cifre, E. (2018). Gender inequality in household chores and work-family conflict. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1330.
Hielscher, E., Moores, C., Blenkin, M., Jadambaa, A., & Scott, J. G. (2021). Intervention programs designed to promote healthy romantic relationships in youth: A systematic review. Journal of adolescence, 92, 194-236.
Higgins, J. A., & Hirsch, J. S. (2008). Pleasure, power, and inequality: incorporating sexuality into research on contraceptive use. American Journal of Public Health, 98(10), 1803-1813.
Sagarin, B. J., Lee, E. M., & Klement, K. R. (2015). Sadomasochism without sex? Exploring the parallels between BDSM and extreme rituals. Journal of Positive Sexuality, 1(3), 50-55.
Scott, E. (2007). How to communicate: Improve your relationships with effective communication skills.