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The Week That Was: Who Wears the Trousers?

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Headline news this week: in relationships where men do more housework, couples tend to have less sex.

That was the groundbreaking insight from experts at the University of Washington, and later published in the American Sociological Review.

Having spent three years nursing large volumes of Shakespeare (and the odd hangover) around my university, coming out at the end with essentially a degree in reading, it's always interesting to read what spurious statistics come out of the 'serious' part of college campuses.

Turns out, if I'd been hanging around with the maths crowd or in the science labs rather than in the humanities building, I too could pass judgment on ironing ratios versus bedroom activities.

Still, hand it to the men (it was men, right?) in white coats; their latest insight has certainly got people talking. From Time magazine to the Daily Mail, male columnists crowed with glee on the pages of their papers, while their female counterparts were altogether less pleased.

Just when we thought traditional gender roles were fading out of fashion, to be viewed in the future with some kind of retro nostalgia, we seem to be doing our best to backtrack on all the giant leaps forward, albeit with data that contradicts numerous previous studies.

If you want to interrogate the actual numbers (presuming you're not too busy mopping the floor, or alternatively perfecting your karma sutra positions), what it boiled down to, was men who performed no 'stereotypical female tasks' had sex with their other-halves approximately 1.6 times more often per month than couples where the husbands were responsible for all those girly tasks. (And, no, I can't bring myself to type what I'm supposed to view as a stereotypical female task, but take it from me, the list didn't include chopping logs or washing the car).

Enough with the facts and figures. As Time.com points out in a similar article from last year, where it was found that men in female-centric professions do more 'guy' chores at home (don't you hate it, that there's still such a thing as a female- or male-centric profession?), essentially "humans don't always make sense." Possibly the most sensible thing that's been written on the whole topic.

While America makes its case for traditional values in the home, back in the UK, David Cameron will be hoping his party, embrace some forward-thinking attitudes this week as MPs vote on gay marriage.

Having firmly placed himself as pro legalisation for same-sex marriages, Cameron risks losing face should the bill not be passed.

More worrying for the PM, the issue is being used by those against gay marriage to bring his leadership into question. According to a survey commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage - notable anti-gay-marriage campaigners - one in five Tory supporters would not vote Conservative in the next general election if the coalition government legalises same-sex marriage.

Wake-up call for Cameron, or seriously skewed data, this week looks set to be as uncomfortable for the Tory leader as all the previous ones so far this year.

Let's hope SamCam has some nice relaxing ironing saved up for him at home.

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