Is it possible that the most stressed couplings are to be found in women in different sex relationships? It certainly looks like it.
Here’s the science bit. A recently published academic study called ‘Marital Strain and Psychological Distress in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples,’ seems to show that men in a same-sex marriage experience lower levels of psychological distress than their straight peers.
This in contrast to women in different-sex marriages who seemed to experience the highest level of stress, according to the report from authors Michael Garcia and Debra Umberson.
The results were drawn from what were described as ‘756 midlife U.S. men and women in 378 gay, lesbian, and heterosexual marriages.’ All those involved were asked to keep diaries and note changing stress levels as they went about their day-to-day lives.
The study claims gay couples have an advantage when it comes to lowering stress levels. They are said to divide household chores more equally and engage in more in-depth conversations about their sexual relationship,
In a heterosexual relationship women are expected to do the bulk of the care work around the home. Same-sex couples, however, tend to split what are identified as ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ chores more equally based on individual preferences rather than those implied by historic gender roles with some 74% of same-sex couples sharing child care tasks as opposed to 38% for straight couples.
The study also found that gay men in particular were more likely to discuss their needs – sexual, emotional – than straight couples.
It really does look like straight couples really could take some helpful lessons here.