It's Official: Dishes Are the Worst Chore Ever & We Have the Science to Prove It

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dirty dishes by a kitchen sink
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Nothing spoils a good mood quite like a sink full of dirty dishes, and if you're a parent, that sink is full all the f*cking time. You probably feel resentful as you sidle up to the sink and get elbow deep in ketchup-laden kiddie plates and dirty sippy cups, and who could blame you? If you're looking for an excuse to let the pans soak tonight (or better yet, to pawn the dishes off on someone else), you're in luck: There's new research that proves doing the dishes all the time is pissing us off and killing our sex drives.

  • A forthcoming report from the Council of Contemporary Families (CCF) found that, out of all household chores, dishes stress moms out the most.


    Dan Carlson, assistant professor of family, health, and policy at the University of Utah, and his colleagues looked at how modern couples divide household chores and how the division of labor in our households impacts the health and longevity of our relationships.

    According to a press release, researchers gathered data on things like grocery shopping, laundry, and household cleaning. But, unsurprisingly to anyone who's ever had to wash dried oatmeal off a toddler spoon, it is dish duty that causes the most strife. Women who wash the majority of their household's dishes reported less satisfaction in their relationships, more conflict, and worse sex lives than women who split dish duty equally with their partners.

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  • In other words, if you wanna be my lover, you better go wash some plates.


    But why do dishes piss us off more than, say, planning a week's worth of dinners or picking up socks that are on the floor six feet in front of the hamper? Carlson, who is the study's lead author, tells the Atlantic that the reason is simple. "Doing dishes is gross," he explained. "There is old, moldy food sitting in the sink. If you have kids, there is curdled milk in sippy cups that smells disgusting."

    Strawberries may be an aphrodisiac, but they aren't when you're washing their half-chewed remains out of your toddler's snack cup at 8:30 p.m.

  • Even more damning than the ick factor is the fact that dishes are just one of many obnoxious tasks that seem to be relegated solely to women.

    woman wearing rubber gloves
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    As Carlson explained to the Atlantic, men usually get to do things that offer "a respite" from the drudgery of household management: mowing the lawn, washing the cars, etc. Meanwhile, women traditionally get stuck cleaning up after the people they live with, and after a while, you start to resent the people making those messes and not helping you clean them up -- like your partner, *cough, cough*.

  • On Facebook, people were more than willing to cop to these frustrations.

  • Luckily, the times are changing, and traditional household roles are slowly becoming a thing of the past.


    According to the CCF's report, from 1992 to 2006, the number of couples sharing housecleaning duties doubled and the number of couples sharing laundry duty increased an insane 129 percent. The number of couples sharing dishwashing responsibilities rose too, from a lowly 16 percent to a promising 29 percent.

    But that increase still leaves about 70 percent of couples with one pissed-off partner who's sick of scrubbing all the forks. So the moral of this story? More boyfriends and husbands need to get on board. You wash, they'll dry. Or, better yet, they wash and dry, and you go relax with a glass of wine. Either way, all these damn dishes are making us stressed out and sexually frustrated, and it's about time someone else pick up a sponge -- because science says so.

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