Uh-oh. I dread telling you about this latest study—but here goes: Married couples who abide by traditional gender roles in performing household duties have better love lives. Yup, the secret is out: Ward and June Cleaver had a hot sex life!

According to research by sociologists at the University of Washington, which looked at 4,500 heterosexual married couples in the United States who participated in the National Survey of Families and Households:

Couples who follow traditional gender roles around the house—wives doing the cooking, cleaning, and shopping; men doing yard work, paying bills, and auto maintenance–reported greater sexual frequency.

So how much more sex, exactly? The research says "1.6 times more per month than those where the husband does all the traditionally female chores." (On average, the study finds that couples have sex five times a month.) Wow. Do the math—that can add up.

But before you make a mad dash to the thrift shop for those adorable Mad Men outfits to get into that retro mood, let me assure you that the study is not an indictment against women in the workforce. In fact, whether both husband and wife worked didn’t seem to affect their sex lives:

Two-income households had comparable patterns of sexual frequency and division of household chores relative to households where a spouse did not work outside the home. Similarly, wives’ income was unrelated to how often the couple had sex.

The way I read it is that it comes down to how we play house. It seems both men and women can have careers (and a marvelous sex life) so long as the woman dons the apron and cooks dinner, and the man puts on the tool belt and fixes the leaky faucet. Easy—I can do that!

Ah—but here’s the rub:

Husbands performed about one-fifth of traditionally female tasks and a little more than half of the male-type work. This suggests that wives help out with men’s chores more often than husbands help with female tasks.

So for everyone to be happy, the man shouldn’t do any "female" chores, though the woman should take on some of the "male" duties like fixing that leaky faucet.

And it gets worse: The study omits child care in the household job equation. Just take a wild guess about who bears the brunt of that responsibility. Is it any wonder why women are so tired?

That they can think of sex at all is a small miracle, no?

Related post: Meet the Househubby.