Married or otherwise committed people, are we bribing our partners with the promise of sweet sexual congress in order to get the dishes done? Honestly, are we? Is anyone? Hello?
“Choreplay” sounds like a nightmare concept dreamed up for a 50 Shades of Grey spin-off: simply put, it is an exchange of chores for sex, as reported by the New York Post in a recently-published trend piece that was at turns exhilarating and horrifying to read and very likely based on a sample size of 10 like people, max. Instagram influencer and “aspiring letterboard comedian” Bri Dietz first coined the phrase, via aforementioned letterboard and a photo of her and her husband kissing. “Helping with housework so you can get lucky is called choreplay,” the letterboard read.
The implication that Dietz’s “love language” involves bribing her husband with sex so that he might do the dishes once in a blue moon set many people’s hair afire, so much so that the comments on this Instagram post are a minefield of indignant men, exhausted women, and members of the morning-show media circuit looking to book Dietz for a segment. Some light research shows that the general ire around the issue really peaked one million years ago, in early June, though I’m glad that the Post did the due diligence of finding a random number of couples and asking them whether or not this is actually a thing.
For example: Kimberly Hume, a 38-year old marketing executive and mother of twins, who acknowledged that yes, of course, men should be able to do tasks like unloading the dishwasher not out of the hope that they’ll get laid afterwards, but because it’s the decent thing to do:
“Husbands absolutely should do chores without a carrot on a stick, just like moms should be able to get through a day with toddlers without drinking wine by 3 p.m., and kids should be able to put their shoes on without the promise of cheesy snacks... But where’s the fun in that?”
Framing this particular kink as “fun” is one choice; perhaps it is a coping mechanism to deal with the fact that straight cis men have largely been socialized to believe that certain domestic chores are not their problem and women, as ever, must assume the responsibilities of running a household. The division of labor in a relationship will always be contested. There are ways to make work more equitable. Invoice your partner for the hours you spent scrubbing the grout. Take the opposite tack and Lysistrata that shit, letting the house quietly collapse into disrepair, much like your partner’s lonely genitals. Quietly begin fucking someone you don’t live with and do not rely on to restock the almond milk. Teach your partner how to do the dishes and then leave. Or, just leave. Go to Bali. Sell coconuts on the side of the road. Dump them. Leave.