Ladies, you'd better sit down. And it might be advisable to have a stiff drink to hand.

Because according to a study published by Cambridge University, men actually like to do the housework.

Domestic arguments decline and the general happiness of the home gets better when men do more of the job of looking after the house, it says.

Husbands and boyfriends feel guilty when they don't do their share of the work around the home, the taxpayer-funded study of the differences between men and women suggests. But it also said that men prefer a quiet life with the domestic chores to a noisier one with a discontented other half.


The team of academics said they had expected to find that conflict in the home worsened and the well-being of men declined when they did more housework. They reported, however, that the opposite happened.

"It may be because more men support gender equality, so they feel uncomfortable if the woman does most of the housework, and because women are becoming more and more assertive and making their dissatisfaction with lazy partners plain," the study said.

The results run contrary to the great body of research findings which say that, despite the advance of women into education and careers, men continue to allow wives and partners to do the great bulk of the housework.

The latest study, by Cambridge University Professor Jacqueline Scott and a team of academics, based its claim on results from the European Social Study, a Brussels-financed survey that covers 30,000 people in 34 countries. They were asked how much time they spent on jobs such as cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping and maintaining the house.

It said: "Contrary to expectations, men, not women, benefited from a less traditional gender role divide in household chores.

"This suggests that men may be uncomfortably conscious of work getting in the way of their doing a fair share of the chores at home, whereas women have been doing a double shift."