Weird Science: Sex Makes Females Do Housework

Could getting it on give females a biological urge to cook and clean? Some strange new science suggests it does — in some species, at least.

By (@JRRaphael)

September 30, 2009

Sex and HouseworkFrom the weird-but-true-science files: Hooking up makes females more inclined to do housework, according to some new research being released this week. Granted, the finding only applies to fruit flies so far, but those little buggers are regularly used to make discoveries about humans — so who knows what we’ll learn next.

The odd news comes by way of biologists at the U.K.’s University of Leeds. The scientists noticed that female fruit flies who’d just gotten busy started behaving very differently. The ladies, it seems, typically take a midafternoon nap to avoid the heat of the day. After some superhot fly-style lovin’, though, the gals stayed awake and scurried around to get their homes in order instead.

“After mating, females still slept deeply at night but ditched the usual [afternoon nap] in favor of extra foraging and searching for places to lay her eggs,” explains Dr. Elwyn Isaac, who we imagine must be a real hoot to have around at a dinner party. “This behavior lasts for around eight days.”

So what’s the deal? Get this: The need to clean follows the urge to merge, Isaac says, because of an acidic chemical found in the males’ sperm. It’s called a “sex peptide,” and its very contact with the fairer sex seemingly flips their domestic switch.

That’s right, ladies: The money shot itself makes you want to get down on your hands and knees. To clean, that is. Assuming you’re a fruit fly. Who for some reason has hands and knees.

Fly-Style“We’re certain that this change of behavior is chemically induced by the male,” Isaacs says, somehow managing to maintain a straight face. “It would appear that preventing sleep and inducing extra domestic-type duties to prepare for the birth of offspring in females is a further tactic used by the male to ensure successful paternity after mating.”

Just imagine if it were to turn out that human sperm had the same “sex peptide,” too. Man oh man, that Paris Hilton would have one spotless home.

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