Sex Roles

, Volume 52, Issue 9, pp 561-575

First online:

Money, Housework, Sex, and Conflict: Same-Sex Couples in Civil Unions, Those Not in Civil Unions, and Heterosexual Married Siblings

  • Sondra E. SolomonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, John Dewey Hall, University of Vermont
  • , Esther D. RothblumAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, John Dewey Hall, University of Vermont Email author 
  • , Kimberly F. BalsamAffiliated withUniversity of Washington

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In this study we examined the division of finances, the division of household tasks, relationship maintenance behaviors, sexual activity, monogamy, and conflict among same-sex couples who had had civil unions in Vermont, same-sex couples who had not had civil unions recruited from their friendship circles, and married heterosexual couples recruited from among their siblings. Married heterosexuals had a more traditional, gendered division of finances, household tasks, and relationship maintenance behaviors, even though the heterosexuals were all siblings or in-laws of lesbians or gay men. Sexual orientation was a stronger predictor of the division of household tasks than was income difference within couples. Lesbians reported less frequent sexual activity than married heterosexual women, and gay men were less monogamous than married heterosexual men. Gay men in civil unions differed on a few variables from gay men not in civil unions, but there were no differences among lesbians.

Key Words

civil unions same-sex couples lesbian couples gay male couples sexual orientation division of housework division of finances relationship maintenance behaviors