Wife – Husband Intimacy and Female Status in Cross-Cultural Perspective
This article hypothesizes that in societies where spouses are considered to have relatively equal status, they are more likely to be intimate with one another than in societies where there is spousal status inequality. The authors ask: What are the core attributes of intimacy between husband and wife cross-culturally? And what sociocultural norms and practices are associated with intimate/nonintimate spousal relationships? Five variables are used as indicators of intimacy: husband– wife sleeping proximity, privacy in sleeping for husbands and wives, husband– wife eating arrangement, husband–wife spending leisure time together, and husband attending birth of his child. These variables are correlated with 60 variables for female status in “traditional” societies constructed and coded by Whyte. From this research, the authors develop a female kin power model based on five main sociocultural variables: war, skewed sex ratio, polygyny, parental warmth, and socialization for aggression. Results indicate that intimacy in spousal relationships is significantly predicted by female status.