The stress many women face when they become new parents may be a factor in the decline in sexual desire many couples experience when a baby arrives, according to a study published in the research journal Sex Roles.
Previous studies have established a link between parenthood and a decline in sexual satisfaction and frequency. Both men and women often experience a decrease in sexual desire after the arrival of a new child. Couples often tend to be less satisfied in their marriages after the arrival of a baby, with 67% reporting a decline in marital happiness. However, about a third report sustained happiness in their marriages, according to 2011 research published in the Journal of Family Psychology.
How Mothers’ Stress Can Reduce Sexual Satisfaction
Parents answered questions about their stress levels six months after the birth of the baby. After 12 months, researchers asked couples about their sexual satisfaction.
How Gender Roles Can Affect Sexual Satisfaction
The study did not look directly at how stress interacted with sexual satisfaction, but its authors propose gender roles might be to blame. According to the researchers, women tend to bear greater responsibility for the baby. Demands ranging from childbirth and breastfeeding to house cleaning and daily infant care often fall disproportionately on women. Social norms can also pressure women to be “perfect” parents.
These demands can exhaust women, leaving them with less energy and emotional room for sexual desire. This can affect their partner’s sexual satisfaction as well as their own.
- Dingfelder, S. (2011, October). Must babies always breed marital discontent? Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/babies.aspx
- Leavitt, C. E., Mcdaniel, B. T., Maas, M. K., & Feinberg, M. E. (2016). Parenting stress and sexual satisfaction among first-time parents: A dyadic approach. Sex Roles. doi:10.1007/s11199-016-0623-0
- Rogers, L. (2012, December 26). Why do women stop wanting sex? Nearly HALF of all women will suffer from lost libido, with devastating consequences, but only now are the reasons are emerging. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2253479/Why-women-stop-wanting-sex-Nearly-HALF-women-suffer-lost-libido-devastating-consequences-reasons-emerging.html
- Thompson, D. (2013, August 1). New dads’ interest in sex often drops after childbirth: Study. Retrieved from https://consumer.healthday.com/men-s-health-information-24/fatherhood-health-news-302/new-dads-interest-in-sex-often-drops-after-childbirth-study-678800.html
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