Many new parents find that their sex lives take a bit of a nose-dive after the birth of a child.
It goes without saying that things like lack of sleep, breastfeeding, cracked nipples, postpartum pains downstairs and all the other things that go along with new parenthood can take a toll and often the last thing on a new mum’s mind is getting it on in the bedroom.
So it is hardly surprising that many first time parents report that they aren’t really all that satisfied with their sex lives after they have their first kid.
Researchers at Penn State Health have found that one factor that seems to reduce sexual satisfaction for both parents is the mother’s stress as a new parent.
The study looked at data from 169 couples who were expecting their first child. They were asked about any parenting stress they were experiencing six months after the baby was born, and then twelve months after birth they reported on their overall sexual satisfaction.
According to researcher Chelom E. Leavitt, who reported the results of the study in the journal Sex Roles, men’s parenting stress had no impact on either men’s or women’s sexual satisfaction.
However, the amount of parenting stress experienced by women affected the sexual satisfaction of both partners.
Women generally have the greater caring responsibility for the new baby. They also face social pressures to be the “perfect mother”.
“When new moms feel fatigued by the added responsibilities of parenting, they may feel less sexual,” Leavitt said.
“The sexual relationship is interdependent, so when a mum feels greater stress due to parenting, not only is her sexual satisfaction diminished, the dad’s sexual satisfaction is also affected.“
However, the researchers found that women reported greater sexual satisfaction 12 months after having a new baby than the men did: 69 percent of women reported they were somewhat to very satisfied with their sex lives, while 55 percent of men reported the same.