Mothers’ Parenting Stress Lowers Couple's Sexual Satisfaction, Study Claims

First Posted: May 31, 2016 09:56 AM EDT

Sexual satisfaction is common among first-time parents. Based on the study by the health researchers at the Penn State, who regularly observed parents following the birth of their baby, the only thing that seems to cause the lowered sexual satisfaction is the stress of the mother as a new parent.

The sexual satisfaction is a significant factor in relationships, yet it has not been studied at the transition to parenthood. Doctoral student on human development and family studies Chelom E. Leavitt said that the study was aimed at determining how parenting stress will affect sexual satisfaction. Using 169 expectant couples, the team asked the couples about the kind of parenting stress they experience during the six months following the birth of their baby. Then, after 12 months since the baby was born, the couples made a report about their overall sexual satisfaction, according to Deccan Chronicle.

During the six-month follow-up, every parent was asked to rate statements regarding the stress of transition to being a parent on a scale from 1, as strongly disagree, up to 5, or strongly agree. Based on the findings, it was found that parenting stress of men had no effect on the men or the women's sexual satisfaction. However the number of parenting stress women experience affected the sexual satisfaction of the couple. The study was published in the journal Sex Roles.

According to Leavitt, women mostly assume the bigger responsibility in caring for their new baby, and the social pressures that could push them to strive to become a perfect mother. When a new mom feels exhausted by the additional responsibilities of parenting, they could feel less sexual. Because sexual relationship is dependent on each other, when the mom feels the bigger stress because of parenting, her sexual satisfaction is not just the only one decreased, the sexual satisfaction of the father is also affected, News Medical reported.

The research on sexual satisfaction is expected to help the parents, therapists and others to assist the new fathers and new mothers in better understanding the pressures of transition to parenthood. 

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