The Evolving Father

How fatherhood differs across cultures and through time

Behold a Baby, and Consider Heightened Sexual Conflict

Recent international Internet search findings suggest that one of the main concerns linked with pregnancy is having sex. Here, we ask how does the peripartum (pregnancy and postpartum) impact a couple's sex life? While pregnancy and postpartum phases have sex-specific effects, they can also amplify any sex differences in sexual desire. Read More

postpartum desire differences

"sex differences in sexual desire tend to amplify during late pregnancy and early postpartum"

In many cases the amplified differences in sexual desire causes trouble well beyond "early postpartum". Who hasn't heard a woman complain that after breastfeeding and taking care of kids all day, she is all "touched out" and the last thing she wants is yet one more member of the family who wants to touch her all over, fiddle with her breasts, and make more liquids ooze out of her?

Just who are these women who are back to wanting a lot of good sex as soon as after early postpartum?! For sure I've never seen that in person.

response to anonymous

I don't disagree! The contention is that the effects during these transitions are most pronounced during late pregnancy and early postpartum, particularly when a mother is not cycling (and duration until a mother resumes cycling is linked with many other factors, including patterns of breastfeeding, changes in her energetic status, etc.).

There is not a lot of research that addresses the impacts at different time-points (particularly in longitudinal designs) on sexual desire and other facets of sexual function in postpartum mothers (and even fewer such data on fathers).

So, all said, I don't disagree with your views, but I also didn't want to claim things that are difficult to defend based on available published data (even if one's own experiences speak directly to these experiences).

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Peter B. Gray, Ph.D., is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the coauthor of Fatherhood.

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