In a first such study that focuses on how women experience sex after having babies, US researchers have revealed that more time in the bedroom after delivery may be a survival strategy to keep the relationships with their partners alive and well. More time between the sheets post delivery may also be to ensure continued support for their offspring.
Even though a breastfeeding woman may not be sexually proactive, she may respond favourably when her partner initiates sexual activity. “Maintaining the relationship may be important if one’s current partner is beneficial to the partnership and to the tasks of parenting,” said Michelle Escasa-Dorne from University of Colorado in the US.
A range of previous studies showed that after giving birth, women tend to devote more time to their offspring’s well-being than to their partner. This leads to lower relationship satisfaction and less intercourse between partners and a clear shift from so-called mating efforts to parenting efforts.
For the new study, the team questioned 260 women who were in a relationship and living in Manila, the Philippines’ capital.
Of these, 155 women still breastfed. The women were between 18 and 35 years old, mostly married, well-educated and had on average two or three children. Breastfeeding women who had already resumed having their periods were more sexually active and committed than others.
This suggests that women experience an increase in sexual activity after the birth of their children that may even be higher than pre-pregnancy levels. According to Escasa-Dorne, this is consistent with a strategy in which women continue to invest in their current committed relationships.
“The postpartum sexual increase may be a means of continuing investment in a satisfactory, successful relationship in which future children can be successfully reared,” she noted.
For a mother in a stressful relationship – perhaps reflecting an unsatisfactory romantic relationship with her partner or lack of support otherwise – resuming a sexual relationship may not be a priority as she focuses on her infant.
According to her, childless women may be more hesitant to note their openness or enjoyment of sexual intimacy than those who have given birth. The study appeared in Springer’s journal Human Nature. (IANS)