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Partners Experience Changes in Sexuality Postpartum Too

Masturbation resumed earliest postpartum; highest enjoyment from oral sex versus other activities

THURSDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Partners of new mothers also experience changes in sexuality during the postpartum period, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Sari M. van Anders, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed partners (95 men, 18 women, one unspecified) of postpartum women using a retrospective online questionnaire regarding their sexuality during the three months following their youngest child's birth. Sexual desire, latency to sexual behavior, and enjoyment and initiation of sexual behavior were the primary outcome measures. In addition, psychosocial variables such as partners' perceptions of the birth, perceptions of the birth experience, mother's sexual desire, postpartum stress, body-image self consciousness, social support, fatigue, and experiences surrounding breastfeeding were investigated.

The researchers found that partners reported resuming masturbation earliest in the postpartum period; reengagement of sexual intercourse; and receiving the highest enjoyment from oral sex compared with other sexual activities. There was no correlation between partners' sexual desire and psychosocial variables assessed in the study. With the exception of perceptions of social support and likelihood to engage in intercourse, partners' sexuality findings were similar regardless of gender.

"Given parallels between sexuality reported by partners in this study and by birth mothers in past studies, this study provided evidence that sexuality in the postpartum period may be experienced similarly, highlighting the social and relational nature of the postpartum," the authors write.

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