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Becoming a father has little impact on sexual satisfaction

Photo: Ted Bigham. Creative Commons.

We studied 3410 Jamaican fathers. We found that sexual satisfaction was generally high - 87% reported being mostly or very sexually satisfied.

We studied the sexuality of 3,410 Jamaican fathers of newborns. We asked them about their sexual desire, their sexual behavior and their relationships. It is the largest, quantitative study to have sought to address how becoming a father affects men’s sexuality.

We found that sexual satisfaction was generally high – 87% of fathers of newborns reported being mostly or very sexually satisfied.

Nearly half of fathers of newborns reported no sexual behavior in the past week. That’s perhaps not surprising in the days leading up to and during birth, but it is interesting that despite this drop in behaviour, sexual satisfaction remains high.

Sexual desire varied considerably among men, whilst few men reported problems or concerns over erections. Sleep, a romantic relationship, preparing for a newborn…much is in flux and all this affects sexual desire in diverse ways.

Thirty percent of fathers reported two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months. This observation fits with the cultural and historical phenomenon in this community of relationship fluidity. Where the parents lived separately, men reported an average of 2 sexual partners in the past 12 months. Where the parents were married, the average was less, 1.1. Older and more educated men also reported fewer sexual partners in the past 12 months.

Men’s reported relationship quality with the mother was like to be less if he reported more sexual partners, but he was more like to report high sexual satisfaction and high frequency of sexual activity.

Other earlier studies in Western Europe and America have shown that only a small proportion of fathers reported diminished desired and diminished sexual activity up to a year after fathering a child.

So it would appear that the impacts of parenting on sexual desire appear more pronounced among mothers than fathers. This makes alterations in sexual activity one of the most salient concerns among parents of young children.

A couple welcoming a newborn needs honest evaluation about how having that child impacts their sexual desire and behavior. This can be a highly charged and difficult topic.