Department

Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Len Jennings, Jean Birbilis

Abstract

The birth of a child, particularly a first child, is an event that can undoubtedly create lasting changes to the dynamics of a couple’s relationship, including their sexual relationship. Notably, existing research regarding changes to heterosexual couples’ sexual experiences postpartum appear to be primarily focused on new mothers. The aim of the current study was to better understand the sexual experience of new fathers during the year postpartum. For the purpose of this qualitative study, ten fathers were interviewed regarding their sexual experiences during the year postpartum. Participants were required to have had their first child within five years of the interview date and must have been living with both the child and the mother of the child during the first year postpartum. Data were analyzed using modified grounded theory and trustworthiness was established through multiple methods, including participant verification of individual themes. Data analysis revealed 3 categories, 13 themes, and 21 subthemes relating to the male sexual experience during the year postpartum. The majority of participants experienced a reduction in sexual satisfaction during the year postpartum, which was found to be impacted by several factors, including a reduction in sexual frequency and sexual quality. Participants also noted additional factors that impacted their sexual experience during the year postpartum, including: changes in their attractions to partners, changes in their sexual interests and behaviors, communication about sex, as well as emotional and psychological reactions to changes in their sexual relationships. Nine out of ten participants reported believing that their level of sexual satisfaction during the year postpartum impacted their overall relationship satisfaction.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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