Scientists may have debunked one of the biggest myths about sex after giving birth

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Saturday 08 October 2016 11:30

A new study has found that new mothers have less sexual desire for male partners who express empathy.

Research published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy has some suprising news for couples who have recently had children.

255 first time parents with children between 3-12 months old were surveyed on their sex lives. The results found that women expressed less sexual desire towards male partners who expressed more empathy.

According to the study's author, professor Natalie Rosen, the experiment was expected to show that shared empathy was positive for both members of the relationship.

The find that women were less interested in their empathetic partners was a surprise.

Rosen, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University, stressed that the matter required repeat testing.

She also speculated on the possible causes for this drop in libido. One possibility was that men felt they ought not pressure their wives into sex, and stop voicing their sexual desire.

They might be saying, 'I'm just going to kind of back off no matter what sexual needs I might have.' That might actually lower the desire that the woman has.

As an alternative theory, Rosen suggested the casual link between empathy and lack of desire, could be the other way around.

It could be that new mothers with reduced sexual desire lead their partners to be more empathetic.

Drawing on her role at the Couples and Sexual Health Research Laboratory, Rosen said that both scenarios were a problem, for deprioritizing sex.

Partners think they're being really understanding and supportive, but they're actually just reinforcing and encouraging avoidance ... It comes across as very supportive and both people think it's a good thing, but it reinforces ... that sex is not that important.

Rosen suggest the topic needs further study, especially given her recent research into sexual anxiety experienced among young couples.


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