An overwhelmed partner will have a difficult time communicating, connecting, and offering attention to their partner (Photo: iStock)

The frequency and satisfaction of sexual experiences a couple has are directly correlated to marital stability. Sexual life post-having children are normally challenged by increasing parenthood roles. The more the number of children, the more time and resources will be allocated to a child-centered lifestyle.

Women have been viewed as parents who practice selfless care towards their children and men are viewed as more lenient on time and have other interests outside the house. This gap in parenting roles may make one partner feel more overwhelmed than the other.

Additionally, an overwhelmed partner will have a difficult time communicating, connecting emotionally, and offering attention to their partner.

Parenthood and sex drive

A study showed that both men and women experience some level of stress in parenting. However, the dampened sex life is more of a result of women’s stress, rather than men’s.

Since parenthood is complex, some of the recommendations the study made were for additional support for women and fewer and more realistic expectations of them.

In addition, there has been an increase in fatherly responsibility in parenthood in recent decades. The modern-day father is no longer the traditional sole breadwinner who had no idea how to change a diaper. This is subsequently narrowing the gender role differences to ease the pressure on women and parenting.

Intimacy and stress connection
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Naturally and biologically, sex drive and stress do not go well together. Both are connected to the nervous system. In response to stress, part of the nervous system releases chemicals that increase the heart rate and generate that inner discomfort. This helps you decide how to face the stressors; fight or flight response. Once you deal with the problem, it relieves the discomfort for you to finally relax.

Long-term parenting stress puts a couple in a period of extended discomfort. It is like putting the nervous system on overdrive. With no time to relax, you cannot expect to enjoy the frequency and satisfaction of sex. To break it down, you cannot enjoy great sex if you have a million worries in your head.

Long-lasting stress will also lead to increased production of cortisol - the stress hormone. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands; glands that also produce testosterone.

Stress triggers

Parenthood comes with accompanying financial implications. Scientific studies have found that some unemployed male parents experienced more instances of not being able to maintain an erection. This decrease in sexual function was, however, not reported in unemployed female parents.

It all comes down to the fact that masculinity is traditionally associated with the ability to provide for the family. Related studies also report that more women than men are willing to work fewer hours or even relinquish employment in favour of family.

Also after having children, many women struggle with body changes that can have a negative impact on body image and consequently reduce their sex drive. Women who feel uncomfortable with the physical changes experience sexual discordance with their partners.