Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Do We Know About Perinatal Sexuality? A Scoping Review on Sexoperinatality - Part II

The intimate and sexual dimension of future and new parenting couples' relationship is the most affected and the most vulnerable during the transition to parenthood. The purpose of this scoping review is to present the portrait of perinatal sexuality through 123 empirical articles published in the last 15 years. This second article in a series of two is about sexuality during labor and birth, during the postpartum, and in relation to breastfeeding. 

A total of 29 sexual variables were analyzed. Sexuality during the intrapartal and postnatal periods is very diversified. Some recurring items, however, can be identified: a period of non-sexuality in the first postnatal months, followed by a gradual return of sexuality from 3 to 6 months postpartum and continuing until 12 months or more. 

Sexuality during the intrapartum is considered taboo and couples' experiences can be at opposite ends: some couples' experiences are sensual and erotic during childbirth, while others experience birth trauma with a negative sexual impact postnatally. 

Sexuality during breastfeeding is also taboo with a negative impact on women's sexuality. In all of these circumstances, women's and men's sexuality are affected and a multitude of simultaneous physiological and psychological factors affect their experiences. 

Fluctuations in the intimate and sexual dimensions of the conjugal relationship are considered as a natural phenomenon but temporary. Sexoperinatal interventions should be part of holistic perinatal health care in order to help couples maintain a positive intimate and sexual relationship.

Purchase full article [in French] at:

  • 1Université d'Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. Electronic address:
  • 2École des sciences infirmières, université d'Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. Electronic address:
  • 3Département de sociologie, institut de recherche sur la santé des populations, université d'Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. Electronic address:
  • 4École de psychologie, université d'Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. Electronic address:
  •  2016 Mar 14. pii: S0368-2315(15)00348-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jgyn.2015.11.001.

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