Title

Sexuality among fathers of newborns in Jamaica

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Background While a growing body of research has addressed pregnancy and postpartum impacts on female sexuality, relatively little work has been focused upon men. A few studies suggest that a fraction of men report decreases in libido during a partner’s pregnancy and/or postpartum, with alterations in men’s sexual behavior also commonly aligning with those of a partner. Here, we investigate sexuality among fathers of newborn children in Jamaica. In Jamaica, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, relationship dynamics can be fluid, contributing to variable paternal roles and care, as well as a high fraction of children born into visiting relationships in which parents live apart from each other. Methods During July-September, 2011, 3410 fathers of newborns with an average age of 31 (SD = 8) years participated in the fatherhood arm of a national birth cohort study (JAKids). These fathers answered questions about sociodemographic background, relationship quality and sexuality (e.g., various components of sexual function such as sex drive and sexual satisfaction as well as number of sexual partners the previous 12 months and sexual intercourse the previous week) during a visit to a hospital or birth center within a day or two of their child being born. Results Showed that sex drive was more variable than other components (erections, ejaculation, problem assessment) of sexual function, though sexual satisfaction was generally high. Thirty percent of men reported two or more sexual partners the previous 12 months. Nearly half of men indicated not engaging in sexual intercourse the past week. Multivariate analyses showed that relationship status was related to various aspects of men’s sexuality, such as men in visiting relationships reporting more sexual partners and more openness to casual sex. Relationship quality was the most consistent predictor of men’s sexuality, with men in higher quality relationships reporting higher sexual satisfaction, fewer sexual partners, and higher frequency of sex, among other findings. Conclusions These results provide an unusually large, quantitative look at men’s sexuality during the transition to fatherhood in Jamaica, offering helpful insight to would-be parents, clinicians or others seeking to anticipate the effects of a partner’s pregnancy on men’s sexuality.