Communication changes the effects of sexual pain on sexual frequency in the pregnancy to postpartum transition

Tierney K. Lorenz, Erin L. Ramsdell, Rebecca L. Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate how sexual pain influences changes in sexual frequency from the pregnancy to postpartum transition, and to examine how couple’s sexual communication interacts with sexual pain during pregnancy. Methods: We explored data following 159 mixed-sex couples across the transition from pregnancy to 6 months postpartum. Couples completed the Relationship Quality Interview and the Marital Satisfaction Inventory-Revised, which assessed their sexual communication, pain and other sexual problems during pregnancy, and frequency of intercourse at pregnancy and postpartum. Results: Overall, couples reported a decline in sexual activity from pregnancy to postpartum. Women’s sexual pain during pregnancy influenced changes in sexual frequency only among couples who reported poorer communication about sex. Among couples reporting sexual pain and good communication, pain did not impact changes in sexual frequency (i.e. they experienced significant declines in sexual activity into the postpartum period, as expected). In contrast, among couples with poor communication, sexual frequency did not significantly decline. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that sexual communication alters the effects of sexual pain on postpartum sexual activity. Future research should examine if sexual communication training during pregnancy improves postpartum sexual wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Sexual pain
  • communication
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • sexual function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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