Sexual distress is widely studied in women but how common is it in women who are expecting?
It is very important to explore this link because pregnant women have been known to suffer from low sexual and emotional fulfillment.
The study, which has recently been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, investigated the ratio of women who faced (or didn’t face) sexual distress during pregnancy, based on differences in sexual and emotional satisfaction.
Two hundred and sixty-one participants took part in the study that required answering questions in an online survey. Participants’ answers were gauged on various scales that measured sexual distress, functioning and satisfaction. Of the 230 sexually-active women, 14% had stated that they faced sexual distress without any sexual problems while almost a quarter(26%) had stated that they were faced with sexual distress and problems. Overall 42% of the participants met the psychological criteria for sexual distress.
These measures pointed to the fact that higher sexual distress and lower sexual functioning resulted in poor sexual satisfaction when compared to pregnant women who had higher sexual function, lower sexual problems and lower sexual distress.
Sexual functioning was measured using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. A core less than 26.55 indicates a sexual problem. The brief questionnaire assesses different measures of sexual functioning includingpain, satisfaction, sexual arousal and orgasm.
FSFI determines sexual functioning by comparing women who have a clinical history of sexual arousal disorder, with controls. It is important to remember that the scale does not diagnose sexual problems and should not replace complete sexual history in clinical trials.
Sexual distress is a major problem faced by many women, especially during pregnancy.The appropriate course of action is to first identify the symptoms of sexual distress, and refer women who show these signs and symptoms to a psychologist or sex therapist. It is important to revitalize emotional harmony and help improve relationship satisfaction and sexual happiness in these women.
Sexual Distress During Pregnancy: Why Is It So Prevalent?
Sexual distress is quite common during pregnancy, and there are several reasons behind it. First of all during pregnancy, frequency of sex naturally comes to a standpoint, causing both partners to lose intimacy.
Moreover, her sexual distress worsens as the pregnancy continues. She starts to become dissatisfied with her own body image, as she tends to perceive herself as being less attractive than she was before getting pregnant.
Another reason for sexual distress is the physical discomfort that a woman feels while trying to get intimate with her partner. Women cited dyspareunia as the main reason for sexual distress as well. Orgasm may also cause muscle cramps and spasms in pregnant women.
Vasocongestion takes hours to heal. is not relieved even after an orgasm subsides. Muscle swelling, increased vascular blood flow and subsequent elevated blood pressure make penetration painful.
This is further proved by a 2009 study that revealed that sexual function was influenced with a massive drop in all FSFI function measures during the third trimester of pregnancy in teens and adults alike.
Decreased hormonal activity in women is what causes sexual dysfunction that is normally observed during pregnancy. Although, any study to legitimize these claims is missing.
Generally speaking a woman loses interest in sex naturally during pregnancy, which further aggravates emotional distress and adds fuel to relationship issues.