New Research: What do changes to couples’ sexual well-being look like during the transition to parenthood? And does this look the same for everyone? Dr. Dawson and her colleagues at Dalhousie University and the University of Toronto recently published a study to answer these questions.

Rosen, N. O.,* Dawson, S. J.,* Leonhardt, N. D., Vannier, S. A., & Impett, E. A. (in press).
Trajectories of sexual well-being among couples in the transition to parenthood. Journal of
Family Psychology. * denotes shared first-authorship.

In this paper, we sampled 203 first-time parent couples and sought to establish unique classes of
trajectories at the level of the couple for four aspects of sexual well-being – sexual frequency,
desire, satisfaction, and distress. We found that changes to couples’ sexual well-being over time was heterogeneous. Sexual frequency had two classes: high (33%) and low (67%); sexual desire
had three classes: moderate (36%), high (25%), and discrepant (39%); sexual satisfaction had
two classes: high (64%) and low (36%); and sexual distress had two classes: low (76%) and
discrepant (24%). Overlap in classes of sexual well-being was variable such that high and low or
discrepant (between partners) classes did not always co-occur. Findings provide more nuanced
information about new parents’ postpartum sexual health, which may facilitate early assessment and intervention.