Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 843–854 | Cite as

Sexual Activity and Attitudes as Predictors of Sexual Satisfaction During Pregnancy: A Multi-Level Model Describing the Sexuality of Couples in the First 12 Weeks

  • Sofia Jawed-WesselEmail author
  • Jon Santo
  • Jay Irwin
Original Paper


The sexual satisfaction of couples during pregnancy is an under-researched area of study. Several limitations exist within the current literature, including a lack of inquiry into attitudes about sex during pregnancy, analysis of the relationship between sexual satisfaction and sexual behaviors, and analysis of dyadic interactions within the couple. The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationships between attitudes toward having sex during pregnancy, various sexual behaviors, and sexual satisfaction among expectant couples via multilevel structural equation modeling. Recruitment focused on mixed-gender monogamous couples where the pregnant individual was between 8 and 12 weeks of gestation, and both partners were soon-to-be first time parents. Touching, hugging, or holding, kissing, vaginal and oral sex, and rubbing each other’s genitals were all common behaviors among the 116 couples in the current investigation. Anal sex and sex toy use were less common, but far from absent. According to our model, attitudes toward having sex during pregnancy significantly predicted sexual satisfaction by operating through specific sexual behaviors: kissing, vaginal fingering, and vaginal intercourse, while use of a toy alone and use of a toy with partner were independent predictors of sexual satisfaction. Gender had a direct relationship with satisfaction (men were more satisfied), as well as indirect relationship with satisfaction through an interaction with vaginal fingering and use of a sex toy alone. While multiple past month sexual behaviors were likely to increase satisfaction among pregnant and non-expectant couples alike, this improvement might depend on which behaviors are included and the gender of the individual.


Pregnancy Sexual behaviors Sexual satisfaction Attitudes toward having sex 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health and Kinesiology, University of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA

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