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The survey of sexual functioning of women with children and without children and its relationship to marital satisfaction.


Family, this seemingly small social unit which is a major pillar of the community is essential for any society. It is a sacred subject and even if there seems to be little commitment. [12]

Each family is composed of two people that the first form is the result of the marriage between a man and a woman. So apart from the arrival of family issues and needs of the couple, the survey of family problems would not be logical [12]

It should know that man has several instincts and needs that satisfying in a timely manner and its amount has a significant impact on his physical and mental health. One of these needs is sexual needs. Sexual needs has been accepted as one of the most fundamental pillars of the family and its satisfaction is very important and necessary [6].

But following the childbirth and for the sake of situation, this period is one of the courses of life of women that is accompanied with a high prevalence of sexual dissatisfaction. Women usually face with sexual problems such as painful intercourse, lack of sexual desire, vaginal dryness, and not reaching orgasm that lack of their knowledge could have serious damages to woman and with her husband. [4]

So that some couples who are separated most of the time complain with abnormal sex or sexual weakness, thus it can be said that sexual dissatisfaction can disrupt family life happiness [12].

Statistics show that 5% of couples in marital stages, have experienced sexual dysfunction.40 % Couples with marital satisfaction have sexual dysfunction or relative dissatisfaction of such relationships. Approximately 5/0 married women over 35 years, have never experienced orgasm. But few have been undergoing counseling and treatment. Sexuality and sexual function is considered part of the overall health of women and concerns and sexual dysfunction are common in the general population. [5]

Loss of sexual desire is the most common problem for women [21].

Decreased sexual desire usually appears as a problem at a framework of a relationship, whenever it affects the sexual life. And a major cause of sexual dysfunction is decreased sexual desire after childbirth that this usually occurs after hormonal changes after childbirth [21].

So 80/0 of women in the first quarter of postpartum reported decreased sexual desire and 70/0 of them in the six months after giving birth were faced with decreased sexual desire [13].Three important factors known to decrease Sexual desire after childbirth include:

1. Physical Causes, 2 personal reasons, 3. Social factors which can well named mental and emotional Causes. The emotional and psychological factors in recent decades in creating a special place have decreased sexual desire in women. Thus the signs of postpartum depression in the past few decades, take into consideration many medical specialists in psychology [8].

So, 10% of mothers experience postpartum depression within the first year. Loss of sexual desire is one of the characteristics of this disease. These patients need enough support and psychological therapies [5].

Previous studies that has been done in the field of sexual desire loss and its performance after childbirth, overall is the marker of decreased desire, sexual satisfaction and sexual pleasure during the postpartum period [4]. Another research was done as the women sexual experiences after childbirth, a descriptive study- an analysis of 300 women who experienced the first childbirth (caesarean or natural) with a live baby till Six months after giving birth were studied during a visit to the health center. Results showed that 98% of women followed their sexual activity up to 6 months after giving birth.83 % of women had at least one sexual problem in the first three months postpartum that this figure dropped to 64% in the six months after childbirth but did not reach the level before pregnancy (38%). [15]

Another research that was performed by [15] as female sexual dysfunction and its related factors, the results showed that 63/2% of the samples studied had a problem in their matrimonial relationships. There was statistically a significant relationship between the marital history and sexual dysfunction, so that with increasing years of marriage, fewer problems had been reported in sexual relationships.

In another research study that is quite relevant to the subject of the author and was done by [6] entitled Sexual relations problems caused by the first childbirth, the findings showed that sexual problems due to childbirth such as vaginal dryness, lack of sexual desire, not reaching orgasm, bleeding after intercourse, painful penetration, pain during intercourse, oral sex and anal sex has to apply their sexual partner that the abundance of these problems in the postpartum period is greater than before the pregnancy.

All the studies conducted, and also the present study showed decreased sexual desire in women after childbirth.

Sexual Satisfaction:

Sexual Satisfaction: analysis and judgments of every person in relation to his/her sexual behavior that s/he thought it would be fun [5].

Marital Satisfaction:

Ellis defined marital satisfaction as objective feelings of contentment and satisfaction, pleasure experienced by married couple when all aspects are considered in their lives [2].

The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of the first childbirth on women's sexual health and identification of the factors that are related to it.


Because the present study was to review existing deals, the research is descriptive. 120 Married women (60 women with children and 60 women without children), of Quad areas of Mashhad were selected accidentally with sampling and available method among health centers--the Clinic of Gynecology and Obstetrics specialists.

Of these, 2 patients had a Ph.D. 9 people with Master's degrees, 30 bachelor degrees, 16 people with Associate degree, 51 diploma degree and 8 have a high school diploma graduates and 4 individuals are not clear in their studies. Their ages range is between 20 to 30 years.

Research Tools:

Enrich marital satisfaction questionnaire:

Enrich questionnaire was formed by (Olson, Fernier, Drakman). The questionnaire is applied to assess potential problem areas or identify areas of strength and full assistant marital relations. Each of the scales of the questionnaire is related to one of the important areas of marital relations.

Assessment of these areas within a marital relationship can describe couples potential problems and will identify strengths areas. This questionnaire was also used to identify couples who requiring consultation and strengthen their relationship. In addition this questionnaire has been used as a valid tool for a variety of paper to assess marital satisfaction.

Enrich questionnaire is a 115 question tool and other form has 125 questions and is composed of 12 subscales, the first scale is five questions and other scales each of them are 10 questions.

Subscales of the questionnaire were:

1--A contract response

2--Sexual Satisfaction

3--Find character


5--conflict resolution

6--Financial Management

7--Leisure Activities

8--Sexual relations

9--Marriage and Children

10--Family and Friends

11--The egalitarianism roles

12--Religious Orientation

Sexual Satisfaction Questionnaire:

Because there was no specific questionnaire before conducting this study to determine the sexual satisfaction in Iran, researchers have tried to develop a questionnaire and confirm its face validity by a number of specialists in this field. The content validity of the questionnaire that was made by the researcher and was performed by [2], were examined by 8 expert who were faculty member with doctoral degrees in psychology and counseling, after they were asked to express the percentage for the validity. Then it came to mean and 70/0 content validity was achieved and was approved by the faculty members and criterion validity was performed on 20 subjects to be measured.

Due to lack of another test in determination of sexual relation of the present case were compared to other test results to obtain construct validity. To get the reliability, credibility and validity of the method ((half off)) method was used. That, the odd and even questions graded separately and correlation coefficient was obtained. Static coefficient of 0/75was obtained.


Results of a population of 120 married women were selected for the study. Their mean age was 27 years and one to four years have been passed after their marriage. 60 women with children and 60 women were in the group of married women without children.

According to the t calculated value in the above table (p<0.05 ' df=118 ' t=-2/4), a significant level of 0/017 is achieved. That is, it is less than Our error the 0/05. Therefore, the null hypothesis or equality of sexual function of women without children and women with children is rejected. However, the mean score for each group is determined, Mean sexual function in women with no children is 57/3, and for women with children is 28/3, so the first hypothesis that indicates better sexual function in women without children than women with children is approved.

According to the t calculated value in the above table (p<0.05 ' df=118 ' t=-1/8), a significant level of 0/005 is achieved. That is, it is less than our error the 0/05. Therefore, the null hypothesis or marital satisfaction of women without children and women with children is rejected. Therefore, the marital satisfaction in women without children is better than marital satisfaction in women with children.

The above table shows the marital satisfaction of women with children and without children, so that the table results shows that the severe discontent and dissatisfaction in the group with children is 13%, while in the group of women without children is 3% and average satisfaction in both groups is 37%.High satisfaction and great satisfaction in groups with children is 60% and in the group without children is 50%

The following table shows the frequency of sex after childbirth in women with children:
Table 6: Frequency of sex after childbirth in women with children.

Row     Sex status   Abundance   Percent

1       Increased    12          20%
2       Reduced      31          52%
3       Unchanged    17          28%
Total                60          100%

Considering the result of the chi-square test, P-Value = 0.008 is obtained that is lower than 0/05 error value. Therefore, the assumption of constant frequencies in a choice of three options has grown dropped and unchanged is rejected. This means that option of having a sexual relationship after the childbirth has fallen and significantly more than other options has been selected (52%). This indicates that according to respondents view, having a child has a reduction effect on the number of their sex.

This issue is examined in this section that the number of demand sex from his wife has an impact on the number of women sex after having child. To achieve this goal, using analysis of variance ANOVA, average number of sex requested by partners of women with children are compared. The results are presented in the above table.

Discussion and Conclusion:

Between the scores of sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction, there is a significant relationship and consequently we may realize the association between sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction. Because they have a positive and high correlation. It should be noted that the detection and elimination of sexual dysfunction has a significant role in improving the quality of marital relationships which itself is an important step toward preventing family conflicts and its consequences. Due to the fact that married people, on different levels of marriage have varied and numerous behaviors and sexual patterns, we can bring the cognitive changes by teaching the couples before their marriage, increasing their awareness and sexual knowledge of family members and improving beliefs and attitudes. [13]

Finally, the sexual health means women sexual health care, concerns discerns and assists them for disorders they treat, and the performance improvement. Increased sexual satisfaction should be considered as the main point of knowledge of a healthy family and it should be further considered by psychologists and family health experts.

The present study showed that Loss of sexual desire among sexual dysfunction in women is with the highest frequency. Especially in women who have experienced pregnancy and giving birth. The results show p=%17; that is, p<%5 and this proves that this desire has been reduced in women after childbirth. This result is Similar to findings [4] that decreased sexual desire was observed after childbirth in women who had experienced motherhood for the first time, so as these studies indicated a desire to reduce the appearance of sexual pleasure and Sexual pleasure during the postpartum period .

In addition, Results showed that by increasing the number of years of life, sexual function decreased. It means, the loss of sexual desire in women who have passed on a few years of their marriage rather than those who were in the first years of life were observed.

The findings also showed that women who reported a decrease in sexual desire and those who said their postpartum sexual desire have not changed; Sexual satisfaction mean scores were lower than those reported an increase in sexual desire. This means that the Mean sexual satisfaction in women who had increased sex3/ 84, in women who had decreased sex 3/ 18, and those who had changed their sex drive 16/3 were obtained.

Another issue that we have studied the in the case of reduction of sexual desire was the average number of sex requests by her husband so as those who increased Sexual desire after childbirth, the average number of their husband's request of sex per week was about 4/8 and women who had not changed their sexual desire, 3/3 was obtained. Women who reported a decrease in sexual desire, the average number of requested sexual relation by her husband has been reported 3. Again, the results show two groups who announced declining and lacking of change in sexual relations per week, there was no significant difference in the number of sex.

As previous researches and the results of this study show, there is a significant correlation between sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction. The results show a significant relationship between marital satisfaction of women with children and women without children. So as the results of this study showed that marital satisfactions mean scores in women with children was 3/4, and women who had no children 3/6 were obtained. So we can conclude that marital satisfactions for women without children are more than women who have children. As shown, marital satisfaction for women who had no children are more than women who have children. Overall, the results suggest that sexual satisfaction in women without children is higher than for women with children and sex is an important factor in this issue However, other possible causes may be involved in increasing marital satisfaction. Here we have focused on some factors:

1--Family economic problems that have arisen after the child's birth

2--Conflicts arising from mother's employment and having children

3--Energy consumption in women with a child cause to have no investment in connection with their spouse and all of the above factors can cause mental and psychological stress. It is possible that this pressure create a tension for a couple in their relationships. This also helps reduce fading of couple relationships and at last may result in reducing the marital satisfaction.

It should be noted the subscale of Financial Management of ENRICH Marital Questionnaire was also studied and it was found that financial management also has a direct relationship with increased marital satisfaction scores. This study confirms the findings of many researchers regarding marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction are clearly related. Therefore, considering the present study and the results of this study it seems to inform and create sufficient skills in relation to marital relations and counseling before marriage will have a special place in improving and stability of marital life.


The authors of this paper sincerely thank all those who have involved in the study. It is worth noting that this study was conducted without funding from governmental and non-governmental agencies and the authors have no connection with the subject of interest.


Article history:

Received 28 February 2014

Received in revised form 19 April 2014

Accepted 23 April 2014

Available online 25 May 2014


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(1) Elahe Pour Akbaran, (2) Seyd Amir Amin Yazdi

(1) Young Researchers and Elite Club, Torbat-E-Heydarieh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Torbat-E-Heydarieh, Iran

(2) Department of Psychology, University of Ferdosi, Mashhad, Iran

Corresponding Author: Elahe Pour Akbaran, Young Researchers and Elite Club, Torbat-e-heydarieh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Torbat-e-heydarieh, Iran,

Table 1: Distribution of the sample according to education level.

Row   Education Status   Freauency   Percent

1     Diploma            8           8/4%
2     Diploma            51          31%
3     Diploma            16          13%
4     Bachelor           30          25%
5     MA                 9           5/7%
6     PhD                2           7/1%
7     N                  4           3/3%
Sum                      120         100%

Table 2: Age distribution of the samples according to their separation
having children.

Row   Age range        People     People with   Total       Percent
                       without    children      frequency

1     18 to 23 years   16         3             19th        16%
2     24 to 29 years   33         34            67th        56%
3     30 to 35 years   8          23            31st        26%
4     Lost             3          0             3           5/2%
Sum                    60         60            120         100%

Table 3: Results of t-test to compare the mean scores of sexual
satisfaction in individuals with children or without children.

Standard    Average   Number

71/0        28/3      60th     People with      Sexual
                               children         Satisfaction

58/0        57/3      60th     People without

Table 4: t-test for the ENRICH mean difference between those
with children and without children.

Standard    Average   Number

7/0         4/3       60th     People with      ENRICH score

6/0         6/3       60th     People without

Table 5: Distribution of frequency of marital satisfaction
in separation with their child status.

        Marital satisfaction

Child        Intense            Not Satisfied

        Number     Percent    Number     Percent

No      0          0          2          3%
Has     0          0          8          13%
sum     0          0          10         8%

        Marital satisfaction

Child     The average         High satisfaction

        Number     Percent    Number     Percent

No      22         37%        33         55%
Has     22         37%        28         47%
sum     44         37%        61         51%

        Marital satisfaction

Child   Great satisfaction          Total

        Number     Percent    Number     Percent

No      3          5%         60         100%
Has     2          3%         60         100%
sum     5          4%         120        100%

Table 7: Investigating the results obtained from the number
of demanding sex per week of both groups of subjects.

Row   Sex status    Average number    Standard deviation
                    of sex requests

1     Increased     8/4               65/1
2     Reduced       3                 2/1
3     Unchanged     3/3               3/1
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Author:Akbaran, Elahe Pour; Yazdi, Seyd Amir Amin
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Apr 15, 2014
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