Objectives: To determine the prevalence of extra-marital sexual affairs as well as other aspects of male sexual behavior during pregnancy in Nigeria.
Methods: A questionnaire survey of the husbands of consecutive women who delivered in three tertiary care centers in south-eastern Nigeria within an 8-week period. The data were analyzed by means of simple percentages and descriptive and inferential statistics, using t-tests, chi-square tests and regression equations at the 95% confidence level.
Results: 279 (88.3%) of the 316 eligible husbands responded to the questionnaire. A total of 78 (28.0%) of the respondents engaged in extra-marital sexual relationships during pregnancy. Of the respondents, 36.6% and 32.3% experienced a decrease in achievement of erection and orgasm, respectively. While libido decreased in 41.9%, coital frequency declined in 72.4% of the respondents. On univariate analysis, respondent's age > or = 40 years, duration of marriage > or = 5 years, having an extra-marital sexual partner and beliefs that coitus during pregnancy should be less frequent or can cause miscarriage were significant predictors of reduced coital frequency while a belief that coitus enhances fetal well-being was a significant predictor of increased coital frequency during pregnancy (P<0.05 for each variable). On multivariate logistic regression, three factors were statistically significant predictors of reduced coital frequency - age > or = 40 years (OR=2.3; 95% C.I., 1.9-2.3) and beliefs that coitus during pregnancy can cause miscarriage (OR=1.9; 95% C.I., 1.5-2.3) and should be less frequent (OR=1.9; 95% C.I., 1.8-2.5).
Conclusions: Personal beliefs significantly affect sexual relationships between Nigerian husbands and their pregnant wives, making approximately one-third of husbands engage in extra-marital relationships as a way to satisfy their unmet sexual need during pregnancy. There is a need to educate husbands and their pregnant wives on sexual matters during pregnancy.