Sexual enjoyment and orgasm postpartum: sex differences and perceptual accuracy concerning partners' sexual experience

J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2002 Sep;23(3):147-55. doi: 10.3109/01674820209074667.


The sexual relations of parents at the postpartum stage have been researched relatively often, but still there exist serious research deficits (for example, neglect of male partners, of the later postpartum stages beyond the third month, and neglect of sexual feelings, enjoyment and orgasm). The aim of this study was to gain more knowledge about German couples' sexual enjoyment and orgasm with regard to non-genital tenderness, French kissing, breast stimulation, manual-genital stimulation, cunnilingus, fellatio, vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse and masturbation at seven months postpartum. As part of a larger longitudinal study 60 women and men (30 couples) answered a newly developed Sexual Preferences Questionnaire (SPQ), which assesses sexual activity and enjoyment. Descriptive data about sexual enjoyment, sex/gender differences and perceptual differences between self-report and reports of partners' enjoyment are analyzed and SPQ data are validated with interview and other questionnaire data (PFB-tenderness). Both genders find the same activities most pleasant (tenderness, vaginal intercourse, receiving manual-genital stimulation) and most exciting (intercourse, receiving manual-genital and oral-genital stimulation) and reach orgasm most easily through intercourse, masturbation and receiving manual-genital stimulation. But men generally describe a higher sexual enjoyment and overestimate their partners' enjoyment, especially with regard to female orgasm through intercourse. The results are critically discussed with regard to limitations and strengths of the sample and the method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Orgasm*
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Self-Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexuality*
  • Social Perception*