parenthood, sexual intimacy, emotionally focused therapy, relationships
The transition to parenthood requires a significant amount of adjustment and often leads to a decrease in a couple’s relationship satisfaction. Specifically, new parents often experience attachment distress that can negatively affect their sexual relationship. Attachment distress may stem from the over prioritization of the parent role, postpartum fatigue and overall toll on new mothers, and unreasonable sexual expectations. One specific treatment that may help couples to overcome the negative repercussions that the transition to parenthood may have on their sexual relationship is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT uses three stages, cycle de-escalation, changing interactional patterns, and consolidation/integration. These stages are broken into nine steps that aid parents in learning how to acknowledge their emotions and unmet attachment needs, as well as how to change their interaction patterns to have an increase in positive interactions and thereby develop a more secure attachment. Overall, through EFT, couples may learn how to cope with the changes in their sexual relationship during the postpartum period, leading to more positive relationship outcomes.
"Sexual Intimacy After the Transition to Parenthood: Using Emotionally Focused Therapy,"
Intuition: The BYU Undergraduate Journal of Psychology: Vol. 15:
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/intuition/vol15/iss2/7