Gay parents, like heterosexual parents, have less time for intimacy than they did before having children, and very few are overly concerned about the change, according to a study released by San Francisco State University.
“When gay couples become parents, they become very focused on the kids, they are tired, there is less time for communication and less desire for sex,” Colleen Hoff, a SFSU professor of sexuality studies, said. “They go through a lot of the same changes as heterosexual couples who have kids.”
Nearly 20 percent of gay male couples nationwide are raising children and 48 couples from Salt Lake City and San Francisco were interviewed about the changes in their sex lives after having children.
“We found that gay fathers have less time for sex and less emphasis on sexuality, which could mean they are at less risk for HIV,” Hoff said. “Many fathers said they feel a sense of responsibility toward their children which motivates them to avoid risky sexual behavior.”
Very few reported the decrease in sexual activity to be a problem in the relationship and most said they felt a responsibility to their children and the decrease in sexual activity was part of what happens in this stage of life.
The study also found that trends surrounding sexual activity outside their partnership after becoming parents did not change.
“There wasn’t the shift that we thought we might find,” Hoff said. “For the most part, those who were monogamous before becoming parents said they stayed with that arrangement. Those who had open relationships before having children reported that they kept to that agreement.”
Gay parents who are in an open relationship are less willing to talk to others about that choice, the study found.
“Some men felt that there is this assumption that if you are a gay parent you are monogamous,” Hoff explained. “This kind of stigma around gay parents’ sexuality could be a concern if gay fathers are reluctant to talk to their physician about their sexual agreement and get tested for HIV.”