Most studies on pregnancy, childbirth, and sexuality suffer from methodological problems. The studies are based on nonrandom convenience samples. The samples often are small. Some rely on retrospective reports about sexual behavior during pregnancy or about resumption of sexual activity after childbirth, introducing possible inaccuracies in memory. There has been little consistency across studies in the variables measured or in the definition of key variables, such as breastfeeding. These problems make it difficult to reconcile the conflicting results. Moreover, most studies have used single-gender designs, interviewing women only; this reflects an assumption that sexuality during pregnancy and postpartum is a only a women’s issue and ignores the potential impact on husbands or partners.
From a feminist perspective, the most serious issue is the androcentric focus on penis-in-vagina intercourse as the only or primary sexual behavior of importance. Prior studies have not, for example, inquired about women’s sexual expression through masturbation.