Gay parents deal with the same kind of issues about physical intimacy after having children as straight parents.

"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. They go through a lot of the same changes as heterosexual couples who have kids," said lead author Colleen Hoff, professor of sexuality studies at San Francisco State University.

A related study on gay parenting says that, gay fathers who have less positive self image tend to be stressed.

For the study, researchers looked at 48 gay couple who were raising children. They found that parenting causes the same kind of emotions in gay parents as it does in straight parents. The present study was done to find out if parenting keeps gay fathers from risky sexual behaviors or makes them more inclined to have more partners. The participants in the study reported that they had less sex after they started to raise children. Also, they said that parenting increased their commitment towards each other.

"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. Many fathers said they feel a sense of responsibility toward their children which motivates them to avoid risky sexual behavior," Hoff said.

However, researchers found that gay parents kept the same sexual commitments towards their partner even after they started parenting.

"There wasn't the shift that we thought we might find. 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," Hoff said.

The study suggests that gay couples must be provided an opportunity to talk to their primary health-care providers about their sexual agreements.

"Some men felt that there is this assumption that if you are a gay parent you are monogamous. 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," Hoff said.

The study was published in the journal Couple and Family Psychology.