While consensual sex is fun, exciting and all the other good stuff, when we think about the post-sex time that we spend with our partner, it normally involves cuddling and some content pillow talking. However, many of us have soon come to realise that’s not what normally happens. If you’ve felt like you were on top of the world while orgasming and suddenly felt plummeting down as you finished, you’re not alone. Post Coital Dysphoria (PCD) or Post coital blues is very common and happens more frequently to a lot more people than you think. However, the question arises that why does it make you feel sad after doing something that is supposed to be blissful?
So what exactly is Post Coital Dysphoria?
PCD or the post-sex blues can be described as “feelings of anxiety, sadness, melancholy, agitation or even aggression after sex”. These feelings occur regardless of whether the sex was satisfactory or not and generally occur for the partner after the act is over. Some people even find themselves feeling like this after masturbating.
Now you may think that maybe they’re feeling sad after sex because it wasn’t good for them but a 2011 study points to over one-third women feeling like this even after having satisfactory and pleasurable sex.
More than 46% of the 230 women polled by Sexual Medicine journal say that they have felt depressed or fleeting moments of sadness after sex at some point in their life. Another eye-opening statistic is that out of that, around 2% of women said that they felt the symptoms of PCD every single time they had sex.
One would think that if a significant amount of women feel this way, there must be some credible research to find out why but no real reasons have been linked to why PCD would occur. However, experts have attributed a few reasons why you find yourself exhibiting similar symptoms
Your horny hormones could be to blame
While sex can be emotional and intimate, it is also just a culmination of our hormones. From Dopamine being secreted to help us feel good and reach our climax, prolactin is secreted just right after we orgasm to help our body ‘comedown’ from the orgasm. Researchers say this high levels of prolactin could be the reason why some women feel ‘empty’ and ‘low’ after they orgasm. While biology is not something we can really control, the emotional aspect of how we feel post-sex is something that we can.
Post sex care is missing
Just as a post-game analysis is a must in any sport, post-sex care is also integral in making sure your partner and your needs are being met. Post sex pillow take is a ritual that not only helps you communicate with your partner but also adds a new level of intimacy to your bond. Without it, one may be left feeling vulnerable and this lack of intimacy may give rise to feelings of dysphoria.
“I was in a friends with benefits relationship with this one guy and every time we hooked up, I was left feeling sad because it felt like I only mattered to him when he wanted to have sex. While this was just a physical relationship, if he had paid attention to my needs I would have been much more satisfied after ever hookup” Sanjana tells Bingedaily on why she was left feeling sad after having sex. This also then begs the question, are you having sex for the right reasons?
Think about why you’re having sex
Sex is such a personal choice that there cannot really be a ‘wrong’ reason to someone having it, but if you end up in tears after each time you hook up, something must be going wrong.
A potential reason why you may be facing post-coital dysphoria is that you are not addressing what you really need. For instance, My friend Nisha would hook up with this guy she really liked but every time after she got home, she would come to me crying. “The sex was so good but he just wants to remain friends with benefits and I can’t lose him” she would normally tell me. If you find yourself in a situation where you enjoy having sex but it doesn’t align with what you need, it may cause an imbalance in your life and lead to PCD symptoms. While the reason why you’re having sex matters, the quality of it plays an important role too
An unsatisfying sexual experience is a valid reason for you to feel sad
We have all had that one hookup where the sex just doesn’t leave us glowing and instead leaves us with regret and well, feeling sad. I have seen so many of my friends feel guilty for finding sex unsatisfying, but sometimes it just doesn’t hit the right spot. If our partner is not able to fulfil our needs that one night or if your hot date just did not live up to your expectation, it is perfectly normal to feel sad about a sexual experience that doesn’t leave you fulfilled.
While early research focused on women, men seem to be affected too
Earlier not much data was available on whether men seem to be facing PCD too but new research by Robert Schweitzer brings light on this aspect. Amongst the 1208 men that were part of the study, as many as 41% reported to feeling symptoms of PCD at least once in their lifetime. The study also brings an interesting comparison that while PCD may manifest itself as melancholy or sadness in women, it men it typically manifests as anger, frustration or a loss of sense of self. This could be explained by sex being directly associated with masculinity or their ‘ability’ and any deviation from feeling satisfied may cause men to feel like they’re not living their purpose. However feeling this way after sex could be extremely confusing and while it's not entirely understood, you’re not alone in feeling this way.
Any signs of PCD should be treated with sensitivity and care
Whether it is you or someone you know that is going through PCD, it is of paramount importance that feelings of PCD should be treated with extreme sensitivity. While occasional post-sex sadness is something we all experience if these feelings persist over time and occur every single time you have sex, it may be a sign that intervention is needed. Whether that intervention is re-evaluating your relationship or just seeking guidance, you are the best judge. Ultimately sex should be an act that should leave you wet in places other than your eyes.