Crying after sex: Men and women do it and there's nothing to be ashamed of.
Almost half of women supposedly cry after sex
Ever cried or felt depressed after sex? Apparently you’re not alone. If recent reports are to be believed, almost half of all women – rather than collapsing in a tired and sweaty but ultimately satiated heap after sex – are finding themselves miserable at best and in floods of tears at worst.
New Research found that 46 per cent of us have suffered the post-sex blues (also called post-coital dysphoria or PCD) - marked by tearfulness, feelings of depression, aggression and anxiety.
More than five per cent of 230 women polled said they’d experienced symptoms ‘a few times’ in the past month before taking the online survey. "I get really sad after sex. I want to be held, but I feel I can’t ask for it. It’s miserable." said Anna, 28.
A 2011 study, published in the International Journal of Sexual Health, found that a third of women said they had experienced feelings of depression even after ‘satisfactory sex’.
Laura, aged 28, said: “In the moments afterwards, there are times when we’ll be having a cuddle and I’ll dissolve into tears. “Sometimes the feelings pass within a few hours. But if we’ve had sex at bedtime, the feeling can extend to morning and I wake up still feeling sad.”
Can hormones really be blamed?
While researching this article, I did indeed come across many women who said they suffered from the post-sex blues. “I often cry after sex” Sophie, 25, told me. “More often when I don’t orgasm, I think maybe it’s about having a lot of hormones in your body without any kind of release.”
Anna, 28, echoed Sophie’s sentiment. “I get really sad after sex. I don’t always cry but I get very quite and distant, I want to be held, but I feel I can’t ask for it. It’s miserable.”
The research is cloudy but those who believe in PCD generally claim that it’s hormonal, which rankles with me. It seems far too easy to assume any reaction a woman has is “just hormonal”. The assumption that we’re slaves to our hormones does the entire gender a disservice.
"Post-coital sadness isn’t restricted to women – something that rang true in my research." Dr Petra Boynton confirmed my suspicions, saying: “In terms of feeling sad, depressed or emotional after sex, it is something that does happen, although the range of emotions can vary and data on this is limited, and very poor.”
She added that post-coital sadness isn’t restricted to women – something that rang true in my research. “My boyfriend cries after sex sometimes” said Charlie, 31. “It really freaked me out the first time. But I’ve kind of got used to the idea that he’s emotional. And it’s nothing to worry about.”
Anna, who told me that she cries after sex, felt similarly. “I’ve also known my boyfriend to get really blue after sex. He’s quite needy and very tactile, which isn’t like him normally.”
Relationship experts were asked to shed some light on what’s going on. They explained:
“Sex comes in different flavours and colours, so there are different reasons why we might feel a lot after the experience. If our love-making has been slow and deep and very connected emotionally, we are likely to have opened ourselves and allowed ourselves to feel vulnerable. If we aren’t used to that, we may find ourselves having a reaction afterwards; missing the closeness, wanting more, being uncomfortable with the feelings that are arising in our very open state.”
Dr Boynton echoed Day’s feelings, though suggested it’s not just deeply emotional sex that can create an emotional bond. “It also may depend on the kind of sex you're having. So you could expect to feel quite emotional or intense following a particularly involved fantasy or role play, or BDSM, or perhaps with someone you've liked for a very long time and discover they feel as you do.
“Or you may find it feels very emotional for different reasons – for example, following sex after pregnancy loss where you're trying to get pregnant but also feeling sad about your miscarriage.” "The study doesn’t take in to account the type of sex they’re having or the intensity of their orgasm."
I don’t deny that feeling sad after sex is a fact of life for some women (and men). What bothers me is the need to pathologize what's seemingly an emotional response. To make out we have some sort of 'disorder'. From speaking to women who have experienced PCD, or whose partners have, the only common thread was an unhappy feeling.
The Sexual Medicine study doesn’t take in to account the situation between the sexual partners, the type of sex they’re having, their week at work, or the intensity of their orgasm.
Sex can be intense; life can be intense. Feeling that intensity is perfectly normal, and there’s nothing wrong with the expression of emotions afterwards - from either gender.
There’s a whole raft of reasons you might feel down after sex. What you don’t need on top of post sex tears is someone telling you that you’re suffering from any kind of syndrome.