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If You Feel Sad Even After Fun, Consensual Sex, You’re Not Alone

Crying instead of crying out after sex? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears is real after sex for both men and women.

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Since sex is already such a huge taboo in India, conversation around it hardly goes beyond hushed whispers. Because there is never any mention of the first step in itself, no one talks about what comes after, which in some cases include melancholia, anxiety, tears and a general feeling of sadness.

Called Post Coital Tristesse (sadness in French) or (Post Coital Dysphoria), it is a state which is marked by all of these emotions after consensual sex. People who struggle with PCD can experience them anywhere between immediately to two hours later. And despite the common assumption, it’s not simply confined to women.

Dr Bhavna Barmi, Senior Clinical Psychologist at Fortis Escorts, New Delhi, describes PCD in the following manner:

“Post Coital Trisstesse or feeling sad after consensual sex is also known as “post-sex blues”. It refers to a feeling of immense sadness or agitation post consensual sex, despite the encounter being loving and satisfying. During PCD, some become sad and tearful after orgasm, while others become very argumentative.”

If You Feel Sad Even After Fun, Consensual Sex, You’re Not Alone

  1. 1. What is Happening to You Emotionally?

    Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
    The simple answer is lots! You may feel all of these emotions along with a desire to conceal them.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    The simple answer is lots! You may feel all of these emotions along with a desire to conceal them, aggravating your emotional state further. And the worst of all? Not even being aware where all of the sadness is coming from.

    Those with PCD might not be aware of the feeling and why they feel the way they do after an episode of intimacy. Post sex blues come with intense emotional reactions that might cause the person to be anxious, depressive and irritable. Both men and women might try to conceal their feelings from their partner.
    Dr Bhavna Barmi

    Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:

    Expand
  2. 2. Why Does it Happen?

    Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
    Another report points out that genetics could be one of the reasons for PCD.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    One reason for it is the hormones. Now, what happens when you’re turned on or engaging in a sexual act right up to orgasm, is the release of the feel-good-hormone dopamine. However, once the process is complete, the body balances out its secretion with the hormone prolactin. This particular hormone is blamed for your negative feelings after sex, despite you being in a perfectly healthy relationship, says this report.

    PCD is known to be caused due to hormonal fluctuations in the body. While having sex, increased levels of dopamine are being released. Post the activity, to combat these levels, the human body releases a hormone called prolactin. The consequent sudden drop in the dopamine level is majorly linked to the post-sex blues. This is further followed by an unforeseen recognition of being detached with the partner due to decline in the hormone rush which might result in feeling frustrated or sad. 
    Dr Bhavna Barmi

    Add to it negative feelings that might already be on your mind, but got pushed aside during a moment of passion, and it gets worse. If there are feelings of guilt, trauma of any kind, shame associated with sex, fear of commitment, baggage of a previous relationship, uncertainty about your partner - and the list goes on - it could further act as a trigger. (Scroll down for more detailed causes.)

    Another report points out that genetics could be a reason too for PCD.

    Expand
  3. 3. But Why Are We Talking About It?

    Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
    PCD is common in both men and women.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    All of this sounds quite intuitive if you think about it. Things get interesting when you realise how common it is and that it’s not simply confined to one gender. While in terms of research, it still remains a relatively nascent field, there have been studies as recent as February 2019 that point out that 41 percent of the total 1,208 male participants, from different nationalities, accepted that they had suffered from PCD at some point in their lives. Another 20.2 percent said they had experienced it in the last four weeks.

    When it comes to women, according to a 2015 study, half of the female participants too accepted to have faced it at some point in their lives, while about 5 percent said they had faced it regularly in the previous four weeks.

    Dr Barmi emphasises that it’s indeed a very common condition.

    It is a very common condition, but the irony is that it’s something that is not talked about. People also feel ashamed sharing it with their partners.
    Dr Bhavna Barmi
    Expand
  4. 4. Intimacy Has Nothing to do With It

    Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
    However studies have shown that couples who engage in affectionate behaviour post-coitus derive more satisfaction from their emotional and sexual equations.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    Whatever little data we have available on the phenomenon suggests that it’s not a problem of intimacy. Couples that are intimate and loving can also have a situation where one of the partners feels isolated and sad.

    However studies have shown that couples who engage in affectionate behaviour post-coitus derive more satisfaction from their emotional and sexual equations, and this can be seen as a potential way of addressing it.

    Expand
  5. 5. What Causes It?

    Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
    From brain chemistry to trauma to emotional inclination - anything can be a reason for PCD.
    (Photo: iStockphoto)

    From brain chemistry to trauma to emotional inclination - anything can be a reason for PCD. Dr Barmi lists down potential causes in the following manner:

    • Brain Chemistry: Being with a partner during sex is intense and emotionally exhausting and sometimes the mere thought of breaking that bond triggers immense sadness. After orgasm, there is release of oxytocin (also called the cuddle hormone) in the brain that helps partners feel connected. But the hormonal activity might also lead one to feel detached, followed by frustration and sadness. This pendulum movement can lead to a cocktail of emotions from - attachment to yearning.
    • Unnoticed Trauma: Sexual, physical and emotional exploitation in the past is often linked to PCD. There are high chances that even consensual sex might trigger the emotions associated with experience of a past trauma. This is especially noticed in individuals who have suffered any sort of physical/emotional/sexual abuse during their childhood.
    • Vulnerability: Sex in itself as an act is intimate and can, just by itself, trigger a lot of emotions.
    • Communication: Many of us, especially in the Eastern culture, have been brought up to believe that sex is shameful and can only be done after a certain age and only for a certain reason. Being not able to abide by these rules has the capability to cause emotional upheaval.
    Expand
  6. 6. How Do You Address It?

    When it comes to addressing the problem, the solutions primarily involve communication with your partner and reaching out to a mental health expert, if need be. Dr Barmi has a few suggestions.

    • Talk to your doctor: Many doctors either don’t validate it or aren’t aware of it. Sometimes it might also be an indication of depression, so, get yourself evaluated.
    • Consult a psychiatrist/psychologist: Post sex blues might result in postpartum depression in some cases. It’s integral to understand the triggers and treat them with the help of a mental health expert before the condition goes out of hand.
    • Maintain the hormonal balance in your body: Care about your hormones and exercise adequately and drink lots of water. Eating and sleeping habits need to be monitored.
    • Talk to our partner : You will need to understand that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Share it with your partner, sometimes communication is the solution to a lot of problems.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What is Happening to You Emotionally?

Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
The simple answer is lots! You may feel all of these emotions along with a desire to conceal them.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

The simple answer is lots! You may feel all of these emotions along with a desire to conceal them, aggravating your emotional state further. And the worst of all? Not even being aware where all of the sadness is coming from.

Those with PCD might not be aware of the feeling and why they feel the way they do after an episode of intimacy. Post sex blues come with intense emotional reactions that might cause the person to be anxious, depressive and irritable. Both men and women might try to conceal their feelings from their partner.
Dr Bhavna Barmi

Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Why Does it Happen?

Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
Another report points out that genetics could be one of the reasons for PCD.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

One reason for it is the hormones. Now, what happens when you’re turned on or engaging in a sexual act right up to orgasm, is the release of the feel-good-hormone dopamine. However, once the process is complete, the body balances out its secretion with the hormone prolactin. This particular hormone is blamed for your negative feelings after sex, despite you being in a perfectly healthy relationship, says this report.

PCD is known to be caused due to hormonal fluctuations in the body. While having sex, increased levels of dopamine are being released. Post the activity, to combat these levels, the human body releases a hormone called prolactin. The consequent sudden drop in the dopamine level is majorly linked to the post-sex blues. This is further followed by an unforeseen recognition of being detached with the partner due to decline in the hormone rush which might result in feeling frustrated or sad. 
Dr Bhavna Barmi

Add to it negative feelings that might already be on your mind, but got pushed aside during a moment of passion, and it gets worse. If there are feelings of guilt, trauma of any kind, shame associated with sex, fear of commitment, baggage of a previous relationship, uncertainty about your partner - and the list goes on - it could further act as a trigger. (Scroll down for more detailed causes.)

Another report points out that genetics could be a reason too for PCD.

0

But Why Are We Talking About It?

Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
PCD is common in both men and women.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

All of this sounds quite intuitive if you think about it. Things get interesting when you realise how common it is and that it’s not simply confined to one gender. While in terms of research, it still remains a relatively nascent field, there have been studies as recent as February 2019 that point out that 41 percent of the total 1,208 male participants, from different nationalities, accepted that they had suffered from PCD at some point in their lives. Another 20.2 percent said they had experienced it in the last four weeks.

When it comes to women, according to a 2015 study, half of the female participants too accepted to have faced it at some point in their lives, while about 5 percent said they had faced it regularly in the previous four weeks.

Dr Barmi emphasises that it’s indeed a very common condition.

It is a very common condition, but the irony is that it’s something that is not talked about. People also feel ashamed sharing it with their partners.
Dr Bhavna Barmi
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Intimacy Has Nothing to do With It

Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
However studies have shown that couples who engage in affectionate behaviour post-coitus derive more satisfaction from their emotional and sexual equations.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Whatever little data we have available on the phenomenon suggests that it’s not a problem of intimacy. Couples that are intimate and loving can also have a situation where one of the partners feels isolated and sad.

However studies have shown that couples who engage in affectionate behaviour post-coitus derive more satisfaction from their emotional and sexual equations, and this can be seen as a potential way of addressing it.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

What Causes It?

Crying instead of crying out? Yes, feelings of sadness and tears are real after sex for both men and women.
From brain chemistry to trauma to emotional inclination - anything can be a reason for PCD.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

From brain chemistry to trauma to emotional inclination - anything can be a reason for PCD. Dr Barmi lists down potential causes in the following manner:

  • Brain Chemistry: Being with a partner during sex is intense and emotionally exhausting and sometimes the mere thought of breaking that bond triggers immense sadness. After orgasm, there is release of oxytocin (also called the cuddle hormone) in the brain that helps partners feel connected. But the hormonal activity might also lead one to feel detached, followed by frustration and sadness. This pendulum movement can lead to a cocktail of emotions from - attachment to yearning.
  • Unnoticed Trauma: Sexual, physical and emotional exploitation in the past is often linked to PCD. There are high chances that even consensual sex might trigger the emotions associated with experience of a past trauma. This is especially noticed in individuals who have suffered any sort of physical/emotional/sexual abuse during their childhood.
  • Vulnerability: Sex in itself as an act is intimate and can, just by itself, trigger a lot of emotions.
  • Communication: Many of us, especially in the Eastern culture, have been brought up to believe that sex is shameful and can only be done after a certain age and only for a certain reason. Being not able to abide by these rules has the capability to cause emotional upheaval.
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How Do You Address It?

When it comes to addressing the problem, the solutions primarily involve communication with your partner and reaching out to a mental health expert, if need be. Dr Barmi has a few suggestions.

  • Talk to your doctor: Many doctors either don’t validate it or aren’t aware of it. Sometimes it might also be an indication of depression, so, get yourself evaluated.
  • Consult a psychiatrist/psychologist: Post sex blues might result in postpartum depression in some cases. It’s integral to understand the triggers and treat them with the help of a mental health expert before the condition goes out of hand.
  • Maintain the hormonal balance in your body: Care about your hormones and exercise adequately and drink lots of water. Eating and sleeping habits need to be monitored.
  • Talk to our partner : You will need to understand that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Share it with your partner, sometimes communication is the solution to a lot of problems.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Sex   Couples   intimacy 

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