Do you feel empty or sad after sex? You’re not alone.
Post-coital dysphoria, or post-coital tristesse, is a condition where sufferers feel tearful, sad, anxious, aggressive, agitated or generally melancholic after sex. Consensual sex.
“All of a sudden, while he was on top of me, my flight-or-flight instinct kicked in. I had to ask him to stop before tears came,” Sophie Saint Thomas – a woman who is often overcome by a deep sorrow after intimacy – wrote for Mic late last year.
Another woman, 27-year-old Jerilyn, agreed.
“Even when I was single, the post-sex depression morphed into a different shade of empty. I always attributed it to the fear of being abandoned,” she told the publication, adding: “I started to wonder if something was being taken from me every time I had sex, even though I enjoyed the act itself.”
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While nobody has really spoken about it until now, post-coital dysphoria is something that many women struggle through, including those in the Mamamia office.
“I have never known why, but I’m hit with a wave of emotion as soon as we finish,” one of my colleagues told me. “I feel needy and annoying all of a sudden.”
She wasn’t alone.
“When I was a teenager I almost always felt crap after having sex with my ex boyfriend, but I wasn’t sure if that was less to do with the sex and more the fact that we didn’t have much of an emotional connection any more,” a fellow writer explained.
A recent study undertaken by the Queensland University of Technology found that, out of 230 female participants aged between 18 and 55, almost half had experienced post-coital dysphoria before, with five per cent saying they experienced symptoms on a monthly basis.
Sex therapist Denise Knowles told The Independent the condition has little to do with the state of the relationship, but with the marked change in hormones post-intercourse.
“Having sex is a hugely intimate act and an orgasm releases lots of wonderful feel-good bonding hormones,” she said.