Post-coital dysphoria could be why you feel sad after good sex

It’s more common than you think (Picture: Getty)

Having great, mind-blowing sex is an amazing thing but sometimes, no matter how much they rocked your world, in the aftermath you can feel a bit, sad.

You can be lying next to that person that you love, respect and trust, but that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be on a high.

So what’s going on? Well, you could be experiencing post-coital dysphoria (PCD) – and it’s much more common than you think.

In fact, sexpert Ness Cooper told she sees it all the time, and it can present in many different ways or emotions.

The most common feeling is sadness. But you can also experience worry, anxiety or nervousness.

Ness said: ‘Many will experience PCD at some point of their life, with around two to 5% of individuals having experienced it within the last week alone.

‘Often PCD will occur at the end of a sexual response cycle which is often after someone orgasms.’

Interracial Couple sleeping together in bed

PCD is more common than you think (Picture: Getty Images)

The human sexual response cycle devised by Masters and Johnson includes four phases that apply to both men and women: excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution.

‘PCD often occurs at the end phase, however it generally doesn’t occur every time someone reaches their end phase of their sexual response cycle,’ said Ness.

‘If someone is experiencing PCD at the end of every sexual response cycle, then seeking support from a sex therapist may help get to the bottom of it, as there may be more to it than just something that happens sometimes (possible trauma, or simply not actually experiencing their full sexual response cycle such as not reaching orgasm or stopping mid-flow).’

It’s important to clarify that PCD is not post-nut clarity or a trauma response.

Ness explained the likely causes of PCD, which aren’t yet widely known.

Gay couple cuddling in bedroom

Aftercare can really help PCD (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We still don’t fully know why people experience PCD but some theorise that it happens after someone has experienced an intense hormonal release from sex and orgasms,’ said Ness.

‘Basically it’s possible that some are coming down from their orgasm high, and whilst this can sometimes be positive, having a drop in these hormones particularly suddenly can make us feel sad.’

Myth and fact:

Myth: PCD only happens after a bad or not pleasurable sexual experience.
Fact: This isn’t true. Over the years Ness has been conducting research on post sexual experiences and many individuals may have enjoyable sex but experience a drop in emotions afterwards – even if the sex was amazing and fulfilling.

Ness said that sometimes these feelings can occur due to other sexual or relationship worries after sexual play.

If this is the case, seeing a couples therapist or sex therapist may help gain a better understanding of it.

One way to manage PCD could be sexual aftercare, according to Ness.

She said: ‘Taking time to bring yourself back to everyday life can help you
move through PCD.

‘Have a nap after sex. Cuddles. Get a hot drink. Basically anything that you find helps relax you can help after sex as a form of after care.’

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