The post-sex blues: what exactly is that?

post sex blues

The period right after sex is often called the “afterglow” because you might be filled with warm feelings of love and connection. A moment in which you can doze of a little and bask in the  pleasure you just experienced. But sex doesn’t always have such a nice ending for everyone. Some people experience feelings of melancholy, irritability, gloom or sadness after sex. These post-sex blues are more common than people might think.

What is the post-sex blues?

Post-coital dysphoria (PCD) or the post-sex blues is a mental dip that can occur right after sex during which feelings of fear, sadness, shame, unrest or gloom can arise and last for several minutes or even hours after sex. Even though many experience the period after sex as an afterglow,  the post-sex blues occur relatively often. Research shows that almost every woman has felt down after sex at least once in her life. A significant amount of the female participants has even experienced this more than once. PCD can also occur among men: about half of the male participants have dealt with this in their life.

Post-coital dysphoria (PCD) or the post-sex blues is a mental dip that can occur right after sex.

How does post-coital dysphoria develop?

For a long time, it was unclear how PCD or the post-sex blues comes about and the specific cause of these blues is still not entirely known. However, it seems that a combination of physical and psychological factors can give rise to a negative feeling after sex. From a physical perspective, a lot of hormones are rushing through your body during and after sex, especially when you’ve reached an orgasm. A variety of substances including endorphins can make you can experience feelings of euphoria after sex, but the substance known as prolactin is released shortly after. This neurotransmitter can make you feel drowsy or even down.

Did you know… the oxytocin released during sex makes us feel connected to our partner? If that feeling of connectedness suddenly stops after sex, it can leave us with an empty feeling.

At the same time, all sorts of psychological aspects can play a part. We aren’t always capable of focusing all of our emotions and thoughts on sex. We can bring the things we’re going through in our day-to-day lives with us into the bedroom, especially if the events are heavy or impactful. Because sexual contact is something fragile and intimate and the phase after sex can cause one to reflect, heavy emotions that you’ve been carrying around with you can reveal themselves quickly during the after play.

Sad after sex? This is what you can do!

It’s always challenging to offer a concrete solution to something for which the cause is still unclear. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that the post-sex blues is a common occurrence. So what can you do about it? In these cases, it can already help to be able to discuss these things with your partner. It’s important for both you and your partner to see that these blues have nothing to do with the quality of your relationship or your sex life. By talking about it, you can keep the connection between you two the way it is.

“The post-sex blues say nothing about the quality of your relationship or sex life.”

It’s also good to think about what works for you after having sex. What type of after play do you need? Do you want to be together or would you rather be alone for a while? Discuss the possibilities of being intimate in a way other than (penetrative) sex. For instance, by cuddling a lot, having a good conversation, doing fun things or bonding over something you both enjoy doing.

Have you ever felt down after sex, or have you ever had the post-sex blues?

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