“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.”
“I started to wonder if something was being taken from me every time I had sex, even though I enjoyed the act itself.”
“… after the enjoyment of sensual pleasure is past, the greatest sadness follows. If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the minds”
Have you ever experienced these feelings, no matter you are a man or a woman?
This is called postcoital dysphoria (PCD), the experience of negative affect following otherwise satisfactory sexual intercourse. You may feel anxious, depressed, empty, angry, etc. after sex, and it seems not related to your satisfaction of the sex act you just experienced.
You are not alone
Studies have been carried out about PCD in both men and women. Although the data may not be large enough, there is still evidence showing people who have experienced or experienced PCD are maybe more than you have imagined.
Prevalence and correlates of PCD in women
The study examined the lifetime and 4-week prevalence of PCD and its relationship with psychological distress and reports of past sexual abuse. 222 female university students replied the questionnaire distributed by the researchers.
32.9% of the female reported having experienced PCD and 10% reported experiencing PCD in the previous 4 weeks in the study.
The study revealed that lifetime and 4-week prevalence of PCD would be correlated with psychological distress, whereas lifetime prevalence of PCD only was correlated with childhood sexual abuse.
Prevalence and correlates of PCD in men
Following the research in women on PCD, an anonymous online questionnaire was distributed. Among an international sample of 1,208 males, 41% reported experiencing PCD in their lifetime, and 20.2% reported experiencing PCD in the previous four weeks. 3% - 4% reported experiencing PCD on a regular basis.
PCD was found to be associated with current psychological distress, childhood sexual abuse and several sexual dysfunctions.
Compared with previous thoughts, results show that experience of the resolution phase in men may be more varied, complex and nuanced, which also lays investigation directions to further studies.
What to do with PCD
Do not feel guilty when you experience PCD. According to researchers, there appears to be no relationship between PCD and intimacy in close relationships. It’s not your fault.
However, PCD may be related to psychological problems, pressure, anxiety, previous sexual abuse, etc. it could be indicative of a bigger problem, so you may want to pay attention to that.
While talking to your loved ones, friends or family may be helpful, the best way to deal with post-sex blue is to talk with your doctor or a mental health care professional.