Whenever 26-year-old animation student Amber* has
“I don’t think I’m always sad,” she explains. “It’s just a thing that happens and it’s become a running joke with me and my partner. We talk about me crying after sex the same way people talk about
29-year-old copywriter Hannah* has a similar experience. “I don’t cry when I
What is post coital dysphoria?
Clinical psychologist and sex therapist, Dr. Caleb Jacobson — who also hosts the
“This refers to the feeling that you’re gonna cry or be sad after sex,” he says. “I want to be clear, though, that we’re specifically talking about just crying or feeling emotionally overwhelmed after sex. I’m not talking about people who have pain related to sex or have experienced sexual violence. That’s a completely different situation. Post coital dysphoria refers only to people who are having consensual sex and are then tearful or sad.”
“It makes sense that I’d cry after orgasming, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m an Aquarius.”
Crying during or after sex is more common than you might think. Jacobson tells Mashable: “there have been a few
Could it be underlying trauma?
Sex is a very individual, personal experience and it’s impossible to generalise a small group of set reasons why a person might cry after sex.
“If someone has ever had any type of trauma in their past, those feelings could come up after having even consensual enjoyable sex,” Jacobson explains. “I had a female client one time who cried during sex she consented to and enjoyed and she was so surprised at what was happening. It was really shocking for her and she was trying to figure out what just happened. It was extremely emotional for her, and it turned out to be underlying trauma.”
If crying after sex is paired with feelings of guilt or shame, it’s worth exploring potential traumas or unresolved feelings that could be contributing to post-sex teariness with a qualified therapist who specialises in sex.
Hormonal changes can bring tears
Jacobson also notes that if you’re going through certain changes that come with hormonal alterations in your life like pregnancy, puberty, or
Other times, people who cry after sex can actually be happy. It’s not uncommon for human beings to succumb to happy emotions that result in tears. If we think about how many people cry at weddings or when they receive a really thoughtful gift, it’s not far-fetched to think someone might cry from a really mind-blowing, earth-shattering shag.
“I think whatever, whatever the situation is, it has a lot to do with our body just being extremely overwhelmed,” he explains. “There’s a lot of stuff that happens with response and arousal when we have sex. There are hormones that are released in the body, such as oxytocin, which is a bonding hormone, so if you feel extremely emotional, accurate, oxytocin has a lot to do with this.
He adds that dopamine is also released in the body when we have sex, which releases endorphins. And we receive a bucket load of them if we orgasm. “
The emotions behind the sex we have
Sex also, of course, relates to more areas of our lives than we think. Society likes us to not think about having sex too much and so we tend to compartmentalise, tucking sex away from everything else in our lives that’s deemed more important like work and family life. But the reality is that sex is deeply entwined with our work, family (yep, sorry), the way we understand ourselves, the way we understand our world and the way we understand other people. Jacobson says that, because of this, “having a moving sexual experience can bring up feelings we have about ourselves, our partners, our world view, etc.”
“That change, from hating your body to giving and receiving pleasure to and from it, can be really emotional. That in itself can lead to crying.”
“It’s one of the reasons I ‘prescribe’ (if you will) masturbation to clients with
31-year-old property manager Ellen* tells Mashable that she also cries often when she has sex, but it hasn’t always been this way. “When I was younger, I never cried after sex, but I also had fairly mundane sex. I never used to orgasm with guys in my 20s and it was rare that I ever got any proper pleasure.”
Ellen started having counselling sessions to work through complicated feelings she had about being queer. “I’m pansexual but I’ve always had relationships with men and I felt really invalidated about my identity and sexuality and I didn’t feel right talking to my boyfriend about it,” she explains.
Therapy really helped Ellen connect with her identity more. “I let go of the idea that you need to have a certain amount of sex with certain people to ‘qualify’ as a gay. I got more comfortable with myself after about three months of the sessions. And weirdly it was then that I started crying after sex all the time, definitely if I’d had therapy the same day.”
“I think my brain just needed it,” she adds. “It wasn’t like I was sad. It was like a second orgasm.”
Crying after sex, as dramatic as it may initially seem, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be that you’re crying because you’re a bit tired, hungry, you’re particularly sensitive to hormonal changes in the body, or you’re just having a really nice time. Wholesome.
*Names have been changed at the request of the contributors