It may be difficult to face or admit, but it’s a feeling many of us have experienced: sadness after sex. Even if the sex was great and satisfying, the feeling of sadness or depression after sex is more common than you might believe. According to a 2015 study done on Postcoital Dysphoria, 46% of women respondents reported feelings of sadness after sex.
While there are numerous factors that can contribute to a feeling of sadness after sex, there are some that are more frequently experienced than others.
Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD) or “post-sex blues” is the experience of a negative feeling after sex which can consist of tearfulness, melancholy or depression, anxiety, agitation, or aggression. PCD is a normal, biological condition that can be experienced by both men and women. If you sometimes feel sadness after sex, the reason may be biological.
Lack of Connection with Your Partner
A feeling of sadness after sex can also be because you lack a deep emotional connection to your partner. While some people can shut down the emotional side of sex, and are able to have casual sex or a “one-night stand”, some people are not. If you need a meaningful emotional connection in order to be happy with your sexual experiences, there’s nothing wrong with you. Be honest with yourself and assess if you’re able to view sex as a fun, feel-good activity, or if you need a deeper connection. It’s more hurtful to yourself in the long run if you try to force casual encounters when you’re unable to truly enjoy them.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can develop in people who’ve experienced or witnessed a traumatic or life-threatening event. If you suffered a violent or sexual assault, even if you feel you’ve recovered from that event, the source of your post-sex blues could be PTSD. Memories of the assault might come to mind during sex, triggering you to re-experience that traumatic event.
A strict religious upbringing, or being raised in a home where you were made to feel ashamed about your sexuality can also be the cause of a melancholy feeling after sex. It’s not uncommon for people with a strict religious upbringing to feel panic, anxiety or depression after sex, with their issues deeply rooted in associating sex and sexuality with shame.
There are many factors that can contribute to a sad feeling after sex. A bad relationship, self-esteem issues, regret in your choice of partner, drug and/or alcohol abuse, to name a few, can all be possible factors in feelings of sadness after sex. The right therapist can work with you to determine what’s causing your upset, and help you find ways to combat the sadness and deal with the source of the problem.
If you’re struggling with this issue and need support and guidance, I can help. I am a Psychologist in Pasadena and provide free 15-minute phone consultations. Call me today at (310) 571-8616. I also provide online counseling to residents of California.