Understanding Post-Sex Blues: Causes & Coping

Understanding Post-Sex Blues: Causes & Coping

Have you ever encountered this — you just had amazing sex with your partner or someone you met, everything was perfect, and then suddenly… you feel this wave of emotions coming over you. You can’t quite describe why but you feel this sense of sadness, hopelessness, or guilt.

Does that sound familiar to you?

If you’ve experienced that before, that’s Post-Sex Blues or Post-Coital Dysphoria. There’s more to uncover about this condition, learning about the causes of Post-Sex Blues, and how to cope with it.

Let’s dive deeper into this topic for some much-needed clarity.

What is Post-Sex Blues?

There are multiple names for it. Some call it Post-Sex Blues, and some call it Post-Coital Dysphoria (PCD), either way, you may have heard of this or even experienced it yourself. 

According to Healthline, PCD refers to feelings that range from sadness to anxiety, agitation, and anger — essentially, any negative feelings or emotions after sex that are unexpected. Now, does this apply exclusively to women or are there statistics that show that men experience Post-Sex Blues too?

Based on existing literature from web-based peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Science, Cureus, most reports that PCD affects women more than men. A study conducted with a sample size of 195 female students reported that 46.2% of them experience PCD symptoms at least once in their lifetime. For males, a sample size of 1208 male participants reported that 41% of them had experienced PCD at some point. 

That being said, it’s clear that Post-Sex Blues knows no gender, sexual orientation, or race because it can affect pretty much anyone.

What Causes Post-Sex Blues?

It’s clear there isn’t one main reason that triggers Post-Sex Blues. Is it something that happens neurologically? Physically? Psychologically? Let’s discover more together.


1. Abuse in the Past

If a person has experienced abuse (especially sexually) in the past, it puts them at risk for Post-Sex Blues as they age and encounter more sexual experiences. Because of the sexual trauma, it will likely be difficult to shake off any negative feelings or symptoms.

Seeing that this phenomenon happens after sex, the emotional drop may be even more damaging, causing flashes of memories to fill your mind. This is one of the key reasons for Post-Sex Blues.


2. Relationship Issues

Just because Post-Sex Blues can stem from relationship issues, it does not necessarily mean your relationship is headed for disaster. In fact, two people in happy and healthy relationships may encounter PCD too.

However, sex and sex-related issues can be where Post-Sex Blues stem from. Because of how amazing the sex is, it leaves more room for vulnerability, which leaves a person bare and could cause them to amplify whatever insecurities or doubts they have.

On the same note of relationship issues, attachment could be one of the sub-reasons as well. When one person feels incredibly invested and they feel their partner isn’t reciprocating as much as they expect, it could lead to negative feelings and thoughts. 

Sometimes, PCD comes out of nowhere and affects you deeply. Other times, it could be shining a light on existing issues. Regardless, we will explore some techniques of post-sex discussions and coping techniques as we go along.


3. Stress and Anxiety


While sex can be a form of escapism, it can get to a point where it feels numbing and boom — Post-Sex Blues. In fact, it’s common for people to use sex as a way of coping or dealing with whatever the day has thrown at them. The problem? It only works until it stops. 

When someone uses sex as a get-out-of-jail card, it doesn’t require them to be honest in dealing with the situation they’re facing directly. Sex offers that relief and temporarily makes everything feel okay (even when it’s not). So, whether it’s sex with a partner or a toy, it only offers comfort for as long as the sex lasts.

Because sex can’t go on forever, and our minds are such a powerful thing, your relationship issues will persist post-sex. In fact, if one uses sex as a coping mechanism, it may cause a snowball effect, leading to multiple episodes of Post-Sex Blues.


4. Sex Problems


Let’s face it — things happen and sometimes, it’s not as sexy as the movies. Although sex releases your feel-good hormones (endorphins), love hormone (oxytocin), and happy hormone (dopamine), that all-time high could be Post-Sex Blues just waiting to happen.

Just like a tall tower of blocks, the higher it goes, the more unstable it gets. Imagine experiencing an all-consuming climax during sex and then it feels like a plane crash falling hard and fast with your emotions bursting at the seams, that’s what Post-Sex Blues feels like.

It’s essential to remember that the goal is not to have movie-standard sex but to communicate what you want from your partner with openness. Because the last thing you want is to have one party feeling unsatisfied, upset, or unhappy about a magical moment that just took place.

How to Spot Post-Sex Blues?

Like everything, there are tell-tale signs that whisper you or your partner might be facing post-sex blues. Sometimes, it’s noticeable and other times, it’s energy-based and can be felt just after sex

  • Panic attacks
  • Shame or guilt after sex
  • Crying or tearing up
  • Agitation or irritation

Coping with Post-Sex Blues

If you’ve read this far, we urge you to continue reading because this is the most important part of this post. Understanding post-sex blues is like making sense of the body and soul, then slowly finding out what each one needs to restore a unified balance in the heart and mind.

Here is what we’d like to recommend:


1. Connecting with Your Body:


As we said, when there’s a disconnect between two essential parts, the feelings and body must come together. What might this look like? When experiencing post-sex blues, it’s key to sit down and feel all your feelings and thoughts. Breathe deeply and slowly while incorporating some relaxation techniques to slow your heart rate.

You could even do some simple stretches for the body to be in a less “frozen” or “shocked” state. It’s important to acknowledge each feeling and embrace yourself as you do so. Placing your palms on your arms provides that peace and comfort, affirming that you’re okay in this moment.


2. Focusing on Post-Sex Discussions


Being real with your partner even if it’s uncomfortable does more wonders than you know. Many sex problems happen because one party is not aware of what their partner is feeling, expecting, or hoping.

Essentially, when you express your thoughts and feelings openly, it establishes trust and safety. And when someone feels that, it’s hard for post-sex blues to linger. So, whether it’s about something embarrassing or something controversial, we recommend keeping your lines of communication open and having that understanding with your partner.

When both parties are emotionally open and are willing to express and understand, it makes the coping process much easier. Think of this process as involving mindful reflection, emotional awareness, and clear communication in relationships.


3. Putting in Down on Paper


Sometimes, words fail, verbal words, that is. If you’re finding it hard to express all the feelings you’re feeling, journaling as an aftercare ritual might help. The best thing about journaling about your post-sex blues is how liberating it can feel after penning everything down.

It’s important to take your time to express every detail. Think of it as a form of release from all the struggles and ‘sexpectations’ you feel. Writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal is a sign of letting go, a release of pent-up emotions and feelings about how sex went and how it felt after.

It’s always easy to start with some simple prompts. You can use these to get you started, but feel free to get creative with how you choose to express how you’re feeling in the moment:

  • Describe everything that took place
  • How are you feeling right now?
  • What kind of thoughts are coming up in your mind?
  • Describe how you would’ve wanted it to be.


4. Seeking Professional Help


By now, you should know that there is no shame in seeking support, whether it’s partner support or professional support. If there has been a history of abuse during one’s childhood or adulthood, uncovering this healing process with a medical professional would be good.

While in Malaysia, there is still a certain stigma about therapy or couples counselling, we recommend mental health assistance rather than trying to navigate these complex times on your own. They will be able to delve deeper into your Post-Coital Dysphoria and recommend certain treatments or exercises to work towards better recovery.

Post-Sex Blues Takeaways

After all that’s been said and done, it’s important to understand that Post-Coital Dysphoria is a rather complex condition and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It can happen suddenly even to “power couples” and you should remember to be understanding and give yourself or your partner grace in the process.

Having a clearer understanding of how past sexual trauma will be able to prepare you in the event certain symptoms arise. Even then, we recommend seeking professional support as a reminder that what you’re facing is normal and that you don’t have to face this alone.