why do i cry after sex

Why Do I Cry After Sex?

Dr. Laurie Mintz, Ph.D.This article was scientifically reviewed by Human Sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz. She is a professor, researcher, private practitioner and Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

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The thought of crying after sex may seem daunting, embarrassing, or just plain weird to a lot of folk. But in actuality, it’s more common than you may think! In fact, many individuals have the experience of crying after sex… for a number of reasons! But before we dive into them, let’s discuss the ins and outs of this occurrence. 

First, it’s important to distinguish any crying after sex from postcoital dysphoria (PCD). PCD is when some people inexplicably experience tearfulness, crying, sadness or irritability after sex. It seems most likely to occur during periods of psychological distress, when someone is having a current sexual difficulty or in people with a history of sexual traumas. Thus, while some of the reasons for crying below may fit under the umbrella of PCD, some do not. 

Which brings us to the next big question some may have…

Why Do I Cry After Sex?

Happiness

Crying after sex doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It could simply be the release of happy tears, like when you’re totally connected with your partner—body, mind, and soul—or when you’ve just had the best sex of your life.

“Crying after an intense orgasmic release is a great reason to cry,” says clinical sexologist, Claudia Six. “It may just be an additional release of energy, or joy and gratitude at having had such an ecstatic feeling. You can feel out of control, but it’s a release of tension.”

Being Mentally or Physically Overwhelmed

Sometimes when one engages in something intense or new, such as role playing or a different kind of sexual fantasizing, it can be an overwhelming experience when it comes to an end. 

The journey itself creates a kind of roller coaster full of various emotions. As one goes from feelings of anticipation to arousal to intrigue then eventually coming back down to earth, the thrill itself can cause tears.

Physically, experiencing something new or more intense than usual could bring about a crying response. For example, if you squirt for the first time, experience your strongest climax yet, or have multiple orgasms

Adversely, you could have built up sexual excitement so much that the experience itself doesn’t meet your expectations. This could lead to frustration and perhaps tears.

Then, there is also the role that one’s hormones play during sex. For example, when one climaxes, dopamine and oxytocin are released (the “love” hormones). After sex, these levels drop, and some hypothesize that the subsequent drop in these levels could cause feelings of sadness.

Past Abuse

While there isn’t much research to indicate that those who’ve experienced past abuse are more prone to crying after sex, there has been a lot of research that says that emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood can lead to sexual dysfunction in adulthood.

In this way, sex could pose as a trigger for some, making them feel exposed and vulnerable. Following this, memories of traumatic experiences, or even displaying an emotional response due to the trauma before they’ve consciously acknowledged these memories, may occur.

Physical Discomfort

Conditions such as dyspareunia (pain during penetration) can occur in around 8% of women. Clearly, both pain and the frustration of not being able to have sex without pain can cause tears. If you are experiencing sexual pain of any kind, see a certified sexual medicine physician. You can find one at the website of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.  

Underlying Relationship Issues

Sometimes, it’s possible to sob after sex because of issues that are plaguing an individual inside or outside of the bedroom. Sex can be an intimate act that may bring underlying feelings and emotions to the surface. 

As Six says, crying after sex “can be due to engaging in sex that didn’t feel good to her, physically or emotionally—or maybe she’s not with the partner she’d like to be with.”  

Or as Sex coach, Gigi Engle, said:

“Every time I orgasmed, it was like I was releasing the deep emotional anguish of my failing relationship. It was sorrowful, painful, and depressing. Instead of riding a wave of pleasure, I would roll over and quietly weep until I fell asleep, lost in my own head and heartache.”

Pent Up Emotions

As mentioned, an orgasm has the power to create drastic changes in one’s mind and body. For some, an orgasm can be stress or emotional release. 

In this way, allowing oneself to cry after sex can sometimes be healing. It’s actively letting go of pent-up emotions and allowing them to dissipate. 

Stress, Fear or Anxiety

No matter what the experience, crying can occur with anxiety. When one is plagued with stress during sex, it can be hard to “switch off” and really focus on the here-and-now. 

During sex, one’s body might be in the act, while the mind wanders. This could very well lead to frustration and even more anxiety after sex, causing one to cry. 

Points of stress could be sex-related, such as having performance anxiety (which a study revealed affects around 6–15% of women and 9–25% of men). In fact, a link has been found between men who experience stressful sexual issues, such as erectile dysfunction and PCD.

Guilt and Shame Surrounding Sex

There are a number of reasons why someone may have feelings of guilt and/or shame when it comes to sex. Perhaps they were taught growing up that sex was dirty, bad, or wrong. Maybe their religion leads them to believe that it is a shameful act (before marriage) or that one has had negative sexual experiences in the past which has caused them to feel embarrassed or guilty.

It could also be more of an internal struggle, such as battling with self-confidence or body issues, or feeling as though the kinds of sexual acts one is interested in don’t align with their values or morals. All of these reasons signify a negative relationship to sex and could be a reason why one cries after sex.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is such a thing called “dacryphilia”. This is when someone gains arousal from seeing someone else cry, or seeing another display an emotional release that accompanies crying.

In summary, the act of crying is a normal human response to an array of different stimuli. Crying after sex happens and it’s not something to be ashamed about. Instead, digging deeper to find out the underlying reason for the crying may just make one emotionally stronger and perhaps more sexually satisfied.

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