Some people complain of feeling depressed after having an orgasm. Is this really a thing? Is it normal to feel sad after sex?
The feeling of melancholy after sex has a special name, post-coital tristesse (PCT). The word “tristesse” is the French for “sadness”. This phenomenon has been known since ancient times. The prominent Greek physician Galen of Pergamon wrote, “Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster.” In reality, however, women can suffer from PCT as well as men. We are not sure about roosters, though.
Jokes aside, post-coital tristesse actually exists, it is not just a figment of your imagination. Of course, it's perfectly normal to feel sad or frustrated if you haven't enjoyed the sex. But it is also perfectly normal to feel sad even when the sex was absolutely mind-blowing. It is kind of an emotional hangover.
Sex is a very intense experience that influences on us both physically and emotionally. It causes an abrupt change in hormone levels, which has a direct impact on our mood. But this change itself is not enough to cause PCT, otherwise everyone would experience it every time they've had sex. The most logical explanation is that people who have PCT lack emotional outlets in their everyday live.
Some people like to hide their emotions because they are afraid to look weak, don't know how to express them, or don't want to be a burden for other people. But everyone needs regular emotional outlets in order to stay sane; the change in hormone levels caused by sex makes people lose their ability to handle emotions and leads to PCT. In other words, post-coital tristesse is our body's way to say that we need to let go.
The bottom line is that it is OK to feel blue or even want to cry after sex from time to time, but if its happens too often and you feel worried about it, you need to address the issue. But if the sex is good, don't blame your partner; try to figure things out on your own first, and then talk to your partner. Just make sure they understand that this is about you and they haven't done anything wrong.
If you consider PCT a problem and can't cope it with yourself, consult with a specialist. There is nothing wrong with going to a therapist because there is nothing wrong with needing help and doing something to get it. It doesn't make your weak because it requires quite a lot of strength to admit you have a problem and do something to overcome it. (But let us remind you once more that PCT is not a problem per se; it becomes a problem if you consider it one.)
- Lesser Known Erogenous Zones