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Sex and Tears

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Sex and Tears

Why we still feel horny in times of sadness.

By Emmeline Peaches

Have you ever had a moment where you’re a crying, apathetic, or simply miserable wreck and yet suddenly felt that tingling urge for pleasure welling in your body?

How about having an amazing, elating, gratifying sexual experience only to suddenly burst out in to tears afterwards?

If either of these things have ever happened to you then don’t worry. You’re completely normal (albeit, potentially in need of a tissue).

 

Sadness After Sex

Believe it or not, feeling sad (or potentially even experience a full-fledged low/depressive mood) after sex is something that affects many individuals.

The experience, known as Post-Coital Dysphoria (PCD) is medically recognised and one study found that up to 46% of individuals have experienced PCD at some point in their lives. This feeling happens regardless of the intimacy or closeness felt in a relationship and can even be frequent for some individuals.

PCD is currently shockingly under-researched, but the normalcy of it might act as at least some reassurance for those who go through it.

The idea of feeling sad after sex isn’t a new notion. As it happens in 150AD the Greek physician Galen even hypothesised that ‘Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster,’ his overlooking of the existence of mutual sadness in humans too indicating that he was either a luck non-sufferer or simply didn’t pay much attention to his partner post-sex.

 

Sadness Before Sex

Sadness before sex might seem like a whole different beast (and it is) but tears either before or after coitus cause a similar degree of befuddlement to most, so are both worth giving the attention they deserve.

When many of us go through sadness we automatically seek comfort and sometimes this can come in the form of sex.

If this is done in a healthy, loving relationship, without a dependent need and without being used as a negative coping tactic then there isn’t necessarily anything problematic with such moments of sadness-induced intimacy (why deny someone comfort if it sincerely helps?)

However, if a person finds that sex is the only thing that helps with their sadness, that they turn to sex immediately to cope with negative feelings (or feelings or apathy), or that their sex life feels reckless, panic-inducing, or increasingly out of their control then it’s perhaps time to reflect on what sex is offering to you as an individual.

As it stands one study found that those with lower levels of psychological wellbeing were more likely to engage in casual sex but others have found no such link (or the opposite, for males). Again, not an issue in itself, but context always matters.

 

Why Does Post-Sex Sadness Occur?

Experts are still unsure of exactly why PCD can happen, or why it can vary from person to person (sadness in some, anger and argumentative moments in others) nor why there’s a gender disparity (females are more susceptible). That being said, many have made informed guesses based on our pre-existing understanding of human biology and psychology.

The current prevailing theory is that PCD is brought on by the hormonal shift that happens immediately after sex.

Sex is, by all accounts, a very intense experience, not just psychologically, but physiologically too. Our brain is working overtime to release certain chemicals and trigger various responses, motions, and neurological actions throughout the system that is ‘us.’

Once sex has ended there is a sudden whiplash of adjustment to those functions, as well as a drastic change in what the brain will now be putting its attention to, and the chemicals it will release post-sex. All of this can come together in some people to cause low or agitated moments.

Others have theorised that PCD might be linked towards the psychologically jarring contrast between a moment of total intimacy and the sudden abrupt finish of such an action, or perhaps even to previous sexual trauma. These theories aren’t as strongly substantiated but are still entirely valid, especially for sufferers of sexual PTSD.

 

Why Crave Sex When In A Low Place?

Pre-sex sorrow and the urge for intimacy is much clearer in terms of the current medical consensus.

Put simply sex is awesome, biologically as well as psychologically and emotionally.

When we have sex we release various different chemicals in to the body, including oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins all of which act as stress relievers, mood lifters, and can generally help us balance out a bit.

Plus anyone who has been depressed knows that sometimes what’s good for them or what their body craves might not always be completely in line with their mood (and that sometimes it’s important to challenge the apathy of depression and act on those urges).

If someone is suffering with frequent low mood or depression then it’s likely that they will feel many different sensations while still feeling low or apathetic, sexual urges being one of them. The hard part is being aware of whether they’re a positive feeling or not and if it’s right to act on those urges in the moment.

 

What to Do About Sex and Sadness

Many people will link sex with tears or sadness and will find no issue with it. In those cases, if the person feels no distress or doesn’t see it as a problem then there isn’t necessarily one at all. We all have our own version of normal and feeling low before or crying after sex might simply be something you embrace as part of what makes you ‘You’.

For those who find that their mood and their sexual urges are disruptive, distressing, or confusing then it might be worth taking a leaf out of the above individual’s books.

Mindfullness is gaining traction in psychological and counselling sectors for a reason: Sometimes it pays to simply be aware of how you feel in the moment and accept it as an experience that you’re having, while knowing that it will eventually pass.

No matter your situation, tears surrounding sex are an understood, common, and natural experience for many, and have a valid biological and emotional reason for occurring. Sometimes simply knowing this and being able to understand why you feel how you do is the most important step to reconciling it with yourself.

From there you might benefit from considering how your tears make you feel, why you might personally have this association, and what it means to you. If there’s something deeper to unpack there then, by all means, seek out the professional attention that you need (and deserve). Otherwise it might be time to embrace your tears and flowing moods as part of the oceanic-like tides of the human experience.

Who knows, in time you might find that you also cry tears of joy.

 

Emmeline Peaches 
emmelinepeachesreviews.com
@EmmelinePeaches

 

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