Sexual Wellness

Crying After Sex: Why It Happens and What You Can Do

Fact Checked

What's the scientific reason for crying after sex? Let's find out in our in-depth guide!

Last Updated: 04/14/2022

Written by

Eric Ridenour

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Paul Thompson

I’m sure you’ve heard about women crying after sexual intercourse, but how often do men cry after sex? Some people believe that it’s a sign of a healthy relationship and fulfilling sex life, while others think that it’s a sign of emotional distress. It may be normal for some people, but what is the scientific evidence behind this phenomenon? Let’s find out!

Do men cry after sex?

There has been little research on crying after sexual activity, so further studies are required. The facts on how often this occurs vary for people of both sex. The limited amount of evidence suggest that crying after sex is the norm for some people. In a 2018 study that included 1,208 both men and women, 42 percent said they had experienced post-sex crying in the previous 4 weeks. 

Can post-sex blues hurt my sex life?

Crying after sex is nothing unusual. There are no defined limits for how intense emotion will be during intimate contact and this applies to situations that are both positive and negative. Human emotion is broad and wide. Shedding tears in bed may cause uncomfortable situations (especially if your partner or husband is not your partner or serious partner), but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with you.

Why do people cry after a sexual encounter?

Sometimes there is more to post-sex sadness in the past, sometimes even years earlier than when you have a post-sex cry when the session was held in between sheets. With post-sex crying, it is not necessarily the sex that triggers postcoital tears. 

Some of these factors may be correlated with what is called postcoital dysphoria, or PCD which is the medical term, which is believed to be a loss or disruption in an initial bond with a caregiver, difficulties in building an emotional connection to others, difficulties with controlling emotions, or an underlying traumatic event such as sexual abuse. Those negative past experiences are sometimes seen when certain feelings come up creating an overwhelming experience

Big girls (and boys) do cry

Research into sexual activity in the younger generation is growing. A groundbreaking new study on PCD published in October 2015 by the journal Sexual Medicine showed that  46% had experienced bad emotions or experience PCD at some point in their lives after physical intimacy. 

A large majority of sexually active people recall feeling melancholy, nervous, or upset feelings following their sexual activity but only a small number had these feelings after masturbation. One man recalled that he will often feel sad and depressed almost the entire day.

What is postcoital dysphoria?

Having good sex can cause you to cry when you have any intense or ecstatic feeling. 

When there is an intense orgasmic release PCD can be an entirely normal response. Sex is an important source for retraining the brain to regulate emotions. The brains neurotransmitters have a strong connection to certain feelings of love, connectedness, & happiness. 

Obviously, you have many reasons to be happy after early bonding experiences with someone and can cry at any given moment. During post-orgasm crying, there's absolutely nothing that should bother you or your partner. 

Crying during the sexual experience can cause relationship dissatisfaction though, and while the cause of dissatisfaction is under-researched, it can be tied to something as simple as issues processing the feelings and negative emotions associated with crying causing discomfort. 

If you feel irritated after sex, it is possible the symptoms could include postcoital dysphoria.

Why do I Cry? Postcoital Dysphoria Causes

PCD can have a variety of causes. Among the possible causes are:

Difficulties in Intimacy

Sex isn't a solitary act. Sex with a partner is part of a relationship. Sexual intimacy with a non-partner is still possible when cheating or during a one night stand. The act of sex itself can evoke strong thoughts about one's body and sexuality and can bring about negative emotions from the past.

During sex, your sentiments about intimacy, body, and sexual and non-sexual relationships might arise. Those sensations can be bad or cause insecurity. Underlying relationship issues such as remembering previous infidelity might bring up old hurts and future worries.

Post-coital dysphoria might suggest that something has to change, even if you prefer not to think about it. Speaking to a marriage and family therapist or certified sex therapist can help you resolve fundamental issues and can help navigate these challenges.

Guilt or Shame

Many individuals, in particular women (But not always!), connect sexuality with a root cause based on shame, wickedness, or filth. Body, sexual history, A past partner she’d experienced violence and abuse or sexual orientation may have significant connections for persons who have been taught they are a bad person. In men, sometimes things like body shaming and performance anxiety can cause crying, whether the performance was bad or not.

Even if you've grown out of these concepts, they might nevertheless elicit strong sex-related feelings. A clinical sexologist can help you understand how your history affects your present feelings. Understanding this is the first step to letting go of toxic associations.

Mood disorders

Anxiety and depression are significant mental illnesses. Sadness, despair, dread, or agitation can impact almost every aspect of your life if you have depression or anxiety. In certain cases, symptoms may recur or even worsen after a pleasant sexual encounter.

Depression and anxiety are curable, albeit the best treatment varies. SSRIs, for example, can reduce libido. Your medical professional can help you choose a therapy that satisfies both your sexual and emotional demands.

Traumas

Non-consensual sex is obviously a kind of trauma. It includes both sexual and non-physical abuse, such as rape and body shaming. 

Sexual interactions can be upsetting for survivors of sexual trauma. Feelings, situations, or other factors may be particularly triggering if they conjure unpleasant memories.

During and after sexual experiences, trauma can create dread, grief, and disassociation. Non-sexual traumas, such PTSD from battle zones, can cause also PCD symptoms.

Trauma treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and medication.

Trauma-focused treatment can assist alleviate PCD. Recognizing and talking with your partner can help make sexual interactions less stressful and more fulfilling.

Physical causes

Physical pain may be a fairly obvious cause, but it should be noted, it's natural to cry and feel pain sometimes. Many people have physically unpleasant sexual interactions in their lifetimes. Insufficient lubrication, bladder problems, skin irritation, and pelvic inflammatory disease can all cause painful sex. 

Painful sex is typically treatable with medicine. Always consult your doctor first. Pain can be a physical reaction to emotional difficulties, but your doctor must rule out medical causes first. Somatic pain can be helped by both medical and psychological treatment.

Neurochemical and hormonal changes

Sex and orgasm may dramatically raise your body's levels of feel-good hormones like oxytocin. Those neurotransmitters and hormones diminish when your body returns to normal. Postcoital dysphoria is thought to be caused by a reduction in “happy” hormones. Low-dose naltrexone may assist, but further study is needed. Your doctor can help you determine if this is the right approach for you.

A happy cry after orgasm can be something to celebrate

Sometimes called a ‘crymax’, a conjunction of crying and climax. An intense orgasm could lead someone into intense emotions from such an ecstatic feeling they are overwhelmed to tears. Crying during a tense orgasmic feeling can easily give you the reason you cry. It's an extra release in the mind of the energy or the joy or gratefulness for such excitement.

When does crying after sex become a serious issue?

Crying after sex is normal. However, if you feel it is part of a larger psychological problem or you are uncomfortable with it, you should seek professional help. 

PCD is treatable

Unless your dysphoric episodes last days or weeks, they are unlikely to indicate underlying issues. If you have feelings that irritate your body or cause you to avoid sexual activity then seek professional help. Try talking to your partner.

Treatment may not always be the most efficient solution but may lead to an improved sexual life. Improving intimacy is an individual therapy practice based on the well-known psychologist and sexual practices and can be treated.

Should I seek a sex therapist?

Intimacy is an issue that often needs a psychotherapist or sex therapist that offers a safe environment to discuss sexual and relationship problems.