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“Why Am I Sad After Sex?” Postcoital Dysphoria & Other Causes

by | Oct 29, 2018

It may be difficult to face or admit, but it’s a feeling many of us have experienced: sadness after sex. Even if the sex was great and satisfying, the sense of sadness or depression after sex is more common than you might believe. According to a 2015 study done on Postcoital Dysphoria, 46% of women respondents reported feelings of sadness after sex.

While numerous factors can contribute to a feeling of sadness after sex, there are some that are more frequently experienced.

Postcoital Dysphoria

Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD) or “post-sex blues” is the experience of a negative feeling after sex which can consist of tearfulness, melancholy or depression, anxiety, agitation, or aggression. PCD is a normal, biological condition that can be experienced by both men and women. If you sometimes feel sadness after sex, the reason may be biological.

Lack of Connection with Your Partner

A feeling of sadness after sex can also be because you lack a deep emotional connection to your partner. While some people can shut down the emotional side of sex and can have casual sex or a “one-night stand”, some people can not. If you need a meaningful emotional connection to be happy with your sexual experiences, there’s nothing wrong with you. Be honest with yourself and assess if you’re able to view sex as a fun, feel-good activity, or if you need a deeper connection. It can be more hurtful in the long run if you try to force casual encounters when you are not able to enjoy them truly.


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can develop in people who’ve experienced or witnessed a traumatic or life-threatening event. If you suffered a violent or sexual assault, even if you feel you’ve recovered from that event, the source of your post-sex blues could be PTSD. Memories of the attack might come to mind during sex, triggering you to re-experience that traumatic event.

Your Upbringing

A strict religious upbringing, or being raised in a home where you were made to feel ashamed about your sexuality can also be the cause of a melancholy feeling after sex. It’s not uncommon for people with a strict religious upbringing to feel panic, anxiety or depression after sex, with their issues deeply rooted in associating sex and sexuality with shame.

Many factors can contribute to a sad feeling after sex. A bad relationship, self-esteem issues, regret in your choice of partner, drug and/or alcohol abuse, to name a few, can all be possible factors in feelings of sadness after sex. The right therapist can work with you to determine what’s causing your upset, and help you find ways to combat the sadness and deal with the source of the problem.

If you’re struggling with this issue and need support and guidance, I can help. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

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