Ever Feel Inexplicably Sad After Sex? You Might Have Post-Coital Tristesse

Sometimes I have amazing sex, complete with a mind-blowing orgasm, and still end up feeling kinda down afterward. WTF? Turns out, I experience  Post-Coital Tristesse, which is apparently more common than you’d think. It’s a term that refers to the blues you can get following a particularly heavy sex session. Care to know more?

  1. You can feel a range of emotions. When you experience PCT, your emotions can vary massively. You can feel anything from tearful and sad to anxious and melancholic to even agitated and aggressive. For me, I just wanted to cry and I didn’t really understand why. It turns out that it affects everyone differently.
  2. It’s very rarely due to trauma. Experiencing PCT doesn’t necessarily mean that anything sinister is going on. In fact, it tends to happen after consensual sex when nothing out of the ordinary has occurred. Healthcare professionals are the first to admit that it doesn’t make much sense but there is a science behind it.
  3. Like with a lot of things, hormones are to blame. After you have sex with someone, there’s an explosion of hormones in the body. These include the feel-good, bonding hormones like endorphins, oxytocin, and prolactin. However, after the peak of orgasm, your hormone level drops massively, which results in a sense of sadness.
  4. The heightened state of arousal often has a rough comedown. PCT is the result of an organic biological function which happens to a greater or lesser extent to many different people. During my experience, I felt down for approximately 30 minutes post-sex, but then I picked back up again.
  5. PCT is like a roller coaster you never asked to ride. You can quite easily go from orgasmic heaven to feeling incredibly isolated and separated from your partner in a matter of minutes when PCT occurs. For me, I just felt very disconnected from everything and everyone and didn’t even want to cuddle my boyfriend afterward. In fact, I wanted him to get the hell away from me! It was a bit confusing for both of us, to say the least.
  6. It’s totally normal. Post-coital tristesse has a lot to do with science and our body’s natural functions, so don’t feel like you’re a complete alien for going through it. It’s not just you—you won’t be the first and you won’t be the last, so try to take comfort in that. There’s nothing wrong with you, this too shall pass, etc.
  7. It has nothing to do with how intimate you are with your partner. It’s quite common to start doubting your partner, your feelings for them, and the relationship in general during these post-sex blues. But, it’s important to remember that PCT is a fleeting condition. It will soon pass, and it doesn’t mean that you care any less about your partner or that there’s something seriously wrong with you.
  8. It’s important to tell your partner what’s going on. The only way your partner is going to understand what’s going on is if you actually communicate with him. He has a right to know what kinds of emotions that you’re feeling if said emotions are having a strong effect on your mood and behavior.
  9. Try not to lash out at your partner. It’s easy to take the negative feelings that you’re experiencing due to PCT out on your partner, whether accidentally or intentionally. A lot of people tend to become argumentative and dismissive, but try not to let that happen. At the end of the day, your partner will want to be there for you and support you through the difficult time.
  10. If you’re concerned, talk to a doctor or sex therapist. If you keep experiencing PCT, or you continue to feel down for sustained periods after sex and you’re becoming increasingly worried, there’s no harm in talking to a professional about it.  It’s understandable why you might feel particularly concerned. But, most of the time, take comfort in the fact that it usually passes. I mean, mine did! And it hasn’t affected my sex life, you’ll be happy to hear.
Katie Davies is a British freelance writer who has built a career creating lifestyle content that caters to the modern woman. When she's not sipping tea, shopping, or exploring a new city, you'll probably find her blogging about her fashion and travel adventures at https://trendytourist.co.uk.