While women are known as the more emotional ones, guys aren’t necessarily the emotionless robots we think they are (and that they act like from time to time). While you may have heard of postcoital tristesse, that inexplicable feeling of sadness after sex with that guy you like, what you may not know is that you’re probably not the only one feeling it. That’s right, science has proven that dudes get sad after making love too.
A study out of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia discovered that while previously women were the only ones diagnosed with postcoital dysphoria (PCD), men also suffer from the condition, which could include feelings of “tearfulness or irritability following sex.”
Published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, the study relied on a survey of 1,028 men from Australia, the US, the UK, and other countries. A staggering 41% of the anonymous participants said they’d experienced symptoms of PCD in their lifetimes, while 20% had experienced in the four weeks preceding the survey. Sadly, 4% of respondents said they had PCD symptoms regularly.
The symptoms experienced by those affected ranged in severity, from “I don’t want to be touched and want to be left alone” to “I feel unsatisfied, annoyed and very fidgety. All I really want is to leave and distract myself from everything I participated in.” Intense, right?
Study co-author Professor Robert Schweitzer explained that while “excitement, plateau, and orgasm” had been studied extensively in the past, he and masters student Joel Maczkowiack wanted to get into the nitty-gritty of the “experience of the resolution,” which led them to these interesting conclusions.
“It has, for example, been established that couples who engage in talking, kissing, and cuddling following sexual activity report greater sexual and relationship satisfaction, demonstrating that the resolution phase is important for bonding and intimacy,” he said. “So the negative affective state which defines PCD has potential to cause distress to the individual, as well as the partner, disrupt important relationship processes, and contribute to distress and conflict within the relationship, and impact upon sexual and relationship functioning.”
If nothing else, it’s clear from this study alone that we don’t know everything there is to know about the sexual experience for men or women—in fact, far from it. Sex and relationships are complicated, to say the least, but studies like this shed light on some of the little-known (and little talked about) elements of our connections.
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