Sexy time with your sig-o is awesome—as in, you’ve never had to bust out your Oscar-worthy fake O—so why is it that instead of post-sex bliss, you feel the sudden urge to curl up in a ball and ugly cry?
If your mood periodically plummets after knocking boots, you’re not alone: According to a new study published in the journal Sexual Health, getting hit with the post-sex blues is surprisingly common. Researchers surveyed 230 female college students and asked them to report any symptoms of post-coital dysphoria (PCD), which can include feeling anxious, depressed, upset, aggressive, or melancholy right after sex.
The research team discovered that 46 percent of the women surveyed had experienced PCD at least once in their lifetime, while roughly 5 percent had experienced the icky symptoms a few times in the past month. (Cue sad trombone.)
The problem—besides the obvious strain it can put on your relationship—is that very little research has been conducted on post-sex blues so far, making it just as tricky to pinpoint as it is to treat. But the good news is it’s not necessarily a sign that your relationship’s on the rocks: In this instance, researchers weren’t able to find a clear link between PCD and intimacy in close relationships.
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While previous studies suggest there could be a genetic component to PCD, or it could be the result of hormonal changes post-orgasm, this particular study found that it can happen “in spite of an otherwise physiologically functional sexual experience,” and that our sense of self may be a stronger predictor of PCD symptoms. In other words, if you’re a girl boss who oozes confidence and knows exactly what she wants in life (and between the sheets), the odds are slim that post-sex blues will strike—but if you’re uber-insecure and unsure of yourself, nookie could turn you into a real life Eeyore.
“If you’re experiencing the blues after sex, simply knowing this is your body’s reaction is a big deal,” says relationship expert April Masini. “Next, figure out how long this reaction lasts, and ID what might be triggering it.” For example, maybe there are areas of your life or things that happened in your past that are making you feel stressed or insecure, and letting your guard down during sex triggers those feelings to bubble to the surface.
It’s also important to be open with your guy about what’s going on, and involve him as you investigate what’s behind your postcoital crying. “When couples are close, there’s normally a symbiotic reaction to any emotion,” says Masini. “If you’re down in the dumps after sex and he can’t fix things for you, expect him to ‘catch’ the blues too.”
Being proactive and identifying your triggers can go a long way in putting the kibosh on your blues for good—and who knows? You may even unleash your inner Sasha Fierce in the process. (Grrr, baby.)