Some men may tend to feel sad after having sex. A recent study found that men suffer from Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD) which results in sadness, tearfulness or irritability following sex.
“The study breaks down the results of an international anonymous online survey of 1,208 men from Australia, the USA, the UK, Russia, New Zealand, Germany and elsewhere,” said researcher Joel Maczkowiack. “Forty-one percent of the participants reported experiencing PCD in their lifetime with 20% reporting they had experienced it in the previous four weeks. Up to four percent suffered from PCD on a regular basis,” he added.
Researchers said that men who participated and who had experienced sadness following sex described experiences ranging from, “I don’t want to be touched and want to be left alone” to feeling unsatisfied, annoyed and very fidgety.
“Another described feeling ‘emotionless and empty’ in contrast to the men who experienced the post-coital experience positively, and used descriptors such as a ‘feeling of well-being, satisfaction, contentment’ and closeness to their partner,” he added.
“The first three phases of the human sexual response cycle — excitement, plateau, and orgasm — have been the focus of the majority of research to date,” said another researcher, Schweitzer. “The experience of the resolution phase remains a bit of a mystery and is therefore poorly understood. It is commonly believed that males and females experience a range of positive emotions, including contentment and relaxation, immediately following consensual sexual activity,” he added.
Previous studies on PCD experience found that a similar proportion of females had experienced PCD on a regular basis. But the case with men is not well understood at the moment. “We would speculate that the reasons are multifactorial, including both biological and psychological factors,” Schweitzer further pointed out.
Anecdotal evidence from clinical settings as well as personal accounts posted on online blogs suggested that PCD did occur amongst males and had the potential to interfere with couple interactions following sex. “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,” said Maczkowiack.
The negative affective state which defines PCD has the potential to cause distress to an individual and the partner as well. It can disrupt important relationships and add to distress and conflict which in turn impacts the sexual relationship. The study appears in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.