In detail

What is post-coital dysphoria?

What is post-coital dysphoria?

In general, there is a contemporary tendency to flee from those unpleasant feelings, repressing our emotions on many occasions. But sadness is also necessary. We demand to be happy and we are losing the ability to get frustrated and sad.

That is why the sadness after sex surprises us. Sexual activity is considered by the vast majority of people as a desired and pleasant activity. Even so, for some people the opposite happens and they arise feelings of discomfort after sex.

This desolation occurs regardless of the degree of satisfaction of the sexual relationship, since it can be completely pleasant and desired by the person who suffers from it. It can suffer both men and women and is independent of age. Although it is called "depression", it is actually a feeling of sadness and desolation that usually disappears in minutes and, very rarely, extends over time.

Possible causes of dysphoria

Although their causes are unknown, experts have two possible hypotheses to explain itThe first is that this depression is related after intercourse with the tonsil activity. This is a gland whose function is to regulate emotions like the fear, anguish or anxiety. During sex this gland stops working, once the orgasm is released, the gland becomes active again, and it seems that this sudden functioning of the tonsil causes that feeling of sadness to be experienced.

Another reason is the perception that we have each and one of sexThis means that people who do not have a positive idea of ​​sex are more likely to have this type of reaction. The cause is because within them there is an internal conflict between what they have felt and what they think.

This type of sadness can last from several minutes to even several days, it will depend on the person and the moment they are.

Influence of the tonsil

From the theory developed by Richard Friedman (2009) these feelings of dejection are related to the activity of the amygdala. The amygdala is a gland that regulates emotions such as fear or anguish and its activity practically disappears during sexual intercourse. After orgasm, activity levels are restored again and this sudden increase in activity could cause feelings of sadness and anguish. So during sex, we inhibit those thoughts that worry us or cause discomfort, but after the encounter it works again to remind us that the problem is still there. An example would be couples with problems, which after sex the problems that had been inhibited reappear.

Psychological theories

There are theories that explain that this feeling can be an unconscious way to suffer the separation that occurs after the enormous union that the sexual act means. During sex, emotions and sensations are very intense and the union is complete. When the relationship ends and the separation of this idealization of the union disappears And that's when the feelings of sadness invade.

There is also the theory that dysphoria occurs due to the person's beliefs regarding sex. Psychiatrist Debby Herbenick relates it to confusing feelings due to the education received, her beliefs and influences. If sex is seen as a conflict, we are more likely to suffer depressive episodes due to the guilt of practicing the act.

In the case of men, psychiatrist Anthony Stone attributes it to the absence of a purpose after the sexual encounter. For these men the end of sex is orgasm, once achieved, the purpose disappears and instead a feeling of emptiness remains.

Can dysphoria be solved?

Although each case is unique and it is always advisable to visit a therapist, a series of general measures can be taken so that this sadness affects our intimate relationships as little as possible.


Once finished sex is important devote a few minutes to the couple, it is a more affective moment, with caresses and kisses.


It can be used for sleep hugged To the person next to you, that makes us feel loved and our self-esteem will be increased.


Once relaxed, you can talk quietly with your partner, so it will be more difficult to fall into negative thoughts.

The idea is to foster ties with our partner after sexual intercourse and not feel bad if it appears. And if the discomfort is deep or endures over time, going to a good therapist can be of great help. There may be deeper factors, such as child abuse or other trauma, that would lead to this dysphoria and should be worked in therapy.


Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, SA, Schick, V., Dodge, B., and Fortenberry, JD (2010). Sexual behavior in the United States: results of a national probabilistic sample of men and women aged 14 to 94 years. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7 (Suppl. 5), 255-265.

Herbenock, D. Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered - For Better, 2012. Smarter, Amazing Sex