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How to Deal with Post-Coital Dysphoria

Many of us expect sex to be the most romantic of all endeavors. We cuddle up next to our partner in a state of bliss and oxytocin. 

However, some of us may be experiencing feelings of confusion, sadness, and even irritability despite having consensual sex. If you find yourself experiencing these emotions, then you may have post-coital dysphoria.

What is Post-Coital Dysphoria?

Post-Coital Dysphoria (PCD) refers to negative feelings after sex. The negative emotions don’t take root before the act of sex but form sometime after. People with post-coital dysphoria symptoms may experience sadness, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

What are some of its causes?

While PCD is relatively common, many factors can explain why it develops. Some examples of post-coital dysphoria causes include:

  • History of abuse. Sexually abused individuals may feel sex as something traumatic. Hence, they are unable to consider it a pleasant experience.
  • An unhealthy view of sex. Sex requires some level of vulnerability which doesn’t always include the physical aspects. This requirement from some partners may be a problem for people who think of sex as exploitative or “demeaning.”
  • Anxiety. Anxiety-ridden people may not be able to perform well because they are too busy worrying about what might go wrong. Some examples may include a woman not feeling lubricated enough or a man unable to stay erect for a long time.
  • Postnatal depression. Newfound mothers may feel intense depression after giving birth, hindering their ability to enjoy sex.

Other Causes of Post Coital Dysphoria:

  • Hormonal fluctuations. The body releases several hormones during sex which include dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin (when you orgasm). Together, these hormones create intense emotions which feel like a “high.” After the sex is over, these hormone levels then drop, making people experience negative feelings of confusion and anxiety. This experience is relatively normal. However, if you’re experiencing depression, you may want to seek help from a medical expert.
  • Confused feelings towards the relationship. Emotional issues regarding the relationship may hinder your ability to experience pleasure after. Feelings of regret, confusion, and even shame can develop, especially if you don’t know your partner well.

How do I manage these symptoms?

While there is no post-coital dysphoria cure, there are ways how you can manage them so you can appreciate the pleasures of sex:

  1. Figure out your feelings first.Consent before sex is crucial, but it also helps to label your feelings towards your partner and sex. Are your feelings toward sex generally positive? Do you trust your partner? Are you secretly wishing for a more serious relationship? Do you prefer to keep things casual? Whatever the choice, make sure you sort out your emotions first to prevent rash decisions.
  2. Seek therapy.People with traumatic and abusive pasts may benefit from seeking help from a licensed expert to get to the root of the problem.
  3. Check your medications.Certain medications may have side effects, which include erection problems, mood swings, and lowered sex drive. Ask your doctor for any alternatives to see if that’s the case.
  4. Offer comfort to your partner.If your partner is the one feeling sad or confused, comfort them and let them know that your feelings for them are sincere and caring. Offer a listening ear or some cuddles to give them a chance to express their vulnerabilities. Tell them to talk to a therapist if their post-coital confusion or other feelings are too intense or harmful.

On a Final Note:

Sex is an intimate act between two consenting adults. Before getting intimate, make sure to sort out your emotional and psychological needs first. You may also contact a therapist if you are experiencing regular bouts of PCD.

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Tips for Thoughts

Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.