Postcoital dysphoria can dampen your sex life: Here's what this disorder is and what you can do about it
Research suggests that attachment avoidance, insecurity and fearing the loss of sense of self could be a contributing factor to postcoital dysphoria or post-sex blues
Long gone are the days when sex was only considered a biological imperative. Now we talk about it in terms of pleasure, excitement and exploration. But the fact is, it takes effort to make sex pleasurable. Problems in the bedroom are very common. From low libido to anorgasmia, everything needs to be worked on to get to the point of having a great sex life. And while we talk about many sexual issues — one that most people are hush-hush about is postcoital dysphoria (PCD), also commonly known as post-sex blues.
What is postcoital dysphoria?
There haven’t been many studies on the subject but the term is generally used to refer to when one experiences the feeling of sadness, anxiety, melancholy or even agitation or aggression after sex. It can happen to both men and women and the feelings can last anywhere between five minutes and two hours. What can be even more complicated to understand and express is that you could be extremely enthusiastic about having sex, maybe having even initiated it, really enjoying through the duration of it and suddenly experience a drop or shift in emotions once it’s over.
The exact cause of PCD is not known yet but research suggests that attachment avoidance, insecurity and fearing the loss of sense of self could be a contributing factor.
What can you do about postcoital dysphoria?
1. Accept your feeling: We know that no one wants to cry after sex — you may feel that you’ll ruin the moment or make your partner feel like they did something to make you feel upset enough to cry. But not letting the tears out when you feel the need is also not healthy. Yes, it may take a bit of explaining later on but having your partner know how you’re feeling is a lot better than having to hide it if it happens again.
2. Figure out what you want: In that very moment, ask yourself straightforward and actionable questions. Figure out if you’re in a safe space — if not, which space will make you feel safe. Go there. Ask yourself whether being around your partner is helping or keeping you from feeling better. If you want them there, tell them to stay. If not, ask them for some space, letting them know that you will be alright. If you want your partner around, ask yourself if you want to talk about it, not talk about it or not talk at all. Once you figure it out, try to clearly communicate your needs to your partner.
3. Take a break to analyse your relationship: If you feel post-sex blues often, it might be a good idea to take a break from the sexual part of your relationship for a short while. You can continue being intimate in other ways and note if there are other anxieties or stress in your relationship. Try to think of your partner and practically assess how attached you feel to them and whether it’s a positive or negative association. A little bit of space can provide much-needed perspective. If you come to the conclusion that there are certain things about your partner or relationship that make you uncomfortable or you would like to change, then speak to your partner about them.
4. Get help: If you’ve tried to figure things out by yourself and nothing seems to be helping, reach out to a medical professional or therapist. Getting help is nothing to be ashamed of — it’s an important part of self-care. Be open about your experiences and past traumas if any. It might help you greatly in moving past this and enjoying your sex life a lot more.
For more information, read our article on How to increase libido.
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