New research suggests one-third of women have experienced the post-sex blues.
Australian researchers interviewed more than 200 young women and learned that nearly 33 percent of the women had experienced the phenomenon at some point.
In the study, Robert Schweitzer, Ph.D., of the University of Queensland, looked at the prevalence of negative feelings following otherwise satisfactory intercourse, or something the researchers are calling postcoital dysphoria.
“While 32.9 percent of women reported experiencing symptoms of postcoital dysphoria at least a little of the time in their life, what was even more surprising was that 10 percent reported experiencing the symptoms some of the time or most of the time,” said Schweitzer.
“Under normal circumstances the resolution phase of sexual activity, or period just after sex, elicits sensations of well-being, along with psychological and physical relaxation.
“However, individuals who experience postcoital dysphoria may express their immediate feelings after sexual intercourse in terms of melancholy, tearfulness, anxiety, irritability or feelings of restlessness.”
Schweitzer said one woman described feeling “melancholy” after sex. He said the woman did not associate the feeling with an absence of love or affection for her sexual partner or with lack of love or affection from them to her. Rather, it seemed unconnected to the partner.
Schweitzer said the cause of such negative feelings was virtually unknown.
“Research on the prevalence and causes of postcoital dysphroia has been virtually silent but Internet searches reveal information on the subject is widely sought,” he said.
It has generally been thought that women who have experienced sexual abuse associate later sexual encounters with the trauma of the abuse along with sensations of shame, guilt, punishment and loss, he noted.
“This association is then purported to lead to sexual problems and the avoidance of sex.”
But Schweitzer said his study had instead found only limited correlation between sexual abuse and postcoital dysphoria.
“Psychological distress was also found to be only modestly associated with postcoital dysphoria,” he said.
“This suggests other factors such as biological predisposition may be more important in understanding the phenomenon and identifying women at risk of experiencing postcoital dysphoria.”
The research is published in the latest International Journal of Sexual Health.
Source: University of Queensland