Under the Hood

Women With The Post-Sex Blues: Many Women Experience Depressive Symptoms Immediately Following Sex

Post Sex Blues
Almost half of women experience the "post-sex blues" even after good sex. Helga Weber, CC by 2.0

If any of you ladies find yourself feeling down in the dumps after what seemed like a satisfactory night in the boudoir (wink wink), don’t worry. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation. Post-coital dysphoria (PCD), commonly referred to as “post-sex blues,” is a very real occurrence that is finally getting the investigation it deserves. A recent study published in the journal Sexual Medicine shows just how common the post-sex blues are among women.

"The findings build upon our previous research investigating the correlates of sexual functioning in women," lead author Dr. Robert Schweitzer said in a statement. "The results of our original research in this area have now been confirmed in an international multinational study on negative postcoital emotions, which appear to have evolutionary functions."

Schweitzer and his colleagues recruited 230 female college students who were asked to complete an online survey. Participants were asked to report any symptoms of post-coital dysphoria, which includes anxiety, agitation, aggression, tearfulness, or a sense of melancholy or depression immediately following sexual intercourse.

The research team discovered that 46 percent of respondents had experienced symptoms of post-coital dysphoria at least once in their lifetime, while 5.1 percent said they had experienced these symptoms a few times within the past four weeks. They did not, however, uncover any relationship between the post-sex blues and intimacy in a relationship.

Schweitzer’s research team from the Queensland Institute of Technology’s School of Psychology and Counseling conducted a similar study back in 2012. While 32.9 percent of female respondents reported experiencing post-coital blues at some point in their lives, 10 percent said they regularly experience symptoms of depression following sexual intercourse.

"We want to gain a better understanding of women's experience following consensual sex," Schweitzer said. "This study will hopefully help people who experience post-coital dysphoria realize that they are not alone. Once we understand the experience we can start thinking about the role of clinicians in assisting people to understand and to address issues causing concern."

Although this previous study suggests this phenomenon is the result of changes in hormones following a sexual climax, Schweitzer says more studies are needed to understand this highly under-researched subject. Future studies will focus on confidential interviews with women who have experienced post-coital dysphoria.

Source: O’Brien J, Burri A, Schweitzer R, et al. Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Psychological Correlates. Sexual Medicine. 2015.

Loading...