If you’re a man who’s ever felt sad, irritable, or distant after having sex, you’re not alone. A recent study from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia revealed this is not a condition only women experience.
The study focuses on postcoital dysphoria (PCD), which researchers previously only studied in women. Authors Joel Maczkowiack and Robert D. Schweitzer, however, examined the experience in men.
The study is published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.
While the study does not specifically look at heterosexual, gay, bisexual, or trans men, its results still apply to swaths of men.
Overall, 1,208 people participated in the anonymous online questionnaire from multiple countries.
Maczkowiack and Schweitzer’s findings revealed 41% of men experienced PCD in their life and 20% experienced it in the last four weeks. 3-4% of respondents said they experienced it regularly.
What happens and why?
PCD is accompanied by the aformentioned feelings like sadness, irritation, anxieting, and isolation. It happens after sexual intercourse, but does not require an orgasm for a person to experience it as it is primarily an emotional reaction.
One of the common factors researchers have found with PCD is past emotional and physical abuse.
Emotional abuse was the most commonly reported, while 12.7% of the men said they experienced sexual abuse as children and 3.5% as adults.
‘It is commonly believed that males and females experience a range of positive emotions including contentment and relaxation immediately following consensual sexual activity,’ said Schweitzer in a statement.
‘Yet previous studies on the PCD experience of females showed that a similar proportion of females had experienced PCD on a regular basis. As with the men in this new study, it is not well understood,’ he continued.
‘We would speculate that the reasons are multifactorial, including both biological and psychological factors.’
Other studies, as Maczkowiack noted, revealed couples connecting in the resolution stage of sexual intercourse report less experiences of PCD. Things like ‘talking, kissing, and cuddling following sexual activity’ lead to ‘greater sexual and relationship satisfaction’.