Why Do I Feel Bad After Sex?

grayscale photo of person lying on bed

Sadness after sex, also called postcoital dysphoria, is more common than you might think. It can happen after both consensual sex and masturbation. It may be a sign that you are in an unfulfilling relationship or just feel disconnected from your partner.

It isn’t always a problem, but it is important to talk about it with your partner. If the problem persists, consider seeing a couples or sex therapist.

1. You Feel Guilty

Feeling guilty for having sex is a common feeling, but it can be a sign that you need to work on how you communicate your sexual desires. If you feel like you are giving your partner a signal that you don’t want them to enjoy themselves, that can send the wrong message to your brain and make it difficult for you to have fun at other times as well.

This guilt is sometimes linked to a belief that sex is wrong. It may be rooted in your upbringing or your religious beliefs, where you were taught that sex is taboo or only appropriate under certain strict conditions. You might have an underlying fear of intimacy or sexual pleasure that you can address with the help of a therapist.

Alternatively, the guilt you are feeling may be connected to the fact that you fantasize during sex. For many people, fantasizing heightens pleasure during sex and can even lead to orgasm. Unfortunately, we don’t talk about this as often as we should and many people feel shame when they mention their desire to fantasize.

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This type of guilt is called postcoital dysphoria and it can happen after any form of physical intimacy, including masturbation or oral sex. It can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours and can be accompanied by feelings of sadness or anxiety.

2. You Feel Sad

A lot of people experience a comedown after orgasm, which can include feeling sad. This is called postcoital dysphoria, or PCD. It can last a few minutes or hours and is more common in women, according to one study.

It can also happen when you have a very intense sexual experience, especially if it’s role-playing or fantasizing. This can create an emotional roller coaster that goes from anticipation, to fear, to ecstasy and then depression.

If you have PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) from a previous sexual trauma, sex can trigger those memories and cause you to feel down after. In addition, certain positions or ways of touching can be triggering for people with PTSD.

In some cases, sex can make you feel sad because you’re already depressed or anxious in your daily life. It can be difficult to push those feelings aside and sex might only be a short-term solution.

If you find yourself regularly feeling down after sex, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner. If that’s not possible, consider getting a couples or sex therapist who isn’t there to take sides and can help you communicate and resolve issues. Consistently pushing those negative emotions aside will only build up and lead to more problems in the future. You can also try practicing something like aftercare, which is a process in which you and your partner check in with each other after an intimate experience.

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3. You Feel Guilty About Yourself

It’s no secret that sex can make you feel all kinds of emotions, including excited, happy, satisfied, and relaxed. However, some of these feelings are more than just normal, and if you experience them on a regular basis, you may need to seek professional help.

For example, if you’re constantly feeling guilty about masturbating, it might be a sign that you’re not enjoying sex as much as you think you should. You might also be feeling guilty about fantasizing during sex, which is actually quite common and can often be what tips you over the edge into orgasm. Whether you’re a woman or man, it can be very easy to judge yourself for having pleasure that doesn’t fit into your set of values or morals. This can also be a sign that you’re having trouble dealing with sexual shame.

If you’re regularly experiencing this kind of post-sex anxiety, you may want to talk to a therapist about it. They can help you figure out where these feelings are coming from and how to overcome them. Often, these anxieties are tied to societal beliefs and stereotypes that you picked up as a child or teenager, so it’s important to find out what those are so you can start unpicking them and replacing them with more positive thoughts. Until you do that, it’s likely that you’ll continue to struggle with guilt.

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4. You Feel Guilty About Your Partner

It’s normal to feel guilty about hurting someone close to you. That’s why it’s important to make your apology genuine. An insincere one will be seen right through by your partner and can even cause them to blame you for their own feelings of sadness. If your partner is struggling with post-coital depression (PCD), it may be beneficial for them to seek sex therapy.

Sadness after sex, also known as “post-coital tristesse,” is a normal reaction to coming back down from the sexual high. This feeling is thought to be both a psychological and biochemical response. It’s essentially your brain’s way of saying, “OK, time to come back down to earth!”

You might also experience sadness after sex because you’re looking for a deeper emotional connection with your partner than what casual sex can offer. This is why it’s important to assess your needs and desires before choosing a relationship structure.

If you’re in a safe, loving, and healthy relationship, it’s okay to talk about your feelings. Bringing up these emotions is the best way to get them out of your head and into the open. Regardless of whether you’re in a vanilla or kinky relationship, there are plenty of ways to practice aftercare, which is a ritual that helps partners check-in with each other after sex to ensure they’re both happy with the experience.

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