What is PCD?
Post-coital dysphoria is the sense of unhappiness that follows a sexual peak or orgasm through masturbation or through consensual sexual intercourse. Literally, coital relates to sexual intercourse, and dysphoria means the state of being unwell or unhappy.
However, it is not necessary that the climax is through sex. A person can experience PCD even after orgasming through masturbation. A range of emotions like tearfulness, anxiety, aggression, irritability, agitation, emptiness, or a sense of melancholy or loss, define this state of being.
How long can it last?
Post-sex blues can last for a few minutes to a few days after experiencing the sexual climax. The time-span and intensity of these unhappy feelings varies from person to person. It is also not necessary that a person experiences post-sex blues after every sexual climax – we may feel it sometimes, while we may not feel it at other times.
What causes it?
The most common reason for it is linked to your hormones. Orgasming is an emotional peak accompanied by a release of many feel-good hormones. As we move away from that peak to a gradual drop of these mood-uplifting hormones, a sense of sadness might overcome the mind and body: the post-sex blues.
Are there any other factors?
Another line of thought blames PCD on amygdala, a region of the brain that processes emotions of fear. During sexual acts, there is a decrease in activity in the amygdala. It means you feel less fear and anxiety during this time. But, after orgasm, some people might have strong rebound activity in the amygdala (as it comes back to its normal level of functioning), bringing emotions of fear, anxiety, and other related unhappy feelings, all of a sudden.
Having said all this, research on causes of post-sex blues is still inadequate, and most of these are only probable causes.
Who does it affect?
People of all genders can experience post-sex blues and the condition is quite common. There is no reliable number on the percentage of people affected by PCD because even out of the limited studies conducted about it, each research gives different and contrasting numbers. PCD is still a developing area of study on sexual activity.
Should I be worried?
It is a real condition. But we do not have to feel alone or abnormal if we experience post-sex blues. It is only a temporary condition that a person experiences and should not be understood as a disease. However, if the depressive feelings persist for too long and continue irrespective of sexual climax, it is advisable to seek medical help.
How to beat the blues?
Since PCD is characterised by short-term depressive feelings, it is believed that foods with anti-depressant qualities might help the condition. A few of these foods are red bell-peppers, mustard, black-eyed peas, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and your very humble, potatoes and tomatoes.
Along with these, conscious efforts to deal with these feelings through acknowledging them might be helpful. When with a partner, talking about the blues or post-sex cuddles could also be helpful to some. Yet, there is no one-size-fits-all way to deal with post-coital dysphoria, or to avoid it.
*Persons in the picture are models. This article was first published on April 2, 2018.
Have you ever felt unhappy after sex? Share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum