Feeling Depressed After Sex

The condition is called postcoital dysphoria (PCD) and it’s not widely understood. Women with PCD may feel depressed, anxious, or argumentative, even if they enjoyed the sexual encounter.

Recently, Australian scientists surveyed 230 female college students to find out how prevalent PCD is. The women had an average age of 26 years.


Women with postcoital dysphoria may feel depressed after sex, even if they enjoyed the encounter. (Click to tweet)


Forty-six percent of the women said they’d experienced PCD at some point in their lives. About 5% said they’d had PCD symptoms over the previous four weeks. And 2% reported having PCD “always” or “most of the time.”

Why does it happen? Experts aren’t exactly sure. It’s possible that women with PCD are more emotionally sensitive or, after a period of intense bonding with their partner, feel upset over the separation. It could also be that women with PCD “lose themselves” during orgasm and their sad feelings are a response to that.

More research may provide new clues. “We want to undertake a large online survey,” said lead author Robert Schweitzer, PhD, in an interview with WBUR’s CommonHealth. “The next stage for us is the development of a measure of postcoital experience which can be administered to both men and women.”

The study was first published online last month in Sexual Medicine.


Medical Daily

Caba, Justin

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

(October 6, 2015)


Sexual Medicine

Schweitzer, Robert D., PhD, et al.

“Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Psychological Correlates”

(Full-text. First published online: October 5, 2015)


WBUR’s CommonHealth

Zimmerman, Rachel

“Sad After Sex? New Study Suggests ‘Postcoital Dysphoria’ Is Widespread”

(October 9, 2015)