Have you ever cried during or after sex? If so, you may have wondered why you were crying. For some people, the reasons for crying after sex seem obvious, and others can’t understand this phenomenon. You may even wonder, “is it normal?”
Rest assured, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with crying before, during, or after sex. It’s perfectly normal, and you’re not alone. Your body produces tears for a complex combination of reasons, including joy, laughter, relief, melancholy, sadness, and much more. Crying after sex can be driven by an emotional response; it can be purely physiological, or it can be a combination of the two.
So, now that we have established that crying after sex is perfectly normal, it’s time to understand the possible causes.
What are some of the reasons for crying after sex?
1. Purely physiological and biological in nature
Crying after sex doesn’t always have to do with an emotional experience. Some people cry after sex for purely biological or physiological reasons. In the clinical sense, crying after sex is known as postcoital dysphoria (PCD) or postcoital tristesse (PCT). This is a condition that leads to sadness, irritability, or tearfulness after a sexual experience — and we’re talking about consensual sex here. Even if your sexual experience was satisfying, it could still lead to tearfulness. PCD can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Studies have shown that 32% to 46% of all vulva-owners experience PCD, although that’s not a definitive figure. Studies have also found that 40% of all men experience crying after sex, and around 4% of all men say it happens regularly. PCD may happen because of hormonal changes and other physiological responses occurring because of sex. Some researchers also suggest that tears can be induced as a means of reducing tension after a period of excitement. In these situations, crying after sex doesn’t necessarily carry any emotional meaning.
2. Tears of joy after sex
Crying isn’t always driven by sadness — it can also happen because of happiness. You may have heard of the term “tears of joy” in reference to people crying during happy occasions, such as weddings. Well, tears of joy are also common (though perhaps less public) after sex! You may cry after sex if the experience was deeply pleasurable or if you maintained a strong emotional connection with your sexual partner. You may even cry after sex if you’ve had intercourse after a long period and the experience was beautiful.
3. Being overwhelmed by the sexual experience
You may cry after sex if you’re overwhelmed by a particularly powerful sexual experience. This is particularly true for people who engage in role-playing scenarios, sexual fantasies, and kinks that enhance the tension and heighten the experience. If you go through numerous emotional sensations in a short period, such as swinging from joy to fear to ecstasy and back again, you may be left teary-eyed. In this particular case, crying after sex may simply indicate that the experience was exciting and thrilling (much like crying after a rollercoaster),
4. Sensations of pain and discomfort during sex
You may cry after sex if you experience pain and discomfort. Dyspareunia is a medical condition that leads to painful sexual intercourse because of numerous factors, such as the lack of lubrication, irritation of the genitals, urinary tract infection, eczema, vaginal muscle spasms, congenital abnormalities, or other problems. If you experience pain during sex, you should contact your medical doctor or gynecologist for an evaluation and treatment. But if you experience pain during sex because of restraints, bondage, or other sexual acts, you should discuss your boundaries with your partner.
5. Performance anxiety or an inability to orgasm
You may also cry after sex because of performance anxieties or an inability to orgasm. Most people view orgasm as an essential component of the sexual experience. But we should view orgasm as an added benefit and not a requisite to sex. If you struggle with orgasms or suffer from clitoral atrophy, you may feel confused and fearful about your sexual response, which can lead to tears. If you’re struggling with clitoral atrophy or an inability to orgasm, you should discuss your concerns with a doctor or therapist.
6. Feelings of shame and guilt
We live in a world that’s founded on unhealthy expectations related to sexuality. Lots of people around the world have grown up being told to hide or conceal their sexuality. Traditionally prescribed avenues for sex have been fairly limited — sex has traditionally been deemed appropriate only within heterosexual marriages for the purposes of procreation. If you have grown up in a social surrounding that has made you feel abhorrent for your sexual desires, you may feel shame or guilt after sex, leading to tears.
You may also feel shame or guilt because of body image issues or because you’re uncomfortable with sexual behavior. It’s important to understand that all forms of consensual sex between adults are perfectly alright. Whether you’re male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, or anything in between or outside those binaries, you should engage in sex without fear, shame, or guilt. Furthermore, whatever your sexual kinks, desires, or fantasies might be, they’re valid. If you need help, you can work through shame and guilt with a therapist.
7. Triggers for past trauma or abuse
If you’re a survivor of trauma, you may feel triggered during certain sexual experiences. You may feel triggered because of certain words, scenarios, movements, or positions that bring up memories of your trauma. This can make you feel vulnerable, leading to tears and crying after sex. But that’s perfectly alright — let it out. If you’re comfortable, you can also discuss the reason for your tears or triggers with your partner. But if it’s a persistent problem, you can consider taking a break from sex or talking to a therapist.
Besides the reasons stated above, you may also cry after sex because of anxiety, depression, confusion, excitement, and many other reasons. It’s important to be mindful of your body, your emotions, and your sensations. If you’re uncomfortable with the sex itself, it might be time to draw boundaries, but crying isn’t inherently bad.