One Out of Ten Women Get Depressed After Sex

By Leslie Pitterson

While sex is usually associated with ecstasy, for some women getting it in is anything but joyous.

According to a new study published in the the International Journal of Sexual Health, a third of women under 35 say they often feel sad, anxious, restless or irritable after sex. Further more, 10 percent of the women surveyed admitted to frequently or almost always feel sad after their romp in the sheets was done.

While previous research has shown a connection between depression following casual sex, the women in the study were not experiencing the blues as a result of a one night stand. In fact, many of them were in established relationships and still felt the nagging feelings after having sex with the ones they were with.

Speaking on her emotions in relation to her romantic relationship, one of the respondents said:

“I did not associate the feeling with an absence of love or affection for my sexual partner nor with an absence of love or affection from them towards me, because it seemed so unconnected with them.”

The study has many researchers fuddled. The definite cause for “post-coital sadness” as it is known in the psychological community, remains unknown. While researchers note that these feels are common in women who approach sexual intercourse with histories of sexual abuse often associate making love with an overwhelming sense of guilt. However, this is not seen as a constant with the women interviewed for the study, so researchers will be looking next at the different personalities of the women. Researchers hope that by examining their personality types, they can find a connection between how the women describe themselves and how they experience the act of having sex.

This article was originally posted in Clutch on April 11, 2011.

Sample comments from readers

I experience this. When I was having sex this is something I experienced. Hmm…Could be personality types…

I would imagine that women my age at least (over 40) may still have some guilt tied up with sex. Growing up in the 60′s and being browbeaten, threatened and dared not to “keep your dress down and your panties up”, by the time many women did get some, they felt too guilty about it to enjoy it. And then these women raised their daughters this same way as they were raised, which would explain younger women suffering from the same emotional malady. We pass along a lot of twisted notions to our kids sometimes, even when we know it’s not right.

Maybe it is due to dissatisfaction cause ain’t nothing worst than getting all horny and having the inability to put the fire out. And perhaps they may be unable to achieve orgasms that is something i think should be explored as well.

I had that problem in the past but for some reason, it hasn’t occurred in a very long time. I have also experienced extreme agitation and anger, but um, I’m sure that was due to not being satisfied.

i get irritable when i don’t have an orgasm. this is why i believe in using a magic wand. go  get one – around $35. best money you will ever spend.

My thoughts:

In cultures that are sex-positive for women, women enjoy sex a great deal and are highly orgasmic. Something is terribly wrong in our society for one-third of American women to feel sad or anxious after sex.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?
Repressive Female Sex Culture
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on April 15, 2011, in feminism, gender, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I’m not completely sure but, I think that I heard somewhere that certain hormones are released during and after sex that can make people feel a certain way, and the depression can be from more serotonin being secreted than endorphins, which excess serotonin will cause depression. Another reason can be when people are just cold to each other and they think that making love can bring them closer together and then when the sex is over and they just turn away instead of cuddle it out it can lead to depression. Also if one just has sex to have sex because they think they are supposed to, or they don’t want to disappoint their partner it may also lead to sadness because they feel like they cheated themselves out of something that’s supposed to be romantic and special.

  2. My thoughts on this topic is that in the beginning of ones relationship things are heated you feel the compassion for one another but then after the relationship has become long-term you notice a change, sex becomes something that is needed rather than shared amongst a couple or partnership, usually when two people perform there is some type of emotional bond amongst the two, but when theirs nothing felt emotionally or passionately, sex transforms into an altercation within physical reaction, which eventually turns in to stress and depression a women will never tell her partner about the way things aren’t heating up in the bedroom, so most tend to keep it within there thoughts which causes mental break downs and a sense of despondency.

  3. Jennifer Barry

    These are interesting statistics. I thought about it and have not personally experienced this, but I can take a guess. I truly believe that the majority of women don’t always have sex with the intention of having an orgasm. Unlike men, we associate sex more with affection, attention, and an act of showing our love. Men have sex to achieve orgasms. I’m not implying that they don’t feel affection or love, I’m pointing out that they engage in sex with the purpose of having an orgasm. Yes, some women engage in sex with the purpose of achieving orgasm too, but for the most part, I would say women see sex as a way to express our love, etc. If a woman is having sex with one of these males who are only in it for the orgasm, then perhaps this causes a little depression after the act. This would be my assumption.

  4. Post coital sadness is something that I have personally experienced and still do. I attribute this feeling of sadness to coming from an overly religious and conservative family and sexual abuse as a child.
    My family is very religious and my siblings and I were raised to be ‘pious’ and live ‘righteously’. I recall when I was a freshman in high school I started dating one of my classmates (we dated secretly as dating was not permitted in our religion, I t was considered immoral. The norm was getting married FIRST and then getting to know each other,). One evening after school as he walked me home from the bus stop one of my relatives saw us holding hands and told my mom. I was humiliated in front of my siblings, made to do all of their chores for the evening and was physically punished as well for admitting that I had a boyfriend. This feeling of guilt never left me in my teen years and went on well into my twenties. I always kept my romantic relationships a secret. Until this very day I feel as if I am a disappointment every time I physically express my love for my significant other (even though I know it’s irrational). These feeling are heightened right after love making.

    Another reason why I feel sad or guilty after sex could be that I was sexually abused as a child by trusted people, people who were supposed to care and nurture me. I could not say a word about this because I knew that I would dishonor my family; there was a good chance that I would not be believed or the issue would be swept under the rug and I would always be looked at in a shameful way for the rest of my life.

  5. Feeling depressed after sex may be because women often do not climax.
    Climaxing during sex is important; it releases endorphins which in turn makes you feel great! So if you are not having the big ‘O’ you might feel a drop in your mood that can lead to feeling regret or depression.
    Being able to tell your partner what turns you on during sex to achieve an orgasm can make a huge difference in how you feel during and after sex. If you are not telling your partner exactly what you like during sex, how can you expect them to be able to please you? Getting what you want, and feeling satisfied will help you to avoid feeling depression and regret.

  6. I think that all of the reasons mentioned in the posts above could very well cause a woman to feel depression after sex. There are so many variables. I am most interested in the physiological aspects of what happens after sex when a woman has an orgasm. For me if I was struggling emotionally for some reason in my relationship, I can remember feelings of depression and sadness after great sex because the reality of what was really going on was still foremost on my mind. I believe women are the embodiment of emotions and while I wouldn’t have it any other way, I wish we were socialized to be stronger and more content and confident with who we are allowing those of us who who fear trying to make changes and settle for less than what we want. Because of this, it seems more logical to me that sadness and depression after sex is based more on our emtional state at the time than anything else.

  7. I found this article interesting. There could be several factors as to why some women get depressed after sex. If a woman cannot achieve an orgasm that could be a factor as to why the depression may set in. There could also be other factors that play a role in this, such as outside stress at work or everyday life, and not feeling a strong connection to her partner may intensify this sad feeling. A woman’s hormones have a lot to do with this as well, it could be very close to that time of the month, and just emotional for no particular reason. I feel that being able to be open and tell your partner what you expect/pleases you during sex has a lot to do with your connection. This way each person is happy and feeling connected closely to the other.

  8. Like with many other things sex depends on the person. Some people don’t have to have sex with meaning and some do. But for the most part I feel that people feel empty handed after having sex because what they might feel they will get from it they don’t. It might have to do with after you have sex with the guy he ask you to get out. Or you simply just startign realizing when your havign sex with him that thsi isn;t what you invisioned or wanted it to be. Its all about the person overall

  9. I am not surprised by the results of this study. From what we talked about in class it sure seems like a lot of women are sexually unhappy. I agree that there could be the negative feelings surrounding sex and women that would make women feel guilty during or after sexual intercourse. It could also be the dissatisfaction or disinterest in sex that is causing these feelings for women.

  10. Gds1 Gretchen Sturkey

    Yes I agree completely that this is a magor issue in our society if women feel anything but butterflies and satisfaction after sex. I believe it is something to do with the people women choose to become intimate with. To me, if you choose a man with emotions and physical feelings, the outcome of coming together to make love should create positive feelings inside and out. Another explanation could be because of pressure in society for women to bs perfect “ladies”, religious views that some may not fully commit to such as saving intercourse for marriage. Women may think about things after the good feelings of sex fade and her “reality” sets in. Feelings of disappointed about herself. Unprotected sex can create feelings of regret and shame. These feelings I have experienced in my situations. In my opinion I think women should always have criteria known to make you happy when choosing to be intimate or in a relationship with a man.

  11. It seems to me like many of these sad post-coital feelings may be caused by a) a reluctance on the part of the woman to ask her partner to do different things to pleasure her, b) a lack of concern of the man’s part for her pleasure, and c) the woman may feel self-conscious of her physical self because of the cultural beauty ideals we are bombarded by in the media. I believe we live in a society in which people still have some lingering feelings of guilt about sex, which makes many women embarrassed to ask their partner to do things for them for their pleasure. When the women aren’t vocal about their dissatisfaction, men often assume that everything went great. I think many women can also feel that if they were more attractive, their partner might be more excited by them and more concerned with pleasing them, which is an idea that I think is promoted quite a bit by the media.

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