No afterglow: 41% of men admit to feeling sad or irritable after sex
New Australian research has found that like women, men may also suffer from the condition Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD), which can leave them feeling sad, tearful, or irritable after sex.
Carried out by researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the world-first study anonymously surveyed 1,208 men from various countries including Australia, the USA, the UK, Russia, New Zealand, and Germany.
The participants' responses showed that 41% reported experiencing PCD at some point in their lifetime, with 20% reporting they had experienced it in the previous four weeks.
Only 3% to 4% suffered from PCD on a regular basis.
Joel Maczkowiack, one of the study's co-authors, added that some of the comments from the participants described experiences ranging from "I don't want to be touched and want to be left alone" to "I feel unsatisfied, annoyed and very fidgety. All I really want is to leave and distract myself from everything I participated in."
"Another described feeling 'emotionless and empty' in contrast to the men who experienced the post coital experience positively, and used descriptors such as a 'feeling of well-being, satisfaction, contentment' and closeness to their partner," he said.
Although PCD has been recognised in women, no studies have previously identified the condition among men.
A man's experience of sex could be more complex than previously thought
Co-author Professor Robert Schweitzer said the findings now suggest that a man's experience of sex could be more complex than previously thought.
"The experience of the resolution phase remains a bit of a mystery and is therefore poorly understood," said Professor Schweitzer, "It is commonly believed that males and females experience a range of positive emotions including contentment and relaxation immediately following consensual sexual activity."
"Yet previous studies on the PCD experience of females showed that a similar proportion of females had experienced PCD on a regular basis. As with the men in this new study, it is not well understood. We would speculate that the reasons are multifactorial, including both biological and psychological factors."
In addition, PCD could cause problems for both partners and not just the men who experience it.
"It has, for example, been established that couples who engage in talking, kissing, and cuddling following sexual activity report greater sexual and relationship satisfaction, demonstrating that the resolution phase is important for bonding and intimacy," said Maczkowiack.
"So the negative affective state which defines PCD has potential to cause distress to the individual, as well as the partner, disrupt important relationship processes, and contribute to distress and conflict within the relationship, and impact upon sexual and relationship functioning."
The results can be found published online in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.