Why Do People Cry After Sex?
If you've ever had a partner cry after sex, you probably wondered what was going on. Speaking as a person who's come across it, I can fill you in.
When people talk about awkward sex, it's usually something along the lines of farting at the wrong time, accidentally getting injured, or saying something stupid.
Not me, though!
No, with me, awkward sex tends to mean some sort of catastrophically epic fail for the ages. I'm actually pretty legendary when it comes to having bad hookups that culminate in cringe-inducingly, eye-contact-avoidingly bad awkwardness.
At times, it could mean that one of us accidentally pukes on the other. It could mean that my fling ate my birth control, as it's already happened before. Or, it could mean that I fell asleep while sexing it up or that my partner couldn't figure out where to put it.
Most of the time, though, the awkwardness that ensues involves a partner bursting into tears. As much as I hate to say it, I've had more than one partner who has cried after sex. I'm not talking about a small sniffle. I'm talking about sobbing like a baby.
After a while, I've wondered why people cry after sex. It's a strange phenomenon, but by no means is it as rare as people think it is. Over the years, I've done some research on the subject to figure out what's going on.
Curious to find out why that cutie may have started tearing up? Here are some of the most common reasons why post-coital crying happens and what you should know about it.
The most obvious reason why people might cry after sex deals with consent.
I'll get this out of the way, since it's going to be the most obvious reason why people would burst into tears after sex. Consent is key. If someone didn't consent to sex with you, then of course, they'd start crying. People typically do cry when they're raped.
Did they continually tell you to stop? Did they freeze up and stop moving? Did they really seem reluctant or resigned to it? Did they try to push you off? Did you get the nagging feeling that hey, this person really might not be into it?
Guess what—if any of that happened, you didn't get consent. You just raped or sexually assaulted someone. You probably should apologize, get help, and prepare for police to ask you some questions.
Thankfully, not all tears shed after sex are coercion-related. There are other reasons why someone might start getting huffy, weepy, and sobby after a roll in the hay.
Sex can be very intense, and when the intensity kicks up a notch, your hormones will react. Strong orgasms have a tendency of releasing massive waves of oxytocin—a chemical that is known for being the "love and bonding" chemical in your brain.
When too much oxytocin hits you at once, you might experience something known as Post-Coital Dysphoria, also known as Post-Coital Tristesse. This syndrome is marked by moodiness, a sudden feeling of sadness, or a feeling of overwhelming anxiety.
Some people who experience PD tend to get weepy after sex, simply because the emotions are too wild for them to handle. So, if you have a really wild session and they start crying, this could be the reason why they turned the waterworks on.
Admittedly, I'm not one for tears in the bedroom most of the time. But, some people are. People who have a fetish called dacryphilia are sexually attracted to crying people—and those who want to roleplay a victim in bed may actually learn how to cry on command.
Of course, this is probably only going to be the reason your partner cries during or after sex if you two have discussed things ahead of time. Even so, it's a possibility.
There is a term in psychology circles called "skin hunger." This term is defined as a deep yearning for physical touch, and believe it or not, it's a human need. Human touch, even as simple as hand-holding or fixing hair, has been linked to better mental health and lowered rates of depression.
If you think about it, we don't really live in a touchy-feely society. If your partner has been deprived of affection and touch for a long time, it's very possible that your sex session sent them into ecstasy.
Imagine going for years without sex, and then finally getting laid. It might bring a tear to your eye, too!
Your partner could have a background that makes them feel guilty for sex.
A lot of cultures in America and elsewhere tend to teach people that sexuality is bad, evil, unclean, or otherwise not good. If you hear something frequently enough, you will internalize it, even if you logically know it's not the truth.
This practice has been linked to serious body issues and an often-permanent inability to feel comfortable with one's own sexuality. This has been shown to be true, even when people leave the churches that teach them these rules.
For example, Evangelical Purity Culture is known for its sex-shaming practices—and the lasting anxiety-inducing effects it has on female followers.
If you have a sex partner who was a member of an extremely anti-sex religious movement, this could be why they cry after sex. Former Evangelical survivor Linda Kay Klein explained it this way:
“From that point on, sometimes it was my boyfriend and I being sexual that would make me have these breakdowns where I was in tears, scratching myself until I bled and ending up on the corner of the bed crying.”
Obviously, patience and trying to help them understand that sex isn't evil or shameful is what is called for here. Shaming them more, or freaking out, will only make things worse.
Your partner reached BDSM catharsis.
Were you getting kinky with the whips? Did you give your partner a lot of pleasurable pain? Well, they may cry after sex for a different reason—and it's not just because they might have gotten a little hurt, either.
Closely linked to Post-Coital Dysphoria is a syndrome that many BDSM practitioners have experienced called "catharsis." Catharsis has the same kind of oxytocin rush that PD has, but also has the adrenaline rush that people receive when they undergo pain.
This double-hit of hormones tends to make people a little loopy for a bit. As such, catharsis is often a very extreme reaction that can involve tears, shaking, panic attacks, or even start letting out bottled up emotions from years ago.
Don't freak out if this happens with your partner. Just move into aftercare and let them ride it out. Believe it or not, catharsis has been linked to healing from trauma and as a way to get rid of pent up stress.
Confusion could also be a culprit.
Did you ever have sex that made you question who you are as a person? If you are LGBTQ, then you probably have experienced this at least once. When you have sex that puts you in touch with a side of yourself you don't understand, it's easy to get emotional.
A person who feels very confused about themselves, or the sex they had, may start to cry after sex. This is actually very common among people who were told being gay is bad their entire lives, only to have gay sex and realize it feels good for them.
You got teased a bit too hard.
Certain kinks, such as tease and denial, tend to hinge on the psychological aspect of frustration. Sometimes, a little teasing makes actually receiving pleasure pretty amazing. For some people, they get into teasing so much, they actually will start to cry.
Most of the time, people who are into hardcore teasing will cry during sex, but it's not unheard of to cry after sex for the same reason. It's a rush for them, and at times, people get a delayed reaction.
They may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their performance.
This one has happened to at least one or two of my partners—and admittedly, I have a tendency of making things worse because I don't know how to handle this very gracefully when put on the spot. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's the truth.
If a guy feels like he failed his partner, or if a girl feels very insecure about the way her body looks, they may cry after sex. It's not necessarily your fault, but at the very least, you should do something to try to make your partner feel a bit better.
Finally, it could also be that they have been triggered.
Do you have a partner who was sexually abused? People who have PTSD may find themselves triggered by a sexual act—and that can include something as simple as spanking or just having an errant thought during the act.
It's usually very easy to tell when someone's been triggered by something. People who are triggered tend to react pretty wildly to their trigger and may actually ask you to stop sleeping with them mid-coitus.
If this is the reason why you see someone cry after sex, it's best to try to calm them down and talk things out. PTSD is pretty brutal like that, and there is a lot of stigmas attached to PTSD that your partner likely has to deal with day in and day out. A little kindness can go a long way.