Women have plenty of reasons to feel sad after sex—like, say, the orgasm gap—but it turns out sometimes men do, too, according to a new study about which I am really trying to muster some freaking empathy.
Past research has identified post-coital dysphoria—the experience of sadness, crying, anxiety, or irritability after otherwise satisfying, and consensual, sex—among women. But this latest study, published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, marks the first time that the little-understood condition has been documented in men, reports Newsweek.
Researchers from the University of Technology Australia surveyed more than 1,200 men from several different countries about their post-sex feels. They found that 41 percent reported having ever experienced symptoms of post-coital dysphoria. Only 4 percent reported experiencing those symptoms with any regularity. Newsweek reports:
Those who had suffered from the condition described a range of experiences after sex. These included not wanting to be touched, a desire to be left alone or to leave the room, and feeling unsatisfied, annoyed and fidgety. Another participant, meanwhile, described feeling “emotionless and empty.”
To date, sex researchers have largely focused on the first three phases of the sexual response cycle: excitement, plateau, and orgasm. The resolution phase is, as the study’s co-author Robert Schweitzer put it, “poorly understood.” The same goes for the phenomenon of post-coital dysphoria, which researchers believe to be influenced by a range of factors.
But this study demonstrates that the condition is not a “lady problem.” It also shows, as Newsweek puts it, that “the male experience of sex can be far more varied and complex than previously thought.”