Research Confirms Men Suffer From This Post-Sex Condition As Well
It's Saturday night, you’re out on the town and whether it’s due to the blood-red full moon or the four bottles of Dutch courage you just knocked back - you've picked up. Sunday morning comes around, and even though she's left, the smell of alcohol, cigarettes and perfume hasn't. Your bedroom will need a few days of airing to get rid of this one. It reeks of regret.
No, this is not a joke. Research has confirmed that, contrary to popular stereotypes, men get sad after sex as well.
According to a new paper titled Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Correlates among Males published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, men can and do suffer from Postcoital Dysphoria (PCD). Symptoms include feelings of sadness, tearfulness or irritability following sex.
While previous findings show the condition to be common in women, there had been no prior research into whether the same could be said for men, say Masters student Joel Maczkowiack and Professor Robert Schweitzer from Queensland University of Technology's School of Psychology and Counselling.
"The study breaks down the results of an international anonymous online survey of 1208 men from Australia, the USA, the UK, Russia, New Zealand, Germany and elsewhere," says Maczkowiack.
"Forty-one per cent of the participants reported experiencing PCD in their lifetime with 20 per cent reporting they had experienced it in the previous four weeks. Up to four per cent suffered from PCD on a regular basis."
According to Maczkowiack, responses ranged 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 adds.
Meanwhile, the findings could pave the way for more discussion around male sexual experiences and therapy, says Professor Schweitzer.
"The first three phases of the human sexual response cycle -- excitement, plateau, and orgasm -- have been the focus of the majority of research to date," explains Schweitzer.
"The experience of the resolution phase remains a bit of a mystery and is therefore poorly understood.
"It is commonly believed that males and females experience a range of positive emotions including contentment and relaxation immediately following consensual sexual activity," continues Schweitzer.
"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."
Mr Maczkowiack says it's also obvious that PCD has existed in men for a while based on anecdotal evidence and online blogs and recounts.
"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," he adds.
"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."
"These assumptions are pervasive within masculine sub-culture and include that males always desire and experience sex as pleasurable. The experience of PCD contradicts these dominant cultural assumptions about the male experience sexual activity and of the resolution phase," concludes Maczkowiack.
The participants were volunteers recruited via social media, online articles, and psychological research websites. They completed a cross-sectional online questionnaire as part of the study.