The Daily Mail
Fri, 09 Nov 2012 04:31 UTC
More than 200 young women were quizzed on life between the sheets and 33 per cent reported feeling depressed after sex at some point in their lives.
The researchers are now trying to understand why some people experience the phenomenon.
Study author Robert Schweitzer, from the Queensland Institute of Technology, said: 'Under normal circumstances, the period just after sex elicits sensations of well-being, along with psychological and physical relaxation.'
But, he added, rather than any afterglow, some people instead have feelings of 'melancholy, tearfulness, anxiety, irritability or restlessness'.
'The findings are so counter-intuitive,' he continued. 'Everyone imagines sex as an enjoyable experience. But there seems to be a group of people who, in fact, experience distress following intercourse.
'It's not easy to explain and the area is highly under-researched. There are few published studies on sex in the post-coital period.'
He is now interviewing women who experience symptoms of post-sex blues such as distress or nostalgia following intercourse.
'We want to gain a better understanding of women's experience following consensual sex,' he said.
'This next study will hopefully help people who experience post-coital dysphoria [as the condition is known] realise that they are not alone.'
He said the cause of these feelings were usually unknown. One woman surveyed said that she felt 'melancholy' after sex, but this had nothing to do with how she felt about her partner.
Prior sexual abuse can cause feelings of shame, guilt and loss in later sexual encounters, added Professor Schweitzer. However his research only found a moderate correlation between prior sexual abuse and depressed feelings after sex.
'This suggests other factors, such as biological predisposition, may be more important,' he explained.
Once the possible mechanism for these feelings is understood, Professor Schweitzer hopes to start thinking about how doctors may be able to help people suffering from the condition.
Comment: What happens to these woman, and many others, perhaps can be better understood in the context of a cycle of spiking, then crashing dopamine levels. At the top, orgasm spikes dopamine and creates a "high" in the reward center of the brain. At the bottom, when dopamine levels are low, one feels scarcity, separateness, craving, need and greed. This drives one to repeat the cycle to get that "high" to feel good again.
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