In this article we shall discuss Post nut Depression, what it feels like. We will find out some possible neurobiological and psychological explanations for this condition. We shall also look at some popular myths surrounding this topic and also look at some ways to overcome it.
Does Post nut Depression really happen?
Yes. Post nut depression, also medically known as post coital dysphoria or postcoital tristesse, is a condition where the person feels sad, agitated and anxious after sexual intercourse.
Sounds strange? How can one of the most highly rated pleasurable activities for humans .i.e. sex, lead to sadness? Well, not for everyone sex ends in a feeling of euphoria or daze. For some, in the recovery phase after sex, when the heart rate reduces and the exciting hormones settle, feelings of melancholy, hopelessness and irritation arise.
Symptoms of Post nut Depression:
The below mentioned symptoms when experienced after sexual intercourse, repeatedly over a period of time with high intensity, can be termed as Post nut Depression.
An emotional state where the person experiences sorrow, melancholy or feels disadvantaged. The person may withdraw themselves from others and become quiet or disinterested in conversations or activities.
Mere unhappiness after sex could be normal in humans. But in case of Post nut Depression, the dysphoria (a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life) is intense and cannot be diminished to unhappiness. The person may experience extreme sadness for as long as four to six hours after an orgasm, with or without a partner. It can be so intense that they may start to avoid sex so as to not fall in depression again.
The person may not be willing to have a conversation with their partner about the experience or what is troubling them or they may not be interested in cuddling, falling asleep or moving on with other tasks for the day.
Tearfulness is an indicator of sadness. The person experiencing Post nut depression might often look like they are about to cry or they might start weeping intensely after the intercourse.
The person might be stressed without any particular reason and the stress could also be very disproportionate to the impact of the event. For example, if the partner happens to pass on a remark or comment about their body or the sexual experience, the person will fixate over it and will find it difficult to set that worry aside.
The person may also feel agitated and restless after sex.
What goes on in our brain during and after sex?
One important sexual organ for humans is actually the brain. Why? Because all our rewards pathways and hormones are triggered by this power organ.
During sex, the orbitofrontal cortex of the brain that helps us make rational decisions becomes less active during sex or masturbation. Also, the amygdala region of our brain shows a sharp decrease in activity. The amygdala is responsible for processing fearful stimuli. So, when a person is engaging in sex they are not just feeling pleasured but have their logical thinking powers diminished and are also experiencing lowered fear and anxiety that they would have otherwise felt.
After sex, as the level of dopamine (the pleasure hormone) lowers, the decision making ability is back to pre-sex state along with the amygdala which is back in action causing the suppressed feelings and thoughts to re-emerge. It can be considered as a strong comeback or rebound of the action that amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex offers.
Possible psychological explanations for Post nut Depression
The neurobiological factors that could be responsible for post nut depression were discussed in the previous section. Now, lets look at some psychological explanations for why people experience sadness after sex.
Lack of self worth and self esteem
A very possible reason for Post nut Depression is when the person has underlying feelings of worthlessness about their own self. Studies do indicate that increasing your self esteem can brighten the experience of sex for the person. People develop performance anxiety during sex as a result of poor self beliefs and post sex it could trigger a series of questions and doubts about one’s ability and efficiency to give love, affection and action to the partner.
Lack of self esteem could be triggered when comments about the person’s body or personality are made.
Past sexual traumas
A history of sexual abuse or trauma that the person experienced could trigger painful memories during their current experiences. Non-consensual sex can have lasting scars on the psyche of a person and unless the person receives psychological aid it is difficult to recover from the trauma.
Fear of abandonment
For some people who have the need to belong to a person the fear of abandonment can be quite real. This fear could have an underlying root cause to do with their attachment styles with their parents and other caregivers. If the person was abandoned as a child by parent/s, faced an untimely death of a parent/s and is still struggling in grief, they could be experiencing a fear of abandonment.
What could it look like?
The person gets too attached too quickly. The person goes to any extreme to please the partner. The person could feel unworthy of love and find it hard to receive love and trust people when they show affectionate behaviour. They may blame themselves for anything that goes wrong in the relationship or, on the other hand, they might be hypersensitive to any sort of criticism.
Guilt after risky behaviours during sex
Unprotected sex, unplanned sex, sex with a stranger or sex before you know someone well enough to consider them trustworthy could all lead to guilt after sex.
Doubts or lack of emotional attachment with the partner
Doubts about where the relationship is headed, the emotional equation with the partner could be a trigger for post-nut depression. When the person feel disadvantaged or feels as if they are being used just to cater to the sexual urges of the partner, the depressive symptoms could rise after sex.
Common Myths about Post-nut Depression
In order to completely understand this condition, it is essential to wipe our heads off any myths that the culture, society or even mainstream media might have told us about.
Myth: It happens to people who do not achieve an orgasm.
Post nut Depression has nothing to do with how the person experienced a climax. People who do achieve an orgasm also state that the feelings of sadness lingers on for about
Myth: It is a problem with the biology or reproductive system of the person.
It is in-fact a psychological challenge. Multiple factors like fear of abandonment, guilt after risky sexual behaviours, history of sexual trauma, being prone to depression, unhappiness with the relationship or with themselves,etc. Read more about these points in the ‘Possible psychological explanations for Post nut Depression’ section of this blog.
Myth: It happens when the sex wasn’t good or was non-consensual.
No, Post nut Depression happens among very happy couples too. People report these symptoms even when they feel the sex was “satisfactory” or “really good”.
Myth: There is some problem with the relationship because of which the person is experiencing Post nut Depression.
Not always. The problems could be related solely to the individual and might have nothing to do with their feelings and the relationship they share with their partner.
Although, it can be one of the reasons why people feel unhappy after sex. People report that they feel depressive symptoms after sex when they engage in regrettable one night stands or when they know that the relationship they are in is not good for them.
Myth: Post nut Depression happens only in males.
The fact, as found out through studies, is that women experience it as much, if not more, as men. One study in 2015 found that 46% women experienced Post nut Depression and out of them 2% experienced it every single time after sex. The reason for this myth lingering around could be that women’s sexual life is still considered a taboo topic for discussion by our cultures, in general.
Ways to overcome Post nut Depression
Be in touch with your own self
Spend time reflecting about why you want to have sex with who. Some things to ponder about are:
Think about how sex makes you feel. Does it make you feel good and euphoric or, does it make you feel powerless and miserable?
Are you avoiding feelings or suppressing feelings of sadness after sex? Sometimes just trying hard to camouflage their true emotions with other “normal/appropriate emotions” can be difficult for the person.
Do you feel safe and secure in your relationship?
Is it something about the partner or what they do that doesn’t feel right or good?
Does any past trauma trigger when you are intimate with someone?
How frequently does this happen after sex?
What is your relationship with your body like? Do you feel comfortable in your skin or are you constantly striving to push your boundaries to please self and others completely neglecting cues from your body?
Be in touch with your partner
If you are in a mutually loving and respectful relationship, talk about your struggles with your partner honestly. An extra serving of support from someone very close can help heaps and bounds with psychological challenges.
Seek psychological help
Unresolved traumas, low self esteem, body image issues, fear of abandonment, relationship difficulties, communication challenges, etc can be benefited a lot by professional’s psychological treatment plan.
Seek medical help
Medications may be required from a psychiatrist if the depressive symptoms are too severe. Antidepressants may be prescribed as per the needs of the patient.
In this article, we discussed about Post nut Depression, what are the symptoms, the neurobiology and psychological explanation for this condition. We also looked at some popular myths surrounding this topic and consumed the facts. Mentioned in the blog also were some ways to overcome Post nut Depression.
Frequently asked questions: Post nut Depression.
Does Post nut Depression have anything to do with the sexual orientation of the person?
No. It could happen to anyone regardless of their sexual orientation.
Is it okay to feel sad sometimes after sex?
Yes. Most people report feelings of unhappiness on and off once in a while after sex. It is natural sometimes depending on the daily life and relationship stressors.