Post-coital dysphoria: Sexual health study suggests almost half of women will experience PCD symptoms

46 per cent of female university students reported PCD symptoms at least once in their lifetime

Around 150 AD, the prominent Greek physician Galen wrote: “Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster.”

No disrespect to Galen, but feelings of melancholy after sex aren’t as rare among women as you might think.

In a paper published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine this week, 46 per cent of female university students reported PCD symptoms at least once in their lifetime.

Over five per cent of the 230 respondents to an online survey said they had experienced PCD symptoms “a few times” within the past four weeks. There appeared to be no relationship between PCD and intimacy in close relationships.

Studies have shown that 10 per cent of women experience what is known as “post-sex blues”, or “post-coital dysphoria” following intercourse; a condition characterised by tearfulness, anxiety, agitation, a sense of melancholy or depression, or aggression.

In another Australian study published in the International Journal of Sexual Health in 2011, a third of women said they felt depressed even after satisfactory sex.

Researchers from the Queensland Institute of Technology have theorised that hormonal shifts which occur after orgasm, which can also trigger post-coital headaches, could be to blame.

Lead researcher Dr Robert Schweitzer, of QUT’s School of Psychology and Counseling, said that the findings build upon previous research “investigating the correlates of sexual functioning in women”.

“The results of our original research in this area have now been confirmed in an international multinational study on negative postcoital emotions, which appear to have evolutionary functions,” he noted. 

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