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Why Do Some People Feel Emotional When They Orgasm?


Why Do Some People Feel Emotional When They Orgasm?

When people have an orgasm, many different things happen in the body. For instance, brains and bodies get a surge of hormones, like oxytocin (aka the “cuddle hormone”) and dopamine (aka the “happy hormone”). In addition, our bodies themselves have a physical reaction, like leg shaking, an increase in heart rate, and more. In essence, orgasms can be an intense experience for many, with some intense emotional responses.  

This emotional response is perfectly natural, and this article will explore why people can feel so emotional after or during orgasm.

Related: 6 Types of Orgasms and How to Get Them 

Have There Been Any Studies About This Subject?

There was a 2017 study that looked at the various kinds of “peri-orgasmic phenomena.” In other words, this study analyzed “unusual physical or psychological symptoms subjectively experienced by some individuals as part of the orgasm response.” Possible emotions regarding orgasm included crying, laughing, sneezing, headaches, and in some cases, foot pain. Overall, the researchers ended up concluding that the study “confirms the existence of diverse and frequently replicated peri-orgasmic phenomena.” So basically, there’s much variation in how people respond to orgasms.

What Does It Mean When You Feel Emotional And/or Cry During or After an Orgasm?

It’s essential to know that crying during or after orgasm doesn’t mean that a person is feeling sad. In fact, many people who cry during or after orgasm might feel amazing.

However, some people might feel sad or distressed as they orgasm or right after, which is perfectly natural. While the rush of intense feelings during climax can cause tears of joy for some people, others may have a more adverse reaction. This experience is known as postcoital dysphoria (PCD), and it can have symptoms like anger, sadness, aggression, anxiety, and depression. 

In addition, if someone is going through an emotional situation or feeling stressed, these feelings can come up during sex. According to popular author Emily Nagoski, of Come, as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life, who once wrote for health platform ShareCare:

“Deeply loving orgasms — orgasms that have involved a lot of build up, orgasms that function as a stress reliever, barbiturate, or sedative, or orgasms that you feel ambivalent about — are all examples of orgasms in the context of emotional intensity, and they’re all potential sources of post-orgasm weeping.”

In essence, sex and orgasm aren’t just purely physical reactions. The intimacy that you experience with another person can bring up powerful emotions.

What Is Postcoital Tristesse (PCT)?

Some people cry during or after an orgasm, sometimes known as postcoital tristesse (PCT). This condition creates feelings of sadness, agitation, anxiety, and crying following sex.

PCD is a complex issue that can last anywhere from 5 minutes up to 2 hours. Sometimes it can even occur if a person didn’t have an orgasm. 

What Other Things Could Be Contributing to Crying After Orgasm?

Aside from postcoital tristesse and postcoital dysphoria, there are other contributing factors to crying after orgasm. For example, the bond between you and your partner could bring up tears of joy or overwhelming feelings of love. When you are finished having sex with them, breaking that bond at that moment can stir up feelings of sadness.  

Other contributors could be physical pain itself during intercourse due to a medical condition. If this is something that continues to happen, you may want to see a medical professional or consider trying other kinds of sexual activity. 

What Leads to the Emotional Response After an Orgasm?

When climaxing, various parts of your brain “light up.” As a result, your genitalia’s sensory input areas are activated there is also a release of oxytocin and dopamine, which produce a natural high. In essence, these chemical responses will intensify any emotional response that occurs with an orgasm.

Is Crying or Feeling Emotional During or After Sex a Typical Experience?

Crying or feeling emotional after sex is different for everyone. About 20 to 40 percent of a group of men and women who were surveyed reported feeling emotional after sex or an orgasm. But, all in all, the study determined that crying after orgasm is pretty common.

**Note: This language features gender dichotomously as that is what is indicated in the research, and it does not talk about any variability. We have used the language in these statistics because this is what was reported in the study.

In Summary

Even though crying during or after an orgasm happens to many people and isn’t a cause for concern, you may have to address some underlying issues if it does create significant levels of distress. 

If you are experiencing intense emotions after an orgasm regularly that cause you turmoil, speaking with a counselor can help. They can work with you to unpack any struggles you are going through and address any concerns you might have. 

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Kaitlen Knowles, Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW (she, her), Rochester, NY
Pagano Wellness Clinic – Individual, Couple, and Family Therapy in Richmond Virginia

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