Postcoital dysphoria is a psychological disorder that involves sadness, anguish, and other negative emotions after orgasm. Sometimes, these psychological effects are included within the so-called post-orgasmic disease syndrome, a very rare pathology that causes numerous physical symptoms in the person who suffers from it. 

 Sadness, anguish, anxiety… These are the symptoms that some people experience after having sex. Thus, the pleasure is replaced or transformed into a series of psychic effects that lead those who suffer them to avoid sexual intercourse. The set of these emotions constitutes what is known as postcoital sexual dysphoria (PSD). 

Little research has been done on this problem, which is not considered a disorder. According to a recent review, DPS is understood as a psychological disorder. Although there are no known data about its prevalence, it is known that it can affect both men and women. “People with DPS may feel agitated, anxious, melancholic, and upset after having consensual sex , and may even develop a fear of being abandoned,” said the study. 

Hormones are usually responsible for postcoital dysphoria . Specifically, endorphin, serotonin or dopamine are part of that whirlwind of hormones that is released with orgasm and that is largely related to that feeling of well-being and sexual pleasure. Of course, like a roller coaster, what goes up comes down. And it is precisely at that moment of “hormonal low” when the DPS can appear

However, stress or anxiety can also cause these negative emotions after sex. In this sense, a study published in the journal Sex & Marital Therapy concluded, through surveys of 1,200 men, that many of the participants experienced postcoital dysphoria more often in times of stress, anxiety or depression

Post-orgasmic sickness syndrome 

Sometimes, postcoital dysphoria is just a set of symptoms that is included within a much more complex pathology known as the relatively rare post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS). “What post-orgasmic disorder basically poses is that a wide variety of symptoms, both emotional and physical , can appear just after orgasm or even days later,” explains Francisca Molero, president of the Spanish Federation of Societies of Sexology (FESS). 

The expert details that the cause of this syndrome “ is attributed to the fact that there may be a kind of allergy to one of the components of the seminal fluid or prostatic fluid . Therefore, it is much more common in men than in women. Among the physical symptoms caused by this disease, the specialist points out:

  • Flu feeling.   
  • Extreme fatigue or exhaustion.  
  • Muscle weakness.   
  • Tables of fever or sweating.  
  • Nasal congestion.   
  • tearing   
  • Itchy eyes 

Specifically, all these manifestations, which can be followed by mental sequelae such as decreased concentration and irritability , occur immediately or a few hours after ejaculation from intercourse or masturbation. Most of them last between 2 and 7 days. 

As a recent review on the subject points out, POIS negatively affects patients’ lives “by limiting sexual encounters, dampening romantic prospects, creating infighting to avoid eroticism, and affecting patients’ schedules.” This disease was first described in 2002, when researchers Waldinger and Schweitzer published the cases of two men who presented symptoms such as muscle pain, fatigue, and intense heat. These manifested after ejaculation and persisted for several days.  

Molero comments that it is very rare for these episodes to be primary, that is, they do not appear in the first ejaculation, but later and possibly “due to late sensitization.” Regarding the treatment, the president of the FESS points out that it has to be individualized and that, in addition to resorting to therapy, “sometimes these patients are treated with antihistamines, antidepressants and anxiolytics.” 

As already mentioned, little research has been done on this syndrome, so the authors of the cited review hope that “as the signs and symptoms of POIS are well described in the literature, it is expected that more patients will seek evaluation and medical treatment ”. 

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