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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Post-Sex Depression Has Researchers Stumped

This is one of those studies where the answer is so obvious (at least to me), it's no surprise the researchers don't recognize it.

From Everyday Health: Sad In The Sack: Do You Have Post-Sex Depression? (emphases mine)
It’s not unusual to feel a little bummed after a less-than-toe-curling romp in the hay, but one-third of women said they’ve felt depressed even after satisfactory sex, according to a new Australian study in the International Journal of Sexual Health. The condition, officially called post-coital dysphoria, affects 10 percent of women regularly, the researchers found.

Could you be experiencing post-sex depression? Symptoms include feelings of sadness, anxiety, regret, restlessness, and irritability after a sexual encounter.

“There’s no doubt that many men and women swear that they have these negative feelings after sex, and occasionally after masturbation,” says Debby Herbenick, PhD, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. Although the Australian study looked at college-age women, post-coital dysphoria isn’t limited to coeds.


What Causes Post-Coital Blues?

Researchers don’t know for sure, but Krychman theorizes that hormonal shifts after orgasm — the same changes that sometimes trigger post-sex headaches — could be to blame.


Well, I have some theories too.

The Australian study focused on college-age women, right? I think that's a pretty big clue right there. They're most likely all unmarried. Sex outside of marriage, while being sinful, is harmful because two people are engaging in the most intimate of acts without the foundation of permanence that a marriage can provide. This is so basic, I can't believe the researchers are even studying this. Haven't they heard of oxytocin and its effect on men and women? The same hormone that a mother's body produces when she breastfeeds her newborn - it strengthens the bond between mother and child - is also produced when a husband and wife have sex (with each other being the key point) - and in the absence of a marriage, it's kinda like....well, it's kinda like riding a roller coaster that stalls just after it crests the first hill. At least, I think so.

I can't believe I'm writing about this.

I find the line "but one-third of women said they've felt depressed even after satisfactory sex" interesting. The article doesn't specify who felt satisfied, whether both participants expressed the same opinion, but I'm presuming it's the girls saying they were satisfied. See, if sex isn't about self-donation, and lacks the attitude of total giving to another, but focuses instead on "total getting" - well, that's a recipe for doom, ultimately. The girl might think - "Wow! He totally had me rippling like a wave tank!" - but in the back of her mind, she might be thinking - "I bet he doesn't even know my name..." No wonder a third of them get depressed. Frankly, I'm not surprised the number isn't higher.

So we got college-age kids hooking up, probably using birth control - and worried it might fail - or they didn't use birth control, and they're worried about getting pregnant; and on top of that, the girls then obsess over whether or not they're perceived as sluts; and let's not forget the fear of STD's; and OMG! What if my roommate walks in?!? And what will my boyfriend think if he finds out?!?...

As the article points out, it's not just the co-eds who succumb to post-coital dysphoria. That's because a lot of dumb adults engage in the same stupid behavior. Big surprise there. And hey! I bet high school kids experience the same thing too!

God has it right - sex is meant to be exclusively between one man and one woman who are each other. Not merely 'committed' to each other, or 'cohabiting' - married. Granted - even within this context, some percentage of people still experience post-coital dysphoria, and I can only imagine how frustrating that must be. I don't mean to slight anyone who legitimately suffers from this problem - but to those who aren't married? I say, sow the breeze, reap the worry-wind.

Maybe researchers should focus on the married folks instead of the fornicators. After all, post-coital dysphoria is the least of their problems.