Crying after Sex
July 11, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

I usually cry the first time I have sex with someone. Does anyone have explanations for/experience with this?

I am a 31 year old female with modest sexual experience. Since college I have been sexually active but these relationships have been short-lived or flings. There has also been long periods of time where I haven't been sexually active. I'm very sensitive, fitting the profile of "highly-sensitive person" to a T. Basically, the first time I have sex with a guy, I (usually) involuntarily cry afterwards and feel extremely sensitive. The guy usually gets a little freaked out (when he notices; sometimes I hide it/it's dark, etc). I don't know how to tell him what's wrong because I'm not sure myself. I've heard this happens to some women and I am just wondering if anyone here has experience with this, explanations, or advice?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You're in good company here on the green.
posted by SNWidget at 8:59 AM on July 11, 2010

Could just be emotional release. Sex, when you're having fun, loosens up all sorts of muscles that many of us keep knotted, and there are some who believe that we knot these muscles up as a sort of emotional control, and loosening them lets out these captive emotions.
Even if you don't want to go that far, enjoyment from sex does put you in a more vulnerable place, which means you might be frightened by that vulnerability, or simply have a wall or two down that are letting out some stuff you normally keep locked up - NOT saying "abuse" as many will, though that's always a possibility, but sensitive people often keep their stronger emotions locked up pretty tight, so the release of sex might just be releasing a few extra things from the storeroom.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:01 AM on July 11, 2010

Some people do this like everytime they have sex,even people who rarely cry normally. Some people also have to pee right after every time to prevent UTIs. This is a good time to cry sneakily.
posted by ishotjr at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2010

Oh man, I am occasionally a crier. Don't know why. I don't full-on sob or anything, so I usually just bury my head in the nearest shoulder and take advantage of my partner's post-coital sleepiness.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:12 AM on July 11, 2010

(Oh and I pretty much never cry, ever. It's just a thing I do when I have sex with someone I trust and love. )
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:14 AM on July 11, 2010

This is so common there's even a wikipedia page for it: post-coital tristesse.
posted by hot soup girl at 9:17 AM on July 11, 2010

I am an occasional crier. It used to be more common when I was younger and some of my internal emotional whatnot was more tightly wound up. I'm a bit mellower, but if I've had some incredibly cathartic relationship-grounding kind of sex, I'll end up all sniffly.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:38 AM on July 11, 2010

I don't think crying and post-coital tristesse necessarily is connected. Some people at least seem to say that it has nothing to do with sadness or anxiety when crying after sex.
posted by Catfry at 9:50 AM on July 11, 2010

My wife cries afterwards sometimes, and not other times. She describes it like an overwhelming mysterious powerful emotional response, not a negative thing at all. Like the Wall-e crying girl. I get the same thing when I hear a song that's so beautiful and perfect (example, I cry when I hear the Sailors' Hymn done well by a real live choir. Every time, the "oh, hear us" line. It's embarrassing.)

I wouldn't worry about it or even hide it, other than to come up with a standard way to explain to freaked-out guys that it's a compliment.
posted by ctmf at 10:25 AM on July 11, 2010

Whoops, linking failure. Sailor's Hymn.
posted by ctmf at 10:28 AM on July 11, 2010

It's happened to me too. Total emotional release. Just warn the guy ahead of time, let him know that it's not that uncommon.
posted by radioamy at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2010

"I don't know how to tell him what's wrong because I'm not sure myself."

Nothing's wrong. It happens. Try to embrace it, because in some ways it's a lot less vulnerable and intimate than the thing you just did.

It happens to me sometimes. I liken it to the long happy sigh after a wonderful and exhausting day. Or the feeling you get when you've watched a really beautiful, powerful film. Maybe try to explain it like're not crying because you're sad or because something is wrong...maybe pick an experience that's relatable and produces a similar mix of emotion and explain it that way. Or, if you don't want to give it that much weight and import, say that you're just balancing out and not to worry. Then go to the bathroom, make tea or whatever, and carry on.

Your lover probably just needs to know how much to react to this (unexpected?) response, and will follow your lead based on what you do. Try not to feel ashamed or embarrassed. You're you, and this is part of what you have to share in your relaxed, vulnerable state. If you can't be your tender self after such a thing, what's the point?

Also, this is what cuddling was made for. Just try not to have sex with people who you think might not be down for its post-sex awesomeness.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:55 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

iamkimiam said almost everything I came in here to say.

Please, please, please, communicate with your partner about this before they think something is wrong. My generation grew up with "no means no" awareness and I have very strong memories of a woman at a rally yelling into a microphone that "any man who has pulled himself off of a crying woman knows what he has done". My only encounter with a woman who cried after sex was after this, and my heart just about stopped as the night flashed before my eyes and I questioned every word and touch. Fortunately we were able to talk about it and put both of us at ease, but still... if you're becoming intimate with someone, share this intimacy too so your partner knows nothing is wrong.
posted by foobario at 12:14 PM on July 11, 2010 [6 favorites]

When you start crying, say something like, "that was amazing! sorry, sometimes when its good it makes me tear up a bit" and don't go into detail or depth about it, just act like its normal and your partner will probably not mind in the slightest. Think of something funny - if you grin while tearing up then it will make it a non-issue.

I am assuming that since you can hide it in the dark, it just involves tearing up - if it involves more then probably best to tell him first like the others say.

posted by meepmeow at 1:24 PM on July 11, 2010

Maybe you should wait longer before having sex with people. The tears could indicate regret.
posted by macinchik at 10:52 PM on July 11, 2010

Catharsis. Reaction to profound release. A good plate-smashing fire-and-brimstone tantrum also does the trick for me.
posted by stuck on an island at 2:12 AM on July 12, 2010

Meh. Plate-o-beans. Warn in advance that it's something that might happen and nobody should read anything into it. Anyone who gets freaked after a clear warning isn't worth the consideration.
posted by genghis at 9:06 PM on July 13, 2010

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