Crankiness after sex?
October 13, 2006 9:01 PM   Subscribe

I've noticed that about a day or so after a good roll in the hay, my SO and I can be a little cranky with one another. Not big fights, just a sort of removal of the rose colored glasses. My SO is not really convinced. Can you think of any reasons for this, or am I sort of insane?

Maybe testosterone levels in both women and men go up immediately afterwards to overcompensate for testosterone lost during sex? Or estrogen? Or maybe we just are courting one another less after sex and more disposed to being fighty? Interested in any scientific or sociological explanation as well as the personal experiences of others.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total)

Maybe it's your partner or you thinking that a couple days is as long as it should be between a 'good roll in the hay'.
posted by nadawi at 9:11 PM on October 13, 2006

Funny, I've noticed that too (with two different husbands [serially, of course] over a long period of time). We tend to pick fights with each other within the next day or so. I thought it was just me.
posted by Joleta at 9:14 PM on October 13, 2006

Being less horny after the act than before it, there is reduced desire and need of each for the other, and so s/he is an annoyance rather than an object of desire? I'm assuming you live together. Since I don't know the details of your relationship, how old it is, or what level of friendship you have, I can't be sure. It seems to me, though, that when the best thing in a relationship is the sex, the periods between the sex are uncomfortable reminders that you don't know what to do with each other outside the bedroom.

Take this with a grain of salt, my relationships always fall apart, so I may not know what the hell I'm talking about.
posted by Grod at 9:16 PM on October 13, 2006

I've experienced this from time to time, and have always attributed it to simply rebalancing from being superincredaintimate...we kind of swing the other way a little too hard to compensate.
posted by tristeza at 9:17 PM on October 13, 2006

Here's a list of articles on how the body's chemistry changes after sex.

My experience/feeling suggests that it's like a drug--it makes you feel so good, the next day you feel bad without it. Of course, unlike a drug, it gets better in a short time then worse over a long time without. Biological imperative and all that.

I thought only men's testosterone levels were depleted by sex, while women's were elevated, but I can't find a citation (a search did get me that first link, though).
posted by Cricket at 9:17 PM on October 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Cricket has it: prolactin.
posted by orthogonality at 9:22 PM on October 13, 2006

Perhaps you're just tired out from all the action? That's been my theory.
posted by limeonaire at 10:22 PM on October 13, 2006

Funny, I have the exact opposite problem. (More easily solved, of course.)
posted by turducken at 11:48 PM on October 13, 2006

This husband and wife go off to bed. As soon as they settle down, the man leans over as whispers softly "Hey snuggle boopy boops, your lickle hubby wubby isn't quite ready for bye-byes yet".

The wife takes the hint and says "OK, but I have to use the bathroom first". So off she goes, but on her way back she trips over a piece of carpet and lands flat on her face.

Her husband jumps up concerned "Oh my little honey bunny, is your nosey-wosey all right?"

No harm is done, so she jumps into bed and they have mad sex for two hours. Afterwards, the wife goes off to the bathroom again, but on her way she trips over the same piece of carpet and again lands flat on her face on the floor.

Her husband looks over and grunts, "Clumsy bitch!"
So, um, apparently this is a commonly perceived phenomenom.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:16 AM on October 14, 2006

Yes, it happens. Perfectly within the realm of normality. However, I must note: when the sex is especially extremely good, it leaves me hornier the next day ;-)

But I've always been one for whom the aftermath of sex is the mood to 'get things done'. I can be very short on patience when in that mode. I remember in my single days, I used to get my house SO clean on Sundays, following a lovely Saturday night romp.
posted by Goofyy at 1:11 AM on October 14, 2006

Haven't noticed this myself, but it could be related to the female cycle. Women tend to be especially aroused during the PMS phase, leading to passionate sex. A couple of days later could be the peak of PMS symptoms, or the menstrual phase which can also lead to crankiness. Mood is contagious.
posted by Manjusri at 4:22 AM on October 14, 2006

@Manjusri: In my case, the perceived effect is not related to cycles, although I'm pretty sure it's me that gets cranky and not my husband. He's perfectly willing to feed into the crankiness once I start, but that could be the "Deathalicious effect."
posted by Joleta at 5:53 AM on October 14, 2006

Yep, this is a phenomenon I've experienced. I'm also conscious of it and avoid the aftermath usually. There is much tickling (she's not ticklish) and foolishness. Be aware and finesse the situation.
posted by empyrean at 6:21 AM on October 14, 2006

Hmm, you should be masturbating my friend! At least that'd make you more tolerant of it.
posted by wackybrit at 7:52 AM on October 14, 2006

Why should we masturbate your friend?

It looks looks like after sex prolactin goes up, and dopamine goes down, creating the potential for a crankier beast. Not sure if this just affects women and both women and men.

Triste = sad
posted by Go, now. Go! at 8:37 AM on October 14, 2006

Oops, an unfortunately missed comma! "You should be masturbating, my friend", rather.
posted by wackybrit at 9:24 AM on October 14, 2006

If Anon is a woman using condoms, that might be a factor. There is research indicating that vaginal semen exposure wards off depression in women:
"Not only were females who were having sex without condoms less depressed, but depressive symptoms and suicide attempts among females who used condoms were proportional to the consistency of condom use."
So, if we see emotional impact in women from semen exposure and separate emotional/hormonal impact in women from sex with orgasm, then perhaps these two distinct responses normally balance or limit each other. Maybe using condoms to cut off the exposure but keeping the orgasms gets things out of whack.
posted by NortonDC at 11:15 AM on October 14, 2006 [2 favorites]

Yeah, but correlation doesn't mean causation. Maybe women who don't use them are less prone to worry, and consequently happier.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:45 AM on October 14, 2006

Anecdotal: my SO is often VERY cranky, or picks crazy fights, the day after we get the lovin' on. Don't use condoms (on the pill, monogamous living together etc etc), so there goes that theory. I've often wondered wtf was going on, as well... we just had a great romp, why am I now being chewed out for something that I did the whole week before without any problems??
posted by antifuse at 3:12 AM on October 16, 2006

Post coitum omnes animales tristes sunt."

Translation please?
posted by Manjusri at 7:16 PM on October 16, 2006

Loosely, "after sex all animals are sad."
posted by onlyconnect at 7:42 PM on October 17, 2006

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