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Sex can leave women feeling sad and blue

A new report from the Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia, based on interviews with women about their sexual relationships, has claimed that one-tenth of women frequently, or almost always, feel sad right after sex.

Lead researcher Professor Robert Schweitzer interviewed a range of female college students, including those in long-term romances as well as those who only have one-night stands. He asked participants about their feelings in the moments just after sex. He found that one-tenth of the women he interviewed had experienced negative sensations on the heels of sex.

He says: "Under normal circumstances the resolution phase of sexual activity, or period just after sex, elicits sensations of well-being, along with psychological and physical relaxation. However, individuals who experience post-coital dysphoria (sadness) may express their immediate feelings after sexual intercourse in terms of melancholy, tearfulness, anxiety, irritability or feeling of restlessness."

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The study involved more than 200 young Australian women and was published in the quarterly International Journal of Sexual Health.

Professor Schweitzer has also indicated in a story on LiveScience that the women who felt down didn't necessarily feel disconnected from their partners -- which is to say that a lack of love or intimacy didn't seem to explain his findings.

The study's author is now calling for more research to see if the findings are similar for women of all age groups and not just college students.

Prior sexual abuse can cause feelings of shame, guilt and loss in later sexual encounters, Schweitzer says. But his study found only a moderate correlation between prior sexual abuse and later post-sex let-down.

The next step, Schweitzer says, is to look at women's emotional characteristics and how they view themselves to see if personality contributes to bedroom blues.

"I want to look at how women view their 'sense of self', whether they are fragile or whether they are strong women, and investigate whether this leads to their postcoital dysphoria," he says.


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