The Surprising Craving for More Intimacy After Sex
When you think about the deepest connection you can make with another person, sex comes to mind pretty quickly. But after you and your partner have sex, what do you do?
- Lay and cuddle for an hour
- Jump straight into the shower and clean off all that sweat, lube and any other fun stuff
- Talk about life, the kids or what you want to eat
- Jump straight into chores, I mean that pile of dirty dishes has been sitting there since before you had sex!
There is an important moment after sex that is perfect for connection and intimacy. Added bonus for those who have trouble relaxing or have low libido…you’ve already had sex so relax because it’s not a precursor!
Answer this: How do you feel immediately after sex?
Happy, relaxed, fulfilled, sad, disappointed, angry. Wait, what…they aren’t all happy feelings!? No they aren’t.
Did you know there is such a thing as Post-Coital Dysphoria (PCD) or “post-sex blues”? PCD includes feelings tearful, a sense of melancholy or depression, anxiety, agitation, or aggression. 46% of women have experienced PCD in their lifetime compared to 41% of men, and 61% of women with postnatal depression report experiencing PCD. There is a strong relationship between previous child or adult abuse and PCD but only a weak link between sexual functioning and PCD, so it can affect anyone. It’s also not something that regularly affects a person, many people will experience it only some of the time.
No one wants to feel negative after sex. You’ve just experienced orgasm or pleasure or both!
There is a period of time at the end of the sexual response cycle known as the resolution phase. The body returns to its normal state and a person can’t become sexually aroused no matter the stimuli. This phase, often ignored, is actually a perfect time to connect and bond with your partner.
Whether you experience PCD or just want to increase your connection, this is the exact moment you can use and here’s where to start:
- Cuddling releases oxytocin, which triggers connection and bond. Just like cuddling your kids it has the same effect when cuddling a partner. If you cuddle and remain silent you’ll notice your breath syncs as you connect.
- De-briefing or general talking can boost your mood or bond. Ask for what you need after sex to make sure your needs are met. If a need hasn’t been met during the session and you were nervous to raise it at the time, do it now. Try saying “we did x this time and it was fine/a bit painful, I’d like to try it again, but next time let’s try…”
- If you feel negative after sex, what is bringing on the negative feelings? Is there underlying trauma that is affecting you? Sexual abuse as an adult or child and postnatal depression can have significant effects on your sexual functioning and emotions. If so, what can you do for yourself to fulfill your needs?
- If you feel really strongly about showering after sex (perhaps it’s been a big sweaty session), try showering together. You can still bond in the shower through touch, hugging and talking.
So next time you go to run off after sex and shower or do chores, stop, relax and think about your emotional connection. Perhaps it needs a few more minutes…after all 5 minutes longer won’t hurt.
Join the Mama’s Sensual Safari and be guided by a Sex Therapist from zero intimate connection to a fulfilling partner connection “to infinity and beyond”!