There are many different reasons to cry after and during sex, just like there are many ways your body can experience orgasm. From happy tears, sad tears, to unexplained ones, we cover it all in this blog. Read on for different reasons why you cry during sex, and how to recognize if it's due to a negative sexual experience.
Why do I cry after sex with my partner?
Now, let's talk about crying after having amazing, consensual sex with a loving partner. It’s confusing when this happens, especially if you’ve had a good time and feel safe. Your mind seems to slip into an abyss suddenly, and you might struggle to get out of it. About 2% of women in a 2015 study said that they “almost always” or “always” cry after sex.
One person who experiences this phenomenon repeatedly is Sarah Bird, a 36-year-old UK native in a happy and fulfilling relationship with her partner Aaron. “When [crying while orgasming] first started, I used to try and hold it in. But if I don’t cry, I don’t orgasm, so I’ve just let it be,” she told The Sun.
She also says the tears change depending on the emotional state surrounding her relationship. Sarah continues says,“Sometimes, when we’re in a really good place in our relationship, it’ll be tears of joy. At the same time, if we’re having a bad few weeks, I’ll get upset.”
On the other hand, crying after an orgasm can be due to the rush of hormones and emotions from an orgasm. You might find that while you achieve the massive bodily release, your emotions come through the floodgates as well. Sarah Bird experienced this as well, saying, “It wasn’t just the emotions, it was the pleasure, too.”
Tears of Joy During Sex
You might experience happy tears during or after sex that well up because of hormones and how emotionally connected you feel to your partner. Dr. Tantry at Flo.health agrees saying, “The emotional bond between you and your partner could trigger tears of joy or an overwhelming sense of love.”
But, if you aren’t experiencing tears of joy after sex, it could be because you have just suddenly been taken out of that moment, or as Dr. Tantry says, “Once you break that bond (i.e., the intimate physical connection of sexual intercourse) with them by completing the act, you start to feel sad.”
This “break” in emotions or change from one intense emotional state to a resting state can sometimes be jarring. Similar to the feeling of grogginess when you wake up, the release of sex hormones can be a jarring transition of consciousness and emotional state.
Why am I having a panic attack after sex?
A sudden overwhelming feeling of sadness, despair or emotional release can sometimes follow an intense orgasm. Women and other feminine presenting people experience this at higher rates, and possibly due to past sexual traumas.
Researchers call this experience postcoital dysphoria (PCD), or “post‐sex blues” . PCD symptoms usually surface after sex or right after orgasm, which presents as “tearfulness, a sense of melancholy or depression, anxiety, agitation, or aggression following sexual intercourse.” 
Although it is still an under-researched issue, the data tying PCD and sexual trauma together is insurmountable. Because of the high rate of sexual violence against women, and feminine presenting people, it is no wonder sex can be a difficult and vulnerable act. Sexual assault affects 81% of women nationwide, and 43% of men.
If you are LGBTQIA+ and specifically transgender and trans-nonbinary, there is an even higher overall rate that you have experienced physical, verbal, and sexual assault because of your gender. A 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Report said that “Nearly half (47%) of respondents were sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime and one in ten (10%) were sexually assaulted in the past year.” Race and ethnicity are also major factors of sexual violence against women and LGBTQIA+ individuals.
If you often experience panic during and after sex, you should consider speaking to a therapist or using a sex therapy app to address your mental health. Treating sexual shame, depression, anxiety, and panic disorders that affect all parts of your life is challenging, but help is not far away. You are not alone.
I am often in physical pain during sex
Pain-free sex can be difficult if you have sexual health issues like an STI or pelvic floor issues. You may also experience pain during sex because of your menstrual cycle and the position of your cervix. Certain sex acts can aggravate your cervix and occasionally rough sex, although fun, can leave you feeling tender.
Vulvodynia and vaginismus are also common and painful conditions for those who have vulvas. Polycystic Fibrosis, endometriosis, and bladder conditions can all make sex painful. We recommend speaking to your gynecologist and possibility a sex therapist for different treatments, toys and lubes that could help ease discomfort and bring joy back to your bedroom and solo play.
Is there something wrong with me?
If you do not have any mental health issues, sexual trauma, or physical pain during sex and you still suffer from postcoital dysphoria you should consider your relationship and mental state as factors contributing to your symptoms.
Common relationship problems, difficult social situations, and general anxiety on date nights can be exhausting and leave you feeling vulnerable and upset, which surfaces during or after orgasm.
Check in with yourself and give yourself time to relax before you engage in sex acts. This can reduce general stress and make sex more enjoyable.
If you're looking to improve your sexual experiences, communicate your needs, and in general enjoy orgasms more, check out the Lover App. It has personal exercises designed to guide you through difficult issues, and help you achieve your goals,
Schweitzer, R. D., O'Brien, J., & Burri, A. (2015). Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Psychological Correlates. Sexual medicine, 3(4), 235–243. https://doi.org/10.1002/sm2.74
Sadock, B.J. Sadock, V.A. & Kaplan, H.I. (2008) Kaplan and Sadock's concise textbook of clinical psychiatry. 3rd edition Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. [Google Scholar]
Burri, A.V., & Spector, T.D. (2011) An epidemiological survey of post‐coital psychological symptoms in a UK population sample of female twins. Twin Res Hum Genet. 14, 240–248. [PubMed]