This is why you have negative feelings after sex

This is why you have negative feelings after sex

While sex is often portrayed as pleasurable, exciting and positive, many people occasionally experience negative thoughts and emotions after engaging in sexual activity. There are a variety of reasons why you may feel down, irritated, anxious or experience other unpleasant effects post-sex.

Comedown from arousal high

The excitement and arousal leading up to sex causes a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and endorphins. This produces a ‘high’ and euphoric sensations. After orgasm, these neurochemicals plummet, leading to a comedown which can negatively affect your mood. This neurochemical drop can lead to emotions like dysphoria, sadness, irritability or agitation. You may experience stronger emotional lows depending on the intensity of the sexual high.


Sometimes the fantasy and buildup to a sexual experience can be more exciting than the reality. If the actual sex proves to be awkward, uncomfortable or less satisfying than anticipated, it’s normal to feel letdown. Emotions like frustration, sadness or anger are common if sex is disappointing, especially if you feel your partner did not adequately consider your needs. Open communication and managing expectations can help address disappointment.


Many people feel embarrassed or self-conscious after sex, sometimes due to concerns like body image, smell, involuntary noises or inability to orgasm. Criticism or perceived judgemental attitudes from a partner can worsen embarrassment. Remember your naked body is worthy of love and any judgements say more about the judger.

Disconnection from partner

While oxytocin released after orgasm produces bonding and closeness, some people feel disconnected or lonely post-sex, especially if it occurs outside a caring relationship. Meaningless or emotionless sex can leave you feeling cold towards your partner rather than fulfilled. Nurturing non-sexual intimacy too is key.

Infidelity guilt

Cheating on a monogamous partner can trigger intense guilt after sex. Your conscience may weigh on you, producing unpleasant emotions like shame, regret and depression. Be honest with yourself about why you cheated and communicate with your partner to address issues.

Identity struggles

Having sex that conflicts with your identity, orientation or values can trigger internal discord. For example, same-sex experiences may lead to confusion about sexuality. Sleeping with someone you don’t care for may make you question your morals. Examine whether your actions align with your identity.

Objectification / loss of power

Feeling objectified, exploited or that your power was taken during a sexual experience can cause negative emotions like anger, humiliation or helplessness. Ensure you feel respected by partners. If someone coerced you into sex, seek help. Remember you always have a right to say no.

Physical pain or discomfort

Pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness or discomfort like yeast infections can make sex unpleasant. This can lead to emotions like frustration, sadness or aversion to physical intimacy. Seek medical advice for physical issues. Partners should communicate to prevent painful sex.

Hormonal changes

Hormone fluctuations related to menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause can lower libido and make some women feel depressed after sex due to withdrawing from high hormone levels during arousal. Patience and understanding from partners helps.

Prior trauma

Underlying trauma like sexual abuse, assault, rejection or shaming can resurface after sex, causing emotional distress. Talk therapy helps process trauma. Communicate to partners what triggers negative emotions. Ensure you feel safe, respected and supported.

Fear of rejection

Fear that your partner will lose interest now that sex has occurred can create insecurity and anxiety. Manage your expectations and remember that true intimacy involves accepted vulnerability. Your worth doesn’t depend on your partner’s validation.

Fear of STIs / pregnancy

Anxiety that you may have contracted an STI or pregnancy can cast unease after a sexual encounter, especially if protection wasn’t used. Get tested for STIs and take emergency contraception if needed to address fears.

Mismatched desires

Differing levels of desire between you and your partner can breed resentment after one person initiates sex. The less interested person may feel used. Discuss ways to align your needs and honor each other’s boundaries.

Violation of values

Engaging in sex like infidelity, casual encounters or ‘meaningless’ sex may go against your values, creating inner conflict. Reflect on how to make future choices that align with your morals. Forgive yourself.

Lack of intimacy

Sex without intimacy and connection can leave you feeling empty and alone. Prioritize partners that nurture emotional intimacy and vulnerability outside the bedroom to foster fulfillment. Don’t settle for less than you deserve.


The physical exertion of sex can simply leave some people feeling wiped out, sore or too tired for optimal functioning. Allow yourself rest time to recover energy in the hours after intercourse. Balance your sexual activity levels.

The range of emotions after sex depends on the context, meaning given to the act, and bond with your partner. While post-sex feelings are often complicated, open communication and aligning sex with your values helps prevent ongoing negative emotions. Focus on owning your sexuality in ethical ways that uplift you.


Navigating the emotional aftermath of sex is a highly individual experience influenced by a myriad of factors. Acknowledging and understanding the complexity of post-sex emotions is essential for fostering a more compassionate and inclusive dialogue around human intimacy. By addressing hormonal, psychological, and relational aspects, individuals can work towards building healthier, more fulfilling connections with themselves and their partners.