Post-coital tristesse (PCT) is a feeling of melancholy after sexual intercourse (coitus). This is more common in men than in women. Its name comes from New Latin postcoitalis and French tristesse, literally "sadness". With respect to symptoms in women, one study involved an epidemiological survey of post-coital psychological symptoms in a United Kingdom population sample of female twins. Many PCT sufferers may also exhibit strong feelings of anxiety, anywhere from five minutes to two hours after coitus.
The phenomenon is famously traced to the Greek doctor Galen, who wrote, "Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster." The philosopher Baruch Spinoza in his Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione writes "For as far as sensual pleasure is concerned, the mind is so caught up in it, as if at peace in a [true] good, that it is quite prevented from thinking of anything else. But after the enjoyment of sensual pleasure is past, the greatest sadness follows. If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the mind."
- Masters, William H.; Johnson, Virginia E. (1966). Human sexual response. A report on clinical findings about human sexual response patterns and orgasmic expression.
- Burri, A. V.; Spector, T. D. (2012). "An Epidemiological Survey of Post-Coital Psychological Symptoms in a UK Population Sample of Female Twins". Twin Research and Human Genetics 14 (3): 240–248. doi:10.1375/twin.14.3.240. PMID 21623654.
- "Sex and depression: In the brain, if not the mind". New York Times. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
- Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, via Wikiquote
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