Post-coital tristesse

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Post-coital tristesse
Other namesPost-coital dysphoria (PCD)

Post-coital tristesse (PCT) is the feeling of sadness, anxiety, agitation or aggression after sexual intercourse, mostly in males. Its name comes from New Latin postcoitalis and French tristesse, literally "sadness". Many people with PCT may exhibit strong feelings of anxiety lasting from five minutes to two hours after coitus.[1]

The phenomenon was first mentioned by the Greek doctor Galen, who wrote that "Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster."[2] The philosopher Baruch Spinoza, in his Tractatus de Intellectus Emendatione, wrote: "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 passed, the greatest sadness follows. If this does not completely engross, still it thoroughly confuses and dulls the mind."

One study reported that among a sample of 1208 male participants, 40% of them had experienced PCT at least once in their lifetime and 20% reported experiencing PCT in the four weeks preceding the study. This study also reports that 3-4% of the sample experienced PCT symptoms on a regular basis. According to the same study, PCT among males is associated with current psychological distress, sexual abuse during childhood, and with several sexual dysfunctions.[3]

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: it found that 3.7% of women reported suffering from recent PCT and 7.7% suffering PCT for a long time.[4] Another study reported that almost half of female university students reported PCT symptoms at least once in their lifetime. The study also reported that there appeared to be no correlation between PCT and intimacy in close relationships.[5]

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  1. ^ "Sex and depression: In the brain, if not the mind". New York Times. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  2. ^ Quoted by Herant A. Katchadourian in Fundamentals of Human Sexuality, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985, p. 73.
  3. ^ Maczkowiack J, Schweitzer RD (July 2018). "Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Correlates among Males" (PDF). Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 45 (2): 128–140. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2018.1488326. PMID 30040588.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Schweitzer, RD; O'Brien, J; Burri, A (December 2015). "Postcoital Dysphoria: Prevalence and Psychological Correlates". Sexual Medicine. 3 (4): 235–43. doi:10.1002/sm2.74. PMC 4721025. PMID 26797056.

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