Why some people cry during sex

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For many people, sex is a very emotional act.

When having sex, you might find that you experience many emotions, from pleasure to joy. Some people might even become so overwhelmed by feelings that they start crying.

The first thing you should know if you’ve ever found yourself in that situation is that it’s perfectly normal in most cases. While it could feel moderately embarrassing, it’s typically nothing to worry about. It helps to understand why it happened and what you could do to prevent it from happening again if that’s what you want.

This article takes a look at why you might cry during sex and what to do after it happens. 

Why You Might Cry During Sex

If you’ve ever cried during sex, the immediate question you would ask yourself is “Why?” especially if it seems like the tears have come out of nowhere. While crying is most commonly associated with sadness, many emotions could cause you to cry, from happiness to frustration. 

You Are in Unwanted Pain 

Sex should never be painful in an undesired, uncomfortable way. If you experience unwanted pain and discomfort during sex, you may begin to cry. To address this, inform your partner immediately that you are in pain and either stop completely or slow things down significantly, only proceeding with consent, care, and clear communication.

Pain during sex, also known as dyspareunia, may be the result of an infection, an injury, or because there’s a lack of lubrication.1

Women with a condition called vaginismus often feel pain during sex. Vaginismus is a condition that makes it difficult for women to have penetrative sex. It usually needs to be treated with a combination of medication and therapy.  

You Are Sad or Depressed

If you’ve been struggling with feelings of sadness or depression, these emotions don’t go away during sex, even though sex is meant to be a pleasurable activity. If you are sad or depressed, you might find yourself suddenly crying during random moments in your day, and this could include sex.

Depression is a challenging condition that needs to be treated with either medication, therapy, or a combination of both.

You Are Happy 

Believe it or not, you might cry during sex simply because you are overwhelmingly happy. This might be because you are having sex with a partner you love deeply or really enjoy sex with your partner. So, don’t hold back and let the tears flow if you find yourself crying because you are so ecstatic.

It can be an intimate bonding moment between you and your partner. It’s, of course, essential to communicate that you are crying because you are just so happy so that you don’t alarm your partner. 

You Are Ashamed of Having Sex 

Many people struggle with reservations about sex. This occurs mainly when it’s outside of marriage or a committed partnership. Some people even view sex as a dirty act.

If you are a person who thinks of sex as a shameful act, it’s important to unlearn these sentiments to have and enjoy sex comfortably.

Suppose you have any reservations about having sex with a particular person or in a specific situation. In that case, hold off on having sex until these feelings have been resolved and you feel more comfortable having sex. 

You’ve Just Had an Orgasm 

Some people find that every time they orgasm, they cry a little. Orgasming is an intense bodily reaction to pleasure when having sex.

In a 2017 study, researchers found that people experience a wide range of emotions, from crying to sneezing to having panic attacks after orgasming. It’s known as a “peri-orgasmic phenomena” and is rare.2

You Feel Overwhelmed

If work, life, or any other personal issues overwhelm you, this could affect you during sex. When having sex, your body is steadily releasing a cocktail of hormones. If you combine the surge of hormones with stress or anxiety, you might cry.

Some people also have a condition called sexual performance anxiety that could cause them to cry during sex. Research shows that the disorder affects 9% to 25% of men and 6% to 16% of women.3

You Are Dealing With Unresolved Trauma

If you’ve been sexually or emotionally abused in the past, this could cause trauma. Having lived through sexual trauma can make having and enjoying sex after the incident complicated, especially if you have yet to heal from your trauma.

It is encouraged to tend to your unresolved trauma by attending therapy or support groups and to consider a partner who can support your healing through compassionate, understanding, and respectful emotional and sexual connection.

You Have Postcoital Dysphoria 

Postcoital dysphoria is a condition that causes intense feelings of sadness in women after having sex.

In a 2015 study, researchers found that about 46% of participants had experienced postcoital dysphoria at least once in their lives.4 If you have this condition, you might suddenly cry after having sex or during sex, even if you enjoyed it. In some cases, you might even get into a fight with your partner for no apparent reason during sex.

You Are Unhappy With Your Partner 

Crying could be a sign of issues in your relationship. If you’ve been going through emotional issues with your partner or harboring thoughts of splitting up, it can all come to a head during sex.

If this is the case, it’s important to discuss this with your partner so you can both work on either repairing the relationship or going your separate ways. 

You’re Experiencing Hormonal Changes

Hormones released during sex, like oxytocin and dopamine, produce feelings of relaxation and happiness.5 However, you might react to the rush of these hormonal changes—along with the physical and emotional intensity of sex—by tearing up or crying.

If you are experiencing other conditions like premenstrual syndrome (PMS),6 pregnancy,7 menopause,8 or if you are undergoing fertility treatment,9 your body is going through hormonal changes that may cause you to cry during sex as well.

You Are Fully Present

You might cry during sex when you feel you are completely present and in the moment. Sometimes, being in the moment creates space for other feelings to arise, especially feelings we may have avoided, numbed, or repressed. Sex can trigger the release of all kinds of emotions.

So You Cried During Sex, What Now? 

If you’ve just cried during sex, you might feel a little embarrassed by it. It might help to know that you are not alone, and most times, it’s perfectly normal.

What you do next typically depends on the reason you are crying. For instance, if you are in pain, you should immediately stop having sex and figure out the source of your pain. If you can’t identify what’s causing your pain, you might have to see a doctor about it.

If you are crying for any other reason, communicate with your partner so you can find the root of it together. 

How to Respond to a Partner Crying During Sex 

Having a partner suddenly burst into tears during or after sex can be surprising. It could also cause you to either feel guilty, worried, or anxious about the well-being of your partner.

The most important thing to do is to have a conversation about it. Don’t move past it as if nothing happened. Sometimes, your partner crying during sex could hint at emotional issues or reservations they might have about your relationship.

Clarify that you understand and empathize with their feelings and ask them how you can help. It’s essential not to hurry into resuming sex or any sexual activity until you feel you’ve both come to a complete resolution about the matter. 

In addition to having a conversation about why the crying is happening (instead of going into logical problem-solving mode, it can be helpful to meet and to be present with what is instead of immediately trying to diagnose it):

  • Asking your partner if they’d like to stop (response may be to keep going or stop)
  • Slow down and observe partner’s non-verbal cues
  • Stop sexual activity and hold your partner close until they are ready to speak/communicate

A Word From EXPERTS

There are many reasons you might cry during or after sex. You should know that it’s nothing to worry about, and in some instances, it can even be an indicator that you have a healthy and loving relationship with your partner. However, if you frequently cry during sex and can’t seem to figure out why, you might need to speak to a psychotherapist or sex therapist about it. You could either do this with your partner or alone.