Dear Em & Lo,
I’ve been in a serious, committed relationship with a gorgeous woman for almost a year. We first met as friends and then somehow found ourselves being more than friends after 9 months or so. During that time, we learned much about what makes the other tick. We have found our personalities, including our sexual appetites and interests, to be very compatible. We communicate well and have been very good about helping each other understand one another. Our lives together have been great including the sex (frequent with lots of O’s).
Here’s how she’s stumped me during sex: a couple of times after she has orgasmed strongly during vaginal intercourse, she’s then bursts into tears. As a guy, I’m a bit freaked (did I do something?) but she tells me that it feels chemically triggered. We take the time to settle back into the groove (she doesn’t want to stop) and then continue almost as if nothing has happened. Do you have any idea what could be going on?
–Tears in Heaven
Wow, let us count the ways that your life is totally awesome:
- You fell in love with a good friend. Meaning, you like each other’s company (almost) as much as you like each other’s genitals.
- Okay, so you’re great friends, but you don’t just like playing Scrabble together; you also have awesome, orgasmic, communicative sex.
- You really listen to each other.
- Basically, you’re so freakin’ happy you make Pollyanna seem like a downer.
Oh, and one more:
- Your girlfriend feels so close to you, and her orgasms feel so intense with you, that sometimes, after she has one, she cries.
Which is totally normal, by the way. The orgasm is a sudden release of this intense hormone build-up in your body — a few blissful seconds (or more) of rhythmic muscle contractions which let all that pent-up sexual energy flow back into the universe, like a whistling teapot from Xanadu. (Aw yeah.)
So it is chemical, in a way — think of it as a very miniaturized, very fleeting version of PMS or post-partum depression. When this happens, some women moan, some sigh, some laugh, some tear up, and many, many women cry. (Apparently some men do, too, by the way.) It’s just the body’s way of putting a period at the end of the sentence. Or rather, in a woman’s case, a semi-colon — lucky ladies get to keep going after an O! Now that’s the kind of run-on sentence we approve of.
Sure, this isn’t always the reason that all women cry after sex. Sometimes women cry because of some issue they’re dealing with — depression, past abuse, negative body image, unhappiness in a relationship, etc. If you suspect that any of these may be the case, that she’s keeping something from you, then you can very gently bring it up outside the bedroom by telling her you care for her very much and just want to make sure she’s alright and is she sure there’s nothing else going on here…? If there is, then maybe she needs some professional help to work through it.
But from everything you say, it doesn’t sound to us like your girlfriend is distressed or traumatized or sad in any way — it’s just her body reacting to all those crazy love chemicals. And if you are really confident that she is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth about this “chemical trigger,” then the only advice we have for you is to keep doing that thing you do. And always keep a box of Kleenex on your night-stand!
Big girls do cry,
Em & Lo