Today’s guest blogger is the fantastic freelance journalist and host of the Second Circle Podcast, Franki Cookney (@frankicookney on Twitter). I’m a huge fan of her work, because she is as much a fan of overthinking about sex as I am. Today she’s here to talk about crying after sex – what is it, during intense sex and orgasm, that sometimes causes the tears to start flowing? We associate tears with sadness, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t often hot…
Fuck me to tears
We start out teasing, running fingertips over one another’s skin. We add lips and tongues, increasing our pressure. He makes me come with his fingers then pushes my knees to my chest and begins to fuck me. I tell him to lie down and straddle him. Grinding down on his cock I sense the first hint of something more intense than usual, something less about what I want and more about what I need.
We change position again. He fucks me harder now, deeper. On all fours with my elbows down, back arched, I close my eyes and let the intensity of it consume me. I start to feel it now, the heat, the pressure, the inherent dampness of it deep in my chest. My eyes are screwed shut, my face pressed against the mattress, fingers clawing at whatever parts of the duvet haven’t been shuffled off the bed. It’s happening. I take a deep breath and then… I let go, feeling the exquisite release as the tears pierce their way out of my eyes. I relax into it, pushing more out, letting them flow, soaking into the cotton; a salty wet patch on our cheap Ikea sheets.
I keep quiet. By now he’s well familiar with this peculiarity of my pleasure but I’m still not convinced that shagging a sobbing woman is quite his thing. Instead I breathe heavily, feeling the tension leave my body even as I sense it build in his. I’m done. I’m exhausted but I feebly push back anyway, contracting my muscles one last time as he comes hard and noisily.
He strokes the back of my head and I turn and look up at him sheepishly.
“Are you crying?” he asks me.
“Yeah,” I smile through my post-shag stupor. “You’ve fucked me to tears.”
“Good,” he whispers, kissing my shoulder.
Why do I cry during sex?
I never used to tear up in bed but since I had my first child two years ago it seems to happen quite regularly. I have no idea what causes it. I just know it feels fucking incredible and in the moment that’s enough. But then the next day I’ll start pondering it again. What makes someone cry during sex? Countless articles and studies have acknowledged, explored and theorised about the phenomenon but here’s the thing: no one really knows.
I put the question to psychosexual therapist Kate Moyle and she was quick to point out that sexual response is highly individual so it’s never a good idea to generalise. She also reminded me that people are apt to get weepy over all manner of different things.
“Crying is most often a part of a strong emotion that may be experienced from anger, sadness, joy, anger, pleasure or other emotions along the spectrum,” she said. But while it’s fair to describe my love of a good shag a “strong emotion” I still feel like there’s more to it than that.
I’ve heard of post-coital dysphoria, or post-coital tristesse where people get teary after sex but it usually comes with anxiety or sadness, regardless of how consensual and enjoyable the sex itself was. For me, the sex-cry feels fantastic. Intense, yes. Cathartic, for sure. But definitely on the joyful end of the spectrum. I’m not the only one who’s experienced it this way.
“It’s always once I come,” sex blogger Molly Moore told me. “Literally moments afterwards while I am still twitching and I will burst into tears. I can’t stop it or predict it but it happens if things have been fairly intense or there’s been a long build up. It’s like the orgasm releases all the tension and with it comes these overwhelming emotions.”
This is more or less how it feels for me too. Although usually the crying starts long after my orgasm. Instead of relaxing, the pressure in my body continues to build and while I might go on to have another orgasm, or even peaking and falling a few times over the course of a sesh, it’s as though there has to be something more, something tangible. And it has to be fucked out of me. That’s the other thing as well. For me, my primary orgasm, as I like to think of it, happens through clitoral stimulation. But I only ever cry during a long, hard, cock-in-cunt shag.
In a weird way, it’s a bit like my experiences with squirting. I don’t squirt very often but when I do it’s after a long build-up and a lot of G-spot stimulation. There’s also that feeling of pressure, a sense of “I can’t take any more” and a need to let go and then, suddenly, everything’s wet. It also isn’t concurrent with orgasm but rather a separate – although nonetheless delicious – sort of release.
Moyle was unable to shed any more light. “Australian researchers who studied this found that the women experiencing this phenomenon mostly described it as ‘inexplicable’,” she said. “Researchers have commented that it may just be down to the cocktail of hormonal and neurological changes that occur during the sexual arousal process.”
I’m sorry, “just”? It seems to me the cocktail of hormonal and neurological changes that occur during the sexual arousal process are, well, if not the entire experience of sex, then certainly at the crux of it.
This is something that Naomi Wolf touched on in her 2012 book, Vagina. She talks about the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the effect of oxytocin, one of the key hormones released during sex, on the brain. One of the things orgasm does, she explains, quoting psychiatrist Dr Pooja Lakshmin, is it “shuts off” the neocortex which is the part of the brain involved in cognition – judging, calculating, reasoning – and you are left with the visceral stuff, the involuntary stuff.
Why this has started happening now, at this point in my life, still isn’t clear. Since I had a child, I am certainly more stressed. But I also have a lot of other strong feelings. Intense joy, for example. Extrapolating from Wolf’s findings, I might conclude that these feelings have to be put aside in order to get on with the business of day-to-day living but that really good sex shatters through that. Until I can’t “process” any more, I can’t rationalise. All I can do is feel.
And feeling feels so good.
So yes, fuck me to tears. Give me the kind of sex that leaves me punch-drunk, that pushes me beyond what I think I want, beyond what I think I need, to the very margins of what I can take. I want to feel it cunt, in my chest, in my throat, behind my eyes.
And then, I want to give into it, to let go, and have a bloody good cry.