What causes post-orgasmic symptoms?
A recovering porn addict:
I'd consider this topic as very important for some addicts (including me), who've lived in a mid to longterm relationship with their gf (in my case it's 6 years). I'm finding my gf less attractive and myself less in love after having Sex with Orgasm. Instead I enter the compulsive dopamine-seeking mode, staring (and fantasizing) at / about other hot girls, wanting more and more. I find myself pushing away my gf for some days and hardly wanting stuff like cuddling. I'm also less communicative; my depression and anxiety are in charge. Besides the fact that I don't want to break up my relationship, I know and feel, that having sex with these other girls would leave me - sooner or later - equally unsatisfied. The problem is my insatiable dopamine-seeking brain, which appears to never get or have enough. And I love my gf, so I blame myself for feeling, acting and thinking so weird sometimes.
These unwanted feelings really seem to be triggered by having an O. After the O I have a strong hangover and also experience a strong chaser effect, that would easily pull me back to porn, if i weren't vigilant. The situation gets worse, if I relapse to PMO. I'm hoping that I can fix this issue by accomplishing the reboot (even if it takes me 200 days of no PMO). I do not want to split up with my gf - she in fact is not the problem. It's without any doubt my severely damaged dopamine system. I'm wondering, if it'll come ever back to normal and if I'll ever be satisfied again by normal sex with my gf. Besides my issues with partial ED and PE, sex with O is currently not much fun because I know the weird feelings will come back as soon as I O - and I hate myself for these feelings. But I can't help it. It's soo weird, this whole PMO addiction thing...
People sometimes notice that the good feelings of orgasm are succeeded by unpleasant symptoms, which hang around for hours to weeks. These symptoms vary widely in both effects and severity. Some are so subtle as to affect only mood and perception; others show up physically.
If you think you, or your partner, might be affected, I suggest these two recent Psychology Today posts:
Post-orgasm symptoms are not always the same, even in the same person. For example, they sometimes differ depending upon the type of sex one has (masturbation, intercourse, oral sex, and so forth), the extremeness of the stimulation used to reach climax, whether one binges to satiety, and how frequently one has been climaxing. Interestingly, there’s growing evidence that orgasm with intercourse reduces stress better than other sexual behaviors, which means it has different neurochemical properties.
It’s likely that post-orgasmic effects of all kinds correlate with neurochemical events in the brain. So far, however, researchers haven’t investigated the effects of orgasm on the brain beyond about a half-hour after climax (and just recently about a day in women). Chinese researchers did find that ejaculation triggers a hormonal cycle that extends at least seven days. There’s also a good bit of evidence from animal studies that demonstrates neurochemical changes after ejaculation or even vigorous copulation, some of which appear to linger up to two weeks.
Psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman pointed out that post-orgasmic symptoms of aching, depression and so forth, are not necessarily psychosomatic or related to shame, as has generally been assumed. He noticed that even emotionally healthy patients report such symptoms. Very severe symptoms sometimes go by the name Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS). Causes are difficult to isolate, but POIS can be a side effect of pharmaceuticals.
It may be that a lingering neurochemical cycle after orgasm actually occurs in all of us, and that people who notice it are experiencing a stronger version of it. For example, it may be that heavy porn users, for whom the effects of too much stimulation appear to dampen the pleasure response in the brain, are just experiencing a particularly intense neurochemical “hangover” after overstimulation—one that is so uncomfortable that it drives them right back to seeking the neurochemical relief of another climax.
This guy noticed that once he was off porn (more or less) for 6 months, his post-masturbation symptoms were much reduced:
- I would go through 56 days of no PMO and, then, after I masturbated, I would feel off: empty, anxious, numbed out. But guess what? After these 6 months of no porn I can finally say I dont have to worry about mild/random depression anymore. A little brain fog is my only symptom now.
Here are some comments from site users who have noticed lingering changes after orgasm.
- When I masturbate to orgasm in the morning my head is foggy for the first half of the day - when I walk down to my university everything seems distant and not quite real, it's like I'm an observer stuck in my head looking out through frosted glass. When I think about it, the last few orgasms I've had with my partner didn't really have any effect - I felt pretty much normal apart from a short period of post-orgasm drowsiness.
- Watch video by a guy who had severe flu-like symptoms that stopped after he quit porn.
- In these months of long-distance relationship I have clearly noticed how, when I do not masturbate, my affection and love for my girlfriend increases. I can see that in the way I write to her as well as a very nice overflowing feeling of love tangibly felt in the area of the heart. But after masturbating there is a change in that. The feeling of love (albeit still there) gets less, and the way I write to her changes, too. I sort of become more aloof, and that is reflected in my words. After about two weeks of not masturbating things change back again.
- I’m male, 33, and wonder why the majority of times after sex I feel depressed. It could be the greatest sex ever, but afterwards I’m depressed and can’t wait to get away from her.
- I feel that the POIS folks are exceptional because they actually correlated their symptoms with orgasm. I was not able to make the connection until its possible existence was pointed out to me. There were just too many other influences stating exactly the opposite—that the more orgasms the better off you will. be! I spent thousands of dollars working through my supposed subconscious issues, only to have the same thing happen again in my next relationship . . . just like clockwork.
- So I have not masturbated or looked at porn for 124 days. My last orgasm was 71 days ago. The only sexual activity during this time has been with girls. My progress has been frustrating. When I start feeling good a girl usually comes along or I make an effort to call a girl and we end up messing around. Messing around without orgasm causes a hangover period of a couple of maybe a week. Messing around with orgasm causes a hangover period of about 21 days of severe depression. This cycle has happened several times and it causes a complete reset of the recovery. It has been very frustrating to say the least to be reset when I am just starting to feel better.