A new study out of Australia has given us yet another mystery surrounding female sexuality. It’s not especially shocking that one out of three women report having felt “blue” after sex at least once in their life. But this study seems to point towards a larger trend. Perhaps ten percent of women experience post-sex melancholy as a chronic condition.
The big question is why. The authors suspected my first guess — sexual abuse. Surprisingly, the correlation was moderate, which means there’s at least one other major factor.
We’ll need much larger sample sizes, and cross-cultural populations, so we shouldn’t jump too far into the deep end over this. Not just yet. But I do have some thoughts:
- Documented physical sexual abuse is relatively easy to quantify. But there are many other behaviors that might well qualify as sexual abuse. I’ve written about religious indoctrination as sexual abuse, and I stand by the accusation. The facts are in, and religion is wrong. If a parent is teaching their children that masturbation is evil, that premarital sex is a sin, that homosexuality and bisexuality are abnormal, and so forth, then that parent is sexually abusing their child. Certainly most parents don’t mean to abuse their children, but that doesn’t make the effects any less real.
- I will be absolutely fascinated if this study eventually extends to non-monogamous cultures. I’m becoming convinced that females are not evolutionarily designed for monogamy, and I wonder if there will be a similar phenomenon in places where women are more culturally permitted to choose their own sexual destiny throughout their life.
- Returning briefly to religion, I wonder how much stress can be attributed to women’s control over their own reproductive choices. I know I can remember times when I felt awful after sex — not because the sex was bad or anything like that, but because I knew good and well that this was NOT a woman I wanted to have a baby with. How much does lack of reproductive control contribute to sex-blues?
There is also the strong possibility that something is happening in utero. Such changes are beyond my ability to predict or even really speculate about.
In the meantime, I suppose it’s some comfort for women suffering from chronic post-coital blues that it’s a real phenomenon, and there are scientists looking into it. I suspect they’ll have more luck than the church in ferreting out the real answer.