A Woman Is Pictured Crying in Bed | Source: Shutterstock
A Woman Is Pictured Crying in Bed | Source: Shutterstock

When Crymaxing Is Ok and When It Is Not – Crying during or after Sex

Akhona Zungu
Apr 06, 2023
12:00 P.M.
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Contrary to popular belief, crymaxing isn't something to be frowned upon, though it may warrant some introspection for the party who experiences this phenomenon. It occurs during or after a powerful orgasm, triggering a physiological release of overwhelming emotions.


Crymaxing is a widespread phenomenon that can happen to anyone, regardless of gender identity, and the underlying causes vary widely. It usually occurs after an orgasm so intense that it leads one or both persons engaging in sexual intercourse to cry.

Over the years, studies have explored the causes of crymaxing, which have been linked to people's innate emotional and physiological attributes. More personally, crymaxing might be connected to past experiences or self-esteem, but it may also act as "a window to a more intimate connection" with a romantic partner.

An upside-down photo of a man and woman cuddling in bed | Source: Shutterstock

An upside-down photo of a man and woman cuddling in bed | Source: Shutterstock

How Does Crymaxing Work?

When one experiences an orgasm, a "biochemical cascade" occurs, involving a heady release of hormones such as oxytocin (known as the "love hormone") and dopamine (the hormone that induces happiness). Oxytocin and dopamine pour out at their highest intensity, leading to hypersensitivity and causing one to cry or even laugh during orgasm.


Simultaneously with this physiological reaction, a "myriad of emotions" may contribute to crymaxing. It might be a build-up of excitement, vulnerability, anxiety, love, stress, or any other emotion felt at that given moment. Like the physiological effects of an orgasm, the release of those emotions can be so overwhelming it leads to crying or laughing.

A woman is pictured crying tears of joy | Source: Shutterstock

A woman is pictured crying tears of joy | Source: Shutterstock

It should be noted that crymaxing can happen even when the sex is consensual and both parties feel safe and satisfied. Therefore, communication is vital in clarifying the reasons for a person's crymaxing; it might lead their partner to doubt their sexual performance, among other things, such as boundaries or the relationship itself.

Moreover, it's important not to confuse crymaxing for postcoital dysphoria (PCD), a.k.a. "post-sex blues." A 2019 study described PCD as a mood "characterized by inexplicable feelings of tearfulness, sadness, or irritability following otherwise satisfactory consensual sexual activity." It can last for minutes or even hours, in which case, it is a cause for concern.

A young woman is frustrated after having sex with her boyfriend | Source: Shutterstock

A young woman is frustrated after having sex with her boyfriend | Source: Shutterstock

Is It OK to Crymax?

As previously stated, crymaxing or PCD shouldn't be frowned upon, as it can happen to anyone at any point in their sex life. A 2015 study surveyed about 230 heterosexual women and found that 46 percent had experienced postcoital dysphoria symptoms at least once in their lifetime.

The 2019 study mentioned above found similar results for about 1,200 heterosexual men, 41 percent of whom reported experiencing PCD symptoms. Certified sex therapist Sari Cooper provided one explanation for crymaxing, stating, "Sometimes a partner experiences a sensation, arousal, or an orgasm unlike they've ever felt."

A frustrated man is pictured sitting on his bed | Source: Shutterstock

A frustrated man is pictured sitting on his bed | Source: Shutterstock


Cooper also added, "The peak of arousal lights up their whole brain so that all emotions are heightened." Therefore, coming down from that peak creates a stark contrast in emotion and can be overwhelming. Interestingly, the intensity that accompanies crymaxing can also cause fright or alarm, as a person might fear they've lost control over their body.

A 2014 study noted that crying often marked the "most consequential and emotional events" of a person's life, helping them cope. The author further observed that crying is usually perceived as an "authentic outburst of pure emotion." And as Cooper summarized, "Tears are our body's way of release."

Therefore, crymaxing is entirely harmless and OK when it is tears of joy, especially after much-anticipated and mind-blowing sex. It's also OK if crymaxing happens as one simply loses themselves in such a sexual experience, as the body might also be attempting to "reduce tension and intense physical arousal."


When Should You Worry about Your Crymaxing?

Although crymaxing may be a positive reaction, it may also indicate overwhelming frustration or disappointment about the body's lack of response to pleasure. Recurrent crymaxing might result from PCD, internalized sexual shame, genuine stress or pain (physical or emotional), a mental health condition, or sexual trauma. To rule out these possibilities, experts advise seeing a sex therapist or an OB/GYN.


The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on WomanlyLive.com, or available through WomanlyLive.com is for general information purposes only. WomanlyLive.com does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.

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