The biggest difference between counselling men and women in my office is the amount of kleenex I go through. Men seldom cry during therapy, and if they do, a hug and reassuring word and most of the time all is well. If I have a week of women patients in my office, then I need to be assured that I have boxes of tissue. Lots and lots of kleenex. Women almost always cry when we experience strong emotion. It’s just the way we’re built. It turns out that many of these same women burst into tears during or after sex. How to freak out a new partner….
I can be tough as nails therapist sometimes, (bamboo under my fingernails, ancient torture techniques and I’m not flinching…), but give me a sad movie or book and I’ll be sniffling in no time. I cry at stories of happy couples, babies and puppies and golden anniversaries. And occasionally, very occasionally I’ll cry after sex. It’s usually the kind of sex that has me seeing colours, you know, the earth-moving, toe-curling, I’m climaxing in waves, kind of sex. It also has a great deal to do with how connected I am to my partner. It’s never happened unless I care very deeply about the lover in question.
It turns out I’m not alone. My google search turned up thousands of references, but as usual, about female sexuality, the lesbians had the most to say. I clipped some of the following quotes from a great lesbian chat forum with Curve magazine, and it summed up the whole sex and crying jags. We cry, we feel better, we deal with it. And as my Nanny used to say, "The more you cry, the less you pee, so it can’t be all bad."
"I always found it quite beautiful and moving that she felt able to do this with me. Moved me to tears occasionally, too."
"Sex is both simple and complex, all at the same time … or it can be. Sort of like the human condition in general. It brings forward lots of unexpected stuff – like tears. It happens sometimes."
"Sometimes emotions are so powerful that we can’t articulate them, so they just come out as tears. I don’t think it’s always a bad thing. In fact, it usally means the girl is really into me, and I’ve done something right."