Adult Sex Ed

Why Don’t Women Fall Asleep After Sex?

It’s an oft-heard complaint.

“Swear to God. After every time he comes, he just rolls over and falls asleep.”

Ladies, we all have to know by now that men’s minds and bodies completely shut down after they climax. Blame it on their biochemistry, not them.

One theory I read in Live Science states:

During ejaculation, men release a cocktail of brain chemicals, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide (NO), and the hormone prolactin. The release of prolactin is linked to the feeling of sexual satisfaction, and it also mediates the “recovery time” that men are well aware of—the time a guy must wait before “giving it another go.” Studies have also shown that men deficient in prolactin have faster recovery times.

Prolactin levels are naturally higher during sleep, and animals injected with the chemical become tired immediately. This suggests a strong link between prolactin and sleep, so it’s likely that the hormone’s release during orgasm causes men to feel sleepy.

That sounds plausible, but another study published at about the same time came to a slightly different conclusion.

They (Scientists) scanned men’s brains before and during orgasm, and found that the cerebral cortex – or ‘thinking’ area – shuts down.

Straight afterwards, two other areas, the cingulate cortex and amygdala, tell the rest of the brain to deactivate from sexual desire.

This is accompanied by a surge of chemicals such as oxytocin and serotonin, which can have a powerful sleep-inducing effect, according to the researchers.

Yet another professional weighed in on his thoughts and offered this suggestion.

I don’t know of any formal study, but there are a few theories. The act of erection and ejaculation redirects blood flow from the brain, reducing oxygen, and may cause a feeling of drowsiness. There is also muscle constriction in the pelvis and groin area. Prolonged muscle tension will cause muscle fatigue and the need for relaxation. When this part of the body becomes more relaxed, the rest of the body may become more relaxed as well. The actual physical activity involved, particularly for the man in the traditional missionary position, may also be a factor. The act of ejaculation is euphoric, which may lead to a feeling of relaxation.

On the surface, this suggestion sounds sexist, but it really isn’t. I can almost always tell right before Parrot is ready to come. His entire body tenses up. Every muscle in his body looks more pronounced and defined. I can hear how he feels by the grunting noises that he makes and the howl and cries as he comes. It’s a magnificent transformation to experience; so virile and powerful, especially the first time we have sex after not seeing each other for several weeks.

Then I thought about what my mind and body do during sex. I go into a completely different state of consciousness when I have orgasms. I don’t mean to brag, but I have many and extended ones, especially with Parrot. My body does some incredible things that it absolutely can’t do when I’m not having sex. I can easily lift my legs over my head while I’m lying down. Sometimes my toes can touch the wall or the headboard behind me in that position. My level of activity is much more vigorous without any effort or exhaustion. At one time over the last weekend we were together, he was able to make me come pretty wildly after we were finished making love.

Then I thought about how I usually feel after sex. I feel blissful and euphoric. Sometimes I feel like I’m ready to do it again because it was that much fun and I feel energized. I often tend to get chatty. I’ll go on until I can see that he’s ready to drift off into Sleeping Beauty mode, even if it’s in the middle of the afternoon. He’s a gent that way, but sometimes he has to eventually tell me, “If you don’t mind, I … just … have … to … fall … to … slee…”

I can understand why so many scientists are trying to figure out why men want to fall asleep after sex. It’s a legitimate question and complaint many women have. But wouldn’t it be prudent to do the same observations and tests on women? Or even do studies on why women react so differently psychologically and physically after sex? I couldn’t find a single study.

Then I thought about the time we had sex as soon as we got behind closed doors after he picked me up from the airport. Things got pretty nuclear between us. I could tell that he was putting every bit of energy – physical and lustful — into our lovemaking. It was straining to be released. I knew before he came that getting it out of his system was going to knock him out cold.

It did. This time, I didn’t keep him up with my enthusiastic chitter-chatter. I curled up next to him, did my best to relax, and said to him, “I’m just going to shut up now and let you enjoy your sleep.” For all the wonderful things he does for me, I owe him at least this much.