After sex it is very common for men to feel tired or even fall asleep on their partners. There are a set of specific reasons as to why this tiredness occurs. In most cases it is a combination of exerting a lot of physical energy during sex as well as the chemicals that are released when the act is complete and orgasm is achieved. In the article that I wrote regarding anxiety – I listed that one of the best cures is sex – and that’s because it takes away stress and in order to achieve orgasm, it is said that a person needs to let go of all fear. Although not every man will feel tired after sex, most do report feeling more relaxed.
Why do men feel sleepy after sex and ejaculation?
When a man orgasms, prolactin is released – a hormone that is linked to feelings of sexual satisfaction. The primary reason a man feels tired after sex is due to the fact that prolactin causes sleepiness and drowsiness. During sleep people have higher levels of prolactin. In studies involving prolactin injections into animals, they became tired immediately.
The reason a man cannot simply go for another round immediately after having sex has to do with the fact that their prolactin levels are very high. When the prolactin levels dip again, the man will be ready for another round. There is a relationship between prolactin and dopamine – increased dopamine can act as a prolactin inhibitor. Some research has demonstrated a link between prolactin-deficiency and fast recovery times after sex.
It should also be noted that prolactin levels after orgasm during sex are 4X higher than those after masturbation. So masturbation in general is not going to make you feel nearly as tired as a full blown sex session.
This is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone” because it promotes bonding between partners. In general it promotes love and trust of people that are intimate with each other and can also cause increased social relaxation. The fact that people feel more relaxed around each other eliminates most fear and anxiety (both stimulants). Because the body is nearly void of natural stimulants and stress after sex, people are naturally going to feel tired and in lounge mode.
Vasopressin has been linked to cerebral tiredness. It is a hormone that primarily helps constrict blood vessels and control water retention. It plays a vital role in helping our body regulate homeostasis and plays a role in sex and social behavior. It increases our ability to bond and can reduce stress. Although it is a fairly complex hormone, the fact that it may be released directly into the brain after sex is thought to help increase the relaxation along with oxytocin.
During ejaculation, men release norepinephrine, serotonin, and NO (Nitric Oxide). It is the combination of different chemicals and neurotransmitters that are released into the system that leads to relaxation. There are more than these three released of course, but these are some of the more common neurotransmitters that are released. Serotonin is known to have a calming effect on the brain as well as the body. Nitric oxide is released by the prostate gland and basically promotes relaxation throughout the entire penis.
5. Parasympathetic Relaxation
After sex, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over and the sympathetic is put to rest. Parasympathetic responses promote physical relaxation, blood flow to the extremities, and calmness. In order to reach orgasm, it has been reported that a man must have no fear or let go of all stress. The combination of relaxing chemicals and neurotransmitters override the production of epinephrine and reduce dopamine (a stimulating neurotransmitter) after orgasm. Plus the act of being intimate with another person really helps to further reduce anxiety. If your fight or flight response is literally shut down during orgasm, it is no wonder that you feel a little more tired than usual.
6. Physical Exertion
Usually the man is the one doing more work physically while having sex in comparison to the woman. Women typically don’t have to do much other than lay back or go for a ride so to speak. It is the man that does the thrusting and if the sex session lasts awhile, he may end up getting pretty tired by the time things come to an end. Some partners have sex for over an hour and when a man is doing a lot of physical work to please his partner, he gets tired.
7. Sex at Night
Most people have sex towards the end of the day or at night and after a long day already, it is pretty natural to feel tired. One last “bang” before the night ends is what does it for most men – especially if the sex is very late at night. It is natural to feel tired at night, and after orgasm, it’s a double whammy of tiredness from the hormones, chemicals, and neurotransmitters that flood the body and brain. Your best bet at this point is to just chalk it up and get a good night’s sleep. Sex can be one heck of a good remedy for insomnia if done at an appropriate time at night.
How to combat the post sex sleepiness?
If you feel tired after sex, probably the best thing you could do for yourself is give into sleeping. If it is at night, you probably don’t care and are going to sleep anyways, but if it’s in the afternoon, you may want to consider taking a nap. If you don’t want to take a nap, you could always make sure that you have some sort of stimulant around like caffeine. Go grab a cup of coffee or make yourself go do something.
Really the only other way to combat post sex tiredness is to lower your levels of prolactin. Probably the best way to counteract high prolactin levels is with some sort of stimulant that increases dopamine. Dopamine levels keep increasing until orgasm, and then the prolactin takes over. It’s best though to simply rest for awhile before having another sex session – who doesn’t like the satisfaction from the prolactin being released – it feels great.
Note: Many scientists believe it is a natural evolutionary response to feel sleepy after sex for men. It is hypothesized that the prolactin helps prevent a man from running off with another partner, or hopping to another woman’s bed.