The Afterglow of Sex: Why It’s Important and Why Men Usually Screw It Up

Most men have a natural inclination to want to fall asleep after sex. If you have experienced this, chances are you have gotten some complaints from your partner. If you haven’t yet, it’s only a matter of time.

Many women find it dissatisfying when their partner does not show them affection during the afterglow. This, along with poor oral skills and premature ejaculation, are some of the most common complaints.

If you want to be the best lover your partner has ever had, you must pay attention to their needs after sex during the “afterglow” period.

This is the time when your partner is the most relaxed and receptive to affection.

How Men Feel After Sex

After an orgasm, many men feel sleepy because the post-orgasmic blood rush depletes the muscles’ energy-producing glycogen, resulting in physical fatigue. Glycogen loss also causes the release of adenosine, which tells the cells to go into sleep mode.

After a long and passionate night of love-making, all most women want is some affectionate snuggling. But their male partners, due to having more muscle mass, are often ready to drift off to sleep.

In addition to being physically exhausted, some men feel emotionally depleted after an orgasm. This may be due to the fact that the release of prolactin and oxytocin levels, the hormones that signal satisfaction, can have a calming effect.

As men age, they may experience more frequent or longer-lasting post-sex sleepiness. While this may not be a problem for some couples, many women find it frustrating.

The Afterglow and Oxytocin

A woman’s body chemistry is such that it physically responds positively to cuddling. This is because an orgasm causes the release of oxytocin in both men and women.

Oxytocin is a hormone, and one of the most powerful chemicals in the human body, which creates feelings of closeness, intimacy, and love. Consequently, the woman feels physically more pleasant and warm when she is near the partner who caused the oxytocin release.

The post climax period, often referred to as the “afterglow“, is when humans experience intense feelings of happiness and warmth. This is due to the oxytocin.

Oxytocin is what allows humans to live together peacefully and to build relationships with others.

Though men and women both produce oxytocin after climaxing, women produce 50% more. This means that while a man might feel a wash of emotions lasting only a minute, a woman feels them twice as strongly and for much longer.

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It’s More About Her Emotions Than Her Orgasms

In addition, female sexual arousal is closely linked to oxytocin release, which is influenced by estrogen. (Men also have estrogen in their bodies, but testosterone has a greater impact on their libido.)

For example, oxytocin creates the same feeling of happiness in a woman’s brain when she is breastfeeding as it does when she is orgasmic. This is because both nursing and sex are regulated by estrogen.

Therefore, the emotional feelings brought on by oxytocin are just as- if not more- important to a woman than the number or intensity of her orgasms.

Only by staying awake, mindful and engaged in the afterglow can you truly please your lover. So fight off the sleepiness and give her the post-coital cuddling she deserves.

How To Stay Awake

If you find yourself nodding off after sex, here’s a few things you can do:

  1. Go to the bathroom, get your partner a wet washcloth and a towel. This way, you can wipe away sweat and any other fluids.If you’re using a condom, there will be some moisture that needs to be cleaned up. And if you’re not using a condom, it’s even more important to take care of the wet spot before it becomes an embarrassing problem!
  2. Get her and yourself a tea or coffee. A little caffeine always helps and it gets you moving.
  3. Drink some water or have a small snack. After a good sex session, odds are you’ll both be thirsty, so get up and get some water and small snack (fruits is always best!) for the both of you.

It’s All About the Pillow Talk

When you finally pull away from her, post-orgasm, your body is still humming with pleasure. You collapse onto the bed, pulling her with you so she’s half-resting on top of you. She’s still panting, her chest heaving with the effort, and you allow yourself a moment to just bask in the scent of her skin.

As her heartbeat slows and she starts to come back to reality and enter the afterglow, the Oxytocin begins to flow and you feel the first stirrings of conversation.

This is the time when you can reinforce all the things about yourself that you want her to believe, as well as gain insights into her inner thoughts and feelings, so that you can decide where you want your relationship to go.

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For many couples, this “pillow talk” is can represent some of the most meaningful moments in a relationship. So make it count!

Stay Engaged & Stay Close

After you woman climaxes, she’ll probably be exhausted. It’s your duty as the man to take care of her. You can wash her, pull up the covers, and cuddle with her as she delights in the afterglow.

Now that you’ve both climaxed, take the opportunity to explore each other’s bodies. Run your hands over her curves and cover her with kisses.

And why not take this opportunity to whisper some sweet nothings in her ear? Or let her know how much you appreciate her being here with you?

It’s all about staying engaged and paying just as much attention to her as you did when you were having sex.

As she starts to feel sleepier and her limbs become heavy, you can let her go. But until then, keep your attention focused on her and make sure she remembers those moments as particularly special and intimate.

The 10 Best Things to Do During the Afterglow

Still struggling to come up with activities to do after sex? No problem! Here’s a list of some of my favorite post-coitus activities.

  1. Take a shower together: Washing each other off will help you both feel more comfortable and relaxed.
  2. Cuddle: This is a great way to show your partner how much you care about them.
  3. Talk about what you just experienced: This will help you both understand each other’s needs and desires.
  4. Have some snacks: Eating will help you both re-energize after an intense experience.
  5. Take a nap: After sex, your bodies need time to recover. A nap will help you both feel refreshed.
  6. Give each other massages: This will help your muscles relax and will feel great.
  7. Play some games: Games can help you both let off some steam and have some fun.
  8. Go for a walk: Getting some fresh air will help you both clear your heads.
  9. Watch a movie: This can be a great way to unwind after sex.
  10. Just spend time with each other: Sometimes, the best thing to do after sex is just to be with each other.


Ruth Thomas

Ruth Thomas

Hi! My name is Ruth! I am a sex therapist and a happily married swinger (for 20 years now).

I have a PhD in human sexuality and a masters in counseling. I've been helping people improve their sex lives for over 25 years.

I am a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM).

I'm here to help people explore their sexuality and find what works for them. Whether it's with one partner or many, in a committed relationship or not, I believe that everyone deserves to experience the joys of a fulfilling sexual life.