Afterburn or Afterglow
Many people, especially women, have complicated, intense reactions after
having sex. Some fall into what I call "after-sex addiction" --
becoming intensely attached to someone after having sex, even if you didn't care
all that much for the person before. The experience of "giving your
body" makes you feel more invested in the relationship.
At the other end of the spectrum, other people retreat after sex, as Carla
found out. "After dating Ken for a short while, we had sex. The next day,
he didn't even want to talk to me. I still like him, and at least want to be
friends. What's his problem?" If you really want to know, ask him. Don't
waste one minute wondering, hoping, or torturing yourself. You may not get a
satisfactory answer, since a person who retreats after intimacy may not be able
to give you the response you need. but at least you've relieved some of your own
anxiety by asking the question. be prepared to let the relationship go if he
isn't prepared for or receptive to your devotion.
Having sex is an opportunity to learn about yourself and people. Always get
feedback. Ask your partner, "What did your relationship mean to you? How do
you feel now? How do my actions affect how you feel? What did I do to affect how
you acted?" Ask without implied criticism or demands. This means a magical
combination of what I call "non-demand dating" (not expecting
any response) and "informed dating" (learning from your experience).
Your mate may be too immature, inarticulate, or inexperience to answer you
honestly, or he may not have insight into his own motives or feelings. But at
least you know you've tried.