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 Afterburn or Afterglow

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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.


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