I've been with my boyfriend for eight months. The relationship is wonderful and the sex is awesome. The other night we engaged in anal sex, which we have both done before, but this time I had a total emotional breakdown. My orgasm was accompanied by a crying episode so intense it took us both by surprise. Everything was great and I didn't experience pain, but the tears came in buckets. Can you tell me if this is a normal reaction or why it happened?
-- T.G., Memphis, Tennessee
It's nothing to worry about. Many people experience an emotional release with the physical release of climax. Annie Sprinkle calls it a crygasm. "I've talked to so many women who tell me that when making love or having an orgasm they have a little cry at the same time," she says. "It feels so good." There was a time when lovers were expected to cry. "Eighteenth century novels are full of scenes that suggest or, in a few cases, represent orgasm with tears as the most sublime experience possible," notes historian Tom Lutz, author of Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears. "Weeping in love was considered the norm, and a lover who couldn't weep wasn't worth having." In your situation, the intensity of anal sex may have played a role. The anus and rectum are more delicate than the vagina, and anal intercourse requires a great deal of patience, preparation and trust. We also carry more stress than we realize in our sphincters. Penetration requires the muscles to relax, and the tension can dissipate in ways that surprise us.