If sex worked the way it does in romance novels and rom-coms, then it'd always be perfect, beautiful, and romantic, and end in a state of totally relaxed bliss.
But in the real world, that post-coital state isn't always so blissful. For some people who have vulvas, an orgasm doesn't lead to total-body relaxation. Instead, it makes their genitals or even other parts of their body extra sensitive — sometimes to the point that they can't bear to be touched.
Take Holly, for example. She was so worried about how sensitive she became after sex that she wrote about her experience on a health forum. Holly had a "mind-blowing orgasm" during oral sex with her new boyfriend, she wrote, but her "vagina and especially clitoris becomes extra sensitive just after an orgasm." She was so sensitive that she pushed her boyfriend away because she "couldn't cope with him wanting to carry on afterward." The question Holly and many people who've had similar experiences have is: Is this normal?
It 100% can be, says Jessica Shepherd, MD, an Ob/Gyn at Baylor University Medical Center.
Everyone gets sensitive after having an orgasm, she says, and how sensitive you become depends on muscle and nerve stimulation. There are thousands of nerve endings on the clitoris and nerves running through the vaginal canal, as well — and everybody will feel stimulation to those nerves differently. Some people might feel just slightly more sensitive on their clitoris after an orgasm, while others might feel extremely sensitive on their entire vulva and even their legs, Dr. Shepherd says.
"People should understand that sex is a different experience for everyone, and that being aware of your body is important," she says. "Pay attention to how sex makes you feel, and don't worry if it doesn't go along with the narratives you've seen on TV."
So yes, it's okay to feel super sensitive after an orgasm, and even so sensitive that you need to take a break or ask your partner not to touch you for a while. Usually, that sensitivity will last for a few minutes while your body comes down from its peak and the signals your nerves are sending to your brain start to calm down, Dr. Shepherd says. But again, that's different for everyone. The sensitivity could last anywhere from a few seconds up to a few hours.
If it's been any longer than a few hours, or if sexual sensitivity is making either sex or other daily activities difficult, then you might want to consult a doctor, Dr. Shepherd says. Make an appointment with your gynecologist if the sensitivity lasts too long or is actually painful. But if you're just worried about how your partner feels — rather than something actually being wrong with your body — then you're better off consulting a sex therapist who can help you and your partner(s) find strategies to make sure everyone is satisfied.
After all, there are plenty of ways to make sure both you and your partner have mind-blowing sex that don't require touching anyone's clit. All it takes is a little bit of creativity.