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Why Do Guys Distance Themselves After Intimacy?

by Samara Harris

“Seduction is merely encouraging a man to do something he already wants to do.” – Lisa Kleypas

It may seem as though we’ve been making progress when it comes to dating – apps, encouraging men to share their emotions, mental health awareness, and conversations – but does any of this matter when it boils down to it? Can men see women past the physical and make mental stimulation his priority?

Perhaps. But for some women, even when a man seems really into them, he can suddenly just pull away leaving her to wonder, was it ever real in the first place? For the longest time I’ve heard “the chase” referred to in terms of escapism. What is escapism? The tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. Some men play video games, other men, well, seek women.

According to author Damon L. Jacobs, “In the early stages of falling for someone, your brain is releasing certain chemicals, including dopamine, adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine,” he goes on to say, “These are natural hormones that leads to a feeling of happiness and euphoria.

Once the high is over, so is the relationship for some folks.” It may sound cliché, but the question remains, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free? Where is the incentive to settle when you’re not even sure what you’re getting when you do? Men have been wondering this as of late.

Most, if not all the time women ask themselves this question on intimacy because they have found themselves in one of the least favorable relationship types; situationship or friends with benefits. Having sex before defining your relationship can have some consequences, the aforementioned being one of them.

While it is important to note that you are not the problem, it is wise to understand why the person you were intimate with has now pulled away. Relationship coaches like Sapha Arias explain, “As with most things in life, each relationship category has a sub-category. I aim to help high-caliber women get into aligned and equal partnerships even if they have left a toxic dynamic in the past.

This means no matter what you have experienced in your dating life, you can be in a healthy relationship, and you don’t have to sacrifice your body or identity to do so.” If men love the chase and women are afraid of losing his interest without sex, where does that leave us?

Sex changes things. It is classic male behavior to chase, enjoy the thrill, conquer and then slip away, so why does this still surprise us when it happens? For most women, sex means the beginning of a new relationship, friendship or something other than never hearing from the guy again – unless of course, that is what you want.

But for men, there is that chemical factor. Hormones are the number one culprit as to why men pull away after intimacy. Men experience a drop in testosterone after sex, which makes them feel like pulling away. Having performed his manly duties, he loses interest for a while.

For a woman he sees outside of the bedroom and has developed some kind of feelings for (i.e. romantic, partnership) this won’t be seen as the end of a chase, but rather the beginning of something long term. See this personalized approach to health for more information.

What we do during the chase can affect a man’s behavior once the sex happens. Women think about where things are going before the sex, men think about where things are going after the sex, so how a man ultimately treats a woman is going to depend on how she behaves, after the sex. He may panic and begin feeling confused.

Your job is to simply be there for him and rather than piling on the expectations, continue to play cool and allow him the chance to chase you once again. The bottom line is that if everything else in your relationship – whether romantic, platonic or exclusive FWB – is normal, you don’t need to worry. Just give him some time to recover from this chemical power down and gather his thoughts and feelings, and you’ll see that he’ll reach out and come to you himself.

Relationships are built on honesty and communication, if you’ve found yourself in a situationship but did not ask for that nor do you want that, it is okay to speak up and voice your concerns. Do not stay where you are uncomfortable, especially if it is to change his mind towards you.

Monogamy is not for everyone. Conversations before intimacy and not ignoring red flags are paramount to ensuring you’re making the best decision for yourself and your mental health. If you’ve found yourself in more than one situation similar to this, “…a lot of the work that one has to undergo to heal the patterns that keep us stuck in unhealthy dynamics is internal,” says Sapha.

“When we believe we are incomplete, or that our worth can only be measured by something outside of ourselves, we land in a hyper performative realm that by its nature demands we push our own needs, values, beliefs, and desires away in deference to those of the people in our lives.” This can be seen when women conform to being a FWB even though they really would like a relationship.

A part of why men pull away after intimacy is that he’s found a way to get what he wants while still depriving you of your wants and needs. No more of a challenge. “We’ve been taught that as long as we contribute to someone else’s wellbeing, we are valuable members of the human race and that the deeper our care for others, the most selfless and awe-inspiring we are. And while that is beautifully important—caring for others and learning to love unconditionally—unconditional love is not unconditional tolerance. And self-awareness is never actually selfish.”

The next time your partner pulls away after intimacy take a look at the relationship dynamics as a whole. Did you allow him to chase? Did you communicate your wants and needs? Did you conform to his desires to meet his needs? Did you neglect yourself in the process? Don’t be afraid to speak to a relationship coach. More information can be found below.


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