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The Jittery Science of Why Your Legs Shake After Sex

If you just came but you're hobbling around like a newborn deer, don’t worry — it’s more likely a sign of a great orgasm than a medical emergency

Sometimes, good sex can leave you walking like a baby deer. You feel flustered, clumsy and your legs, which might feel a little shaky, don’t seem to want to cooperate. For some, shaky legs after sex even happens while they’re still in bed, basking in the throes of pleasure. For others, it lasts much longer, causing them to hobble around throughout the day. But what’s all this post-sex shakiness about?

As with shaking in the body more broadly, the causes can vary. A lot of these can be boiled down to one thing, though: Sex is simply an intense physical experience. “Having sex may be physically strenuous, so it brings about quite a lot of tension to all your muscles, particularly your legs,” says Robert Thomas, sexologist and sex writer for Sextopedia. “This is especially true when you’ve been in a certain position for a long time.” 

If, for example, you’re essentially performing squats while you’re having sex, your legs may shake afterward because you were working your muscles hard. But even when that’s not the case, shaky legs can accompany an orgasm because in some cases, it’s actually part of the orgasm itself.

“When [people with vaginas] experience an orgasm, it’s accompanied by muscular contractions of the vagina, uterus and pelvic floor,” says Thomas. “It doesn’t just cause the muscles in your genital area to spasm or twitch, though — it also happens elsewhere in the body. When you’ve reached an orgasm, all that built-up tension of the muscles is released. It’s surely not dangerous or anything to worry about — it’s just another form of release for your body after having sex.” 

The involuntary contraction of different muscle groups after orgasm or another trigger is called “myotonia.” According to Thomas, myotonia is most commonly reported among women, but everyone, regardless of gender, typically experiences some form of muscular contractions as part of an orgasm.

Victoria Farris of the Farr Institute, a consumer health services website, agrees that it’s nothing to worry about. “Shaking legs and muscle spasms after orgasm are fairly common,” she explains. The fact that our brains are flooded with hormones during an orgasm can also contribute to it. “An orgasm is followed by a sudden rush of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) and oxytocin (the wanna-cuddle hormone),” she says. “This in combination with the fact that muscles are relaxing after building tension makes your legs shake, and other parts of your body spasm.”

If you’re super shaky long after the orgasm has subsided, then it may be that the strenuousness of the sex overall has fatigued you. Like a serious workout, intense sex can dehydrate you and deplete some of your electrolytes. “I would say the best remedy is mineral water,” suggests Katie Lasson, a sexologist and relationship advisor for Peaches and Screams. “Also, try eating a banana or avocado — these have high potassium levels and help to prevent and decrease shaking.” 

Basically, replenish yourself in the same way you would after going hard at the gym. But as for the shakiness that happens during or immediately after orgasm, there’s no real cause for concern. So long as you’ve got a banana or a snack handy, you’ll be as still as a statue in no time.

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