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On Being a Cry Baby... The Psychology of Tears and Boo-Hooing

Something struck me as interesting yesterday at a seminar I attended on the psychology of sex (and Tantra)... the lecturer/author is working on a new book in which (in part of the book) she partners with a neuro-psychologist in exploring the roots of sexuality where it lies resident in the brain (the Temporal Lobe). Also therein that section of the brain lies the circuitry for spirituality as well as emotionalism.... and she spoke of tears... of crying... and of what she calls, "crygasms" (a spin on crying/orgasms). She spoke of rage, an emotion she said once released through expression, gives a cathartic, after sex sensation... that which she calls, "angergasm." She reminded the audience of that laughter we all knew as a kid, the kind where you can't breathe - in touch with your best friend, for example, and that "after feeling"... likening that feeling to post-coitus feelings of satiation. That's "gigglegasm". I miss gigglegasm most, I think.

This (about the neuro-psychology) wasn't the entire lecture, merely a part... I took some notes for further study when I would be home later, because THIS aspect of her talk had me fascinated. There were some exercises - physical and mental - in which she demonstrated the ways in which we have capacity with intention to alter consciousness and receive the pleasures in sexuality we sometimes take for granted. Of course, the exercises were non-sexual and practice is recommended as "homework". Overall, an outstanding seminar... For those interested, her name is Barbara Carrallas and a link to her website is

On the drive home from my brain-crushing, exciting day of pscyhobabble, I pondered the psychology of crying and the endorphin releasing. I pondered the fact that I feel emotions so deeply.. and those of you who know me a bit more than casually may be astutely aware of the fact that my feelings go deep... deeper than probably "normal" on a bell-shaped curve of human behavior. I am ignited to learn more for my own personal knowing... but even more that that...

I've decided that not enough data is available, understood, written about and/or researched on the psychology of crying, specifically, as an aspect of emotional or relationship psychology, as well as in the study of it from a cognitive perspective. I want to know it and understand it from the perspectives of neurology, psychology, physiology, etc. I am intrigued about this phenomenon and have always been afflicted by the urge to cry when emotions swoop over me - and this means happy, sad or otherwise, and yes... in association with sex... but usually occurs whenever I feel touched by someone or something.

When I was young, I used to think everyone experienced the same thing to the same degree until early life experiences showed me otherwise and I realized I was a highly sensitive person with all the associated benefits, but expecially the cons and the associated rejection by people for being this way. In adulthood, crying is culturally taboo in most scenarios unless your mother or brother died, or you shed one or two soundless tears at a wedding, and even then when warranted, it's ENOUGH after a bit, just a few tears... people can't handle much more of that. We tell our children to go wash your face and quit crying over spilled milk. We don't like to see others in such a state... some would call it a loss of control, drama, or even manipulative behavior (a.k.a. crocodile tears).... and some people refuse to believe that tears and crying are sincere and real in most cases.

Sister, Best girlfriends and lover... are the only folks exposed to my own tears, although I'm on a mission to shelter them and not share so much, especially in light of recent experience, unspeakable here at this blog. I note also: The taboo tears (anger tears at work, or sparked from physical pain, sorrow, sad memories...) these are hidden and cried later in the dark, a long drive in a car, in pillows or screamed in a shower in the alone times.

I reflect a moment on a memory of my late teen years or early twenties when I was dating or just married Mark. I remember watching some holiday Christmas or Valentine's Garfield the cat cartoon special one night with him and he was in the kitchen making a sandwich. When he came back into the TV room, he saw me crying at the story... some dumb thing. And he changed the channel.... "My God, it's a CARTOON, Doreen! It's NOT real! The cat will be alright." He was one of few people who knew how intensely I could feel... even in fiction or the pretend. A song, anything.... the stupid Budweiser Clydesdale Christmas commercial makes me cry.

I'm sure this all sounds like lunacy to those readers who don't ever cry. But I have decided to step up and explore this for my own understanding, as well as to see if there are research implications for the future that I can put some of my talents to work to contribute to science. I accept this aspect that crying is a part of who I am and how I experience the world. And yet, I realize that in an unenlightened culture that is repressed, such behavior defies expected decorum and must be managed. I never was very good at being politically correct, but I do live among the species and would like to participate in the culture in which we live.



Spidey said...

i read something fascinating once that the brain can't tell the difference between reality and tv or a movie when it brings on the emotion of crying. i believe that.
i am the emotional one in my family. when there is a funeral, it is me that has the tears streaming down my face and the sobbing. i try to hold back the sobbing but it doesn't always work.
at my cousins wedding, where i was the matron of honor, i sobbed up at the alter. i was a mess.
when my son got married, waiting to walk down the aisle, he stood behind me and said, don't cry mom, and i burst into tears.
the night before he started kindergarten i put him to bed and we said prayers and i started to cry. he said.. mom, what's the matter? i said.. i am going to miss you when you are at school. he looked at me with those big brown eyes and said.. don't worry mom, everything will be all right.

yes, i am one hot mess.

when someone else wants to cry, i never tell them to stop... i say..let it out. it's okay.

i think it is good to let out that emotion. it hurts to keep it in.

Jilly said...

lord i can't EVER stop at the hallmark channel or watch tv commercials in general because of PMS. i don't tell people not to cry either, i usually cry with them so they're not alone. if i'm cryong, 9 times out of ten when someone askes me why i'm crying, i'll say "i don't know."

as to "gigglegasm," lord i laugh like this ALL the time. i love to laugh as much as i tolerate crying and i make sure to laugh a much as cry. my kid's going to grow up thinking have a personality disorder or something from the laughing and crying. i usually blame it on the PMDD, but i'm sure it's just who i am.


aliasmoi said...

I had a gigglegasm on Sunday compliments of my friend Don.

Anonymous said...

you spend far far too much time thinking Doreen

Roger D. Curry said...

Hmmm - on normal "crying occasions," such a funerals, I get somber and ceremonial.

I do remember going to a tear-jerker movie, Love Story with Ryan O'Neal and Ali McGraw. I cried in great anguish, "Oh, Lord Jesus, they charged me $7 to see this fucking drivel!!!!"

Oh, by the way, keep thinking.

Hannibal Hamlin


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