Is sex a headache?
Dear Ate Anna,
Is it possible to get a headache from having sex? I think this has happened to me twice in the last month but I have never seen any information about this. My wife says I should talk to my doctor, but I feel sort of embarrassed. He might think I’m crazy! Have you heard of this before?
As you know, there are many jokes about sex and headaches. In fact, some readers may be laughing to themselves as they read this. It is not a common problem but if sex headaches actually happen to you, it is not a joke.
Most sex headaches are nothing to worry about. But you should talk to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Sometimes sex headaches are a symptom of some other health issue.
Sexual activity – especially orgasm – can trigger a headache. Some people experience a sudden, severe headache during orgasm. There may be pain around or behind the eyes. The pain may get worse when the person moves. Other people notice a dull ache in the head and neck that gets stronger as sexual excitement increases. Usually the discomfort peaks during orgasm.
Any type of sexual activity that leads to orgasm – including masturbation, oral sex and intercourse – can trigger a sex headache. Most sex headaches last a few minutes, but some can linger on for a few hours.
You are correct when you say that we do not hear very much about sex headaches. They are more common in men and people who get migraines. For some women, the cause may be birth control pills. Being tired, stressed or having sex several times in a short period of time may increase the chances of getting a sex headache. For example, if you have added a lot of holiday socializing to an already hectic work/life schedule this may be your body’s way of telling you to slow down.
Tightening the head and neck muscles during sexual activity may cause headaches that are dull or achy. Sex headaches related to orgasm may be the result of increased blood pressure that causes the blood vessels in the brain to dilate. Sometimes, this type of headache can be prevented by stopping sexual activity before orgasm. Slowing down the pace and relaxing neck and jaw muscles during sex may help, as well. Sex headaches often disappear without treatment.
Ron, because this is a new problem for you, Ate Anna suggests you go to your doctor and tell him what is happening. Although it feels embarrassing to you, most doctors are used to discussing private sexual matters with their patients. Your doctor may recommend some tests for example, an MRI or a CT scan. These tests can help determine if there is some underlying health problem that is causing the headaches.
Although there are no physical complications of sex headaches, fear of the headaches can turn into a fear of having sex. This can affect how you feel about sex, which, in turn, will affect your relationship with your wife. The information you receive from the doctor will help you and your wife figure out how to deal with this problem, because it truly is not a laughing matter.
Readers can get more information about sex headaches from the Mayo Clinic web site at www.mayoclinic.com.