Being allergic to sex doesn’t mean you’re allergic to the act of sex. Like any allergy, a sex allergy develops when your immune system has a negative reaction to some sort of substance, whether that substance is coming from your partner or you.
Sex allergies are hard to pinpoint, because many of the symptoms include heavy breathing, sweating, and other assumed to be natural side effects of sex.
The Daily Mail shared some pointers from YouTube “Sexplanations” host, Dr. Lindsey Doe, to get to the bottom of this. Here are some of the ways she says you can tell if you’ve developed a sex allergy. (And also, if you think you do have an allergy, you best get yourself to a doctor.)
1. You Feel Sick After An Orgasm
There’s something called Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) that occurs when a man is allergic to his own semen. And the symptoms are similar to the flu. Immediately after ejaculating, a man will get a runny nose, itchy eyes and a sore throat, among other not fun things. POIS is rare, and there are no known treatments.
2. You Experience Burning After Using A Condom
Having a reaction to latex is not that uncommon. About three million Americans are allergic to the synthetic product, which obtained from rubber trees and used in a variety of sex products, not just condoms. Unlike food, the companies that make condoms don’t have to disclose the ingredients. A good rule of thumb, says Doe, skip lubes (and lubricated condoms) that advertise flavors, cooling or heating sensations are not the best for your body. So if you’re a woman who all of the sudden finds herself with an irritated vagina, you might be allergic and should go see your OBGYN.
3. There’s Pain In Your Life And/Or Relationship
Not just with sex, but experiencing pain in your life, including domestic violence, trauma, sexual shame and relationship issues can trigger a physiological response known as ‘genital armoring’ — a physical response to something mental.
‘The immune system is doing its best to signal something is wrong,” says Doe.
4. You Start Experiencing Allergy Symptoms After Sleeping With Someone New
A telltale sign that something’s up with your body is having an adverse reaction right after you sleep with a new partner. There is a chance you could be allergic to their semen. Unlike POIS, this condition is known as Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity (SPH).
Says Doe, ‘Basically a protein in the fluid triggers an allergic reaction, usually pain and burning.’ There could also be shortness of breath, dizziness and diarrhea. The good news here is that this is super rare. At the very most, only about 40 thousand women in the U.S. experience this, so that’s something.
This video is worth watching. Stay curious about your body.