Allergic to sex: Men and women can be allergic to seminal fluid


Most people know that love can sometimes hurt, but when the physical act of love leads to physical pain, something is very wrong.

Hypersensitivity, or allergy, to male seminal fluid (in women) was discovered many years ago. But recently, a related allergy has been found in men–they’re basically allergic to themselves. If you had a painful, allergic reaction (lasting up to a week!) every time you had sex, would you still want to have sex? Sounds like a painful decision…

In 2002, the first two cases of what is now called Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) were reported. Just the name sounds terrible! This month, a new study from the same authors reported on 45 cases of POIS in Dutch men (reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine). POIS has five characteristics:

  1. Feeling flu-like symptoms, extreme tiredness, weakness, memory problems, watery eyes, itchy nose, etc. (you have to have at least one);
  2. All the symptoms have to be present, at the latest, within a few hours after ejaculation;
  3. Symptoms occur at least 90% of the time you ejaculate;
  4. Most symptoms last for 2 to 7 days;
  5. Symptoms go away on their own.

In addition, over half (56%) of the men in the study had “lifelong” premature ejaculation. Compare that to only 2.5% in the population in general. The authors think this might be caused by the fact that they rarely have sex, but they still don’t know for sure how premature ejaculation and POIS are related.

Sounds pretty rough.

POIS is rare, but serious.

You can read this article about the study for more details if you’re interested. Hopefully getting it out there that POIS is a real medical issue, and not just psychological like people used to think, will help more men with POIS get treatment for it.

The female side: Human seminal plasma hypersensitivity (HSPH) is a condition in which women are allergic to their partner’s seminal fluid (but not sperm). The condition is very rare. Only about 100 cases have been reported since 1966 (but there may be many cases that aren’t reported).

Many women with HSPH only show a mild allergic reaction in the area that was exposed to semen. Often, it’s not bad enough to see a doctor about it, and sometimes even the gynecologist doesn’t know that it’s a semen allergy.

But there are worse cases: some women with HSPH can go into anaphylactic shock.

There are treatments for HSPH: abstinence from sex works 100% of the time, but so does using a condom in most situations.

If the woman wants to become pregnant, however, it’s a little trickier. Doctors have recently been recommending in vitro fertilization, since it’s the safest bet. If a natural pregnancy is really wanted, doctors can also try “desensitizing” the woman to her husband’s semen, but this doesn’t always work and carries a risk of anaphylactic shock.

Related Articles:

  • This woman was treated by desensitization. Part of the treatment: having sex every 48 hours.
  • This woman was inseminated with “washed” sperm, but still had an allergic reaction.
  • In this case, the woman correctly diagnosed her own allergy to her husband’s semen.

6 thoughts on “Allergic to sex: Men and women can be allergic to seminal fluid

  1. Have you heard of men being allergic to women fluid? After intercourse, all my partners seem to come down with flu like symptoms. Any idea what that may be?

  2. What happens to men that keel over and die during sex? My mother in law is convinced that if a man has sex after eating food he can die when he orgasms. I’m trying to find the answer. My husband believes her!!

  3. Pingback: The discriminating vagina | Molecular Love (and other facts of life)

  4. ok so ya … a man dying while having Sex on a Full stomach , Are you also searching for the existence of Unicorn’s “” sorry do not mean to be harsh, But C’ on that is nuts if you are really looking for the answer. Honestly I am may be wrong but really do not think so. You should go to a real Medical doctor you can trust. Really it sounds to me like your Mother in Law is a Control freak . Sorry I am no doctor but it is just pure logic… Really sorry to sound so brutal it is just Me For real you may fell embarrassed to ask a living person, instead of on the Internet but really your best bet is to ask a Medical professional ,trust me they hear all kinds crazy. My Mother is a nurses!! trust Wow the strange things I have heard lol…. Really don’t feel bad life hold so many Mysteries !!!

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