Sex and Headaches

Learn why you might be feeling head pain while getting intimate.

Could your sex life be giving you a headache? It is possible, since researchers have found that sex and headaches are linked in a variety of ways. We understand that this may be an awkward topic to discuss with your physician, so read on for a few things to know:

What Are Sex Headaches?

Sex headaches are a condition brought on by sexual activity, as defined by the International Headache Society.(1) These headaches are brought on only by sexual activity and are unrelated to other causes.

Most sex headaches begin in what is known as the occipital region, or the back of the head, and appear in two ways.(12) Some sufferers experience a dull ache that begins with sexual excitement, and increases in intensity as sexual excitement increases. But more commonly the pain is abrupt and explosive just before or at the time of orgasm.(2)

Sex headaches affect both men and women, although they may be up to three times more common in men.(12) While more research is needed, the symptoms and appearance of a sex headache during orgasm may suggest a relationship to intense muscle contraction and increased intracranial pressure.(45)

What to Do If You Experience a Headache During Sex 

Experiencing a headache during sex can be frightening. However, these headaches generally resolve on their own with no serious consequences. For the majority of suffers sex headaches don’t last long, and some spontaneously disappear.(3)

However, in situations where sex headaches are intensely painful, of long duration or occur often, treatment to relieve or even prevent the pain may be effective. If you experience sex headaches, you should discuss it with your doctor to find the right plan of action.

Show References

Hide References

1.    "The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd Edition (beta Version)." Cephalalgia (2013): 629-808. SAGE Journals. Web. http://cep.sagepub.com/content/33/9/629.full.pdf html

2.    Frese, A., A. Eikermann, K. Frese, S. Schwaag, I.-W. Husstedt, and S. Evers. "Headache Associated with Sexual Activity." The Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology 61 (2003): 796-800. Neurology. 23 Sept. 2003. Web. http://www.neurology.org/content/61/6/796.short

3.    Frese, A., A. Rahmann, N. Gregor, K. Biehl, I.-W. Husstedt, and S. Evers. "Headache Associated with Sexual Activity: Prognosis and Treatment Options." Cephalalgia (2007): 1265-270. SAGE Journals. Web. http://cep.sagepub.com/content/27/11/1265.full.pdf html

4.    Evers, Stefan, Oliver Schmidt, Achim Frese, Ingo-W Husstedt, and Erich Ringelstein B. "The Cerebral Hemodynamics of Headache Associated with Sexual Activity." (2002): 73-78. Science Direct. 28 Jan. 2003. Web. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030439590200341X

5.    Turner, Ira M., and Tiffany M. Harding. "Headache and Sexual Activity: A Review." Ed. Morris Levin. (2008): 1254-256. Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 23 Sept. 2003. Web. http://www.neurology.org/content/61/6/796.short

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