Orgasm: 8 Strangest Side Effects That Can Happen After One

These words you’d associate with orgasm; pleasure, release, satisfaction. But for some people it's hallucinations, sneezing, and severe fatigue.



There are quite a few words you’d associate with orgasm: pleasure, release, satisfaction. But these are some of the strangest ones that probably wouldn’t cross your mind—hallucinations, sneezing, and severe fatigue, for instance.

They might sound crazy, but those symptoms have actually been reported in scientific literature as unusual side effects of the normal orgasmic response—which experts refer to as something called the “peri-orgasmic phenomena,” according to a new review in Sexual Medicine Reviews.

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A typical orgasm—which the scientists define as the peak physical reaction to sexual stimulation—can include whole-body and pelvic sensations, as well as flushing, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and heavy breathing, the researchers say. Psychological effects can include feelings of happiness, love, and relaxation.

But with peri-orgasm phenomena, some physiological or psychological effects occur that fall beyond those normal responses. Here, the eight strangest side effects that can be triggered by an orgasm.

Orgasm Side Effect #1: Hallucinations

In some cases, your skills in the sack can take her to another world. Of nearly 50 women who claimed to experience an “expanded sexual response,” 76 to 100 percent noted a flying experience or sensation of flight, according to a 2011 study from Turkey.

What’s more, up to 24 percent noted a sense of entering a cartoon world, up to 75 percent noted a feeling of leaving their bodies, and up to 24 percent listed déjà vu as a component, too.

Orgasm Side Effect #2: Sickness

It’s called post-orgasm illness syndrome, and it’s a constellation of symptoms that have been reported in men after ejaculation, including severe fatigue, intense warmth, and a temporary flu-like state.

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Basically, your body mislabels proteins in your own semen as foreign invaders, which ramps up your immune response and makes you feel sick. Post-orgasm illness syndrome can be difficult to diagnose, but if you think sex is linked to your symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist, says Dr. Mohit Khera, a urology professor at Baylor College of Medicine. That can help ID a semen allergy.

Orgasm Side Effect #3: Weakness

Orgasmolepsy—the sudden onset of weakness that occurs with orgasm—was first reported back in 1928, and usually occurs in connection with narcolepsy or other sleep disorders. Symptoms typically last for less than 30 seconds and include a complete loss of muscle control.

Prevalence rates of orgasmolepsy differ among studies, but one of the highest-powered listed it as 22 percent among those with sleep disorders.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes it, but they believe firing of the amygdala response—coupled with hypocretin deficiency, which occurs with narcolepsy—may be to blame.

Orgasm Side Effect #4: Crying

Crying after sex is a symptom of something called postcoital dysphoria, a constellation of after-sex effects that include tearfulness, melancholy feelings, depression, anxiety, or agitation. They can appear up to an hour after sex, and often occur in stable relationships, researchers say.

Nearly 1 in 3 female University students reported experiencing at least one symptom of postcoital dysphoria at least once, a 2011 study in the International Journal of Sexual Health.

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It can be alarming to see your partner cry after sex, but it might just be a biological reflex to the hormonal and neurological that occur with it, says Dr. Lori Brotto. Or, she may feel lonely after the intimacy of sex is over.

Orgasm Side Effect #5: Sneezing

Case reports linking sneezing to sex have been around since the 1900s—in fact, one from 1972 detailed a 59-year old man who developed severe sneezing and a runny nose after orgasm, which continued for 10 years.

Researchers believe that activating one part of the parasympathetic nervous system during orgasm may actually trigger a different branch of it, too, which sparks your sneezing symptoms.

Orgasm Side Effect #6: Pain

Pain with orgasm can occur in women, even if pain isn't felt with intercourse. In fact, a 2009 study described three cases of women who experienced it, even without any anatomical or infectious causes of pain.

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Guys aren’t immune, either—men with chronic prostate disease have also been known to experience pain with orgasm, too.

Orgasm Side Effect #7: Foot Sensations

According to a 2013 case report in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a 55-year-old woman complained of “undesired orgasmic sensations” that originated in her left foot—which was the same feeling as when she was having sex with her husband.

In fact, whenever she experienced a vaginal or clitoral orgasm, she felt the same sensation in her left foot afterward. The researchers believe it may be due to partial regeneration of damaged nerve fibres in her foot.

Orgasm Side Effect #8: Headache

Headaches caused by orgasm belong to the type 2 category of headache: Those which are bilateral, explosive, and are triggered by some kind of excitement.

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The duration of orgasm headaches can range from several minutes to three hours, and may be alleviated with anti-migraine meds or pre-treatment with propranolol.

Article originally published on menshealth.com

 

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