4 Intercourse-Related Allergies That People Need to Be Aware of | What to Do If You Have Them

4 Intercourse-Related Allergies That People Need to Be Aware of | What to Do If You Have Them

Allergy symptoms experienced due to these four conditions can be similar to any other allergy that we know of.

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Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 17, 2020. It has since been updated.

Most of us are aware of the common symptoms of allergy, such as sneezing, runny nose, congestion, fatigue, and itchy, watery eyes, but there are some allergies that are not shared about outside of the bedroom. People might feel embarrassed talking about them but these are just as natural as other allergies. Allergies could have a negative impact on how we experience intimacy with our partner. They might make it a little hard to enjoy intimacy but there are ways around it.


There are multiple things like regular condoms, semen, and other things that could be causing an allergic reaction. These are rare and can be painful if they go unaddressed. Just like any other allergies, these can cause us to have a runny nose, sneezing, or in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock. Here are four intercourse-related allergies we should know about: 

1. Latex allergy

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People can be allergic to certain proteins found in natural rubber latex, which is made from the rubber tree. Those who have latex allergy, it is because their body mistakes latex for a harmful substance, as per Mayo Clinic. It can cause itchy skin, hives, or even anaphylaxis, which is potentially life-threatening. It causes the throat to swell and lead to severe difficulty in breathing. If you suspect you have this allergy, seek medical attention. Your doctor will be able to tell if you have it or are at risk for it. You are likely to experience the symptoms after touching condoms, balloons, or gloves made out of latex. If you are allergic to it, avoid using this and ask your medical health professional about other ways of safe intercourse.


2. Lube allergy 

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Many people use lubricants to improve the experience while having intercourse but it's important to research it well before buying a product. Just like condoms, lubes also contain chemicals that can cause an allergic reaction. "Lubes that advertise flavors, cooling or heating sensations and numbing can have any number of additives your system may not like," Lindsey Doe, a clinical sexologist told New York Post. "Glycerin is another culprit – it can cause an allergic reaction but it also has the potential to convert to sugar and instigate a yeast infection with similar symptoms to an allergy," she added.

Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of The Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship, told Bustle that the main ingredient, nonoxynol-9, in spermicide can "irritate sensitive vaginal and rectal mucosa," which is why people need to be aware what goes inside the lube they are buying.


If you do experience an allergic reaction, just flush the area with water. If you have the option, soak yourself in a warm bath without adding any soaps or any products. If the irritation doesn't get better, contact a medical professional.

3. Semen allergy

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"It's really a very rare condition, but it does happen," allergist and immunologist David Resnick at New York-Presbyterian Hospital told LiveScience. People who experience this would experience itching, burning, and swelling in the genitals. It can also cause hives or swelling in different parts of the body and the person might have difficulty breathing. "Typically symptoms occur within 30 minutes of intercourse, but in rare cases, it may be hours or even days later," Resnick explained.


For some women, the reaction may occur with one partner while some women may be allergic to all partners. The allergy can also be due to chemicals in the semen from food, beverages, or medications the man had consumed. These could be due to anything from penicillin to compounds in walnuts. However, "this is rare, even more, rare than semen allergy itself," Resnick said.

The solution for this would be to wear a condom every time. It is also important to see your medical health professional who can help with treatment plans, one of which is called desensitization. It includes exposing the woman's skin to limited and diluted amounts of the semen until there is no reaction, as per Healthline.


4. Post-orgasmic illness syndrome

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This is a rare condition that can lead to flu-like and allergy symptoms after orgasm. It doesn't matter how you had an orgasm, as per National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. This condition has mostly been seen in males (after ejaculation), but women can also experience it. Symptoms are different for each person suffering this and can include fatigue, weakness, headache, fever, mood changes, memory or concentration problems, stuffy nose, sore throat, and itching eyes.

If you experience this, then you should contact your medical health professional. There is no standard treatment for this rare condition, but some men have been treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antihistamines, and/or benzodiazepines.









Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Moyo Studio

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.