Sex Headaches

What are Sex Headaches?

Sex headaches are headaches that occur as the result of sexual activity. They most often occur after orgasm. This condition is also sometimes referred to as coital cephalgia. These headaches can occur at any time during the sexual experience. Some people experience them as they feel themselves building to orgasm and du

ring the orgasm itself. Other people experience the sudden onset of severe headache symptoms immediately after orgasm.

Sex headaches are usually considered to be benign. This means that they are not indicative of a larger problem. However, there are some sex headaches that may be more troublesome than others. When sex headaches come on all of a sudden, known as sudden onset headaches, they could potentially be caused by problems with the arteries and blood vessels that carry blood to the brain. Some of these conditions can include intracranial aneurysm, coronary artery disease, stroke, abnormalities in the blood vessels, arterial dissections, or birth control pill use or other medications.

Men tend to be more prone to sex headaches than women. These headaches occur most often in men between the ages of 20 and 25 as well as from ages 35 to 45. However, both men and women can suffer from this issue. Additionally, people who have a history of migraine headaches are more likely to experience sex headaches.

What are the Symptoms of Sex Headaches?

Symptoms of sex headaches can vary from person to person. Some people experience a gradual build to their sex headaches. This can begin just before orgasm and may feel like a dull aching sensation. Others experience a sudden sharp and severe pain in their head immediately after orgasm. The severe headache often feels like intense throbbing. Sex headaches can fade after several minutes but some are lasting headaches that last for hours or days on end. These headaches do not necessarily occur every time a person engages in sexual activity and may be frequent over several months or may only occur once.

Sex Headaches Causes

Sex headaches often occur from sexual activity, such as during sex or masturbation, an orgasm, or right after a sexual encounter. The pain experienced varies from patient to patient, depending on the kind of a headache a person is experiencing. Some people may feel a sudden sharp pain during orgasm, a dull, short-lasting pain in the middle of sex, or even experience post-coital headaches which can last for 24 hours after having sex.

But in many cases where a patient gets sex headaches more often, it means there’s some underlying condition that might be behind the problem. It can be due to blood pressure and tension in the body, tumors, strokes, meningitis, bleeding in the skull, aneurysms, or some endocrine disorders. After the doctor has diagnosed the exact cause of the problem from any of these conditions, a CT or MRI scan may be employed to further examine the underlying symptom before it does any serious damage.

How is a Sex Headache Treated?

Sometimes, simply treating a sex headache with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers can help to alleviate sex headaches. Over-the-counter pain medications that contain caffeine such as those designed specifically for headaches or migraines can be highly effective as well. For people who have a history of sex headaches, they may need daily treatments to help prevent them. Daily beta-blockers are medication regimens that treat coronary artery disease, migraines, and high blood pressure and may be effective at treating and preventing sex headaches. Intermittent prescription migraine medications can also be helpful and effective.

Sex Headaches Prevention

As with any other disease, prevention is always better than trying to relieve any pain in the body. And the only way to stop headaches from occurring is abstaining from sex and masturbation entirely. Another option patients can try is to commence a more passive role or position during intercourse. But if the headaches occur too often, and don’t relate to any underlying illness, physicians may prescribe some drugs like calcium channel blockers and beta blockers to be taken before any sexual activity.

Taking some pain killers or analgesics high in caffeine may also help, and so does placing a cold compress on the affected part or resting in a quiet and calm room. Sometimes, the headaches may vanish into oblivion. All the same, if the sex headaches frequently occur and become more severe, it’s important to see a doctor immediately for effective prognosis and treatment.

Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
November 07, 2017