The world is full of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Sneezing induced by sexual thoughts or orgasm.
Since I started writing about embarrassing conditions I have discovered that sex isn’t that fun for all of us. Some men, for example, suffer terrible headaches during and after orgasm that may last for several hours or even a few days. In addition, there are women who are persistently in a state of genital arousal and as a consequence may have hundreds of orgasms a day, making a normal life impossible.
Maybe less severe but definitely embarrassing is the condition in which sex triggers uncontrollable fits of sneezing. And this may happen not only when experiencing an orgasm, but also whenever someone just thinks about sex.
Researchers who investigated the link are not yet sure why sex and sneezing are linked in some people, but they suspect it is due to a faulty connection in the autonomic nervous system that controls both the sneeze reflex and sexual responses. This mechanism may also account for other reported unusual causes of sneezing, such as exposure to bright light.
Although there are few reported cases of the sneeze reflex in response to sexual thoughts and orgasm, the researchers believe the bizarre phenomenon may be more common than expected. Possibly people are embarrassed and don’t want to talk about it, they argue.
“Further investigation in this field may help us to understand the sneeze reflex in more depth, and also allow us to give explanation and reassurance to the possibly significant number of people affected by this curious phenomenon,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Source: The Guardian
Bhutta, MF, & Maxwell, H (2008). Sneezing induced by sexual ideation or orgasm: an under-reported phenomenon. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101 (12), 587-591 DOI: 10.1258/jrsm.2008.080262