Women Have Shared Their Strange Orgasm Side Effects And We Feel Seen - Women's Health

Women Have Shared Their Strange Orgasm Side Effects And We Feel Seen

Climax might be a thing to be celebrated, but can we hold the hallucinations and sneezing?

by | Jul 22, 2021

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In case you need to hear it, we’re here to remind you: reaching orgasm is a form of self-care. Whether it’s from the self-exploration that comes with evenings free of all plans in lockdown, or with a partner, reaching that big O is something one can only celebrate. Research has shown that reaching climax can relieve stress, alleviate pain and even boost our moods. Not surprisingly, Hollywood has long been fascinated by the female orgasm, often depicting an image of post-orgasm glow and a rosy hue that’s impossible to fake with makeup. 

As it turns out though, there are some rather questionable side effects to the orgasm. As more women have been sharing their experiences after climaxing, it seems that reaching orgasm might be sexually fulfilling, but can leave us battling with feelings of exhaustion, flu symptoms and even hallucination. Yikes. It’s something researchers in Sexual Medicine Reviews have studied extensively, referring to it as peri-orgasmic phenomena, otherwise known as psychological symptoms “distinct from the usual orgasm response.” Here, we detail what’s come out of such findings so the next time you might experience a strange feeling post climax, know that you’re not alone. 


According to a 2011 Turkish study of nearly 50 women who admitted to an “expanded sexual response”, 75 per cent reported feeling like they’d left their bodies, with 76 per cent experiencing a flying sensation. It goes without saying then, that an orgasm can be, quite literally, an out of your body experience. 

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Believe it or not, Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) is a thing. According to Rare Diseases, it’s a “rare condition in which a person develops flu-like and allergy symptoms after orgasm, whether with a partner, through masturbation, or spontaneously during sleep.” Symptoms may develop within seconds, minutes or hours after orgasm and can last for 2 to 7 days before going away on their own. It can include anything from fatigue, weakness to a stuffy nose, sore throat and fever. 


It might sound bizarre, but an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine found that sneezing in response to orgasm is surprisingly common. Apparently the condition is a result of stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, triggering sneezing post-climax. 


Of all the side effects, having an orgasm only to sink back into a woeful headache is not pleasant. According to the Mayo Clinic, “sex headaches are brought on by sexual activity – especially an orgasm. You may notice a dull ache in your head and neck that builds up as sexual excitement increases. Or, more commonly, you may experience a sudden, severe headache just before you during orgasm.” For the most part, headaches are pretty common and nothing to be worried about, but if you feel symptoms persist, it could be the sign of underlying issues, such as problems with the blood vessels that feed your brain. As the Mayo Clinic noted, “Some people who have sex headaches will experience them in clusters over a few months, and then go for a year or more without having any sex headaches. Some people may only have one attack during their lives.”


Due to the powerful release of hormones that follows orgasm, crying is a common side effect. Known as post-coital dysphoria, the condition refers to sadness after sex. A recent study conducted with female university students even found that 46 per cent of respondents reported experiencing PCD symptoms at least once in their lifetime. But the research found there was no link between PCD and the amount of intimacy in close relationships, so don’t fear the tears are saying something about your relationship, it’s likely that you emotions are just running wild. 

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