Sex Headache

By | June 10, 2022

Sex headaches are headaches that occur during sex. They are usually triggered by arousal that increases too quickly. As a rule, sexual headaches are only temporary, i.e. they go away on their own after a few weeks or months.

What are sex headaches?

Sexual headaches are headaches that occur during sexual intercourse. The pain in the head occurs either before the orgasm (pre-orgasm headache) or directly during the sexual climax (orgasm headache). For kussmaul breathing in dictionary, please visit

Sexual headaches usually occur episodic, which means they subside on their own after a short time. Men are affected more often than women. People who suffer from migraines are particularly common among the patients. About every second person is a migraine sufferer.

Overall, the number of people affected by this particular headache in Germany is estimated at around 80,000. The typical age is between 25 and 50 years, with sexual headaches occurring more often in younger people than in older people.


The cause of sex headaches is not yet exactly known. It is assumed that the brain of those affected cannot process the sensory overload during a quickly onset of physical excitement.

Furthermore, it is assumed that the regulatory process in the vessels is not working properly. Due to the rapid increase in excitement, the blood pressure increases in a very short time. The vessels cannot adjust as quickly and the orgasmic headache explodes right during climax. This disturbance in the regulation of vascular size would also explain the frequent occurrence of sexual headaches in migraine patients, because migraine is a vascular disease.

Pre-orgasm headaches, on the other hand, tend to occur more slowly. It is believed that the cause here is excessive strain on the head and neck muscles. It is generally assumed that stress, fatigue, too frequent sexual intercourse or chronically high blood pressure can also be triggers for sexual headaches.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Sex headaches can be caused by any sexual activity. The possible symptoms of the two sex headaches differ slightly from each other. Orgasmic headaches are violent and sudden headaches that occur right at the climax of the act.

Affected people describe the pain as lightning and shooting, so that it occurs completely unexpectedly. The length of the pain that occurs can vary between one minute and several hours. Headaches, nausea or vomiting are other symptoms that can occur with an orgasmic headache. The preorgasm headache, on the other hand, spreads in the back of the head, which can extend to the neck.

This leads to a dull and long-lasting pain, which is described by those affected as very unpleasant. Sexual headaches are very rare, although the symptoms are fairly clear. Effective treatment with medication only works to a limited extent. However, a visit to the doctor should not be put off for too long, so that any underlying diseases can be ruled out.

The explicit causes of sexual headaches have not yet been clarified, so that the symptoms that occur can only be treated to a limited extent. However, taking headache pills can be resorted to to alleviate the symptoms afterwards.

Diagnosis & History

There are two types of sex headaches. While the pre-orgasm headache starts slowly in the neck, spreads to the head and gets worse with increasing excitement, the orgasm headache comes on explosively and very violently.

The duration of the sex headache can range from a few minutes to 2-3 hours. An attack of pain may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting and, similar to migraines, dizziness and extreme sensitivity to light. After the main pain has subsided, a slight, diffuse neck pain often persists for a while. The suspicion of a sexual headache diagnosis arises from the description of the symptoms and the fact that the pain always occurs during sexual intercourse.

The doctor will still do a neurological exam because other disorders need to be ruled out. CT ( computed tomography) can be used to check whether a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage was the cause of the pain. A pain diary can also help to secure the diagnosis of sexual headaches.


As a rule, there are no complications to be expected with sexual headaches. Those affected are usually recommended to take a mild painkiller just before sexual intercourse, which very often means that the symptoms no longer appear. However, medication can have side effects. Acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol is usually prescribed.

Acetylsalicylic acid in particular can attack the stomach and damage the gastric mucosa. If caffeine is administered to dilate the vessels, this can lead to tachycardia and sleep disorders in sensitive people. If beta blockers are prescribed for more severe forms of sexual headaches, there is a risk that sexual sensitivity will be impaired.

If left untreated or if the course is severe, other complications are also conceivable. For example, the pain can become very intense and take a migraine-like course. In these cases, those affected not only suffer from severe headaches, but also experience nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

Due to the stressful side effects of sexual intercourse, many of those affected develop either fears or sexual reluctance, which can put a heavy strain on the relationship. The relationship disorders resulting from the headaches can lead to further mental disorders that require therapy. Some sufferers sometimes need psychotherapy. In some cases, couples therapy is also necessary.

When should you go to the doctor?

Sex headaches are usually not dangerous, but if they occur repeatedly, they can severely affect sex life. A doctor should be consulted if headaches are felt repeatedly during lovemaking, which slowly increase in intensity (pre-orgasm headache) or occur explosively during orgasm (orgasm headache). A medical examination is also recommended if a headache develops and persists during sexual activity: The typical sexual headache generally disappears within a short time, only a dull feeling of pressure in the head can last for several hours.

Headaches associated with visual disturbances, sensitivity to light and nausea to the point of vomiting can indicate sexual headaches in connection with sexual activities, but also occur with migraines. After a detailed questioning and examination, which may also include a neurological examination, the doctor can make an exact diagnosis and, if necessary, initiate drug treatment.

Patients suffering from high blood pressure should see their doctor for a blood pressure check the first time a headache attack occurs – it may be necessary to adjust the blood pressure medication again. If the headache is exceptionally severe or accompanied by speech disorders, sensory disturbances, symptoms of paralysis or numbness in one side of the body, a doctor must be consulted immediately to rule out a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage or an ambulance must be called.

Treatment & Therapy

Sexual headaches can certainly be treated and sufferers do not have to fear that they will be prescribed sexual abstinence. It is possible to take a mild pain reliever about 30 to 60 minutes before intercourse.

Usually acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol is prescribed. Caffeine can also help because it dilates the blood vessels. In more severe cases, beta- blockers are prescribed to prevent sex headaches from occurring. But you can also change the course of sexual intercourse in such a way that you only slowly increase the arousal. This enables the brain to process the stimuli better and the vessels can gradually and sufficiently dilate.

When you’re stressed, tired, or exhausted, you’re more likely to have sex headaches than when you’re rested and balanced. Gentle sex and slowly increasing arousal is the best treatment for sex headaches. Usually, however, the attacks of pain go away on their own after a certain period of time.


Sexual headaches can be prevented by increasing arousal slowly during sexual intercourse. Especially if you are already suffering from migraines or high blood pressure, it is advisable not to use any sexual techniques. to practice that lead to quick excitement.


In the case of sexual headaches, in most cases the patient has only limited direct follow-up measures available. Those affected should therefore consult a doctor at the first symptoms and signs of this disease. The further course depends heavily on the exact cause and also on the severity of these headaches, so that a general course cannot be predicted.

However, no treatment is often necessary because the sexual headaches can disappear on their own. The person concerned should make a precise note of the circumstances that led to the symptoms in order to avoid them in the further course and thus also limit the headaches.

In many cases, loving and intensive conversations with your partner can be very useful and thus also alleviate the symptoms. Contact with other people affected by the disease can also have a positive effect on the further course. This often leads to an exchange of information, which can make the everyday life of those affected much easier. The life expectancy of the patient is usually not adversely affected by the sexual headaches.

You can do that yourself

Sexual headaches can often be alleviated by the self-help of those affected. However, this first includes the exact diagnosis by the doctor, which means that causes other than sexual intercourse can be ruled out to calm the affected women and men. Just the reassurance that it is a comparatively harmless cause can often reduce the annoying pain during the sexual act. But there are other ways of self-help that have often proven to be helpful in practice.

This includes avoiding positions during sex that do not further increase the blood flow to the brain. Head down is a rather problematic position in this context, which ideally is simply avoided. For this, however, an understanding conversation with the partner is necessary in advance, who should of course know about the problems of sexual headaches in certain positions in order to behave accordingly during lovemaking. This is also important to keep orgasmic peaks from being too pronounced, incorporating perhaps more quiet foreplay and a soothing post-intercourse snuggle.

Headaches during sex can also sometimes be caused by sweating depleting fluid and the electrolytes it contains in the body. Adequate drinking helps here, whereby attention should be paid to a sufficient intake of water, but not alcohol. Medications can also trigger headaches. Potency-enhancing drugs are particularly important in this context. These should only be used in the case of sexual headaches in consultation with the doctor treating you.

Sex Headache