Sneezing After Sex & Orgasms [Statistics]

Sneezing after sex is a curious and relatively rare phenomenon that has intrigued both medical professionals and the general public alike.

This article aims to explore the prevalence, possible explanations, and coping strategies for this unusual occurrence, while also shedding light on related phenomena and the importance of seeking medical help when necessary.

Key Findings

Demographic GroupEstimated Prevalence of sneezing after sex
Male0.5 – 2.8%
Female0.2 – 1.7%
Age 18-290.3 – 2.5%
Age 30-490.3 – 2.2%
Age 50+0.3 – 1.6%
North America0.3 – 2.1%
Europe0.3 – 2.1%
Asia0.4 – 1.5%
Other Regions0.3 – 1.5%
All0.2 – 2.8%

The Physiology of Sneezing

Sneezing is a natural reflex that occurs when irritants stimulate the nasal mucosa, causing the body to expel foreign particles and mucus.

Common causes of sneezing include allergens, infections, and physical irritants.

While sneezing is typically harmless and infrequent, certain situations or triggers can lead to increased occurrences.

Sneezing After Orgasm: Facts and Explanations

Although concrete statistics on the prevalence of sneezing after orgasm are scarce, anecdotal accounts and case studies suggest that it affects a small percentage of the population.

Several explanations have been proposed for this intriguing phenomenon:

Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS)

This rare condition affects predominantly men and is characterized by flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, headache, and sneezing, following ejaculation.

The exact cause of POIS remains unknown, but it is believed to involve an autoimmune or allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions

Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to seminal plasma or components in the environment, such as fragrances or bedding materials.

Latex allergies can also cause sneezing if condoms are used during sex.

Autonomic nervous system response

The autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions, plays a crucial role in sexual arousal and orgasm.

Some researchers speculate that sneezing after orgasm may result from a cross-wiring of neural pathways, causing a misfiring of the sneeze reflex.

Psychological factors

Anxiety, stress, or conditioned responses may also contribute to sneezing after orgasm.

For instance, a person who has experienced sneezing during a sexual encounter may develop a psychological association, leading to recurrent episodes.

  1. Sexually induced sneezing: This phenomenon involves sneezing triggered by sexual thoughts or arousal, rather than orgasm. The prevalence of sexually induced sneezing remains uncertain, but it is thought to be related to the autonomic nervous system’s involvement in both sexual arousal and the sneeze reflex.
  2. Postcoital dysphoria: Also known as “post-sex blues,” postcoital dysphoria is characterized by feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability following sexual activity. It affects both men and women and while the exact cause remains unknown, it is believed to involve hormonal fluctuations and psychological factors.

When to Consult a Medical Professional

If sneezing after sex becomes bothersome or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, rash, or severe fatigue, it is essential to consult a healthcare provider.

Open and honest communication is crucial when discussing the issue, as embarrassment or reluctance to share information can hinder proper diagnosis and treatment.

Coping Strategies and Treatment Options

Various strategies and treatments can help manage sneezing after sex:

  1. Antihistamines: Over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines can alleviate allergy-related sneezing. However, potential side effects, such as drowsiness, should be considered.
  2. Decongestants: These medications may provide relief for nasal congestion and sneezing but should be used with caution, as they can cause side effects like increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure.
  3. Desensitization therapy: For individuals with seminal plasma hypersensitivity or other specific allergies, desensitization therapy may be an effective treatment option. This approach involves the gradual introduction of small amounts of the allergen to help the immune system build tolerance. Success rates and patient testimonials suggest that this therapy can be beneficial in some cases.
  4. Stress management and relaxation techniques: As psychological factors can contribute to sneezing after orgasm, stress management and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can help alleviate the issue.


PaperCitationsMain findings
M. Bhutta, Harold Maxwell (2008). Sneezing induced by sexual ideation or orgasm: an under-reported phenomenon.18• Sneezing in response to sexual ideation or orgasm is an under-recognized phenomenon.
• It may be more common than expected.
• An indiscrete stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system may be an underlying mechanism.
M. King (1990). Sneezing as a fetishistic stimulus.8• Fetishism is a complex phenomenon with a variety of aetiologies and psychopathologies.
• A case study of a young homosexual man revealed that he was sexually aroused by observing other people sneeze.
• This case study suggests that sneezing can be a fetishistic stimulus.
S. Setzen, M. Platt (2019). The Dangers of Sneezing: A Review of Injuries.4• A variety of injuries can occur during a sneeze, especially when a closed-airway sneeze is attempted.
• Men are more at risk for these injuries, with the majority occurring in patients with no known risk factor.
• When triggered, a sneeze should be allowed to proceed without intervention to prevent associated injuries.
L. Beckman, I. Nordenson (1983). Individual differences with respect to the sneezing reflex: an inherited physiological trait in man?.20• Visual exposure to strong light may induce a sneezing reaction in about 20% of the Swedish population.
• The ‘sneezer trait’ may be inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion.
• The eventual selective advantage of ST is discussed.
H. C. Everett (1964). Sneezing in response to light.55• Photic sneeze reflex is not uncommon.
• Stimulating light must follow a period of relative darkness and it soon produces a refractory stage to further photic sneezing.
• Familial and sex incidence of the reflex is explored.
L. Beckman, I. Nordenson (1983). Individual differences concerning the sneezing reflex: an inherited physiological trait in man?.6• Intraperitoneal application of p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) decreased the amplitude of urethral pressure response during sneezing (A-URS) and urethral baseline pressure (UBP).
• Intravenous application of CP-809101 (a 5-HT2C agonist) and LP44 (a 5-HT7 agonist) increased A-URS and UBP in PCPA-administrated rats.
• Activation of 5-HT receptors enhances the active urethral closure reflex during sneezing, at least in part via 5-HT2C and 5-HT7 receptors.
M. Bhutta, Harold Maxwell (2009). Further cases of unusual triggers of sneezing.7• 146 people reported sneezing induced by sexual ideation, and 7 reported sneezing induced by orgasm.
• 77% of those reporting sneezing upon sexual ideation were men, as were all seven of those reporting sneezing with orgasm.
• Two people reported that several members of their family sneeze on a full stomach.
G. Gore, Aparna Verma (2017). Sneezing – Physiological Facts and Beliefs.• Little is known about sneezing and few studies have been conducted to further our knowledge on the subject.
• Sneezing is sometimes associated with severe secondary medical sequelae.
• An inability to sneeze can be a symptom of other concomitant diseases.
• Sneezing is an abrupt, convulsive, and audible expulsion of air from the lungs through the nose and mouth.
• Sneezing is usually caused by foreign particles irritating the nasal mucosa and is triggered by stimuli such as light, cold air, large meals, and infections.
• Photic sneeze reflex is an autosomal dominant trait, affecting 18-35% of the population.
1J. García-Moreno (2005). [Sneezing. A review of its causation and pathophysiology].
M. Seijo-Martínez, A. Varela-Freijanes, J. Grandes, F. Vázquez (2005). Sneeze related area in the medulla: localisation of the human sneezing centre?.33Takahisa Suzuki, Takahiro Shimizu, J. Kwon, E. Takaoka, S. Yoshikawa, Y. Sumino, T. Kitta, M. Miyazato, H. Miyake, N. Yoshimura (2018). Role of the serotonergic system in urethral continence reflexes during sneezing in rats.