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Sexual Activity

Sex stirs up lots of emotions, chemicals and other reactions within the body. Therefore it’s understandable how sexual activity can be a migraine trigger. It is sometimes called “coital headache.” Sex-related migraines are usually unpredictable and don’t occur with each sexual experience. This type of migraines occur most often in people ages 20 to 60, with it most commonly first occurring around age 40.

Migraine sufferers and sexual intercourse

The head pain and other migraine symptoms can sometimes arise with sexual activity and also with masturbation.

Why do men get migraines after sex

Sexual activity triggers migraines in men four times as often as it does in women. The pain and discomfort may occur because of the energy exerted during sexual activity, the increased activity in the buttocks and legs or because of the alterations in blood pressure.


Migraines and other types of head pain may occur:

  • During the escalation of activity lead up to sexual intercourse
  • During sexual intercourse itself, pre-orgasmic
  • After climax, which is called orgasmic
  • In the base, occipital region of the head
  • Gradually and increase along with sexual excitement
  • Explosively
  • With throbbing pain

For head pain to be blamed on sex, the International Headache Society says the pain must:

  1. Be brought on by sexual arousal
  2. Have pain on both sides
  3. Be prevented or lessened by stopping sexual activity before orgasm
  4. Not be caused by any other disorder

Possible reasons for sexually – induced migraines

The reason behind the head pain may be related to contracting muscles during sex. The attacks may be avoided by working on relaxing neck and jaw muscles during sexual activity. The explosive pain has been blamed on the rapid increase in blood pressure and heart rate during sexual climax.

If the head pain is the worse ever experienced or resembles a “thunderclap” of pain, seek immediate medical attention. The pain may be a symptom of an un-ruptured aneurysm.


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
Sport and exercise headache: Part 2. Diagnosis and classification; Br J Sports Med; Williams 1994