allergic reaction during sex

Allergic reactions during sex are uncommon, but they do happen. In fact, they may be an underrated problem.

Some people may not see their symptoms as allergic reactions. Allergy symptoms may resemble physical changes that occur during sex, including fast heartbeat, sweating, swelling, flushing or tingling of the skin.

Some people may not seek care for an allergic reaction to sex because they feel a little uncomfortable bringing it up to their doctor. But allergic reactions can get worse over time. Severe reactions can even lead to hives, breathing problems and allergic reactions that can lead to death.

This article explains some of the causes of allergic reactions during sex. It also provides some guidance on when to seek medical help.

latex allergy

The material of most condoms (condoms worn on the penis or inserted into the vagina) can trigger a latex allergy. It can affect one or both partners.

Symptoms of a latex allergy include:

  • itching
  • combustion
  • rash
  • hives or hives
  • swelling
  • asthma symptoms
  • allergic reaction

Usually, these symptoms appear within seconds to minutes of exposure to latex. In some cases, they can happen hours later. Skin that comes in contact with the latex can even blister.

If a blood test finds IgE antibodies against latex, you may be diagnosed with a latex allergy. These proteins indicate that your immune system sees latex as an allergen.

Treating allergies means avoiding latex. Polyisoprene-based polyurethane condoms and SKYN non-latex condoms are great alternatives because they can protect you from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Non-latex condoms made from sheep intestines are also available. They can prevent pregnancy, but not sexually transmitted infections.

Overview of Latex Allergy

Product ingredients

Lubricants and spermicides may contain scents, dyes, preservatives, or other ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction to itching.

Underwear or tights with certain dyes, as well as cleaning wipes that may be used after sex, can also cause a reaction.

Even if you don’t have a true allergic reaction, your body may be sensitive to one or more of the ingredients, which can cause similar symptoms.

Semen allergy

Allergic reactions to semen are extremely rare. Proteins in the fluid, not sperm, cause most of these reactions. Semen (and saliva) may also contain traces of allergenic foods or medications.

You may be allergic to one person’s semen, but not another. It is also possible to be allergic to semen from more than one partner. In some cases, people react to semen that has never caused problems in the past.

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Semen allergy can cause:

  • Itching and burning within 30 minutes of sex
  • hives or swelling
  • asthma symptoms
  • allergic reaction

Skin tests and blood allergy tests can determine if you are allergic to semen. If you do, you can use a condom to avoid touching it.

Some people can gradually become desensitized to the allergen. This involves increasing exposure to allergens over time.

This method may be a good one if you are trying to get pregnant. There are also ways to “wash” sperm during fertility, thereby removing allergens.

You should not attempt to desensitize yourself if you have a history of severe reactions. Work with your doctor so the process is safe for you.


Latex, fragrance, and semen can all cause allergic reactions. After sex, you may experience mild symptoms such as itching, burning, swelling, or hives. Breathing problems or allergic reactions can also produce more severe reactions.

Other causes of itching after sex

Sometimes, itching after sex isn’t caused by allergies. If your symptoms do not go away in a day or so, consult a healthcare professional.

Some possible causes may require prescription treatment.

dry or irritated skin

If your skin tends to be on the dry and flaky side, you may experience some itching after sex. This may be true if you:

  • Not using enough lubricant during sex
  • not aroused during sex
  • Used products with fragrances or dyes
  • wash with dry soap
  • have a medical condition such as eczema or diabetes

Hormonal changes can also make the skin of the vulva and vagina drier. This can happen if you’ve just had a baby or are in menopause.

Some medications can also change the fluid in the vagina. Birth control pills and antidepressants are two examples.


pH is a measure of how acidic something is. A healthy vagina usually has a pH of 3.8 to 5.0, which is slightly acidic. When the pH is in this range, it limits the growth of microorganisms that can lead to infection.

If the pH is too high, your risk of infection also goes up. Some factors that can alter the natural pH of the vagina are:

  • Unprotected sex because semen is more alkaline
  • Taking antibiotics, which can destroy some of the “good” microbes that prevent infection
  • Douching or excessive cleaning of the vagina, which removes good bacteria from the vagina
  • Menstruation due to elevated pH of menstrual blood


One of the most common causes of itching after sex is infection. Parasites, bacteria and fungi (yeast) can cause:

  • itching
  • combustion
  • freed

These symptoms may be more intense after sex. Depending on the cause, over-the-counter medications can relieve itching. But many infections require treatment with prescription drugs.

sexually transmitted infection

Some infections are spread from person to person through sexual activity. Many STIs do not cause any symptoms at first. So you can pass them on to your partners without knowing it.

Itching is a common symptom of many sexually transmitted infections, including:

  • Chlamydia
  • genital herpes
  • gonorrhea
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Trichomoniasis

If your itching persists for more than a few days after sex, it’s a good idea to get tested to find out if you have an STI. If you do, you may need prescription medication to treat or manage it.


Dry skin, changes in vaginal pH, and infections can also cause itching after sex. Some infections respond to over-the-counter medicines. Others, especially sexually transmitted infections, require medical attention.

How to treat itching after sex

Here are some options that can relieve itching:

  • Switch the type of condom you are using. Other materials may not initiate a reaction.
  • Stop having sex for a few days and see if your symptoms go away.
  • Use more lubricant or slow down your love to allow your body’s natural fluids to flow.
  • Keep your body clean and dry. Wearing loose, breathable clothing throughout the day may help.
  • Avoid products that contain fragrances or irritants.

If the itching stems from an infection, these steps won’t fix the problem. You will need to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Depending on your diagnosis, you may need one of the following medicines:

  • antibiotic
  • corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • anti-viral drug
  • antifungal drugs

Other allergic-type reactions to sex

Your reaction may look and feel like an allergy, but not a sexual allergy.

vasomotor rhinitis It’s congestion, runny nose, and sneezing after sex. (In fact, it is sometimes called “honeymoon rhinitis.”)

This happens when the nerves and blood vessels in your nasal passages become irritated. This condition may be related to the strong emotions that sex can arouse.

Some people use a nasal spray (ipratropium bromide) an hour before sex to prevent this problem.

Another possibility is that post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a very rare reaction. Allergy or flu-like symptoms can develop within seconds to hours after ejaculation. They can include:

  • Eyes hurt
  • congestion
  • headache
  • fatigue

POIS is more common in people with penises. Researchers aren’t sure exactly what’s causing it.


It is rare, but not impossible, to have an allergic reaction during sexual intercourse. Latex, fragrances, preservatives, or proteins in semen can cause itching and other symptoms. Dry skin, pH changes, and infections can also cause reactions.

Symptoms usually disappear within a day or so. If they don’t, it’s important to see a healthcare professional. Allergies can usually be treated so you don’t have to deal with itching after sex. If an infection is making you itchy, you may need medication to cure the problem.

very healthy word

Talking about sex-related allergies can be sensitive. For some people, symptoms like genital itching can feel very personal and even embarrassing. It may help if you tell your healthcare provider first that you are nervous or vulnerable. It may also be helpful to write down your questions ahead of time. No matter how you choose to frame the problem, speaking up is the best way to solve it and protect your health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are you allergic to someone?

    Sex-related allergies are rare, but they are possible. You may also be allergic to products someone is using, such as spermicides, lubricants, or condoms. Remember that you can respond to one person’s bodily fluids and not others.

  • Are you allergic to semen?

    Yes. Semen allergies are rare, but they do happen. Symptoms may include itching, hives, swelling, and breathing problems. An allergist can perform skin and blood tests to make sure semen is causing your symptoms.

  • Are there any home remedies for itching?

    Understanding the cause is the first step in relieving itching. Talk to a healthcare provider before you choose home remedies. For many types of itching, taking a colloidal oatmeal or baking soda bath can relieve some of the discomfort. Applying a cool damp cloth to the itchy area can also relieve itching.

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