Allergies in the bedroom: can you be allergic to intimate contact?

semen allergy

Allergies in the bedroom: can you be allergic to intimate contact?

Spending intimate time with someone is a regular part of human life. But some women have complained they’re allergic to intimate contact – such as sex – with men. It sounds unbelievable, but there is research to suggest sex can trigger a legitimate allergic reaction. The reasons why are astonishing.

What is a ‘sex allergy’?

When people complain of a ‘sex allergy’, it’s actually an allergy to semen. It’s a very rare condition, but it does happen. The symptoms can include itching, burning, and swelling in the genitals. In more severe cases, the hives and swelling might appear elsewhere on the body and some women may experience difficulty breathing. 

Some people may mistake these symptoms as a sexually transmitted disease, or a similar infection. But, what is often specific to allergies is the time it takes for symptoms to appear. Typically, symptoms occur within 30 minutes of intercourse. But, in rare cases, they can be hours or even days later adding more confusion to the mix. 

What causes a semen allergy?

A study found out of 1,073 women who sought information on semen allergy, 130 had the allergy. Some women were only allergic to specific partners, while others were allergic to all. 

The compounds in the semen that appear to trigger allergic reactions seem to be proteins from the prostate gland. However, women aren’t always allergic to the semen itself, but rather chemicals in the semen from food, drinks, or medications the man has ingested. This is even rarer than an allergy to semen itself. Around half of women with a semen allergy have other allergies too, like hay fever or a nut allergy, for example. 


You can successfully treat a semen allergy. Allergy doctors can help women desensitise themselves to the body fluid by applying diluted samples every 20 minutes over several hours. Another option is to receive allergy shots containing small amounts of the fluid over several weeks. Both treatments require regular intercourse to train the immune system. 

An allergy to semen can be unpleasant. It affects sensitive parts of the body, can inhibit a good sex life, and can put the breaks on any planned pregnancy. But there are treatments available. No one, no matter the allergy, should suffer in silence.

If you’re struggling with strange allergy symptoms, it’s best to speak to one of our professional consultants. They will test you to see what you’re allergic to. Then they can come up with the best course of treatment to get you back on track again. All you need to do is book an appointment online or call us on 0203 143 3449.

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