Is “I have a headache” a genuine excuse for not having sex?
Have you ever turned to your bedmate, started to get a little frisky, only to be met with, “I have a headache”? Well, it turns out they could be telling the truth!
For some men and women, coital headaches a.k.a sex headaches aren’t just an excuse. Primary Sexual Headaches, which present in two ways, are a genuine problem that can cause a lot of pain, frustration and even embarrassment for both men and women.
Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist Clare Faulkner says: ‘Bought on by sexual activity, mainly sexual excitement, exertion, muscular contraction or vascular issues, typically clients report either a dull ache in the head and neck, or a more sudden and severe pain. There might be a change in symptom pattern as the person reaches or gets close to orgasm.’
THE FOREPLAY HEADACHE
The foreplay or sex “excuse” headache is also known as Early Coital Cephalgia. One theory that explains why this headache occurs is that the excessive contraction of the head and neck, brought on by sexual excitement, causes a dull, cramping pain. This intensifies as the feeling increases, which is why you may only get so far some nights.
THE PRE-ORGASMIC HEADACHE
So you’re nearly at the finish line, but now you or your partner has been struck with a throbbing headache, meaning no big O or post-sex spooning for you. This type of headache is known as Orgasmic Coital Cephalgia. An intense and severe headache, it is the most common associated with sexual activity and is believed to be brought on in response to an increase in blood pressure, causing the blood vessels in the head to dilate resulting in an unbearable striking pain that can last for up to 20 minutes.
SO, HOW CAN YOU PREVENT SEX HEADACHES?
Although inconvenient and frustrating, Primary Sexual Headaches are usually nothing to worry about and don’t mean that you should avoid sex.
Faulkner says: ‘From a psychosexual perspective a change in the rhythm of sex, which impacts exertion, might be considered, alongside working with arousal and orgasmic response.’
Trigger factors include obesity, lack of exercise and drug use. So, taking actions to combat these triggers may help to prevent these headaches, in turn giving your sex life a much-welcomed boost.
Clare Faulkner is a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist at The Thought House Partnership