Chocolate, alcohol, the great outdoors – all wonderful things loved by millions, but some have a nasty allergy which denies them the enjoyment of such treats.  And it seems, some people have the same reaction to making love.  No, being allergic to sex doesn’t mean you’re allergic to the act of sex. Like relationships, it is more nuanced. Here are the best ways to tell if you’re allergic to sex.

Like any allergy, a sex allergy develops when your immune system has a negative reaction to some sort of substance, whether the substance is coming from your partner or you. These allergies are hard to pinpoint, because many of the symptoms include heavy breathing, sweating, and other assumed to be natural side effects of sex.

Noted expert, Dr. Lindsey Doe, provides guidance on how to recognize and deal with the situation. Here are some of the ways she says you can tell if you’ve developed a sex allergy. If you feel you have an allergy, you should seek medical help quickly.

1. You Feel Sick After An Orgasm

There’s something called Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) which occurs when a man is allergic to his own semen. And the symptoms are similar to the flu. Immediately after ejaculating, a man will get a runny nose, itchy eyes and a sore throat, among other not fun things. POIS is rare, and there are no known treatments.

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2. You Experience Burning After Using A Condom

Having a reaction to latex is not uncommon. About three million Americans are allergic to the synthetic product, which obtained from rubber trees and used in a variety of sex products, not just condoms. Unlike food, the companies making condoms don’t have to disclose the ingredients. A good rule of thumb, says Doe, skip lubes (and lubricated condoms) advertising flavors, cooling or heating sensations are not the best for your body. So if you’re a woman who all of the sudden finds herself with an irritated vagina, you might be allergic and should go see your OBGYN.

3. There’s Pain In Your Life And/Or Relationship

Not just with sex, but experiencing pain in your life, including domestic violence, trauma, sexual shame and relationship issues can trigger a physiological response known as ‘genital armoring’ — a physical response to something mental.

‘The immune system is doing its best to signal something is wrong,” says Doe.

4. You Start Experiencing Allergy Symptoms After Sleeping With Someone New 

A telltale sign something’s up with your body is having an adverse reaction right after you sleep with a new partner. There is a chance you could be allergic to their semen. Unlike POIS, this condition is known as Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity (SPH).

Says Doe, ‘Basically a protein in the fluid triggers an allergic reaction, usually pain and burning.’ There could also be shortness of breath, dizziness and diarrhea. The good news here is this is super rare. At the very most, only about 40 thousand women in the U.S. experience this, so fingers crossed.

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