Whether you’re having an errant one-night-stand or having sex with a longtime girlfriend, you know the common side effects that can befall you and your lady. Or do you? Beyond unwanted STIs, strange fluids and noises, and UTIs, there are lesser known symptoms—good and bad—men and women can experience post-sex, from sharp orgasm headaches to better smell. Take a look at these four. We bet you haven’t heard ’em before.
Heightened Sense of Smell
How’s this for a fun fact: When you orgasm, your body releases a hormone called prolactin, which causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the olfactory bulb (the part of your brain that handles smell). In a study published in Biological Psychology, researchers recorded levels of prolactin in men and women after engaging in masturbation or sex. The magnitude of prolactin increase after sex was 400% greater than that following masturbation.
After sex you probably experience emotions related to euphoria, relaxation, maybe even sleepiness, but for some women “post-sex blues” is the unfortunate aftermath, according to recent research published in Sexual Medicine. Postcoital dysphoria is the name of the female sexual dysfunction and researchers say it’s characterised by “tearfulness, a sense of melancholy or depression, anxiety, agitation, or aggression following sexual intercourse.”
The researchers asked 230 female university students to complete an online survey, among which 46 percent admitted to experiencing PCD symptoms at least once in their lifetime and a little over five percent having experienced PCD symptoms in the past four weeks prior to the study. Keep this in mind the next time you want to just roll over and snooze after sex.
Mind- and Memory-Blowing Sex
In some instances, sex can be mind blowing—in others, forgettable. In this particular case, it was both. The Journal of Emergency Medicine published a report of a woman who showed up to Georgetown University Hospital unable to remember the past 24 hours or recall, in detail, recent memories. But she did recall her amnesia started right after having sex with her husband.
She was experiencing transient global amnesia, a rare condition in which one’s memory suddenly, but temporarily, disappears. This condition is incredibly rare, only affecting three to five people per 100,000 each year. Sex and other physically strenuous activities can cause it, but researchers aren’t really sure why. People with transient global amnesia don’t suffer any side effects (other than the temporary lapse), and their memory problems usually reverse themselves in as little as a few hours.
An orgasm headache is a sharp, splitting headache just at the point of orgasm. Little is known about what causes them, but they are more prevalent in men, and current thinking has it that it has something to do with blood pressure. Sex headaches can happen as a one-time attack or in clusters over a few months. Up to half of all people who have sex headaches have them over a six-month period. Some research has shown that up to 40 percent of all sex headaches are chronic and occur for more than a year. Should you be worried? No, not really. Sex headaches usually aren’t associated with an underlying condition, so taking a pain reliever should be enough to ease symptoms.