Three in 25 women are actually allergic to sex.
It is tempting to joke about the idea of an allergy to sex isn’t?
Not tonight dear I have an allergy.
But there is nothing to laugh at for the three in 25 women who experience this painful condition. A semen allergy is a rare but very real condition that affects up to 12 per cent of women. With one expert claiming that some women can experience anaphylactic shock just one hour after exposure.
And there is even the potential for a fatal reaction.
Sperm allergy or seminal plasma hypersensitivity is an allergic reaction to proteins found in a man’s semen. The symptoms can stem from redness, swelling, pain, itching, and burning sensations in the vaginal area to more extreme symptoms such as flu-like illness, extreme fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
For women suffering the rare, but frustrating allergy it can hard to come to terms with.
One woman who has spoken out about the condition, under a pseudonym, says it began for her when she was in her 30s.
Now in her 50s she says she saw GP after GP trying to track down the cause of her discomfort.
“All the doctors dismissed out of hand my suggestion that I was suffering a physical reaction to sex,” she told The Daily Mail.
“They said such things did not happen and implied my partner could have been unfaithful - which was insulting to both of us.”
Finally the woman, now the mother of a teenager, was referred to a genitourinary clinic and diagnosed with the allergy.
“We didn't want to be using condoms, but the solution did work," she said.
According to Dr Sam Hay, the host of Embarrassing Bodies and contributor to The Glow it does happen “I swear I’ve seen a patient with this; she gets significant allergy-like symptoms when her partner ejaculates inside her,” Dr Hay said. “I have read about it and it does happen.”
One woman writing for website XO Jane said that she developed Human Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity fourteen months after she married her partner and it led to an eventual breakdown of her marriage.