orgasmic headaches


Daze recently linked to a Yahoo! story about something called “orgasmic headaches”:

There seem to be two basic patterns to these headaches: Type 1 usually begins as a dull pain that starts prior to orgasm, while type 2 has sudden onset, often described as a “thunderclap” headache, that occurs within seconds of orgasm.

I actually had these for several weeks a couple of years ago. For about four weeks straight, any kind of arousal or sexual activity (luckily I was single at the time) caused me to have blinding, incredibly painful headaches. I ended up locking away all my toys, books and anything else remotely sexy for several weeks. I was terrified it was going to last forever, but seemed such a strange thing to go to a doctor about – I figured they’d assume it was psychosomatic and send me to a shrink.

Eventually, it went away, and I’ve never (touch wood) had trouble since, but I had no idea this was a real medical thing that other people went through, too.

It’s comforting to know it’s more common than I realized!

On a more upbeat note, I’ve posted part three of Spanking. Read part three… or start at the beginning.

About the author

Vikki McKay


  • Huh…what do ya know. I’ve had the kind that hit just afterwards many times. I never knew anyone else did.

  • My wife has had those on and off for the last few months. We have determined them to be stress/tension related; but she does have a tendancy to hold her breath right before orgasm, so I remind her to BREATHE……
    She’s gotten better.

  • I had no idea this was common either. I have the sudden onset type on and off, and haven’t figured out what might be a trigger, why sometimes and not others. Thanks for sharing that bit of info.

  • This is actually something my neurologist treated me for. He also said it was related to stress, and he prescribed the medication described in the story.
    As long as it was taken an hour or so in advance, everything worked out fine.

  • I had an intense frightening headache orgasm-related today, well sex activity related since it got me so scared that I stoped just before orgasm. Last night had happened only less intense so I did not stop. This had occurred a couple of times the last month and once exercise-related about 3 -4 month ago never as intense and frightening as today). I asked my doctor and he explained something about stress-related pressure on some nerve endings, prescribed something to alleviate muscular tension which I am still taking. I am approaching menopause and I am on antidepressants and other medications.
    Lately I am feeling highly sexual and I do not want stop it because of fear of having a stroke or anything else. I am writing this because of several reasons:
    1. to organize my thinking and relax a bit about it all
    2. to let my case known
    3. to ask for suggestion regarding action.

  • I am home from work with a sex-related headache today. This is my second one within a week. I actually went into the office, but the pain was so bad I had to come home. Now, a few hours later, the pain is subsiding at last. Deciding whether to go see a doctor about it, but I probably won’t unless the problem continues. I will probably stay off orgasm for a while.

  • Does anyone know more about this??? I’ve been having these since I was 18yrs old. The Doc told me the name, “orgasmic”. Orgasmic my ass!! These things are a killer!! I’m now 35 and still get them. I got one the other day and deal with the aftermath, the dull pain is frustrating but anything after that seem to set it off, working out, shoveling snow, believe it or not while my fiancee and I were watching the World Cup finals last night, just the excitement set off a huge one. I was told by the doc that it was due to a weak blood vessel leading to the brain. Does anyone suffer from this or know of anyone with the problem or a CURE!!!????

  • I have these but not too often. It seems to occur with me when I am in a stressful situation and nervous. I have such intense pain it makes me think I am going to have a stroke or something. It is very scary and if anyone knows the name of any medication that can be taken in advance to curtail these, please advise. It has been 4 days now since I had the head wrenching pain but I am still feeling the after effects. I have a light pain, almost like a hangover type feeling that is mainly across the bottom part of my head but sometimes it is even a funny feeling across my temple area as well. If anyone knows of a cure or pre-bedtime pill….please advise/recommend.
    Hoping I never have another one of these headaches.

  • I had one of these the other day. I went to urgent care and the doctor sent me to the emergency room to make sure I didn’t have an anuerism. The ER doc gave me a katscan and a spinal tap to make sure it wasn’t. I was kinda stressed out when it happened. Probably drank too much caffeine.

  • I get these all the time, I get a very bad headache along the left of my forhead and sometimes pains in the back of my neck!
    At first I thought I was the only person and i was quite worried, but after seeing this all seems abit better now.
    I think mine may be related to stress too, i’ve been having the headaches for a few weeks now, and it’s also been quite a stressful period.
    If anyone knows a way to get rid of these headaches, please share.

  • Been admitted to hospital suffering this type of headache since having sex a week ago. Had CT scan – normal. Lumbar puncture – normal. Had high blood pressure and high temperature but both settled to normal levels – headache still remained.
    Doctor assures me that this illness is common but that people don’t speak about it due to embarrassment – My husband is extremely proud that he can have this effect on me!!
    Joking apart – pain is unbearable and extremely scary – its good to know that other people are experiencing the same symptoms.

  • I had one of these headaches back in 1995: I literally just “had” a good session with my
    girlfriend (who is now my wife). Within seconds I got a blasting headache! Got an emergency doctor out who gave me paracetamol (!) and went to see my doctor the very next day, who then sent me to the hospital to get it checked…
    Following scans, they realised I had a brain haemorrage, following the rupture of a brain aneurism.
    The rest is history: 6 hours on the table and 3 weeks to recover (2 of which in intensive care).
    What I am being told about these “Orgasmic Headache” is that they should disappear as quickly as they come. If they don’t: GET YOURSELF CHECKED PROMPTO! Unfortunately brain aneurism are much more common than we would like them to be.

  • I just started getting this “orgasmic” headaches right before having a orgasism….unfortunately, I lost my medical insurance due to downsizing at work. Is there anything that I may take “over the counter” to help with this headaches?

  • You are not alone.
    Have had such headaches off and on for the past 10 years or so – especially after a strong orgasm. The ache can be anywhere in my head but today’s felt like someone hit me with a hammer in the top center of my skull and it lasted for 15-20 minutes. Only worse were the 3 or 4 migraines. I’m 41, don’t have high blood pressure, work out regularly, not prone to migraines, and am in pretty good shape. So glad my wife doesn’t get them, but sorry I do. The following URL also addresses this phenomenon:

  • I had my 1st ever headache today like the one’s described.Hence why i’m searching forums for advice.
    The pain appeared extremely sudden at the point of Orgasm, I had to stop my bf immediately.I really thought i was having a brain haemorrage!.My head felt like how I imagine having it put into a vice which was being tightned.I instinctively put my hands to sides of my head to squeeze it. It subsided within 10 mins but now hours later I still have a dull,heavy ache(unlike a normal headache).Is it due to overbreathing/or holding breath during sex?.Should i get it checked by Doc?

  • Doesn’t this just suck!
    Apparently, this is more common than I originally thought. I’m 45 years old, and My first experience of a organismic headache was about 2 years ago in the summer time.
    All the doctor could do was prescribe me hydrocodone. I would take the pain pill an hour or so before sex. After a moth or two the headaches went away without any problems except for today. But now almost 2 years later, I’m experiencing them again. I’ve been working out consistently for the last 2 years and I’m in good health. However, since it is summer I’ve been dieting to cut up and drinking a lot of coffee.
    I’m guessing they caffeine and the strict diet may be the cause. Who knows? I just called the doctor for another prescription of pain pills.
    Orgasmic Headaches really hurt! and makes sex no fun! But the pain pills have seemed to work for me. I’m definitely changing my routine and let’s see what happens.

  • I too just started searching after having two of these brain-splitting headaches which started just minutes before orgasm. It runs in a spikey line from my left shoulder through my neck, then wraps around my head from temple to temple. I have been doing nothing particularly strange, so I don’t understand why this is happening. Thanks for the advice above re: aneurism warning signs. I really appreciate it. It’s been 15 min. and I’m now left with a tolerable dull ache.

  • My first orgasmic migraine (about 6 or 7 years ago) was like an explosion in my head. My left arm got tingling and numb. I thought I was having a stroke. My husband (now ex) was a doctor and he didn’t think I was having a stroke. A few days later I went to my neurologist to ask about it. I had had regular migraines since in my 20’s. The doctor told me that these were not uncommon, but had me have an MRI, which found nothing. I didn’t have any more of these for several years and then had several over the course of about 3 months 3 years ago. The ones that didn’t go right away where helped by Imitrex or sometimes just Tylenol. Then last weekend I had a headache every time I had or got near an orgasm. I was with my new man and we were in bed a lot. I think I had at least 6 headaches. Some were just like a flame that died right away and a couple left my head sore for a few hours. Yesterday I tried masturbating to see if it was any better, but the headache was worse than any of the others and I had to stay home from work today. I can’t figure out a trigger. I think I’ll just stay away from orgasms for a few weeks and hope.

  • Hi,
    I had a car accident in March. I had a whiplash and go to physical theraphy three times a week. My neck hurts alot, I also gained 30 pounds since my accident. The other day I was aroused and felt this pain starting, I tried to breathe deeper to see if it would go away but it only got worse. My doctor ordered a brain MRI and dopler. I’m glad about the test but must admit I was more afraid before I read some of your comments. It seems this is pretty common, but like they said people are embarassed to talk about it…..Well I’m not (smile) this is worse than having a baby! the pain is real and sever…..please comments on a cure are always welcomed…..


  • I’ve had two of these within the last couple of weeks or so and I can’t help but worry that it may be something serious. I’m 18 years old and have only started having sex with my girlfriend within the last 5 months. The pain starts about 2 seconds before orgasm and remains intense for several hours afterwards – and can still be felt in the morning, though was much improved. It shoots up my back and hits the back of my head, towards the bottom right. The pain is blinding and just doesn’t go away. I’m scared to go to the doctors just out of sheer embarrassment, and I don’t really feel I can talk to my family about it for obvious reasons. While I’m sympathetic for others who suffer from this, I’m very relieved to know that it seems to be a common problem.
    Although I’ve only experienced the headaches twice I can’t help but be nervous of having sex again. I can only hope I don’t have a brain haemorrage or tumor, but the fact that others have this problem and have been found to be healthy is mildly settling.
    I can see myself ending up at the doctor but I guess I’m just living in the hope that it’ll go away by itself.

  • I just started taking Birth Control pills 3 weeks ago and every orgasm i have come closr to having has brought on a terrible headache (always in the back of my head). Needless to say it is impossible to have an orgams when the back of your head feels like it is on a vice grib. I finally called the doctor about it and he prescibed mirgaine medication but i am just going to go off this horrible birth control pill. I have had orgasms so strong that they gave me a little headache afterwards but never anything like this. It is terrible. Time for hubby to get “fixed”!!!

  • just a week ago i was desperately reading online resources to find a cure to my sudden “coming-out-of-nowhere-unhumanly painful-orgasmic-headache” and now I am happy to report to fellow-sufferers a what might be a “panacea”. Since my pain was “escorted” by some stiffness in the neck, I decided, for the 1st time in my life, to visit a chiropractor. He discovered, that most of my vertibrates were somewhat displaced and my neck was completely ‘blocked and stiff’, probably due to my computer work. He was working on my back for about 20 minutes, there was a lot of cranking noises that my back and neck produced in the process, and, when I got back home to “check the results” with my boyfriend, I felt a noticable improvement. When approaching an orgasm, I did have some pain, but it was nothing like the ones I had before. I now think what happens is that the headaches might be a result of blockage of oxygen coming to the brain at the moment of sexual excitement: if the blood vessels supplying oxygen are compressed by the misaligned vertebrates, it quite well may explain the head pain. I hope that if any of you guys would follow this lead and go to the chiropractor, it will help you. Good Luck!

  • I have these every couple of years. The first time it happened about 15 years ago, I thought I was going to die. As I was coming to orgasm, I get a shooting pain in the neck followed by a headache so bad that I would rather have a migraine. It also goes away about as quick as it starts, especially if I don’t complete orgasm. The doctors did a CT scan, MRI, blood work, heart analysis and were preplexed. Then I went to my chiropractor who knew just what to do. A few adjustments on my C1 and T1 and I went home and happily enjoyed some of the best oral sex without pain.

  • Glad to find this and see that this not some bizarre thing! Mine just started about a week and a half ago…Horrible vice grip at temples and neck pain…I AM going to get it checked by doctor but feel better about it since seems to more common than I thought! Always happens at orgasm and comes out of nowhere and paralyzes me…since there is new man – THIS SUCKS!
    Will check with doc though – thanks!

  • I’ve had these for years, but not excruciating at all. In fact, there is no headache as long as I’m laying down – but if I am on top, it hurts and I have to lay down immediately after orgasm. Or, if I’m laying down at the time, I can’t move for a few minutes. Kinda too bad, as my husband always makes sure I “finish” first, then it reduces my ability to creatively help him get to his own finish line…
    Never knew this was common. Never even thought about mentioning it to a doctor.
    I feel bad for anyone having excruciating pain, though — that’s gotta suck!

  • I have been having these sexual headaches for about a week. I had one hours ago and it still hurts. It is scary…I read something about brain hemorage and had a panic attack.

  • I started taking Wellbutrin a few days ago to help me quit smoking. The same day I started the Wellbutrin, the Orgasmic Headaches started. OMG, these are Mambo headaches, a curse on humanity. Take one of the most infinite amounts of pleasure and add one of the most horrific amounts of pain, it is so hard to choose, Orgasm + Headache, or be orgasm free.

  • I have been having this for 3 yeas, after seeing this site went to see the neurologist,
    had a cat scan all was normal, he is going give me some medication, he did say i could try alcohol before sex and this did help for 2 months or so, but now i get headaches at the start of sex not just at the point of orgasm. It was just as well as i was turning into a drunk as it was the first time in 3 years that sex was pain free. I was told i should go to a sex clinc so maybe i will try that next. Well hoping the pills will work, getting them tomorrow so i dont know what they are called, if they help i will give you the name

  • whose idea was it to call these headaches “orgasmic??” i have only been having them for a few months and they are driving me crazy! giving up porn is one of the hardest things i’ve had to do… (even harder than coming out the closet!) but necessary as sexual arousal causes pain in my head and neck. orgasm causes blurred vision and even more pain in head and neck. anyone know how to get rid of them? i am only 18 and quite reluctant to give up sex, funnily enough.

  • Hello fellow sufferers. I recently started taking a medication for nerve pain called Neurontin which works great on my Sciatica but i have also recently started having horrific headaches at the time of climax. This medication can cause high blood pressure which would explain an over-dialation of vessels however, my pressure is super. My pain starts in the back of the neck and winds up sitting in the back of my head. The intense pain lasts for maybe 30 minutes but then lingers away within a few hours to a few days. I’m not enjoying the invisible man hiding in the corner of my bedroom waiting to whack me in the neck for having an orgasm. After reading all of these posts it is nice to know i’m not alone and depressing to know that not one of the posts contains a solution. I’ve tried the pills before hand with no results. I’ve tried the breathing deeper. I’ve tried the more relaxing positions. Not one of these have helped at all. If anyone has found relief please e-mail to

  • Im 17 and had these problems the past week. If I try really hard to orgasm, thats worse, if you sort of dont tense and wait for it, its better.

  • Thanks to all for sharing these stories!
    If you find yourself experiencing these headaches: please, make an appointment immediately to see your medical doctor. Don’t take chances with your health!
    This thread is now closed.

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