Headache During Sex – Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Some people experience a dull headache during sex that increases as sexual excitement increases, known as sex headache or orgasm headache. Sometimes the headache has a primary cause but other times it indicates a serious underlying problem. Pain is felt in the entire head and neck. It usually lasts only a few minutes but may persist for a few hours to a couple of days.

Symptoms of sex headache

  • Dull pain in head and neck that increases in intensity
  • Headache is periodic in nature and appears as cluster headache, occurring in a pattern for months and then disappearing completely.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Partial or complete paralysis

Causes of sex headache

In the case of primary headache, the pain is just triggered as a result of sexual activity that causes muscles in the neck and head to get stretched. The headache develops in intensity with an increase in sexual excitement.
Headache during sex that is abrupt in onset is mostly associated with:

  • Increased blood flow to the brain caused by sexual arousal
  • Rupture of an Intracranial aneurysm.
  • Arteriovenous malformation that causes leakiness of blood from vessels into the CSF that surrounds the brain.
  • Inflammation caused due to certain infections
  • Stroke leading to hypoxia
  • Use of contraceptive pills

Types of sex headache

People experience two types of headache during Sex that vary in their nature of occurrence:

  • In the first type, a sudden onset of severe pulsating headache is experienced at the time of climax during sexual intercourse. This mostly presents due to exertion as in an exercise headache.
  • In the Second type, the headache begins as a dull pain that builds up with the increase in sexual excitement and reaches the maximum level of intensity by the time of orgasm.

According to some researches, almost all individuals who have headache during sex develop its chronic form later in life.

Risk factors

  • Male sex: Males are more prone to develop these headaches.
  • History of other headache conditions: People who have other headache disorders such as migraine are more likely to experience this type of headache.


To get to the underlying cause, some of the investigations your doctor might ask you to get done are:

  • An MRI or CT Scan of the brain.
  • A CT Angiography to view the blood vessels in the brain.
  • A spinal tap to ensure if it’s the blood or some sort of infection by testing the sample.


Most people experience a single episode of such a headache and might not have it ever again. However, If the headache is occurring frequently you should do something about it.


For people who get a headache at the time of climax can stop the sexual activity just before the orgasm as the headache is triggered due to continuous movement and exertion. Other than that a more passive role during sexual intercourse can also help them avoid a headache.


  • Doctor might suggest some prophylactics if you experience headaches upon every intercourse.
  • Indomethacin is given for inflammation.
  • Beta-blockers and other anti-hypertensives are given to lower blood pressure in the brain.

When to consult a doctor?

If you start getting headache during sex every time you have intercourse and is associated with nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms. Or if it is affecting your sex life, you should immediately consult a doctor.


What should I take if I get a headache every time I have sex?

You should take a prophylactic medication to avoid this. Consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.

What are the risk factors for developing a headache during sex?

Male gender and people with previous headache conditions are more likely to develop this.

I have headaches when i have intercourse, doctor advised me to get a spinal tap done, why is it so?

A spinal tap is performed to get a sample of CSF and find out if there is the presence of blood or any infectious material in it.

Last medically reviewed on August 30, 2022.