Sex Headaches: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Sex headaches can be caused during or after sex, and may be heightened just before or after climaxing. Some people notice a slow, dull ache building around their neck and up the back of their head, however, for others the headache is sudden and severe just before or during orgasm. In general, sex headaches – although annoying – are not often serious, and may come and go at various points in your life. Here are some facts you should know if you, or your partner, are experiencing this problem in your sex life.


In general, there are two types of sex headache:

  • A dull ache in the head and neck that intensifies as sex progresses
  • A sudden and severe headache, which occurs just before or after orgasm

Some sex headaches can last a couple of minutes, however, for some people the pain can linger for hours, or even the rest of the day. In terms of frequency, again this can vary – for some the headaches will appear in clusters over a period of months, or years, however, others might only ever experience a sex headache once in their life, or even never for those lucky ones.


Sex headaches are caused by any type of sexual activity that causes arousal and stimulation. There are varying theories about the cause of these headaches, but many doctors believe that they are caused by a sudden rise in blood pressure, which occurs during sex in the build-up to climax. At present, there is no evidence to say that sex headaches are more common in people who have a general condition of high blood pressure, and in fact they are more common in younger males, who tend to have lower blood pressure anyway.

Headaches are generally more common in those people who are under a lot of stress – either at home or at work – and this stress can often come to a head during intercourse, making it more likely that they will get a sex headache as a consequence.


Some sex headaches last for only a very short period, therefore no medication is needed, however, for those headaches that tend to linger on, a pain relief method may be needed.

You should always seek professional help before taking medication, just in case there is an underlying cause as to why the headaches are occurring. Relaxing and having a short rest with a cold compress on your head can also help, until the headache has subsided. Staying relaxed and calm during sex can also help to minimize headaches from occurring, allowing your body to build up slowly to orgasm, without intense pressure and change.

If the headaches are so severe that they are effecting the quality or your life, then a few doctors may prescribe a beta-blocker drug that has the effect of lowering blood pressure, slows the pulse, and helps to reduce anxiety. If the headaches are really bad and last for a long period of time, then your GP may refer you to a neurologist for further investigation.

Sex headaches can last a couple of minutes, however, for some people the pain can linger for hours.


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