Sex headaches


In some instances, sexual activity, particularly reaching orgasm, can cause headaches. As sexual excitement increases, you might feel a dull pain in your head and neck, or you might experience a sudden, severe headache just before or during orgasm. Although most headaches related to sexual activity are benign, some can signify more serious conditions, such as issues with the blood vessels that supply the brain.


Sex headaches come in two types:

  • A dull painin the head and neck that escalates with heightened sexual arousal.
  • An abrupt, severe, throbbingheadache that arises just before or during orgasm.

In some cases, individuals might experience both types of sex headaches together. These headaches usually last for several minutes, though some can linger for hours or even a few days. Many people who experience sex headaches do so in clusters, happening frequently over a few months, followed by long periods with no headaches. Approximately half of those affected by sex headaches experience them for about six months. Others might only have a single episode in their lifetime.

While sex headaches are generally not worrisome, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider if you encounter a headache during sexual activity, especially if it’s sudden or the first time you’ve experienced such a headache.


Sex headaches can be triggered by any sexual activity that leads to orgasm.

Headaches that emerge suddenly or develop gradually can be primary headache disorders, meaning they are not connected to any underlying health issue. However, sudden-onset headaches related to sexual activity are more likely to be associated with:

  • An abnormal link between arteries and veins in the brain (arteriovenous malformation) that bleeds into the spinal fluid-filled region in and around the brain.
  • An enlargement or bubble in the wall of an artery inside your head (intracranial aneurysm).
  • Dissection, bleeding into the wall of an artery that supplies the brain
  • The constriction of brain arteries, known as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome.
  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
  • Stroke
  • Inflammation caused by specific infections
  • Certain drugs, like birth control pills

Sex headaches accompanied by loss of consciousness, vomiting, stiff neck, other neurological symptoms, or severe pain lasting more than 24 hours are more likely to be caused by an underlying condition.

Risk factors

Sex headaches can impact anyone, but certain risk factors include:

  • Gender. Sex headaches are more common in men.
  • Migraine history. Sex headaches are more likely to occur in those who are prone to migraines.