Does Sex Help Migraines Or Triggers Them?

Sex is a crucial part of a healthy quality of life. Healthy sex life is directly linked with the overall physical and mental health of a person. But it is also important to note that sex is not always a positive experience.

In fact, sometimes it leads to more pain than pleasure. Sexual activity can cause a headache of any type, including a migraine. But it has been reported that sex helps migraines in some cases, and rarely, cluster headaches too.

Sex and migraine share a complex relationship, and it isn’t the same for everyone. Moreover, sexual activity may not always affect your headaches in the same way.

It would be helpful for you and your partner to learn the link to why sex after headache occurs and vice versa. If you are curious to discover how to overcome sex-related migraines, keep reading. 

Does Sex Help Migraines?

As migraine treatments go, the thought that sex helps migraines may seem far-fetched. Naturally, who would be in the mood to indulge in sexual activity when their head is pounding.

But what if I tell you it isn’t a myth, and sex has the potential to unlock the natural, drug-free pain relief all people with migraines dream of when a headache strikes. 

One study about sex and migraines provides some engrossing results. While only 34% of the 800 sufferers investigated reported having engaged in sexual activity during a migraine attack, more than half of them reported an improvement.

The outcomes are self-declared, but if you’re someone with migraine who said you’ll try anything to get relief, well, you’ve got an idea now. 

What If It Doesn’t Work Or You Just Don’t Prefer Being Touched During Migraine Attacks?

If it doesn’t work, stay calm as you aren’t alone. In fact, a lot of people report that getting themselves caressed by their partner and engaging in sex are the last resorts they want during a migraine attack.

You may try a gentle exploration if you want to try attaining orgasm to ease your pain. 

If you would rather not get busy when you’re struggling with a bad headache or just don’t find orgasm any beneficial, there are many other things you can do for relief, including:

  • Move to a dark, quiet place: Migraine attacks elevate the sensitivity to light and noise. Locate a dark, quiet place and close your eyes and take a small nap if feasible.
  • Try hot and cold therapy: Placing a cold compress on the forehead or behind your neck may ease the pain and reduce inflammation. A warm compress can also be used to loosen tense muscles.
  • Enjoy a caffeinated beverage: Having a small amount of caffeine in the initial stages of a migraine attack can alleviate your pain. It can also improve the effects of pain-relieving medications such as acetaminophen and aspirin.
  • Talk to your healthcare specialist about preventative therapy: Based on the frequency and severity of your condition, your doctor may be able to recommend a suitable medication to help prevent future migraine attacks.

How Sex Triggers Migraines?

Tension headaches and migraines often lead to sexual dysfunction. Women can experience an inability to attain orgasm while they may be unable to obtain an erection for sex.

Sexual dysfunction primarily occurs during painful attacks and not between episodes.

Several medications used to prevent migraines may lead to sexual dysfunction and decreased sexual desire for both men and women, and these effects might occur during and in between migraine episodes.

These medications include antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), etc.

Please note that migraine prevention medications do not cause sexual dysfunction for everyone.

If you tend to experience frequent or severe migraines, it is worth trying preventative medicines if you and your partner are willing to wait and see whether you experience sexual side effects.

Also Read: How Migraine Cause Disability?

How To Know If Sexual Activity Is A Trigger For You?

If you notice that you usually begin to experience symptoms of migraine or headache after sex, that’s a pretty good indicator. Sex headaches are quite easier to self-diagnose.

These types of headaches come up hard and fast, unlike migraine attacks which have a more gradual onset.

These headaches are also pretty intense and commence at the most opportune time – like when you’re at the peak of sexual activity or about to attain climax. 

Symptoms to watch out for include the following:

  • a dull pain in your head that aggravates as your sexual excitement increases
  • a severe, throbbing headache shortly before or as you orgasm

When Should You Consult A Doctor To Treat Your Symptoms?

Sex and migraines aren’t usually serious. However, they could be a symptom of some more serious health concern. 

Consult a doctor if this is the first time you have a headache during sexual intercourse or if you experience a severe headache that begins all of a sudden and lasts for over 24 hours. 

Call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room if your headache is accompanied by some of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of sensation
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness


More extensive research is required to conclude how sex and headaches are correlated.

Bear in mind that sexual; desire and sexual function are affected by a wide variety of factors, and it is also possible that one or more factors could be at play.

Expanding your knowledge about your and your partner’s feelings about your sexual relationship and how any health problems either of you are dealing with may affect it is an excellent first step to working on any difficulties.

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.