Headache After Masturbation: What it is, Causes, Symptoms and More! 

Headache After Masturbation

Are you experiencing a pounding headache after masturbation? It might feel like just a fleeting discomfort, but let me tell you, it’s more serious than you think! 

This type of headache, known as an orgasm headache, can occur during masturbation or partnered sexual activity.  

Affecting up to 6% of the general population, a sex or orgasm headache is not just a symptom of another health issue but a primary condition in itself. 

But what does this happen? Can you prevent a headache after masturbation? Let’s find out. Let’s understand all we need to know about a headache after masturbation: what it is, its causes, risk factors, and possible treatment options.

Understanding the Headache After Masturbation

headache after masturbation

Often, topics and issues related to sexual activities are brushed under the carpet. However, this ignorance can lead to difficulties when it comes to dealing with serious situations like a headache after masturbation. So, let’s understand all we need to know about headaches after masturbation:

What is An Orgasm Headache?

Have you ever experienced a sudden headache after a moment of intimacy? 

Well, you might be experiencing what’s known as an orgasm-induced headache, scientifically known as– headaches associated with sexual activity (HAS).

Now, while a headache after masturbation can affect anyone, it is known to be more prevalent in men. These headaches can occur during sexual activity with a partner as well as during masturbation. 

Did you know, according to one research, it was found that approximately 30% of people experience headaches with both masturbation and intercourse? Interestingly, there are reports of these headaches occurring exclusively during solo masturbation sessions!

Furthermore, the headache, after masturbation or sex, can vary in intensity, from a mild annoyance to a debilitating pain. In fact, orgasm headaches may occur: 

  • At the top of your head,
  • Any particular side of the head
  • Both sides of the head
  • Behind or around the eye area
  • Through the entire head. 

In some cases, these headaches can resemble migraine headaches or even thunderclap headaches, which happen suddenly with intense pain. Additionally, according to the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), these headaches can take place anytime before or immediately after orgasm and can last for anywhere from one hour to a full day.

Well, the main point here is, whether it’s a mild inconvenience or a full-blown migraine, a headache after masturbation is no Joke! So, if you are experiencing these headaches, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional. 

Types of Headaches After Masturbation

Sex headaches are broadly categorized into two types: 

  • Those occurring during sexual activity (pre-orgasm) 
  • The ones taking place during orgasm. 

Let’s understand them in detail here. 

1. Orgasm Headache

Experiencing a headache after masturbation, especially the orgasm headache, can be really bothersome. Unlike other types of headaches during sex, this one starts as a dull ache in your head, neck, and jaw. It gets worse as you get more excited, and then BAM! – you get hit with a sudden, super painful headache right at the moment of climax! 

Basically, orgasm headaches can be really intense and come out of nowhere. 

Sometimes, it sticks around for days or even months. 

Moreover, according to research, nearly half of these headaches occur within six months. 

If you are dealing with this type, it’s best to talk to a doctor to figure out what’s causing it and how to feel better.

2. Sexual Benign Headache 

Another common type is the Sexual Benign Headache. It is also known as “preorgasmic headache,” 

This type of headache after masturbation or partnered sex occurs due to increased blood pressure during sexual activity. As excitement builds, the headache intensifies, often accompanied by migraine-like symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. 

The discomfort typically originates in the neck and spreads across the head. 

Fortunately, these headaches are usually short-lived, subsiding within thirty minutes to three hours. 

What Causes the Headache After Masturbation?

headache after sexual activity

Well, though doctors don’t exactly know the physiological mechanism behind these headaches, they have some insights that shed light on the matter.

What happens is that when we engage in sexual activity, whether it’s with a partner or through masturbation, our bodies undergo various physiological changes. 

According to experts like Dr. Galvez-Jimenez, a neurologist, during sexual arousal, our heart rate and blood pressure can rise up significantly. This increase in blood pressure can lead to the dilation, or opening up, of blood vessels in the brain. 

At the same time, the muscles in our head, neck, and shoulders may tighten. 

The excitement and build-up to orgasm can cause further contraction of these muscles, leading to pain before climax. 

In addition to that, the release of adrenaline during sexual stimulation can also contribute to increased pressure in the brain and further muscle tension.

But then, why do some people experience headaches so severe that they disrupt sexual activity? 

Long story short, certain underlying conditions might be at play, leading to some people being more prone to these headaches. 

Here are the Key-takeaway of causes: 

  • Primary Headache Disorders: Some sex headaches are primary headache disorders, meaning they are not associated with any underlying condition. These headaches can manifest abruptly or build up slowly.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: However, sudden-onset sex headaches could signify underlying medical conditions such as intracranial aneurysm, arteriovenous malformation, dissection, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, stroke, or coronary artery disease.
  • Medication and Infections: Additionally, certain medications like birth control pills or inflammation from infections can also contribute to sex headaches.
  • Secondary Causes: Certain medical conditions or medications may also contribute to sex headaches. These include reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, stroke, coronary artery disease, inflammation from infections, or the use of specific medications like birth control pills.
  • Additionally, exertion during sexual activity can also trigger high blood pressure, which, in people with pre-existing hypertension, may lead to severe headaches or even a stroke.

Basically, with all these cases and situations, one thing is clear: at present, though we may not (medically) know much about a headache after masturbation or any sexual activity, it definitely is not a topic to be taken lightly. 

Recognizing the potential triggers and underlying health conditions contributing to these headaches is essential. 

So, if you experience severe or persistent headaches after masturbation or any sexual activity, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management.

What Do Sex Headaches Feel Like? Orgasm Headache Symptoms

Sex headaches, or orgasm headaches, can be distressing and alarming experiences. These headaches manifest in two primary ways: 

  • Dull Ache: you may experience a gradual, dull ache in the head and neck region. This ache tends to intensify as sexual excitement builds up. You can understand it to be similar to a persistent discomfort that lingers throughout the sexual experience.
  • Sudden, Severe Throbbing: another symptom may include feeling a sudden, intense, throbbing headache that hits you just before or at the moment of orgasm. This headache can be incredibly painful, often leading to immediate discomfort during intimate moments.

Besides that, for most people, sex headaches persist for several minutes, but in some unfortunate situations, they can last for hours or even days. 

What’s more, interestingly, a headache after masturbation or sex headaches tends to occur in clusters over a few months, with prolonged periods of relief afterward.

What are The Risk Factors for Headache After Masturbation?


Headache after masturbation can affect anyone and everyone. However, certain factors may increase your likelihood of experiencing them.

  • Gender Disparity: Men are at a higher risk, being up to four times more likely to experience primary headaches associated with sexual activity compared to women.
  • Migraine: Anyone suffering from migraines is at an increased risk of experiencing orgasm headaches. According to research, it is found that having a family history of migraines significantly increases this risk. 

Besides that, if you also have a history of exertional headaches or cough headaches, you can be more likely to get sex headaches.

What are the Possible Treatments for Sex Headaches?

If you are experiencing headaches during or after sexual activity, it’s essential to seek medical advice. 

Besides that, some of the possible treatments for sex headaches that your doctor may use include:

1. Oral Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medications like triptans, which have shown success in preventing orgasm headaches in up to 50% of cases. Additionally, topiramate and beta-blockers such as propranolol might be recommended to alleviate symptoms.

However, if beta-blockers aren’t effective for you, your doctor may suggest indomethacin, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or calcium channel blockers like verapamil, flunarizine, or nimodipine.

2. Treatment of Underlying Causes

Sometimes, headaches during sex may stem from underlying health conditions, resulting in secondary headaches. In such cases, treating the root cause through specific medications, non-invasive treatments, or surgical procedures may be necessary.

However, before going for any possible treatment, it’s best to seek medical advice. 

In fact, it’s ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your needs and medical history. 

So, don’t hesitate to communicate openly with your healthcare provider. 

Can you Prevent a Sex Headache?

A headache after masturbation can be really irritating, but there are steps you can take to prevent it from ruining your intimate moments. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you significantly reduce the risk of experiencing these headaches.

Here are some tips to help prevent sex headaches:

Healthy activities
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help prevent dehydration, which is a common trigger for headaches.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can support overall health and reduce the risk of headaches.
  • Manage Stress: Find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as practicing mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Do Regular Exercise: Make some time for regular physical activity. It will not only help you manage stress but also promote overall well-being.
  • Prioritize Sleep: Try to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. This will help in strengthening your body’s natural healing processes.
  • Quit Smoking: If you smoke, consider quitting. Smoking can contribute to headaches and other health problems.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger headaches, so it’s best to drink in moderation.

Moreover, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can minimize your risk of experiencing sex headaches. Remember, if you experience severe or recurring headaches during sex, it’s essential to consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying health concerns. Your well-being is absolutely important, so don’t hesitate to seek medical advice if you constantly feel a headache after masturbation or other sexual activity.

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Headache After Masturbation- FAQs

Q1. Why am I feeling nauseous after orgasm?

Ans. Nausea after orgasm can happen for a number of reasons, including:
Hormone release: Orgasm releases hormones like serotonin, which may cause nausea in some people.
Vasovagal response: Stimulation of the vagus nerve (which runs from the brain to the stomach) can trigger nausea and lightheadedness.
Dehydration: Sex can lead to dehydration, which can worsen nausea.
There may also be other reasons besides these; therefore, if the feeling persists a number of times, it’s best to seek professional help. 

Q2. What home remedies are there for headache relief?

Ans. You can make use of remedies like keeping yourself well hydrated, taking a break from activities and lying down in a quiet, dark room, or applying a cold compress to your forehead or neck for a tension headache or a warm compress for a sinus headache however, if the pain persists its best to consult a doctor. 

Q3. Do orgasms help with headaches?

Ans. We know that sexual activities like masturbation or sex can cause headaches. But can orgasms help headaches? Well, orgasms may help with headaches for some, especially migraines and cluster headaches. This is likely due to endorphins released during orgasm, which act as natural painkillers. However, it doesn’t work for everyone and might even worsen headaches in some cases.

Q4. Does not ejaculating for 7 days have any benefits?  

Ans. Yes, not ejaculating for 7 days can lead to several benefits, such as increased fertility, enhanced libido, mental clarity, and more. In fact, according to one study, it was found that men who did not ejaculate for 7 days experienced some increase in testosterone levels. (Learn more here

Q5. What are some other potential benefits of semen retention?  

Ans. Semen retention can have some potential benefits, such as increased self-esteem, better focus, determination, self-control, improved sex drive, real-life intimacy, and more. (Find out more

Q6. Can not ejaculating for a week improve my sperm quality?  

Ans. Well, according to some studies, you can experience optimum semen quality after two to three days of no ejaculation. 

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Lynda Mayer

Lynda Mayer

Lynda Mayer, LPCC, an alumnus of the University of Minnesota with a master's degree in Clinical Psychology, is a seasoned licensed professional clinical counselor. With over a decade of experience in counseling, she specializes in adolescent mental health. Lynda actively shares her extensive knowledge and insights through writing, contributing significantly to the field of psychology and mental well-being. Her work not only demonstrates her expertise but also her commitment to improving adolescent mental health outcomes.

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