orgasms aren't supposed to be a headache :(
April 6, 2009 4:57 PM   Subscribe

I get headaches when I masturbate. Give me advice and hope, please?

I'm female. I'm in my twenties and seemingly healthy. Until recently I was enamored of my Hitachi magic wand and the orgasms it brought me. (It's been the only way I've been able to orgasm--my hands don't do it for me.) But for the past few weeks, every time I start using it, I get pain in the back left part of my head within about sixty seconds, and it tends to escalate into a headache that lasts for several hours. I've been abstaining for a few days to a week and then testing the waters again, but so far it's still happening (and I stop immediately once I feel the pain - it seems to remain more mild if I stop masturbating right away.) Today I tried after a ten-day break, in a chair sitting up instead of lying down (in case I'd been moving my neck in a bad way while lying down and that was causing this) and still got the pain :( Taking aspirin an hour before hasn't helped either, sadly, nor has the small dose of propranalol I happened to have around. (Sometimes that's prescribed for this problem.)

I've done some googling and discovered that this happens to some people. I also realize you are not my doctor and it would be wise to speak to one, although I'm waiting for my health insurance to kick in before I do that. I'm hoping to hear anecdotes or advice about this, especially from other women - apparently the phenomenon is more common in men, so much of what's online is about/by men.

I'm finding this pretty upsetting, maybe even more so because I've never had sex (yet). I'm worried that this will never go away and I'll never get to enjoy sex with another person without worrying about this crappy problem and (if they even work) preventive meds and whatever else modern medicine might sugest. Did this happen to you? Did it go away? What sort of doctor/workup/treatment did you have? Was it related to your emotions at all? If it happened with a vibrator, did it also happen during sex?

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posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

This has been asked before.
posted by wfrgms at 4:59 PM on April 6, 2009

Actually, it seems the question you linked to dealt specifically with headache after orgasm, while this question deals with headache throughout - "every time I start using it"

My question is this - do the headaches persist with only manual stimulation?
posted by setanor at 5:04 PM on April 6, 2009

I had gotten headaches a while back while receiving oral sex (which is much more difficult to regulate than masturbation); I traced it back to the squinching face I was making because I was concentrating so much on enjoying the feeling... subsequently, I would be distracted by the headache and things would fall apart.

When I figured this out, I could step back, take a break, allow myself to relax and breathe and not be so intent on coming, and the problem would go away. (Mine seemed to be a more muscular headache. As I don't know the nature of the headaches you're having--mine were never in the back of my head, more toward the forehead--YMMV.)
posted by not_on_display at 5:24 PM on April 6, 2009

I'm a guy, and I had this for a few weeks last year. Mine were in the back right part of my head. My doctor prescribed Axert, which worked really well and then it just ran its course and went away after a while. I have chronic migraines and sometimes things like that just happen. You didn't mention other headaches, but sometimes things like that just happen to everyone. So yeah, go to a doctor when you get insurance. It's probably not a big deal, but they should have you do an MRI anyway.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:27 PM on April 6, 2009

Please get this checked out by a doctor.
It could be your positioning, but it could
also be that the increased blood flow is
causing the headache, and also that something
is constraining the bloodflow in your head,
which could be bad.
posted by Sully at 5:30 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, what Sully said. This probably isn't but could be very very serious.
posted by orthogonality at 7:06 PM on April 6, 2009

Get it checked out. But this also happened to me and turned out to be short-term and went away on its own.
posted by Miko at 7:20 PM on April 6, 2009

make sure you don't hold your breath.

i use to get awful, blacking out almost, headaches in the shower. come to find out an old holdover from being 5 years old and not liking soap in my face had me holding my breath every time i tilted my head back under the water. now i actually have to say in the shower "now, nadawi, breathe!"

(that's right, i refer to myself by my mefi name while showering)
posted by nadawi at 8:05 PM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Ditto on the checking with your doctor. I noticed this a few times shortly before being diagnosed with high blood pressure.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:53 PM on April 7, 2009

Something similar was happening to me a few years back. I was seemingly healthy, but I was getting excruciatingly sharp pains in my head during orgasm. It felt like someone was jabbing an icepick in the base of my skull. I could feel the blood vessels in my head throbbing. The pain would diminish a short time later and I'd forget about it until the next time. After a couple of months of this, I ended up in the emergency room and then ICU for a couple of days. I was on the verge of having a stroke. Turns out I had extremely high blood pressure. The pains in my head during orgasm were a warning sign, but I didn't recognize that at the time.

I'd recommend getting your blood pressure checked ASAP. Even without health insurance, you should be able to find someone who will check your blood pressure free of charge.
posted by buzzbash at 5:54 PM on April 8, 2009

Oh my goodness, the same thing happened to me a few years ago.
I became convinced I had a brain tumor and that the increased pressure of blood in my brain was causing it.
My alternate theory, that somehow I needed a new glasses prescription, was laughed at by everyone I know. I'm scared of doctors, so never went to get the "tumor" checked out.
Eventually, I went to an eye doctor to get new glasses, and I confessed my fear of a tumor. She looked into my eyes with her gizmos and she couldn't see any unusual pressure and doubted I had a tumor. Big relief.
Even bigger relief when the new glasses arrived - and the sex headaches went away.

I don't know if this is your answer, but if you wear glasses and haven't gotten new ones in a while, give it a shot.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:13 PM on April 13, 2009

Yes, this has happened to me a few times, one time it kept happening. (I'm also a woman, since you wanted to know.) I went to a doctor - and you should too - but mine ruled out any of the potentially serious causes.

Mine turned out to be neck strain - even though I wasn't consciously aware of tensing up, lots of things happen at the moment of orgasm that we're not consciously aware of! Like you, I'd started to get tense and worried about whether it would ever stop, which just makes all muscles tense and makes the pain worse.

So, this is what worked for me to get it to stop:

* Abstain for a *minimum* of two weeks. I had a tendency to abstain for a few days and then go "I wonder if it's worked yet...". If you have a muscle strain - which can cause some weird headache pains - you need to give it time to heal.

* Go and see an osteopath (in the UK) or a good massage therapist (in the US). Get them to concentrate on neck, shoulders and back. Go several times.

* Make sure you are getting enough sleep, *at the same time every night*. Seriously, get a bedtime. This works.

* While you're abstaining, get good exercise (I like swimming for relaxation).

Then, when you've given everything a good long time to settle down (yes, I know it's annoying. Use the time to catch up on your reading of Russian novels or something):

* Clear out an afternoon. You don't want to be doing this when you have an appointment to get to, or just before you sleep.

* Take a good dose of painkiller two or three hours before you start.

* Get yourself *very much in the mood* - whatever it is that works for you.

* Find a very comfortable position. Support your body - particularly your neck - with pillows.

* Take your time. Do not strain. Just, you know, let it happen.

Good luck!
posted by acalthla at 2:15 PM on May 29, 2009

Yeah, this could have any number of causes; I had similar symptoms, but they turned out to be 100% relieved once I started cracking my neck (which I'd somehow gone 25+ years without ever having done).
posted by jtron at 6:06 PM on June 18, 2009

Focus on your breathing, maybe you are holding your breath and getting a headache from lack of air. Just a thought
posted by Ekidnagrrl17 at 8:44 PM on September 22, 2009

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