Can I be physically/sexually allergic to someone?
January 28, 2005 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Allergic to another person physically/sexually? Does this really exist? I've heard comments about it here, but do any of you have any experiences/more information on this? Thanks!
posted by eas98 to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
An ex of mine found that some semen (mine included) brought her out in a rash...
posted by monkey closet at 6:58 AM on January 28, 2005

It may not be you per se, but something you're taking in that she's allergic to.
If she has a food allergy, and you've been eating that food, there's a good chance it can come out in bodily fluids.
posted by Kellydamnit at 7:50 AM on January 28, 2005

Until a real doctor can weigh in, I have discussed this with two doctors (a married couple I know socially-- I'm not obsessed with the topic). They both felt that this was in all likelyhood a psychosomatic condition, except in the fantastic circumstances where someone's bodily tissue was completely adulterated with something noxious (in which case the carrier of the allergen would probably not be up for sexual activity) or the sufferer had a terrible food allergy to a substance that wasn't digested and was subsequently excreted in bodily fluids.

Keep in mind that psychosomatic insinuates that the reaction is real but not caused by a physical substance, and not "she's making up a lame excuse."
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:53 AM on January 28, 2005

Semen allergy is a bona-fide condition, if that's what you're alluding to. Google turns up plenty of useful results.
posted by mkultra at 7:54 AM on January 28, 2005

In a somewhat similar vein, a girlfriend would repeatedly get a yeast infection after we slept together. She hadn't had this problem with other men nor I with other women. We tried everything to prevent it: I used different soaps, altered my diet, shaved my pubes, wore a condom. Nothing worked. We ultimately broke up because of this; obviously it was unpleasant for her and it made me feel like a leper.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:19 AM on January 28, 2005

You could be allergic to all the chemicals the person is wearing: perfume, cologne, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, mousse, foundation, lipstick, face powder, mascara, eye shadow, after shave, shaving cream, hand lotion, body lotion, bath soap, hand soap, face cream, nail polish, nail polish remover, etc., etc.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:46 AM on January 28, 2005

I also had a girlfriend who seemed to be allergic to me. We were polyamorous, but I lived out of town: she'd get hives only on the weekends I was visiting, and not when her other boyfriend was around, so it looks like she was allergic to me, not just to semen (or men, or sex, or humans, or whatever). She also used the same body care products as I did -- Ivory soap, same brand of deodorant, same shampoo, and I don't wear makeup or use skin cream.

I'm not sayin' it wasn't psychosomatic -- I don't think there's anything we could have done to rule that out. But it was definitely a real, specific reaction to me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:04 AM on January 28, 2005

I'm allergic to nonoxinol-9, the spermacide in on some condoms and the sponge. Before I figured this out, I thought I was allergic to my ex-bf because when I was with other guys, I was buying my own condoms (and the non-spermacide package was a more pleasing package design).

Every little thing that changes with a partner can be a possible trigger (as well as the obvious psychosomatic stuff. Hives are often stress/nerve induced.) Just another possible cause of an apparent partner allergy.
posted by Gucky at 9:19 AM on January 28, 2005

I was allergic to an ex's skin oil. If it got in my eyes (this is the same way I'm allergic to animals, including cats and dogs), my eyes would water and crust up and I'd start sneezing shortly thereafter.
posted by SpecialK at 9:57 AM on January 28, 2005

Also: latex allergies. Latex condoms can trigger reactions in people who are allergic.
posted by mlis at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2005

TimeFactor's point also applies to bladder infections.
posted by Chuckles at 1:56 PM on January 28, 2005

Some sexual partners will develop antibodies against the other person, usually the female developing antibodies against male H-Y antigen (presumably, specific to their partner(s).

Also, it can sometimes take a while for partners to get used to the other's commensal flora of bacteria and viruses, but any difficulties from this generally goes away after a while. Timefactor's situation may possibly be ameliorated by having *both* partners undergo decontamination (antibiotics or even antibiotic infused enemas, &c).

There are several different kinds of allergy/hypersensitivity and many different ways that they can develop. It's not implausible (though highly unlikely) that someone could develop an allergy against a partner's antigens haptenated with latex (or something else) so that they'd have no reaction to latex but a reaction against latex+partner or even partner alone. This would probably take a rather convoluted series of events (and genetics) to achieve, though.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 6:44 PM on January 28, 2005

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