Feeling sick after sex? Doctors say it’s a symptom you really shouldn’t ignore

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Read the expert advice on what to do if you're feeling a bit icky post-sex

    Sex can leave you feeling many things—relaxed, content, sweaty, and sometimes (a lot of the time) hungry.

    But while feeling all of the emotions post-sex and working up a sweat or appetite is common, some of the more physical symptoms aren’t, and may indicate that it’s time for you to book a visit to your GP.

    Feeling sick after sex is actually a lot more common than you think, however, it’s a post-intercourse symptom that may be dangerous to ignore, warns Dr Shirin Lakhani, intimate health specialist at Elite Aesthetics.

    Shirin says: ‘Nausea after sex affects both genders. Although it’s impossible to put a figure on exactly how many women are affected, many people across the UK find themselves impacted by this.’

    Keep reading to find out why exactly you’ve been feeling sick after sex and what to do to stop it, once and for all.

    Am I feeling sick after sex because we’ve conceived?

    There is a (rather worrying) common misconception that feeling sick after sex is an indication that you’ve just successfully conceived.

    In Shirin’s expert medical opinion, this is not true or physically possible. ‘Remember, it takes much longer than five minutes for the sperm to fertilise the egg and implant’, she says. So if you’re feeling nauseous straight after sex, no, it’s not a sign that you’re newly pregnant, and no, it’s not a sign that you’re suffering a miscarriage.

    Why you’re feeling sick after sex

    You’re not pregnant. So why exactly might you find yourself feeling sick after experiencing sexual intercourse?

    According to Shirin, there are a whole host of reasons that could be at the root of the problem.

    1. Vasovagal syncope

    One possibility is vasovagal syncope, which occurs when your partner penetrates you particularly hard and hits your cervix. ‘The cervix is full of nerve endings. The vasovagal response occurs when the vagus nerve is stimulated,  causing a lower heart rate and blood pressure. This in turn can bring on nausea.’

    Plus it’s important to note that your cervix changes throughout your cycle, dropping lower during your period, which means you may be more susceptible during penetration.

    2. Dehydration

    Are you one of those individuals who frequently gets home from work only to work out that you actually haven’t drunk a single sip of water all day? That needs to change, as dehydration can cause a whole heap of health problems. Interestingly, feeling sick after sex is one of them.

    Shirin says ‘Whether it’s dehydration, nerves or actual anxiety, post-sex nausea could be your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right’. If you suspect that it’s nerves getting the better of you, implementing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and temple massage may help, alongside investing in one of these relaxing facials, if you have the time.

    3. Endometriosis

    If your nausea after sex is accompanied by pain, it may be a sign of a more serious condition such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disorder or a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), says Shirin.

    It’s not uncommon for women with the above conditions to experience painful intercourse, with other causes including cervical infections and fibroids. Do visit a doctor if you suspect this might be the case.

    4. Mental health

    Probably not you were expecting to read in this section, but do bear with us. Shirin says that if you’ve ruled out all of the potential physical medical triggers that could be causing your nausea, it might be time to look inwards and address the psychological ones. More on exactly how to do that further down this article.

    How to stop feeling sick after sex

    1. Go gently

    First things first—and we’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news—but make sure that sexual penetration isn’t too hard. This covers fingering, penis-in-vagina sex and any form of vaginal penetration.

    Plus, ensure that the position you’re trying doesn’t feel too forced (this guide to the UK’s favourite sex positions might help). Remember, your body is a temple and all that, and treating your body with love and respect is pretty essential for making sure you don’t hurt yourself.

    2. Stay hydrated

    Simple, but essential: making sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day Did you know your body is composed of around 60% water? Make keeping those hydration levels high simple by keeping a reusable water bottle at work and in your bag, or investing in one of these nifty hydration reminder bottles, which visually prompts you with how much water you should have consumed by what time.

    HYDRATE motivational bottle, £9.99, amazon.com

    HYDRATE Amazon water bottles for if you're experiencing feeling sick after sex

    3. Get checked

    If you’re having gentle sex and keeping super hydrated, it might be time you got yourself to a doctors to make sure you haven’t got any underlying conditions that have gone undiagnosed, says Shirin. This could range from anything like endometriosis to

    4. Address how you’re feeling

    Let’s get real for a second: do you honestly feel comfortable having sex? Deep down or subconsciously, are you hiding feelings of unease or unhappiness? Shirin suggests that, if the nausea is really persisting and you’ve addressed all of the above doctors, it might be time to speak to your doctor.

    Is feeling sick after sex something to worry about?

    Shirin stresses that nausea after sex isn’t always something to worry about—don’t let Doctor Google scare you too much.

    Sometimes, you end up feeling a bit icky because of an orgasm causing your uterus to contract in a certain way, in turn creating a visceral response in the form of nausea, adds gynaecologist and medical director Lauren Streicher MD.

    What to do if you’re continuously feeling sick after sex

    If you are experiencing any type of noticeable or recurring pain during sex and feel nauseous after intercourse regularly, do contact your GP or gynaecologist.

    Reading now

    Popular Life stories