Here's why you may be feeling nauseous after sex
The afterglow. Pillow talk. Those moments immediately after sex get a lot of good press. In the movies, it’s usually when deep and meaningful conversations start to slowly unfurl or someone summons the courage to say “I love you" for the first time. The reality is often a lot messier. Maybe one of you is disappointed in the sex, maybe one of you immediately hops in the shower, realizes you're late, and starts swearing — if you're me, maybe you go to grab a snack. And for others, those moments can be truly uncomfortable — if you feel nauseous after sex, you’re not alone.
Firstly, feeling nauseous after sex doesn’t mean you’re pregnant — for some reason, that old myth is still kicking around. Yes, sex can get you pregnant and pregnancy can make you nauseated, but it doesn’t all happen that quickly. So you can take a deep breath on that front. That being said, there are lots of other reasons that may explain why you don’t feel like yourself after sex — some of them totally innocent, while some of them are signs of something more serious. If you notice yourself feeling nauseous after sex, try to pay attention to when it happens and what you were doing before, during, and after the act.
Here’s what you need to know.
There are some physical explanations
If you do any research into nausea after sex, it will quickly become obvious that one of the main culprits is endometriosis. On most women, the endometrium is a type of tissue that lines the uterus — but if you suffer from endometriosis, this can grow in other areas of your pelvic organs. It can be incredibly painful, especially around your period, and has been linked with painful sex and feel nauseous after.
Along with endometriosis, cysts and fibroids can also lead you to feel a little queasy after sex, especially if they were irritated in any way during the act. If you feel like any of these may be at play, then you should definitely check in with your doctor.
It might be the type of sex you're having
Sometimes motion in the ocean is a good thing — but other times, it’s just too much. Really intense sex can lead to nausea, so take note of how much you and your partner are going for it. If your cervix is being bashed about, it can cause a very physical response.
“Deep penetration manipulates the pelvic organs—like the uterus and cervix, specifically," Erin Carey, MD, an assistant professor and the director of the University of North Carolina's Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery, told Women’s Health. "And any manipulation of that cervix can [result in] a vagal response, which can cause nausea." In fact, this can even happen from vaginal exams — when your blood pressure and heart rate drop in response to feeling uncomfortable, it can easily make you feel unwell.
And, even just having really intense sex can make you feel a little nauseous — it’s a lot of banging your head around, after all.
If you do think that there’s an underlying physical response — whether endometriosis or just too much penetration or vigor from your partner, then try to mix things up. You can use different positions or even certain toys that prevent too much penetration. And, of course, see your doctor about any larger health issues you think might be at play.
It can be emotional
For some, nausea after sex can come from more of an emotional trigger than a physical one. It's totally normal to feel anxious and nervous about sex — a lot of people do — and, if it’s really acute, it can have physical manifestations. For most people, those feelings might pass once sex actually gets going, but the anxiety might continue afterward and cause nausea. Obviously, you shouldn’t ever force yourself to have sex that you don’t enjoy — or that makes you feel sick — so make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and, if you need to, talk to a professional.
Sometimes, it's just a food baby
Although there can be some serious reasons for feeling nauseous, sometimes it is really simple — you ate too damn much. This is anyone who’s ever eaten an entire pizza, a pint of ice cream, and still thought, “Yeah, I could do some fuckin’ right now." If you've done that (and lived to regret it) — well, you’ll know what I’m talking about. A really full belly and sex don’t always mix.
Swallowing semen can lead to nausea
Speaking of what you ate, some experts have also pointed out the fact that if you swallowed any semen, that might make you feel unwell. Though it's not unsafe, let's be honest — it's not always pleasant. Some people like the taste — or at least the taste of certain people — but if you found the whole experience of swallowing not very appealing, it makes sense that you might feel unwell. It’s not glamorous, but it definitely happens.
There are a lot of different reasons why you might experience nausea after sex — but when in doubt, always talk to your doctor. The occasional bout probably isn’t something to worry about, but if it’s a regular problem that keeps you from enjoying sex or if you think there might be bigger issues, physical or emotional, getting a professional opinion might make all the difference.
And, note to self, stop eating four orders of dumplings before sex. In my case, it’s my own damn fault.