We are all humans and sexuality is part of our human nature, but allergies and asthma can get in the way of a good time. According to a study of about 400 people with allergic rhinitis, 83% said that allergies affect their sex lives at least occasionally. Interestingly enough adrenaline that is released during arousal can improve nasal congestion.
𝘊𝘶𝘦 𝘚𝘢𝘭𝘵 𝘯 𝘗𝘦𝘱𝘢.
- 𝐀𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐬 (allergic skin rashes) can affect any area of the skin including our most sensitive bits. Many times preservatives found in wet wipes, perfumes in feminine hygiene products, and numbing substances found sexual health products all can be allergic triggers. These rashes can be more challenging to diagnose and treat given their sensitive nature. Sadly many of these products are specifically marketed towards women and AREN’T remotely necessary.
- 𝐋𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐱 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐲 can also be a big problem! Safer sex using a barrier method is recommended to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you are allergic to latex, you will need to look for polyisoprene, polyurethane, or polyethylene condoms. Lamb skin varieties are also an option BUT are not as helpful in preventing the spread STIs.
- Could I be allergic to my partner? Although very rare, it is possible for a person to become allergic to their partner’s semen. This is called 𝐬𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐦𝐚 𝐡𝐲𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐲. There are 2 forms- one that presents similar to a contact allergy with redness, swelling, itching and burning and the other can present as an anaphylactic-type reaction. Testing is available to evaluate for this but does require very specialized equipment available at select centers. Symptoms should improve with use of a condom.
- What about 𝐟𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐞𝐬? Our saliva contains food proteins after we eat and those proteins can linger, even after chewing gum or brushing our teeth. More passionate (a la French) kissing can result in residual traces of the food being transferred. It is safest for partners to avoid allergens all together or alternatively wait about 4 hours. Brushing teeth is helpful but not 100%. 𝘔𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴: 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵!
- Look out for 𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬. In particular, antihistamines are great at drying out your nasal mucous membranes BUT they also can contribute to vaginal dryness. Long acting non sedating antihistamines are going to be less problematic than older formulations such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
- Make sure 𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐡𝐦𝐚 is kept under good control! Sexual arousal and activities are potential triggers for asthma symptoms. Nothing kills the mood more than not being able to breath.
𝐀𝐥𝐬𝐨, 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐲𝐦𝐩𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐭. Although we don’t talk about these topics every single day, we are professionals and want the best quality of life for our patients!