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Newlywed discovers she is allergic to her husband's sperm

In which premarital chastity wins a newlywed couple a trip to the immunologist


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Katie McDonough
April 11, 2013 10:11PM (UTC)

Clara and Jeff (names changed by ABC News) waited until marriage to have sex. But instead of being rewarded for their chastity with mind-bending copulation, as is so often promised in religious circles, the couple faced a medical emergency.

"I had this bizarre reaction," Clara told ABC. "I had burning and swelling and redness, which was very unusual. I thought I had contracted an STD."

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After a series of visits to the gynecologist, Clara discovered the hard truth: She was allergic to her new husband's sperm.

"It was a real problem," Jeff said. "Because everything else was great. We were madly in love, but it was a real game-changer for a while. It pretty much dramatically reduced our libido. We really haven't had much sex at all for the last 10 months. The intimacy level drops dramatically -- all of a sudden, instead of living with your new wife or husband, you are more like roommates."

"I feel like we actually started to define ourselves -- minimizing things to avoid sex. I started thinking I wouldn't wear sexy underwear. What seemed like medical problems had bigger effects," Clara added.

But lucky for these newlyweds, sperm allergies are easily treated. Clara's doctors skin-tested Jeff's sperm on her, and managed to isolate the offending protein. Then, Clara's doctors gradually desensitized her to the protein so they could resume normal copulation.

"There was a small amount of swelling, but compared to previous times, it was much less," she told ABC.

 

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Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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