Recently, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that only 22 states and the District of Columbia require sexual education to be taught in their public schools. Of that limited number, only 19 stipulate that said sex-ed be “medically, factually or technically accurate.”
So, the others can demand their students study stork delivery? Or teach anatomy with reproductive organ-less Barbie and Ken dolls? Or, in an effort to politicize it, straight-up lie about the mechanics of conception? American “young people” (15- to 24-year-olds) rack uphalf of all the nation’s new STIs, and the country boasts the most teen pregnancies (3 in 10 teenagers!) of any “industrialized nation.” Please resist the urge to slam your head into the wall.
But STIs and pregnancy are just some of the consequences of sexual activity. Because that naughty jokester, the universe, has a perverse sense of humor, there is a seemingly infinite cornucopia of weird shit that can happen before, during or after you roll in the hay, by yourself, or with partners. Many people may never learn about these predicaments, in public school or outside of it (even though some of these conditions sound like urban legends meant to scare you into abstinence). Love hurts. And as this list demonstrates, it also scars and wounds, or just gets really weird.
1) Semen allergies:Not every erotic experience is one of pure bliss, but the romp can literally make some people sick. Post-orgasm illness syndrome, or POIS, occurs to some men following an orgasm, and can last for up to a week. Identified in 2002, the symptoms of this relatively rare affliction are “flu-like” including “feverishness, runny nose, extreme fatigue and burning eyes immediately after they ejaculate.”
One Dutch sexual psychopharmacology professor, Marcel Waldinger, has proposed that these men have an allergy to their own semen. "They didn't feel ill when they masturbated without ejaculating, but as soon as the semen came from the testes...after that they became ill, sometimes within just a few minutes," reported Waldinger. He believes the guys who suffer POIS are unaware that it’s a documented condition, and therefore don’t seek medical help. POIS patients who have sought medical attention and were administered hyposensitization therapy enjoyed largely positive results. The therapy could be available within five years.
Women can also be allergic to semen. Like POIS, it’s a rare condition, but one that 40,000 women have. Their symptoms are very different than those of POIS; they occur inside 30 minutes of ejaculation, after their pH balance has been agitated, and include swelling, burning, and itching around the genitals, and in extreme cases they might experience swelling in other parts of the body, or hives and dyspnea. These allergies can occur from exposure to a particular man’s semen, or from all male partners.
In rare cases, the allergy is not necessarily derived from semen alone—sometimes whatever food or medications (like shellfish, nuts or penicillin) one’s partner has consumed is enough to trigger a physical response to the ejaculant. The only (and still not guaranteed) protection to avoid allergens while bumping uglies, is to wear a condom. Of course, latex condoms pose their own set of allergic reactions, with symptoms akin to those of semen allergies.
2) Broken penises: In case you missed the New Girl episode in which Schmidt (“Broken Penis Guy”) breaks his baby arm, or you don’t have vivid nightmares or read Reddit, you might not know that penile fractures are a very real thing. Just because there are no actual bones in your boner, does not mean it can’t break when enthusiastically trying to bury it. If you hear a popping sound while getting off, and feel a tidal wave of searing pain, you may have fractured your penis. Hunter Wessells, the urology chair at the University of Washington School of Medicine details the peril:
It is a severe form of bending injury to the erect penis that occurs when a membrane called the tunica albuginea tears. The tunica albuginea surrounds the corpora cavernosa, specialized spongy tissue in the core of the penis that fills up with blood during an erection. When the tunica albuginea tears, the blood that is normally confined to this space leaks out into other tissues. You get bruising and swelling.
Wessells went on to recall an anecdote about a “patient who suffered penile fracture after running across the room and trying to penetrate his wife with a flying leap.” Erect penises: make sure to hit your intended target! Avoid “solid structures” and stay vigilant when fervidly cheating on your significant other. The fractures are generally repaired by stitching up the tears, and the wait time before you can resume polishing your rocket is about a month.
3) Lodged objects: You’ve heard the urban legend about Richard Gere and his pet gerbil, but have you heard the zillions of other true stories about people getting non-anatomical objects lodged in their special bathing suit areas, needing medical assistance? Toy cars, ice cream scoopers, golf balls, baby bottles, and every kind of dildo, ever, have all been trapped, extracted and documented in erogenous orifices.
“Slide a large Foley catheter with a 30cc balloon past the object, inflate the balloon, and apply traction to the catheter. Two catheters may occasionally be needed and air can be instilled through the lumen of the catheter.
Under direct visualization with an anoscope or vaginal speculum, you can attempt to grasp the object with a tenaculum, sponge forcep, Kelly clamp or tonsil snare.
An open object, like a jar or bottle, can be filled with wet plaster, into which a tongue blade can be inserted like a popsickle stick. When the plaster hardens, traction can be applied to the tongue blade.
Forceps or soup spoons can be used to 'deliver' a round object.”
Or surgery may be your only viable option.
Do whatever turns you on, no shame, but exercise caution when introducing objects into your person. Make sure you use lube and that you know your corporeal (and emotional) limits if you aim to avoid sharing your erotic episodes with the local ER. Finally, WedMD reminds ladies in distress:
Many women (especially condom and tampon users) can expect to have difficulty removing an object from the vagina at some point in their lives. Try to stay relaxed, use the techniques discussed above, and above all know that there is no other place for the object to go.
4) Persistent arousal, spontaneous orgasms: Persistent genital arousal disorder, known as PGAD, is a condition found in women. Those affected by PGAD find their genitals will become engorged without any provocation. PGAD has nothing to do with sexual desire; seemingly innocuous tasks, like putting on a pair of pants or driving can arouse sufferers, and if this stimulation is not “relieved” it can burst into a number of orgasms throughout the day, only to have the individual get physically aroused again, sometimes moments later, without warning.
Maybe having uncontrollable, infinite orgasms sounds like a nice life, but imagine trying to get through a job interview or your child’s school play. First documented in 2001, PGAD can develop at any point in a woman’s life, including during a pregnancy or post-menopause. Doctors remain puzzled by its cause, but speculate nerve damage. Since ours is a slut-shaming, puritanical culture, it’s likely that many people who suffer the disease do not report it or seek medical attention. Doctors have seen positive results treating PGAD with antidepressants, such as Chantix.
Overdoing it with Viagra is not the only way to incur a stubborn erection; some consider PGAD to be a variant of priapism. Priapism is the condition of having an excruciating and prolonged hardon, upwards of four hours. Blood rushes to the genital region during arousal and normally retreats back into circulation, but priapism keeps blood trapped in the penis.
Cancer and scrotum or penis injuries can also bring about priapism. It can also develop spontaneously or occur as a negative result of medications (like those used to treat erectile dysfunction or antidepressants, and antipsychotics), recreational drugs like marijuana or cocaine, or black widow spider bites. Priapism affects about 40 percent of men with sickle-cell anemia, and it can burden all age groups, even newborns.
If you experience priapism go right to the doctor! It can be treated by a medical professional, with ice packs, alpha-agonist injections (what a needlessly scary name), surgical ligation or shunt, or penile aspiration. Apparently priapism can affect women, too (sometimes called clitorism), though the situation is far less dire, and treatable with anti-inflammatories and ice-packs.
5) Sexsomnia: Sexsomnia is exactly what it sounds like; instead of walking or talking in their sleep, sexsomniacs, unbeknownst to them, fuck while they slumber. Sexsomniac behavior can include, “violently” masturbating, groping, performing oral sex, intercourse concluding with orgasms and ejaculation, or a sexual assault or rape. The disorder is a non-REM parasomnia, and those who suffer sexomnia tend to possess other sleep parasomnias (like sleepwalking, eating, teeth grinding, etc.). The snoozing sexual incidents mostly occur when sexsomniacs share a bed. The condition can develop naturally or be a result of sleep apnea or deprivation, drug and alcohol use, stress, or sleep-related epilepsy. Sexsomnia is more likely to affect men than women.
Sexsomnia can be treatable—there are bedtime benzodiazepines to quell sexual confusional arousals. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to treat sleep apnea can be used to help reduce both sexual and asexual parasomnias. Klonopin, and other anti-anxiety drugs as well as antidepressants, have proved successful in ameliorating the condition.
Raman Malhotra, co-director of the Saint Louis University Sleep Disorders Center, addresses the potentially serious and destructive consequences of those affected by sexsomnia. "It is important that safety measures be put in place immediately in order to keep both the patient and anyone else in the house secure." Sexsomniacs should create a comfortable, secure environment for everyone affected by the condition, including installing locks, or alarms to wake people up and alert them to their behavior.
6) Sex migraines:You’ve heard the hackneyed phrase “mindblowing sex,” but for some unlucky few, orgasms are blowing their mind to the point of pain. Coital cephalalgia, or the sexual “thunderclap headache” is the tragic condition in which the afflicted endures an intense, splitting headache during sex or masturbation. Type one creeps in from the base of the skull toward the occipital lobe during the bonedance and increases with excitement, while type two erupts in concert with the orgasm.
Coital cephalalgia affects about 1 in 100 people, more men than women, but like every condition on this list, sufferers may be too embarrassed to report it, so there isn’t a truly transparent number for the ailment. Occurrences of coital cephalalgia are more likely for those who suffer migraines, and they can attack spontaneously for months, years, or suddenly disappear, never to torture the individual again.
Should you suffer an intense, insufferable headache while getting it on, you should see a medical expert to rule out the other scary and bountiful possibilities (like strokes, aneurysms, tumors, etc.). If your brain throbs in tandem with your sex life, your doctor may subscribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, Indomethacin, or a beta blocker to prevent the sex headache. Others have used triptans, benzodiazepines and analgesics to assuage the pain. The last prevention suggestion, “stopping activity before orgams,” could be effective, but surely a pyrrhic victory.