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Is It Normal To Have Flu-Like Symptoms After Sex?

Having sex with your partner can be an emotional rollercoaster: it may leave you feeling invigorated–or perhaps just a little queazy. One of the most common negative experiences would include flu like symptoms after sex. This would include symptoms such as a headache, fever, stomach ache, fatigue, sinus issues and sore throat. Usually, people expect to feel that after-sex “glow”, so is it normal to have flu-like symptoms after sex?

In general, these symptoms can range in normalcy. You may actually have the flu; but if these symptoms persist, get worse or you are concerned about your sexual health, it is important to get tested for STDs as soon as possible. This will not only rest your worries but also avoid any potential complications. It is completely understandable that these symptoms after sex can be disheartening. But depending on the situation, it can easily be remedied.

Potential Causes

There are a variety of reasons that you may be feeling under-the-weather after sex. The following is a non-encompassing list of potential reasons, some a little more common than others. These cases vary in degrees from harmless to more serious conditions requiring testing, diagnosis and treatment.


While your mind may drift to assume the worst, it’s very likely that your flu-like symptoms are simply that–the flu. Influenza is not the most comfortable illness, but millions of people experience it every year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this virus is more of a risk to the elderly and children under 5 years. Complications can come about at any age, but there are antiviral medications available to treat such this illness.

Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS)

Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS), according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a rather rare condition. This syndrome involves the experience of symptoms similar to the flu or an allergic reaction after orgasm. The cause of this illness has yet to be discovered; however, many speculate that it is caused by an autoimmune disorder or an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The chance that POIS may be the cause is rather unlikely, but should not be discarded.

Emotional Response

Our emotions can have a significant effect on our physical and mental well-being. When we have our first time, find a new partner or try something new, nerves may cause an upset stomach. Of course, this is a perfectly normal response which dissipates with time. Having sex can be a time of vulnerability when anyone would feel apprehensive. Despite this, open communication with your partner should remedy any nervous feelings and strengthen the relationship.

Rough Sex

Stomach aches can be due to rougher sex than what you are accustomed to. More aggressive or energetic sex can be exhaustive and cause you to feel temporarily nauseous. However, the experience should fade after a short period. Also, orgasm can cause similar symptoms. Since an orgasm causes the muscles to tense, this can sometimes lead to a stomach ache or muscle pain. Additionally, during orgasm our body releases the hormone serotonin–most commonly attributed to feel-good emotions—which can make us feel tired.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)

Worst case scenario, these symptoms may suggest a possible sexually transmitted disease (STD). For example, some symptoms of STDs include fever, swollen lymph nodes, joint pain and fatigue as your body attempts to fight the bacteria or virus. Sore throat and painful genitals can also be common signs of gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, even though STDs share similar symptoms to the flu, this does not necessarily mean that what you are experiencing is caused by a sexually transmitted infection. For this reason, if there is a possibility that you may have contracted an STD, it never hurts to get tested.

Better to Get Tested than Not

An upset stomach, stuffy nose or fatigue are all somewhat general symptoms that can be attributed to many potential conditions. It is possible that your experiences are completely normal but if these symptoms should persist or grow worse, it is always best to get in contact with a healthcare provider. If there are any concerns about your health, it is better to keep tabs on it than leave it up to the unknown.

Moreover, if you should become concerned that you or your partner may have a sexually transmitted infection, make sure to get tested as soon as possible. For assistance in setting up an appointment for STD testing, Priority STD offers expert support to get you reliable and discrete testing services.