Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome

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No Sex signGary and I were interested to discover that there is a very active forum on a popular science site in the UK called "Naked Scientists" about Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome, known as "POIS." These men (and a few women) suffer debilitating symptoms after orgasm, such as exhaustion, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, brain fog, anxiety, depression, weakness, indigestion and so forth. It tends to last for a few days until around two weeks. Doctors haven’t come up with any solutions, but do suggest that dopamine and prolactin are possibly implicated. We wonder if it could be on the same spectrum with the milder - and often unrecognized - symptoms we think are natural to many, if not not most, lovers after sexual satiation, such as irritability, general malaise, anxiety, emotional over-reactions, and so forth. The forum is extremely busy. Here they collected 90 cases from various sufferers. They have even put together this video on POIS. Visit the POIS forum

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I almost always start sneezing and feeling a bit ill two days after orgasm, that is, I get flu-like symptoms.

As an aside, I want to warn porn addicts that there are other, pornographic (I think, didn't want to check), videos at that You Tube video link, in that right hand menu under Related Videos... so I'd advice you not to visit that link unless you want to be tempted. Instead read up on POIS on this website:

Re: Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome

Over the years at various times I have suffered various illnesses after orgasm and ejaculation: a loss in physical strength (dragging my butt at work all day after lovemaking that morning), light to severe brain fog (dependent on the number of orgasms and ejaculations within several hours), a stabbing pain in the prostate immediately after ejaculation, or, at other times, a severe pain in the prostate that seemed like a residual muscle spasm (that was usually only resolved by taking a brisk walk or walking briskly in place). I also have experienced, off and on, short bouts of depression and/or indigestion after orgasm. I was married for several years. We often made love in the morning on weekends. One or more orgasms, without any immediate rest, would usually result in a significant degree of fatigue, lethargy, and/or brain fog even though our weekend pace was more relaxed.

J William Lloyd's last paragraph in Karezza (available for download on this site) seems to speak to this point:

[quote] To sum up: The orgasmal school is honest but mistaken. Its fault is that it is a doctrine of the strong, only for the strong. Just as a wealthy man may spend money recklessly for a while and still not be poor, so a man rich in thyroxin and adrenalin may spend recklessly in orgasms for a while and not seem any the worse. And the method, taught by the orgasmal school is such that it creates a demand, by congestion, for the orgasm, which must then occur or bad results follow. But for a weak man to follow their advice is very dangerous and courts a nervous breakdown, while my method builds him up. That orgasms are weakening is easily proven. Just as the way to get real facts about alcohol is to consult life-insurance companies, so to get facts about the orgasm go to the stockbreeder. Business has no sentiment or prejudice. Every stockbreeder will tell you that to permit a bull or stallion to serve too many or too often is to devitalize him. [/quote]

Thanks for sharing that MelH

I think some people are just more sensitive to these neurochemical changes. I'm not convinced it has anything to do with "weakness" per se. But what do I know? Wink

A chiropractor I met at a workshop once said, "I *wish* I could find a way to make love without orgasm. I'm completely useless for a day afterward, and sometime my wife doesn't feel like waiting on me hand and foot." I had to smile.


I think it is weakness for men. Men probably get the same neurochemical changes women do but also an extra wallop due to the energy required to regenerate the semen. That's just my theory now, but it's in line with Taoist thought. When I was younger and therefore stronger, I staunchly denied the Taoist ideas that ejaculation devitalized a man, but then, as I got older, I started to notice all the symptoms the warned of. If I'm strong, I feel them less, but I still feel them. Tired legs when climbing stairs is a big one; it's unmistakeable, but the more subtle ones are strong too if I bring my awareness to them.

Hehehee, I too wished what this chiropractor wished... in a big way. It just seemed like God's cruel joke that he'd make something so pleasureable but also bad for you. Now I'm all excited to see that there indeed IS a way. I probably would've lived my whole life and died, never realizing this, but I guess wiser souls than I have made the discovery down through the ages... and not just once it seems.


I used to never have bad physical sensations before, during, or after an orgasm, but for the past couple of months, out of nowhere mind you, even getting close to an orgasm makes me very sick. I feel enormous pressure in my brain, a strange tingling cold sensation in my skull, and I feel extremely sick to my stomach. My whole body goes into shock, and I am violently shaking, disoriented, want to throw up, and my head feels so strange....(yea yea, sounds like an orgasm but trust me, there is no good feeling about's completely different.)
This has never happened to me before, nothing different is being done to my body, I don't have psychological issues, and it's really upsetting me because it's affecting me and my husband's sex life. I have tried to make it happen on my own and as soon as I start getting those rushes of arousal it begins to happen and I have to back off. It takes hours for the feeling to completely subside. Sometimes a couple days and I have to make sure to not do anything that arouses me....
what the heck is happening? am I stuck with this for life? It's made me really depressed. It came out of left field and ever since that time it's been like this. I need help! I went to my doctor about it but he doesn't know what the hell to do.


welcome to the forum. I've enabled you to blog if you like.

I'm sorry you're suffering. You are not alone. You may find this article interesting. The medical profession is just beginning to tackle these kinds of symptoms realistically (instead of insisting they are related to sexual repression).

That said, I'm not sure drugs are the best way to solve the problem.

Would your husband be willing to try a very gentle approach to lovemaking that is not based on orgasm? You can read more about it here:

To understand more, have a look at this article, too:

You may find that this approach, which is very soothing to your nervous system, pulls you back into balance. Then the occasional orgasm may not create that effect. Frankly, I think you should listen to your body. It may be trying to show you a better way to manage your love life.


Do you believe in acupuncture meridians and Chi? If so (or even if not), you might want to try various physical and mental exercises to help it circulate. The theory is that the energy summoned up by sexual arousal is very powerful and normally flows "down and out" through orgasm or all the other physiological things that happen, but if for some reason it starts to flow up the spine and into the head, you can get the symptoms you describe. This is actually a good thing, though if there are any blockages it can be unpleasant until you get your energy running smoothly. I suggest reading Gopi Krishna's book about his experiences, as they sound much like yours. He too raised his kundalini (that's what redirecting sexual energy up the spine is called) without meaning to and embarked on a lifelong quest to find out what happened and what to do about it. One caveat about the book--some people think Gopi Krishna was a hypochondriac and that a lot of the drama was unnecessary. Also, in this day in age, kundalini yoga is much more available to the public, so you can get guidance he didn't, like the Taoist energy circulation techniques. Those are what I use.


For coining just this term Dr. Waldinger is my hero. I have been suffering from this for years due to masturbation addiction. I think it is due to Dopamine mainly but also has to do with acetylcholine, serotonin and others. In Chinese medicine you are drainig your Jing. I think that if you have weak Jing/Dopamine already, you have this problem and by healing that, you will not have this problem. My problem is that I am addicted to this. I will try my best stopping it though. This is killing..

Interesting symptoms

I suffer from depression, Emotional Detachment Disorder (EDD) and PTSD. I was on Prozac but that killed my libido, the doctor changed me to Paxcil and that stopped working after a month so they tried Lexapro which made me homicidal. I've been off everything for a couple of weeks now and have been sexually insatiable. Last night my husband and I had sex and my orgasm didn't want to stop. Today I had "alone time" and after an hour of masturbation and orgasm repeatedly (at least 1 ever 30-60 seconds) I still wanted more. I stopped and have had a headache and nausea with a fever of about 100F since I stopped and my body is screaming for more. What could be causing this?? Any ideas??

The way we look at it,

extreme stimulation (either very exciting or very frequent...or both Smile ) kicks off a binge trigger in the brain. For more, see "Has Evolution Trained Our Brains to Gorge on Food and Sex?"

In other words, the more you scratch, the more you itch. Sorry. It seems like more orgasms should satisfy more, but in fact, for many brains it's just the opposite.

Harmony, when I was younger,

Harmony, when I was younger, I felt like sex and masturbation weren't depleting. Then, as I grew older, I started to feel the depletion. Masturbation is worse, yes, but it's less depleting if you have a nice long, satisfying session. Sex is less depleting if it's long and satisfying too.

Primaris, when I took zoloft (for my CFS), I got sexually insatiable too. I think if you mess with those hormones (in my case by taking zoloft, in yours after stopping anti-depressants), things like that can happen. I suggest cold showers. Seriously, that's about the most powerful method I know to calm sexual craving without giving in. I use it when things get really bad in the short term, but for long term, I'm working on brahmacharya.

Post Orgamic Illness Sydrome?

Just found this post from 2008 & wanted to know if anyone has updated news on findings or treatments. I have had increasingly dramatic symptoms for 10 years now. I don't have them with my partner, only by myself & especially with porn.

Leading up to orgasm my heart pounds, afterwards sometimes immediatly or the next day the syptoms begin. Sustained rapid heart beat, strong pulse in stomach, chest pressure, feeling like someone is pressing on my throat. Random pain in between rib cage.

Symptoms have lasted as long as three months, I have lost work & had to drop out of school once. It is random so I never know if it will happen or not?? Feels like russian roulette! Have had numerous tests & they all are negative, most of the doctors just tell me I have anxiety & prescribe prozac or xanax...yeah I tend to get anxious when I get these symptoms.


OK, I have to ask...

Do you have a partner now? Wink Could be an obvious solution there. It looks like your body responds well to bonding behaviors.

You can find out the latest about POIS at these links (from a POIS buddy):

Our POIS Information Website, built by "mat780", is here:

Please see "B_Jim"'s POIS Summary of All Cases, here as well as others on the Web. This includes remedies that we have tested, and results.

Filling out the POIS survey created by "Counterpoints" can help you to share more POIS information and details with others here, as well as with future outside researchers.

"Girlwind" has created an excellent POIS Video:

Our new POIS chatroom (realtime chat). Invite or visit another member(s) there, ANY TIME. We can all get to know each other better:

Good luck with your quest.

Its interesting.....

That these effects are present when having orgasm. Cause i believe the same thing are present during withdrawal. Its funny cause i was sober 4 weeks and kept fantasizing and then eventually it led to these symptoms. However recently i went back to porn for a couple days, so i decided to go with what i had success in the past. Now i don't fantasize or anything, cut out all porn cues, and i'm having these withdrawal symptoms 4-5 days in. I also notice when fantasizing i have more dream O's, like the brain never gets a full chance to reset itself.

Point being, i guess any shift in the neurochemicals one way or the other can cause these things to happen. But i guess withdrawal symptoms, although very tough to deal with, show that something is working.

POIS should maybe be Post HotSex Illness Syndrome

For, orgasm creates the pronounced reactions of head ache, short term prostate enlargement with greater than usual difficulty to urinate brain fog, memory trouble, even blood in the urine and dizziness, sore throat and a few other things but what is even more disturbing is that I have milder but clear symptoms even after hot sex and erection, without orgasm. That puts my marital love-life in jeopardy from several angles. Lasts about three days and starts about a day or two after sex. The head ache is so severe that I have to take strong pain-killer with codeine to manage it ... not very sustainable !
Someone suggested that it could be a candida infection of the prostate -- a prostatitis of sort that starts up the reaction when the prostate gets stimulated ... anyone having thoughts and a similar experience ? I will try a strict anti-candida diet and keep you posted.

Post Sex Illness Syndrome ...

Thanks Marnia -- will look at the links.
Wife-mate says she would really miss erect but gentle "visits" so it isn't really all-that-hot sex either. The problem is quite similar to what happens after orgasm (but milder) ... prostate swelling with difficulty peeing, baaad head-ache, back-ache etc. requiring aspirin, caffeine, codeine for about 2-3 days after love making but only starting a day or two after sex. It is the resulting fear of the future symptoms that feels like the real problem ... I wonder if other POIS-sufferers might recognize this as well ?

I think it's time

you posted on the "real" POIS forum:

If they don't point you to the right answers, perhaps the wife would read one of Diana Richardson's books. Her approach seems to make a very relaxed approach enjoyable by subtly awakening even more sexual responsiveness. Tantric Orgasm for Women might suit her. Women here love it:


Regarding POIS:

I hope people are aware of the well-publicized results from Marcel Waldinger, a Dutch researcher who claims that POIS is caused by a semen allergy.

For my part, I am not convinced that a pure semen allergy is responsible for my POIS symptoms, and really hope that somebody is able to follow up on the connection between the extreme reaction in POIS and the general-public brain-chemistry changes discussed on this site and in Cupid's Poisoned Arrow. (AND THANKS FOR THAT).

In addition to experiencing the general two-week emotional chaos and confusion discussed on this site, I have occasionally suffered extreme POIS symptoms myself, including during just the last few days. I am literally out flat for several days, with a fever, serious mental and emotional impairment, whole body aches, sometimes a sore throat and other symptoms (let's just leave it at gastro-intestinal, ok?). I've lately experienced hot flashes literally seconds after an orgasm, but there is a generally a short time lag (12-24 hours, sometimes a few days) before my body gives way.

The reason I'm doubtful about a semen allergy in my case is that, having a long history of masturbation and sexual contact, the vast majority of ejaculatory episodes in my case don't result in POIS type symptoms. When I end up with the severe symptoms is when I (rarely) engage in more intensely stimulating acts (risky or novel or otherwise high intensity). My crashes from those intense highs are the low bottoms, plain as day. I'd self-rate as overall pretty vulnerable to post orgasmic disturbance in my body-mind, but it is only the very intense episodes that result in a true flu-like illness.

I consider an emotional reaction from doing things I wish I hadn't (strip clubs, anonymous sexual contacts, etc.) to be part of my POIS equation, but this last POIS crash came after a sexual episode with my wife, particularly intense, but certainly without the moral backlash. This time, I believe I was highly sensitized by a few weeks of general overstimulation and a far above average number of ejaculatory orgasms. After the encounter, I felt flush, with a hint of sore throat, immediately after my orgasm, and ended up with a full out flu by that night. So, overall I primarily attribute the degree of my POIS reaction to the intensity of the neurological stimulation from the more intense encounters against the context of my general state of well-being.

Mainly wanted to try to keep the dialogue going about a neurological underpinning to the POIS symptoms, at least for some of us. For me, POIS is pretty clearly on a spectrum with a normal orgasmic low. And, as Ragnar notes above, I do notice some symptoms from particularly intense episodes that don't involve orgasm or ejaculation. Semen allergy as the whole explanation just doesn't make sense to me.

Hope this is relevant to some others. Hope to participate in this discussion more over time. Appreciate your work!


Sounds rough

It's possible that what currently passes for "normal" sexual behavior is way more intense than our ancestors' brains had to cope with.

Do you have any desire to try a "reboot" along the lines of what the recovering porn users try? Watch my husband's video: It explains a lot about the neurochemistry of intense sexual stimulation. Then read this page: It might well apply to restoring the brain to normal sensitivity after too much non-porn stimulation too.

It might be worth trying to reset your brain for about two months and then seeing where you are. Some people have reported that post-O feelings are less after a reboot.

As best we can tell, this isn't about morals, or allergies for the most part. Read "The Passion Cycle" for an updated version of what's in Cupid. ( There's so much to learn, and it's amazing that no researchers really seem to be looking into the neurochemical cycle after orgasm...with the exception of the German doctor Tillmann Kruger, whose prolactin research we quote in that article.

I've written to Waldinger. No answer. Smile