Have you ever noticed a guy get the sniffles after a particularly hot bedroom session? Because—giant newsflash—if you have, it could be that they're allergic to sex. I know, it sounds ridiculous. But just hold your horses.
New research shows that a rare condition called Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) has affected more than 50 patients around the world since first being documented in 2002—and it could be more widespread than scientists initially thought. Sufferers apparently display flu-like symptoms immediately after they ejaculate and experience a mixture of high fevers, perspiration, and itchy eyes.
To better understand how this all actually works, scientists have started taking a closer look at the intricacies of this mysterious illness. So far, it's been concluded that there are two types of POIS in existence—a primary type, which manifests itself in pubescent males, and a secondary type that begins later in life.
The research, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found of the 45 men studied (all of whom had been diagnosed with POIS), 87 percent experienced an onset of symptoms within 30 minutes of ejaculation. Symptoms last for approximately two to seven days, after which they recede of their own accord. The study report says:
"It is a chronic disorder manifesting as a constellation of flulike and allergic symptoms within seconds, minutes, or hours after ejaculation. POIS can be followed by mental sequelae such as diminished concentration and irritability. POIS negatively affects the life of patients by limiting sexual encounters, dampening romantic prospects, creating internal struggles to avoid eroticism, and affecting patients' schedules."
The authors add that, although only 50 cases of POIS have been identified in the literature, "the prevalence and incidence of POIS are still unknown owing to a paucity of studies, but is likely under-reported." In other words, there is a high chance that a lot more men could be suffering from the illness in silence.
So far, it has been impossible for experts to find the cause of POIS, and it is clear that more research needs to be done before a cure can be identified. Until then, sufferers are being treated with regular allergy medicine like antihistamines.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.