Think Sex, Sneeze More?

Sexual Thoughts, Orgasms Are Among the "Unusual Triggers of Sneezing," Doctors Report

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on December 19, 2008
From the WebMD Archives

Dec. 19, 2008 -- Sure, you sneeze when you've got a cold. But some sneezes may happen just by thinking about sex or having an orgasm, British doctors report.

Mahmood Bhutta, a specialist in ear-nose-and-throat surgery at England's Wexham Park Hospital, writes of a colleague who once had a patient who "described uncontrollable fits of sneezing" immediately after having any sexual thought.

That patient, who was a middle-aged man, had no other symptoms. He said he'd had those sneezing fits immediately after thinking sexual thoughts throughout his adult life.

Bhutta and his colleague decided to do a little research, and they figured that since the condition might be embarrassing, it might not get reported -- except in Internet chat rooms.

So the researchers googled "sex, sneeze, OR sneezing" twice in 2007, and came up with reports by 17 people -- men and women -- who reported sneezing right after thinking sexual thoughts, and reports by three people of sneezing after orgasm.

Long before the Internet -- back in the 19th century -- there were reports of rare people who sneezed when sexually excited, but "there was no credible reason given for the phenomenon," Bhutta's team writes.

Bhutta's paper doesn't settle why some people sneeze when they think sexual thoughts or when they have an orgasm. But the researchers suggest that sexual thoughts or orgasm might trigger the body's subconscious nervous system, which could lead to sneezing in some people.

The report appears in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Show Sources


Bhutta, M. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Dec. 1, 2008; vol 101: pp 587-591.

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