Sex should leave you feeling euphoric, but if your stomach has ever felt unsettled afterward, it’s important that you get to the bottom of it. “It’s never normal to feel nauseous after sex,” Lauren Streicher, MD, an ob-gyn and medical director of Northwestern Medicine’s Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause, told POPSUGAR. That said, it does happen, usually for one of a few reasons.
The first has to do with the cervix, the gatekeeper between your vaginal canal and your uterus. “Contact with your cervix during sex — or cervical stimulation — can create a vasalvagol response in which your blood pressure and pulse drop,” Dr. Streicher explained. This can cause you to feel nauseous or even to pass out. Your cervix changes throughout your cycle, dropping lower during your period, which may make it more susceptible during penetration.
You might also feel nauseous if sex is painful, which may be the result of an underlying condition. “Women with endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease may experience painful intercourse,” Dr. Streicher said. Other causes range from vaginal or cervical infections to fibroids. “If you experience any type of intercourse that is painful, you should see a gynecologist,” she added.
Perhaps more rarely, nausea is a symptom of a psychological condition known as sexual aversion disorder. “We don’t know how often it occurs in women, but we know that it can stem from past sexual trauma, or being brought up in a very religious atmosphere where sex was ‘bad,'” Dr. Streicher explained. Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy or anxiety medication can help, so always discuss any concerns with your doctor.