Ask Carli

Ask Carli: Can You Be Allergic To Semen?


Sex can be a sticky subject, especially when we’re talking about ejaculation and semen. Most people think about semen as the stuff that makes babies and smells like bleach, but some people can actually be allergic to it, or even just get bad reactions from it.

Recently a reader of Honestly Naked wrote to me and was curious about semen and if she could be allergic to it.

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Question: Sometimes when my boyfriend and I have sex and he ejaculates inside of me I get a weird stinging, kind of burning reaction, but it’s only when the cum reaches the outside area of my vagina. Could I be allergic to his semen?

Answer: The short answer to this question is yes, you can in fact be allergic to semen and the symptoms usually involve burning and itching when the semen makes contact with your vagina. The allergy usually stems from the protein in the semen, which causes the allergic reaction, not the sperm itself. It’s not a rare allergy but it definitely isn’t a common one either.

A woman can also develop an allergy to a man’s semen over time and exposure. A woman can be with a man for many years without ever experiencing symptoms and one day begin to experience reactions, or vice versa where you once were allergic and then become unaffected. If symptoms only occur after unprotected intercourse, then you may want to consider a semen allergyYou can also get an allergic reaction from semen in other places other than your vagina, such as your skin or in your mouth after oral sex.

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The best way to test for this is to go to a doctor and have what is called a intradermal test, which is when a doctor injects some semen under the skin to see what type of reaction it causes.

While semen allergies do exist, and affect about 20,000 and 40,000 people, semen can also cause discomfort without it necessarily being an allergy.

According to Dr. Streicher, a gynecologist that is often featured on the Dr. Oz show, a vagina’s normal pH level is between a 3.5-4.5 which generates a healthy vaginal environment and creates the best conditions for good bacteria to grow.

When woman’s pH level goes too high, then it becomes high in alkalinity, which kills the good bacteria, leaving the not-so-great bacteria to take over. When the pH level of your vagina rises, the high acidity can kill the good bacterias and this often times leads to a fishy odor, and other infections like bacterial vaginosis as well as yeast infections.

Dr. Streicher says that semen has a natural pH level of about 7.4 “So if your pH levels are already teetering on the brink or if you’re having a lot of sex, the introduction of high pH semen can put you over the edge.”

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Having a lot of sex isn’t the only thing that can knock your pH levels out of balance. Douching, menstrual cycles, antibiotics and certain soaps can do it as well. Many women take acidophilus or a product called RepHresh Pro-B, which can help keep your pH levels balanced in order to keep your vagina healthy.

One article from PsychologyToday.com, says, “Fortunately, there is a desensitization treatment for semen allergy that is safe and effective. You need to do it under the supervision of an allergist or immunologist. It is called a “graded challenge” where diluted solutions of semen are placed in your vagina every twenty minutes until you are able to tolerate undiluted semen. The downside is that the couple has to have intercourse at least once every 48 hours to maintain the desensitization!”

If you’re experiencing any negative reactions: foul smells, itching, burning, swelling, redness, it is very important that you don’t self-diagnose with the help of WebMD and other websites, simply make an appointment with your healthcare provider to ensure the proper healthcare! 

Be well and stay Honestly Naked!

Cited Articles:

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Semen Allergies  [PsychologyToday]

What Are Some Sperm Allergy Symptoms? [HowStuffWorks]

Sex Questions: Embarrassing Things People Want to Know. [HuffingtonPost]

If you have questions feel free to fill this out! 

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