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Primary headache syndromes associated with sexual activity
  1. Achim Frese,
  2. Stefan Evers
  1. Professors of Neurology, Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Albert-Schweitzer Str. 33, 48129 Münster, Germany; E-mail: fresea{at}



To mention headache in connection with sexual activity may bring a smile to the lips of the uninformed. However, any headache coinciding with sexual activity can be frightening, distressing, disabling and anything but amusing to those who have experienced it. Even though in ancient times Hippocrates described a headache resulting from ‘immoderate venery’ [cited in Adams (1848)], it was not until the 1970s that attention was drawn to a benign form of headache occurring during sexual activity (Lance 1974; Martin 1974; Paulson & Klawans 1974).

In the first systematic description of the disorder, 21 patients were reported (Lance 1976). One subgroup had pain which evolved slowly, possibly due to excessive muscular contraction of the neck and jaw muscles. A second, larger group of patients experienced sudden onset of pain shortly before, at the moment of, or shortly after orgasm. Another publication described three patients with a third type whose

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