Allergies & Sex

Sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy watery eyes, and fatigue are symptoms of allergies that can make a person feel anything but sexy. People may not consider how allergies can impact sexuality, but sexuality is a quality of life issue. As with other quality of life issues, any type of illness or disability can impact sexuality.

A study published in Allergy and Asthma Proceedings found that 83 percent of persons with allergic rhinitis report their allergies affect their sex lives. Considering it is estimated that 50 million Americans have allergies, it would seem there are a lot of people who are having a less than satisfactory sex life. 

There are different factors that cause allergies to impact a person's sex life. They include:

  • Allergy-related fatigue: Sometimes allergy symptoms such as congestion cause lack of sleep as do some allergy medicines. Lack of sleep also impacts the nervous system, which controls the ability to become sexually aroused. Sleep deprivation can simply make someone too tired for sex.
  • Decreased sense of smell: One of the things that puts people in the mood for sex and make us feel attraction for our partner is pheromones. These are the chemical substances given off on the body that make people attract potential sexual partners. Stuffy noses that limit our sense of smell prevent us from picking up on other people’s pheromones. This in turn can affect someone’s sex life.
  • Symptoms can make a person feel unattractive: Having puffy eyes or having to stop sexual activity frequently to tend to a runny nose can make someone self-conscious enough to avoid sexual activity.

All of these things can lower sex drive and keep us out of the mood. The good news is there are steps that can be taken to try to help get allergy sufferers back on the road to a happy and fulfilling sex life. It may take work and creativity but the effort may be well rewarded in the bedroom.

First, as with any medical condition, a consultation with a healthcare provider is necessary. Report any changes in sexual activity that comes with allergies. A good healthcare provider will be willing to explore options and work with a patient to improve sexuality just like any other quality of life issue.

The key factor seems to be in controlling allergy symptoms, because someone doesn’t just stop being allergic to something. Research has shown that treating allergy symptoms increases sexual satisfaction. Some avenues that might be worth exploring include:

  • Non-drowsy medications: This goes for both prescription and over the counter medicine. It can help fight off the fatigue mentioned earlier.
  • Have your allergies tested: See an allergist. Once the culprit is identified, a plan of action can be made.
  • Limit exposure to allergens: Dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander, and other things that thrive in your home and grow in the soil can make everything worse.
  • Monitor pollen counts: This way you can shut windows and turn off the air conditioner when they are high.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom: Many pet owners allow pets to sleep in their beds but at the same time are allergic to pet dander. Keep pets off the bed or out of the bedroom completely.
  • ?Keep the bed clean: Wash bedding regularly in hot water to keep the bedroom as allergen-free as possible and promote a dust mite-free sex life. Replace pillows regularly as well.
  • Keep pollen off yourself: Leave clothes at the door so pollen is not tracked through the house. Be creative and find a way to make this sexy—you could, for instance, strip and hit the shower together.
  • Plan ahead: Take allergy medicine about 30-40 minutes before you are going to have sex to make sure they are doing the trick ahead of time.

Most importantly, stay educated and communicate with sexual partners. Many people do not even realize it is their allergies that are causing their waning sex life. By understanding your body and how it is all interconnected, solving issues such as this can be much easier.