Our bodies are delicate and complex living machines. They react to the world around us and the many compounds with which we interact on a daily basis. Sometimes, those interactions don’t agree with us, and our bodies respond with uncharacteristic behaviors designed to make us stop whatever is causing the reaction. This is how sex allergies work, and we accept those things to which we are allergic and learn to either avoid them or treat them with medications. But in some cases, two people can seem allergic to one another.
A woman may find herself with severe itching, swelling, or even pain from a condition called seminal plasma hypersensitivity – an allergy to the seminal fluid of her partner. It occurs in 20,000 to 40,000 women in the U.S. and is a very real and uncomfortable allergy. Similarly, although much less common, men can be allergic to a woman’s vaginal secretions. In both cases, body chemistry is a strange thing. Something as simple as dietary choices, vitamin deficiencies or a plethora of other every day decisions can change body chemistry in such a way that may cause an allergy. In the cases described above, treatment sometimes involves dietary or lifestyle changes to see if it affects body chemistry. Or, when this is unsuccessful, desensitization treatment is attempted, aimed at training the body to lessen or cease its allergic response through repeated exposure.
Of course, the rarity of these conditions usually indicates that the real source of the problem is an allergy to something much more common. Lotions and skin creams, spermicides, the latex in condoms, soaps and body washes, laundry detergents, perfumes, colognes, and massage oils can all cause similar allergic reactions, and thankfully are more easily resolved by switching brands to more hypoallergenic brands. If you’re still unsure consult with a physician if any of your symptoms persist.