by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear of the 2008 paper on “sneezing induced by sexual ideation.” I have “suffered” with this problem my whole life and have made futile web searches to understand this issue. (I use quotations around “suffered” because it isn’t that big of a deal.) For as long as I can remember, sex and sexual arousal – literally just thoughts of sex – have made me sneeze and get a runny nose. If I am very mentally aroused, I might sneeze 6-8 times and my nose just gets flooded, so this doesn’t have to be associated with any physical contact whatsoever.
It’s not a big deal in that I have been married for over 20 years and have a rich and rewarding sex life. When we were first dating, my wife thought I was allergic to her – quite the opposite, I can assure you dear! Nevertheless, it’s not exactly convenient to get a runny nose during intercourse. When you fancy yourself a smooth player, it kind of kills the fantasy each time you have to stop and blow your nose (“oooh, does that feel good, yeah, yeah – oh, just a sec – [grabs tissue] HOOORRNK!”).
However, after all these years, I think it bothers me more than it does my wife – i.e., I will forever be super self-conscious of this odd affliction where she is just fine with me as I am (or at least does a good job of not making me feel weird about something that cannot be helped). So the thing that sucks the most about sneezing associated with arousal is that it makes it almost impossible to hide what you are thinking.
Thankfully I have entered my mid-40s and occasionally think about something other than sex (occasionally). Because of this privacy issue I have obviously not shared this with other people even though I am generally a very open person and not even remotely prudish. I ask, would you want your kids, parents, or friends thinking you were being a horn dog every time you sneezed! “Whew, lot of pollen in the air today.” Of course I sneeze infrequently for all kinds of reasons unrelated to sexual arousal and the last thing I want is everyone in the room wondering why I am being such a pervert over an innocent sneeze while I watch The Antiques Roadshow. It’s bad enough that every time I sneeze I get that “boy, I know what you are thinking” look from my wife.
Ultimately, I guess I should just be pleased to report that, after 20 plus years of marriage, my wife can still make me sneeze like nobody else!