An awesome question: what is 'honeymoon nose'?

Here’s an awesome question about something I had never heard of before:  

I used to get “honeymoon nose” when I was young… Now not so much… Why not? Do you think it’s from less sex each session or that I’m just getting older…?

 

“Honeymoon nose,” for those who don’t know – and I didn’t, I had to look it up – is rhinitis (or asthma) following sexual excitement. It resolves on its own, or it can be effectively treated withprescription sinus spray. Researchers write:

 

[The exact mechanism by which sexual intercourse can precipitate honeymoon rhinitis is not known. ]

 

Which also means the mechanism by which it might go away is also not known.

The authors continue:

 

Emotional excitement and anxiety may be the trigger factors for postcoital rhinitis rather than exercise (6). Sexual activity is associated with autonomic stimulation, with the parasympathetic segment becoming more active toward the culmination in orgasm. Autonomic imbalance with parasympathetic overactivity (2) may occur in some patients, an effect which may be caused by the intense emotion during sexual intercourse (6). Cholinergic stimulation is known to cause release of mast-cell mediators, and this may be one of the mechanisms that can provoke postcoital rhinitis in these patients (7).

 

Similarly, a more recent review concluded:

 

The available literature on intimate behavior, and sex in general, as a trigger of allergic reactions is not abundant. This is probably because of the particular nature of the problem, which concerns intimacy. Nevertheless, reliable diagnostic procedures are available in some specific cases. The possible link between sex and allergy should become part of the personal culture of allergists to extend and improve the diagnosis of unusual or unexplained conditions.

 

Interestingly, a variety of allergic responses are associated with sex in many different species. One example: female fruit flies appear to generate an allergic response to a peptide the males produce as part of their post-copulation intrasexual competition (like, “my sperm can beat up your sperm” kind of thing). Which is QUITE interesting, right?

So maybe your honeymoon nose is diminishing because of increased exposure to your “allergen” (a.k.a., partner), the way folks with allergies can reduce their allergies with injections of the allergen itself.

 

tl;dr:

Nobody has any idea, but there might be an allergy issue involved.

 

I’ll also add here that I myself have experienced orgasm-induced asthma (PDF). I got myself right to my doctor and said, “I’m getting terrible asthma after orgasms and it makes me not want orgasms, please may I have an inhaler so that I can want orgasms again?” My doctor had never heard of any such thing, but promptly wrote me a prescription.

The asthma now comes and goes – I haven’t been able to find a pattern of when it happens and when it doesn’t – but when I feel it coming (ahem), I use my inhaler prophylactically.

Nothing sexier.