Most couples are encouraged to wait until marriage before engaging in intimacy. For one couple, taking this approach to their relationship didn’t work as well as planned. The 35-year-old wife who wishes to remain anonymous, claims she thought she’d acquired an STD from her husband after they became intimate the night of their wedding. “I had this bizarre reaction,” she said. “I had burning and swelling and redness, which was very unusual. I thought I had contracted an STD.”
After the incident, she spent countless hours searching for an answer to her issue online and going to the gynecologist on numerous occasions to find out what was wrong with her. One doctor finally discovered the woman was allergic to her husband’s spεrm. The condition, called seminal plasma hypersensitivity, affects about 40,000 women in the U.S. and while it does not stunt fertility, it does make the woman feel extremely uncomfortable before and after intimacy. Some women break out in hives, experience abdominal swelling or a reaction they say feels like “a needle sticking in to their vΑgina.”
“The swelling was worst immediately after [intimacy],” the newlywed said. She said she had never experienced it with any of her previous partners. “It would take 24 hours to subside and my skin would be irritated as if you’d put a chemical on it that caused it to burn. It was almost raw and took awhile to heal.” To treat it, doctors isolate proteins in the man’s spεrm and carry out skin testing on the woman to figure out which proteins cause the reaction. Then, they slowly desensitize the woman to the protein. The woman received treatment for the condition and claims her symptoms have diminished drastically and she and her husband are hopeful they can live out the rest of their lives together without being inconvenienced by the issue.