What Is a Semen Allergy?

N. Madison

A semen allergy is a very rare allergic reaction to semen that can interfere with a couple's ability to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. Like other allergic conditions, it can prove very irritating and make the allergic partner want to avoid sexual activity. Symptoms include burning and redness in the area as well as swelling in some cases. There is no cure for the allergy, but a person can prevent the allergic reaction by using a condom to avoid exposure. Doctors don't believe a semen allergy will cause infertility, but it can interfere with pregnancy if the affected partner wants to have sex less often because of it.

Condom use can help prevent contact with semen, preventing allergic reactions to the bodily fluid.
Condom use can help prevent contact with semen, preventing allergic reactions to the bodily fluid.

People can prove allergic to just about any substance, and semen is no exception. When a person has a semen allergy, this means she is allergic to a protein found in semen. She may first notice the symptoms, which include itching and burning and can sometimes involve swelling and redness, after having sexual intercourse. It is not only the vagina, however, that can develop symptoms of a semen allergy. Essentially, symptoms can develop wherever the body comes into contact with semen, including the skin on any part of the body.

A sperm cell.
A sperm cell.

It is important to note that itching and burning in the vagina, mouth, or anus does not always mean that a person has an allergy. Instead, it is sometimes the sign of an infection. To test whether or not an allergy is the probable cause of symptoms, a couple may wear a condom during sexual activity. If the symptoms only seem to develop without the condom, the female partner may then do well to see a doctor for a physical examination and allergy testing.

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Unfortunately, there is no cure for a semen allergy. Even changing partners is unlikely to help, as a person who proves allergic to semen is usually allergic to all semen rather than the fluids of just one partner. There is a treatment designed to help desensitize the vagina to semen, but it involves exposing the vaginal tissues to diluted semen repeatedly over a short period of time. Maintaining the desensitization typically requires the female to have sexual intercourse every 48 hours, which may not prove practical for many people. Though the chance of getting rid of a semen allergy may seem dismal, it sometimes goes away on its own.

Semen is produced in the testes, which are contained in the scrotum.
Semen is produced in the testes, which are contained in the scrotum.

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Discussion Comments


@SarahGen-- You should definitely see a doctor about it. There are treatments available for this kind of allergy.

By the way, are you using any lubricants? If you do, you might be allergic to the lubricant and not the semen. Although, sensitivity and allergy to semen is definitely possible. I've heard that women with lots of allergies, especially food allergies may react to semen if their partner consumed those foods. I'm not a doctor though, so I'm not sure if this is true.

I also think that vaginal irritation or itching could be from frequent sex or bacterial overgrowth due to change in pH levels. Semen has a different pH level than the inside of the vagina. This can upset the pH level of the vagina and cause natural bacteria to grow. So it could be a yeast infection as well. I'm sure that your doctor will figure out the cause whatever it is.


@donasmrs-- I think I have a semen allergy and unfortunately, I can't ignore it. I don't have itching but I have swelling and redness after intercourse. I never have these symptoms when we use a condom, so I'm sure that it's the semen. I made an appointment with my doctor.


When I was newly married, I had a sensitivity to semen. It wasn't very serious, so I don't think it was an allergy. But I would experience a lot of itching in the vaginal area after intercourse. It was uncomfortable and annoying. I went to the doctor who ran some tests but they all came back clear. So I had no infection.

I decided to ignore it and continue intercourse as usual. I just paid attention to hygiene and used vaginal wipes often. The itching slowly went away on its own. I haven't experienced it at all for the past two years.

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