"Honey Not Tonight, I Have A Headache"

Have you ever used the line, “ honey not tonight, I have a headache?” Well, maybe this is not just an excuse to stay away from sex after all. A study from Italy has just revealed that women who suffer frequent headaches or migraines are more likely than others to have sexual problems. I am curious to know if they have sexual problems because they have constant headaches and let’s face it, sometimes when you are in pain it is the last thing on your mind, or if there really is some deeper correlation?


The results, more than 90% of women seeking medical treatment for their headaches had significant impairments of their sexual functioning and 29% reported being distressed about their sex life. Are headaches really getting in the way of a satisfying romp beneath the sheets?

During this study, 100 women were interviewed and it was found 91 of the participants showed they had sexual problems beyond what would be considered within the normal range on a questionnaire.


Twenty percent of the women also met the criteria for having hypoactive sexual desire disorder, where a persistent low sex drive causes personal distress. A further 17 % reported having a low sex drive, but not feeling distressed about it. Some people don’t put as much importance on constant sex as others, headache or no headache and that’s ok, as long as their partner is happy with it too.


Is this a breakthrough study, or just simply telling us what we already know, women don’t want to have sex when they have a headache, it’s not just an excuse? Research has shown that any type of chronic pain affects desire and arousal, but I think that makes logical sense.


Sex has proven to help with pain but really who can get aroused when they are in agony. Maybe though, when someone has a physical or even mental problem, we need to be addressing their sexual functioning and how this impacts on their life and satisfaction in the bedroom. Everything impacts on your sex life – weight, stress, no sleep, illness, joint pain, depression etc.


We treat the symptoms, but do we bother looking beyond to the ripple effect – your sex life? In an era where most people and some doctors are too embarrassed to really talk about sex, we have a problem. If we can’t talk about it, we can’t treat it and can’t truly help the patient get back something that has so many positive benefits in their life.


Sex is not just for procreating. It’s for pleasure, stress relief, building intimacy, connecting with another person, keeping us sane, expressing love, blowing off steam, releasing tension and the list goes on. Everyone has a right to sex, but some people need a little bit more help. Maybe these women who suffer so badly from headaches, need more help too.


When someone is suffering from paralysis or some other traumatic injury to their body, especially their lower body, one of the questions they really want to know is,  “how will this effect my sexual functioning and will I ever be able to have sex again?” Often the response from many professionals and loved ones focusing on the fact that they are still alive and telling them to concentrate on getting better and worry about sex later down the track. But sex is still important for these people too and has proven to have so many benefits to assisting recovery.


It should not be a secondary issue if it is important to the person, it should be an issue that is addressed at the same time.  Why not help them have sex and help them get better? One might actually help the other.


This study might not be anything too ground breaking, but it does support the notion that anyone treating a human being should be taking a holistic approach and looking at the entire picture. Sex is just as important, why should we leave it out our of health care?


Happy staying healthy,


Dr NikkiG

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