A man plagued by porn-induced headaches has to take painkillers 30 minutes before watching the X-rated movies, according to a case study. (Getty Images)
By Katie Moisse, ABC News
A man plagued by porn-induced headaches has to take painkillers 30 minutes before watching the X-rated movies, according to a case study. a The unnamed "unmarried male software professional," 24, complained of "severe, exploding" headaches that developed gradually and peaked 10 minutes into the sexy scenes.
"Progressively, he started to refrain from viewing videos as a means of avoiding headaches," researchers from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in New Delhi, India, wrote in the case study published in the June issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior.
The cause of the man's ill-timed headaches, triggered only by porn and not by sex or masturbation, is unclear.
"This guy is interesting because he's just watching porn and not actually having sex," said Dawn Buse, associate professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and director of behavioral medicine at the Montefiore Headache Center in New York. "But he probably still gets aroused and excited, which may be even worse than having sex because there's no release."
Buse said about 1 percent of the population -- mostly males -- get headaches associated with sexual activity. But even arousal can cause changes in muscle tension, nerve sensitivity and blood flow in the brain that boost the perception of pain, she said.
"It makes sense," she said. "There's definitely blood pumping through his head and his body."
Like exercise-induced headaches, sex headaches are nothing more than a nuisance, easily negated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Buse said. But in rare cases, the pain can signal something more serious, like a brain tumor or an aneurysm.
"If someone has a stiff neck, dizziness or confusion along with the pain, they should talk to a doctor," Buse said.
The man, ready to abandon his porn-watching ways, was instead advised to take 400 milligrams of ibuprofen and 500 milligrams of acetaminophen 30 minutes in advance, to which, according to the study, "he reported significant pain relief."