I Haven’t Written in Weeks

An unknown medical condition has left me frozen

Photo by Jonathan Rados on Unsplash

This is one of my worst nightmares. Migraines and headaches that linger when I have sex. I actually haven’t written much in the last few weeks because I’ve been dealing/suffering from this. Something about being in pain that lingers and worrying if you are having an aneurysm or stroke really puts a damper on being able to write. Especially about sex and relationships. Which is kind of my bread and butter.

The first time I experienced this was on a Sunday morning. My wife and I had just done yoga, and she rolled over and had sex with me for the third time in 36 hours. I even mentioned it briefly at the end of this article here:

At the time, it was a weird, intense pain on the lower left-hand side in the back of my head that occurred a few moments before orgasm. I joked about it in the article because it only lasted for a few moments and was gone with no side effects. I had just assumed it was a reaction to exertion and possible dehydration or something to that effect.

Fast forward three days to a Wednesday night. My wife and I are having sex for the first time since that original incident Sunday morning. I hadn’t thought much about it as I hadn’t noticed anything else odd, off, or out of place. But again, as I was heated up and probably a few minutes from orgasm, the lower left side in the back of my head EXPLODED with pain. The best I can describe it is like a severe cramping ice pick sensation. It also happened in the same position. Something that will become more relevant as I try to figure out exactly what is happening.

Being the trooper that I am, I sat up and slowed down the process to get my bearings. Here I was, experiencing horrible pain but not wanting to ruin the moment with my wife. So, I ended up finishing even though my head was continuing to experience pain. As soon as we were done, I told my wife what had happened. Unfortunately, this time, while the intense, shocking pain faded, it left a dull overall ache and tenderness in the left side of my head.

I woke up the next morning, and the lingering pain was still there. Especially when I moved my head around. And again, this wasn’t debilitating like the initial sensation but just an overall ache. I was still able to do yoga and some exercises with my son. But that headache was ever-present. Throughout the day, it rotated to be a headache that made my neck feel tight and tender and almost made me feel like I had the beginning of an earache in my left ear.

I started doing research and found out that there is such a thing called Sex or Orgasm headaches. The Mayo Clinic and many other websites had information on this phenomenon. I also read a lot of personal accounts of those who have suffered from this. Almost everything I read lined up with exactly what I was experiencing. But I also know there is the potential for more nefarious causes. I called my primary doctor, and they said they couldn’t get me in for an appointment until February. But they did have a nurse call me, take account of my symptoms and all the details of what had happened. She spoke with the doctor and called me back with the advice of water, rest, painkillers. They also told me that I could try and call in the mornings for a same-day appointment in case someone had canceled and go to Urgent care if symptoms become severe or troublesome.

I took my blood pressure that afternoon, and it was slightly elevated but nothing concerning. I took some Tylenol, which only put a minor dent in the sensations and then wore off. I don’t like to take pain killers as it messes with my stomach. I have Ulcerative Colitis, and too many OTC pain medicines negatively affect it.

I ran my virtual book club meeting that night and then went to bed and turned off the lights really early compared to my normal bedtime.

Two days later, I took a trip to Urgent Care to see if I could get some answers. Between my pain and anxiety, my blood pressure was high. The doctor prescribed me some muscle relaxers and a heating pad. I scoffed at the time, in my head, thinking, “Surely you have missed something more serious.” But, the muscle relaxers and heating pad worked. They gave me some momentary respite from the pain and sensations in my neck and head. It also helped me think that maybe this could be more of a muscular/skeletal issue.

I was also able to get a video call with my doctor a few days later. She ordered an MRI for me to rule out some of the more serious issues.

I’ve also approached sex with my wife differently. We started focusing more on breathing and taking it slow with less intensity. And it has worked. There haven’t been explosive headaches moments before orgasm. In fact, as time goes on, any pain or headache like sensations have reduced down to nearly nothing during and after sex. . I am beginning to think that it is less sex headache and more something to do with nerves or muscles that connect from my neck up into my head.

This was confirmed a bit more last night. I had been feeling good for a few days, so I was freer in approaching sex. During orgasm, I lifted my head in a very similar way to when I originally experienced pain. I felt a shadow of a sensation that made me immediately relax back away from it. The sensation stopped and didn’t return. Another indicator that it might be a muscular/skeletal issue.

Head and neck massages before sex really have helped too. That is another reason that has led me to believe that instead of my brain getting ready to explode, it is probably a pinched nerve or muscle that gets worse with tension from things like, well, sex.

Stress reduction has also been a focus but to be completely honest, I’m not doing very well at that. I don’t want to sound like that guy, but my kids do not help at all when it comes to my stress levels.

I have a stepdaughter who… well… here:

We are still working through the full-time ups and downs of her mental illness, therapy, support groups, etc. It is necessary but still very stressful.

My 9-year-old son is sensitive and high energy and an absolute sponge when it comes to emotional needs. It’s not his fault. The pandemic has really made this worse. He doesn’t get to see his friends except through screens. His favorite past time is to get his 3-year-old brother worked up and screaming.

The three-year-old is a typical three-year-old. Highly emotional and completely inflexible. Always on the edge of a complete tantrum and meltdown over, seemingly, the dumbest of things.

We try not to act like we are walking on glass over here… but we are. So, yes, stress reduction has been mostly a failure.

But there is good news. I haven’t needed a heating pad or muscle relaxer in days. Sex with my wife has gradually gotten more pain-free, during and after. My head and neck pains have become more minimal and isolated for short periods rather than a constant issue, if they are an issue at all.

This is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt motivated to write. Since this has happened, my motivation to write has dried up. Just… gone. How am I supposed to organize my thoughts when all I can think about is if I’m going to die, and my wife or children will find me on the ground somewhere. It was to the point that I didn’t lock doors in the bathroom in case “it” happened while I was in there. But, I’ve felt much better in the last few days, and with that, my desire to write has come back. This is my re-entry into my writer brain space.

Also, this has absolutely scared me into getting into better shape. I’m not in horrible health, but with 3 children, I have put my health on the back burner by simply not making it a conscious priority. The term Dad-bod is a thing for a reason. (Can I just make a note here to say that, even though the term “mom-bod” is not a thing I’ve ever heard of, I absolutely love mom-bods. That’s a topic for another story, though.)

So, I have exercise equipment coming. I’ve rededicated myself to daily yoga and fast-paced walks. I’ve been eating a lot more veggies. I’ve been tracking my calories and sodium intake. I’ve made sure to watch my portion sizes.

There is something about feeling like your head might explode that scares you into trying to outrun death.

If some of this seems scattered or on a weird timeline, it is for a few reasons. One is because I absolutely simplified and skipped over about a week of limbo and uncertainty I had. I can’t tell you how many times I googled my different symptoms and found different things it could be. Which, I know, is absolutely a horrible thing to do. But what is a guy with extreme anxiety and worry to do when he isn’t able to see his doctor or get answers? I was mostly trying to reassure myself that I didn’t have an aneurysm or mini-stroke. And it mostly helped. I don’t do well with the unknown.

This piece may also be a bit discombobulated because I have been writing this for over a week. And, as I’ve been writing it, my symptoms have changed or gone away. So, I’ve had to edit and piece together things as they have changed.

So, while I still don’t have any concrete answers, I feel a lot better about life and my overall health. I am not constantly worrying about my imminent death. I’ll take it.

And I’ll try to start getting in the habit of writing every day again. I’ve missed it.

Formerly Teadad. Dad, husband, sensualist, polymath. Lover of human sexuality, beauty, nature, the written word & much more. edwardsaudioadventures@gmail.com

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