Why do I sneeze when I'm horny

Why do we actually sneeze?

Read here what the purpose of sneezing is and why some people have to sneeze in bizarre situations.

Sneezing is a protective reflex of the body with which foreign bodies and nasal secretions are involuntarily and explosively thrown out of the nose. Basically, anything that irritates the nasal mucous membrane can trigger a sneeze reflex - be it increased nasal secretions, foreign bodies such as dust, pathogens, pollen, allergenic substances or insects.

The process of sneezing is quite complex and has not yet been fully researched. Scientists assume that there is a sneezing center in the spinal cord that controls this process. The sneezing is usually announced by a tingling sensation in the nose. Involuntarily, a deep breath follows, the soft palate rises and closes the connection between nose and throat. Abdominal and chest muscles tighten, our eyes close, the volume of air in the lungs and throat is compressed.

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Explosive pressure release

When sneezing itself, the pressure built up escapes explosively through the nose or often through the mouth and hurls nasal secretions and foreign bodies at an impressive speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour.

In order not to distribute viruses or other germs in the form of innumerable tiny droplets in the ambient air, it is recommended not to sneeze into your hand, but into your handkerchief, or your shirt sleeve if necessary. Because: If you don't wash your hands thoroughly afterwards, you run the risk of spreading the pathogens everywhere by touching them.

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Curious triggers for sneezing reflex: sex, light and combing

However, it is not just foreign bodies or allergies that can trigger the sneezing reflex: Some people also have to sneeze when plucking their eyebrows or brushing their hair. The trigeminal nerve is said to be to blame for this. This branches out over large parts of the face and is extremely sensitive. Pulling on the hair or eyebrows can "irritate" him, so that a sneeze occurs - as a false reaction of an overly sensitive nerve.

Scientists suspect that the triple nerve is also the cause of the so-called photic sneeze reflex. In this case, a strong light stimulus also triggers sneezing. Around one in four is estimated to be affected - a definitive explanation for this is still lacking. The most obvious explanation so far: In people with a photic sneeze reflex, the optic nerve should run exceptionally close to the triple nerve and be stimulated with particularly strong light stimuli.

Particularly bizarre: Some people also report involuntary sneezing during sexual arousal or experiencing an orgasm. This phenomenon has not yet been sufficiently scientifically investigated - however, researchers suspect that it could be an unconventional polarity in the central nervous system.

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Katrin Derler, BA
Editorial editing:
Dr. med. Kerstin Lehermayr

Updated on:

Bhutta et al .: Sneezing induced by sexual ideation or orgasm: an under-reported phenomenon. In: Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2008: 101: 587-591.

Herold: Internal Medicine, 2014.

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