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Sex-allergic women offered lifeline

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Women who suffer from an allergy to sex with men can mercifully be treated, according to a revealing report on LiveScience.

The allergic reaction is apparently to proteins from the prostate gland, which can cause "itching, burning and swelling in the genitals", or the victim might suffer "hives or swelling ... elsewhere on the body and the woman might experience difficulty breathing".

Nasty. Allergist and immunologist David Resnick of New York Presbyterian Hospital told the site: "It's really a very rare condition, but it does happen. Typically symptoms occur within 30 minutes of intercourse, but in rare cases it may be hours or even days later."

Resnick added that around half of all women with semen allergy also demonstrate other allergies, such as skin reactions or hay fever. The majority of sufferers are between 20 and 30, with 41 per cent rather unfortunately copping symptoms the first time they indulge in a bit of boy-on-girl. He elaborated: "In most cases, symptoms gradually worsen and occur sooner with subsequent exposures."

A University of Cincinnati study of 1,073 women "who sought information on semen allergy concerning their symptoms" discovered that 130 were indeed suffering from the allergy. Interestingly, some women only have an adverse reaction to one partner while others are allergic to all their paramours.

Treatment for sex allergy involves either doctors applying "diluted samples of semen to a woman's vagina every 20 minutes, gradually increasing the concentration over the course of several hours", or sufferers can get "allergy shots containing small amounts of semen over the course of several weeks".

Either way, there's some good news: both techniques require the patient to make the beast with two backs "two or three times a week", in order to "train" her immune system. ®

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