Allergic to Sex?


#1

Medical researchers have found that some women are allergic to their male partner’s seminal fluid, the thick liquid that carries sperm. Doctors know the disorder as “human seminal plasma hypersensitivity.” In rare cases, the allergic response can cause death. But there is good news. The malady is usually treated by allergists, although it takes some effort by concerned, caring male partners. To desensitize a woman’s immune system against semen, doctors can either apply diluted samples of semen to a woman’s vagina every 20 minutes, gradually increasing the concentration over the course of several hours, or the women can receive allergy shots containing small amounts of semen over the course of several weeks. Both techniques require sex two or three times a week to train their immune system.

SO I was interested about your guys’ opinions on this that I found at www.oddee.com

Apparently some women can be allergic to their partner’s semen. Now, neither I nor anyone else I know of has this problem, and I guess it’s pretty rare, although it can cause death.

How do you think a Catholic couple could overcome this? Take for example an abstaining man and woman, date, fall in love, and get married and are passionate to be parents. Both have fully functioning reproductive systems but the woman is dealthy allergic to her parter’s semen. The article says that treatments exist by introducing small amounts of her partner’s semen into the vagina or under the skin until the immune system builds up a tolerance against it. (Just like immunotherapy for other allergies, something I myself am doing so I don’t have to ditch my kitty!) Would it be permissible for them to accept the vaginal treatment so they can complete the marital act and have children? And say, maybe they abstain until they can have sex without posing a threat to the woman’s life? I’d think in this case extracing the male’s semen without masturbation should theoretically be possible, and since it’s being used in a way that is open to life (being plaecd in the vagina) it should be permissible? Anyway, your thoughts. I thought this was an interesting topic to discuss!


#2

Catholic women can undergo this treatment as long as the semen is licitly obtained.


#3

I am not sure how rare this is (I have known someone who has reactions). I have read about this before, and how couples bond with each other and can overcome it. When I was reading, however, I seem to recall how chemical (or barrier) contraction can mess up this bonding . After research it just appeared to me that this was part of God’s plan - and that following God’s plan is also the answer (chastity before marriage - and nfp afterward). (NFP helped the couple I knew)

fwiw, I seem to recall part of the bonding was via pheromones (smell), but chemical contraception really interferes with this (by messing up the sense of smell). Likewise, both the barrier methods and chemical (by tricking the body thinks it is pregnant) effect how a woman will react to their partners semen.


#4

huh??

No, in this case a woman has an anaphalactic reaction to her parter’s semen. These cases are extremely rare, and exposure at all to a natural amount of semen though sex is deadly. Having sex, even using NFP (not sure how that could possibly help in the slightest…) will kill the woman unless she undergoes immunotherapy.


#5

Then a loving husband would not want to risk death for an orgasm. He would care for his wife as for his own body. They can seek morally licit therapy, and abstain until such is found.


#6

I think mild allergic reactions are not all that uncommon - extreme reactions are probably quite rare. Many mild allergic reactions can be countered with desensitization.

My wife and I have a number of allergies. For a long period we were using artificial birth control. Inevitably sex would be painful. Among various issues were pain from spermicide (however I think that was less painful than her reaction to semen). Ultimately this led us to simply being celibate for extended periods of time (which did little to help our marriage). Ultimately we came to the conclusion to use NFP separately and for different reasons. She thought she was going to have to convince me to try it - while I had already been hoping she would want to try it. From various research I did, it simply appeared that artificial contraception was preventing our bodies from getting used to each other - so essentially semen was a foreign allergen to be combated.

What I can say is that it did not take very long before we noticed a fairly substantial change, and within a month or two - pretty much all the allergy issues related to sex were gone. Our sexuality became a blessing rather than a course once we stopped trying to mettle with Gods plan.

Our problem may have not been the same as those from the article - but there was a definite allergic to semen issue and it was substantially eliminated by NFP.


#7

Actually, in the case I gave, the couple wants children. SInce IVF is immoral, and both are fertile but deal with this allergy, what is a morally licit treatment? Could semen be obtained through a morally licit way, and treatment begins then?

Sex isn’t always about the pleasure of orgasm. :wink:


#8

They can cuddle instead of having sex, and adopt. Problem solved!


#9

right, that makes sense. A lot of women have allergies to the latex in condoms, or adverse reactions to foreign chemicals such as spermicides, and ABC has nasty side-effects. This is why these should be avoided. In the case of this medical problem, it is an incredibly rare condition where the wife is allergic to something in her partner’s semen, to the point of death, just as some people are deathly allergic to shellfish. Having sex with no protection (or even WITH) is a basic risk of death. The only treatment for this condition (which is highly effecive) is immunotherapy. This is where they take a small, VERY small, amount of her partner’s semen and introduce it to the vagina to cause a very small reaction. This strengthen’s the body’s ability to fend off the allergen. The next time, a slightly larger amount is introduced, and so on, and so on until eventually your body can deal with a higher concentration of the allergen than you will ever encounter naturally, thus making the couple able to have sex, and conceive children through a way not contradictory to church law. (IVF, etc)


#10

The Catechism has a section on this, a child is not a right to be gained via immoral means.

The gift of a child

2373 Sacred Scripture and the Church’s traditional practice see in large families a sign of God’s blessing and the parents’ generosity.163

2374 Couples who discover that they are sterile suffer greatly. “What will you give me,” asks Abraham of God, "for I continue childless?"164 And Rachel cries to her husband Jacob, "Give me children, or I shall die!"165

2375 Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed "at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God."166

2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ "right to become a father and a mother only through each other."167

2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children."168 "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person."169

2378 A child is not something *owed *to one, but is a gift. The “supreme gift of marriage” is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged “right to a child” would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right “to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents,” and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."170
2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord’s Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.


#11

Right, but in this case the couple is not sterile.

I reference here:

2375 Research aimed at reducing human sterility is to be encouraged, on condition that it is placed "at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, and his true and integral good according to the design and will of God."166

The research done WILL cure the woman, and enable them to conceive a child naturally. Does there exist a way to obtain semen for treatment that doesn’t contradict church law?

Also, the use of that sperm doesn’t seem to be bad, since it is, over time, going to be introduced into the woman’s vagina without any use of contraception.


#12

This is something the couple should discuss with a good Catholic doctor, like those at the Pope Paul VI Institute.

There are licit means of obtaining semen, one is the couple has intercourse and he wears a perforated condom. Another is the semen is collected with a needle directly from the body.


#13

AH, yeah that would work. ALthough the perforated condom would not because a large amount of semen can be exposed to the woman through that can could lead to anaphalictic shock. IIRC women with semen allergy can’t even use condoms because the risk of immediate death is something goes wrong is too high.


#14

Additionally, a tiny electric shock administered a few inches inside the rectum will cause spontaneous and involuntary ejaculation. That may also be a licit method, I am not sure.


#15

Would make sense. I almost wonder if trying to collect involuntary ejaculations during sleep is licit.


#16

Excellent question for a good moral theologian. I would add that I would not want to be asleep if this is done to me, I want to be anesthetized! :sad_yes:


#17

hahaha! No, I mean the natural ejaculations that can happen during sleep from time to time in men. :wink:


#18

That has never happened to me. Not even when I was younger. Personally, I think it is a myth. Or perhaps an excuse.


#19

No, it’s very real. It varies in frequency from man to man (some men may never have it happen, some may have it happen like clockwork every few days), but I do know if hubby and I go too long inbetween, sometimes it can happen that he goes off in his sleep. He has no control of it, and I know that for a fact because he is such a germophobe neat freak that he would never voluntarily do that. Plus if it happens, it means he has to wake up earlier in the morning to shower before work, and he loves his snooze button!

Part of me thinks it may be a way for biology to take it’s course to “keep the factory running” as it were for men who have good self control. Studies show that if a man has an ejaculation (not necessarily an orgasm) on a regular basis, it can lessen his chances of prostate cancer. I think it’s a biological response to that, and thus nullifies the exuse to masturbate. Just like how women have to urinate after sex to lessen their chances of a bladder infection. It’s your body forcing biological functions to keep itself healthy, and designed by God so we don’t give lame excuses like “I have to masturbate! It’s good for my prostate!” :slight_smile:


#20

Hmm… It appears I may have been wrong about this. Thank you.

Part of me thinks it may be a way for biology to take it’s course to “keep the factory running” as it were for men who have good self control. Studies show that if a man has an ejaculation (not necessarily an orgasm) on a regular basis, it can lessen his chances of prostate cancer. I think it’s a biological response to that, and thus nullifies the exuse to masturbate. Just like how women have to urinate after sex to lessen their chances of a bladder infection. It’s your body forcing biological functions to keep itself healthy, and designed by God so we don’t give lame excuses like “I have to masturbate! It’s good for my prostate!” :slight_smile:

Makes sense to me.


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