Sunday, December 21, 2008

Atchoo! Sneeze and sex could be linked

Atchoo! Sneeze and sex could be linked
Dec 19, 2008

PARIS, Dec 19, 2008 (AFP) - Women who suspect a man of having sex on the brain should listen out for a sneeze, as a pair of British doctors say that sneezing may be a sign of arousal.

In an unusual paper published on Friday in the prestigious Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Mahmood Bhutta and Harold Maxwell cite the case of an unnamed middle-aged patient who suffered uncontrollable fits of sneezing whenever he thought of sex.

Intrigued, the pair unearthed further evidence -- although less robust -- among anonymous Internet chat rooms, where 17 people of both sexes reported sneezing immediately upon thinking of sex and three others who said they sneezed after orgasm.

Bhutta, a specialist in ear, nose and throat medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, said the phenomenon could be more widespread than thought and might even be inherited.

"It certainly seems odd, but I think this reflex demonstrates evolutionary relics in the wiring of a part of the nervous system called the autonomic nervous system," Bhutta said.

"This is the part beyond our control, and which controls things like our heart rate and the amount of light let in by our pupils. Sometimes the signals in this system get crossed, and I think this may be why some people sneeze when they think about sex."

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