James Randerson, science correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 December 2008 16.40 GMT
Thinking about sex or experiencing an orgasm sends some people into an uncontrolled bout of sneezing, and according to two researchers the problem may be more common than the medical profession had realised.
The doctors who investigated the link are not yet sure why sex and sneezing are linked in some people, but they suspect it is due to a faulty connection in the autonomic nervous system – the system that exercises unconscious control of, among other things, heart rate, digestion and pupil dilation.
Sneezing and sex may be linked by a faulty connection in the autonomic nervous system that controls both the sneeze reflex and sexual responses. A similar mechanism is thought to underlie the observation that in some people massaging an eyeball can dramatically slow their heart rate.
"Further investigation in this field may help us to understand the sneeze reflex in more depth, and also allow us to give explanation and reassurance to the possibly significant number of people affected by this curious phenomenon," Bhutta and Maxwell wrote in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.