A man and a woman fall in love. A man and a woman get married. A man and a woman have sex for the first time without a condom. A woman breaks out in hives.
That’s essentially the story of Mike and Julie Boyde, a couple living in Pennsylvania.
“Pretty much right after [he ejaculated], I knew something was not right because I was in a lot of pain,” Julie said in a recent interview with ABC. “The pain that I was feeling was inside, kind of like, somebody was sticking needles up inside of me and like a burning, like really painful burning. Was there something wrong with me? Was there something wrong with him?”
The couple explored the possibility that one of them had a disease but tests revealed nothing wrong with either one of them.
That’s when a friend of the bride’s suggested she might be allergic to her new husband.
“And after they said that, I’m like, you know, it kind of crossed my mind. Could that really be possible? So, I kind of went home that night and did a little research on the computer,” she said.
As it turns out, it is possible to be allergic to another person.
“The body recognizes semen as a foreign protein just as it would recognize a peanut allergen or pollen,” Dr. Andrew Goldstein, director of the Centers for Vulvovaginal Disorders in Annapolis, MD, told ABC. “So you have swelling, you have itching, you have inflammation of the nerve endings.”
She’s not alone: 20,000 to 40,000 may suffer from this condition, known as “seminal plasma hypersensitivity.”