Girlfriend jiggles a lot during sex! Help!

Dear Alice,

My girlfriend jiggles like crazy during sex! I can't seem to control her! One night she jiggled right off the bed! Please help.

Dear Reader,  

Sex can often come with many surprises, of which jiggling or shaking may be one. While this can be a confusing phenomenon, there may potential explanations including strong orgasms, reflex seizures, or seizures caused by orgasms. Of course, sex doesn’t always include an orgasmic climax for everyone, but it can be a companion, which may explain the jiggling she’s experiencing. Given that orgasm can lead to shakes, rattles, and rolls, depending on the intensity, it may not be uncommon for her to shake right off the bed. If that’s the case, there may be nothing to control, and it’s simply part of her sexual response. However, if it’s not an orgasm, it could be worth looking into further. 

One possibility could be reflex seizures. These are seizures that develop in response to specific stimuli. The stimulus that can elicit a reflex seizure can vary from simple stimuli such as light or movement to increasingly complex ones such as cognitive activities such as reading or chess. You may be familiar with one of the most common types of reflex seizures induced by light stimuli, photosensitive epilepsy. Does your girlfriend have a history of epilepsy? Have you noticed this jiggling in other situations besides sex? The trigger for her uncontrollable movement may be coincidentally occurring while you’re having sex.   

While reflex seizures can stem from a variety of stimuli, orgasms aren’t frequently cited as a stimulus that causes them. Despite this, there have been documented cases of rare phenomena experienced while people have orgasms, including crying, altered states of consciousness, dysphoria, laughing, nausea, headaches, and yes, even seizures. Most cases of seizures associated with orgasms have been reported in women, but it’s also possible in men. This condition, known as orgasmolepsy, may be even more common as people may be reluctant to come forward for support due to embarrassment.   

So, why might an orgasm result in a seizure? Orgasms are accompanied by the constriction of blood vessels, meaning there’s less blood flow to the muscles. In this moment, the muscles experience reduced blood circulation which may cause some loss of control. This could simply cause a tense sensation but could also result in seizures and other forms of complete loss of muscle control. Orgasms and seizures may also be connected based on the fact that the same regions of the brain — the amygdala and the hippocampus — are activated during both processes.  

These possible explanations might demystify your girlfriend’s behavior, but there is also one major piece of this puzzle: your girlfriend. Have you talked with her about how she feels about her bodily reactions? Maybe your girlfriend considers the whole experience to be a normal part of her sexuality, and all that’s needed is what you’re doing already. Or does she consider this jiggling to be stressful or worrisome? If so, it may be worth it for her to seek an appointment with a health care provider. They can aid in diagnosis and any possible treatment or symptom management. Otherwise, communicating with your girlfriend about your wants and needs during sexual activity can help ensure it’s a pleasurable experience for both of you, while still keeping potential injuries to a minimum.   

Whether you're holding her hand through a medical appointment or simply holding her so she doesn’t fall off the bed, best of luck. 

Last updated Apr 16, 2021
Originally published Mar 12, 1999

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