Love Hurts: Hickey Paralyzes Woman

Safe sex doesn't only mean using condoms -- learn how to stay sex injury free.

ByABC News
May 13, 2010, 1:26 PM

Jan. 24, 2011— -- Love hurts, love scars, love wounds and mars -- these song lyrics were all too true for one New Zealand woman. An overly enthusiastic hickey from her partner landed her in the hospital with a minor stroke.

The 44-year-old Maori woman was brought to Middlemore Hospital in Aukland, New Zealand with a paralyzed left arm, doctors reported in a case study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal in November. Doctors were puzzled by her symptoms until they realized that there had been a clot in an artery on the right side of her neck beneath where she still showed the bruising of a hickey.

"Because it was a love bite, there would be a lot of suction. Because of the physical trauma, it had made a bit of bruising inside the vessel" causing a clot, Dr. Teddy Wu, who treated the patient, told the New Zealand press. The clot apparently resulted in a stroke.

This appears to be the only documented case of a hickey-related stroke, but in general, getting hurt in the heat of passion is not that uncommon, doctors say.

A 2010 U.K. poll found that a third of the British reported having had a sex-related injury, most often involving non-traditional settings for sex, such as on stairs, over kitchen tables, or in closets.

Americans aren't strangers to carnal catastrophe either, doctors say. Whether a simple muscle pull, a fractured penis, or a heart attack brought on by overzealous love-making, ER doctors "see just about everything, for better or for worse," said Dr. Corey Slovis, chair of the department of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University.

Broken Equipment

One of the most notorious sexual boo-boos is "breaking" the penis through a penile fracture. This usually occurs when an erect penis is bent forcefully, causing the engorged tissue to tear. Victims will often hear a popping or cracking sound, followed by searing pain, said Slovis.

One patient, a man in his sixties, suffered a fracture when he fell down while masturbating. He attempted to rush to the door to lock it when he heard his mother trying to get in, Dr. Billy Goldberg, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the NYU School of Medicine told