Is Orgasmic Dysfunction?
Orgasmic dysfunction is
a condition that occurs when someone has difficulty reaching orgasm, even when they’re
sexually aroused and there’s sufficient sexual stimulation. When this condition
occurs in women, it’s known as female orgasmic dysfunction. Men can also
experience orgasmic dysfunction, but this is much less common.
Orgasms are intense feelings of release during sexual
stimulation. They can vary in intensity, duration, and frequency. Orgasms can
occur with little sexual stimulation, but sometimes much more stimulation is
Many women have difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner, even
after ample sexual stimulation. In fact, orgasmic dysfunction affects
in three women.
Orgasmic dysfunction is also known as anorgasmia or female orgasmic
Causes Orgasmic Dysfunction?
It can be difficult to determine the underlying cause of orgasmic
dysfunction. Women may have difficulty reaching orgasm due to physical,
emotional, or psychological factors. Contributing factors might include:
- older age
- medical conditions, such as diabetes
- a history of gynecological surgeries, such as a
- the use of certain medications, particularly selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for depression
- cultural or religious beliefs
- embarrassment or shyness
- guilt about enjoying sexual activity
- history of sexual abuse
- mental health conditions, such as depression or
- poor self-esteem
- relationship issues, such as unresolved conflicts
or lack of trust
Sometimes, a combination of these factors can make achieving an
orgasm difficult. The inability to orgasm can lead to distress, which may make
it even harder to achieve orgasm in the future.
Are the Symptoms of Orgasmic Dysfunction?
The main symptom of orgasmic dysfunction is the inability to
achieve sexual climax. Having unsatisfying orgasms or taking longer than normal
to reach climax are also symptoms. Women with orgasmic dysfunction may have
difficulty achieving orgasm during either sexual intercourse or masturbation.
There are four types of orgasmic dysfunction:
anorgasmia is a condition in which you’ve never had an orgasm.
anorgasmia is a condition in which you have difficulty reaching orgasm,
even though you’ve had one before.
anorgasmia is the most common type of orgasmic dysfunction. It occurs when
you can only orgasm during specific situations, such as during oral sex or
anorgasmia is a condition in which you can’t achieve orgasm under any
circumstances, even when you’re highly aroused and sexual stimulation is
Is Orgasmic Dysfunction Diagnosed?
You should schedule an appointment with your doctor if you think
you have orgasmic dysfunction. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your
condition and provide a proper treatment plan. Getting help from your doctor is
the best way to ensure that you can fully enjoy sexual activity again.
During your appointment, your doctor will ask questions about
your sexual history and perform a physical examination. This can reveal any underlying
causes of orgasmic dysfunction and can help identify other factors that may be
contributing to your condition.
Your doctor may refer you to a gynecologist for a follow-up exam.
A gynecologist specializes in women’s health and can recommend further
treatments for orgasmic dysfunction.
Is Orgasmic Dysfunction Treated?
Treatment for orgasmic dysfunction depends on the cause of the
condition. You may need to:
- treat any underlying medical conditions
- switch antidepressant medications
- have cognitive behavioral therapy or sex therapy
- increase clitoral stimulation during
masturbation and sexual intercourse
Couples counseling is another popular treatment option. A
counselor will help you and your partner work through disagreements or
conflicts you may be having. This can resolve the issues that are occurring both
in the relationship and in the bedroom.
In some cases, estrogen hormone therapy may be used. This can
help increase sexual desire or the amount of blood flow to the genitals for heightened
sensitivity. Estrogen hormone therapy may involve taking a pill, wearing a
patch, or applying a gel to the genitals. Testosterone therapy is another an
option. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration haven’t approved it for
treating orgasmic dysfunction in women.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products and nutritional supplements
may also help women with orgasmic dysfunction. Arousal oils, such as Zestra,
warm the clitoris and increase stimulation. These oils may be beneficial to use
during sexual intercourse and masturbation.
Make sure you speak with your doctor before using any OTC products
or medications. They may cause an allergic reaction or interfere with other
medications you’re taking.
with Orgasmic Dysfunction
The inability to orgasm can be frustrating and may have an impact
on your relationship. However, you may be able to reach climax with proper
treatment. It’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many women deal with
orgasmic dysfunction at some point in their lives.
If you have orgasmic dysfunction, you may find therapy to be
particularly helpful. Part of individual or couples therapy focuses on how you
view sexual intercourse. Meeting with a therapist can help you and your partner
learn more about one other’s sexual needs and desires. It will also address any
relationship issues or everyday stressors that may be contributing to your
inability to orgasm. Resolving these underlying causes can help you reach
orgasm in the future.
The American Association of Sexuality
Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) has a directory of certified
therapists and resources for women with orgasmic dysfunction. You can also find
helpful information on sexual health and orgasms at Go Ask Alice, a sex education
website managed by Columbia University.